Here’s another reason cats have nine lives while dogs have only one: they are up to twice as likely to survive a snakebite. Researchers at the Venom Evolution Lab in Australia’s Queensland University made the finding when they compared the effects of almost a dozen different venoms on blood clotting agents in both cats and dogs. It turns out snake venom acts much more quickly on those agents in canines than felines, so dogs lose their ability to clot sooner and bleed to death faster from the snake toxin. For related reasons, dogs also have a lower survival rate from anti-venom treatment.
But that’s not the only reason a cat is more likely to survive a snake bite. Dogs tend to be more active than cats, and the best thing to do after being bitten by a snake is to remain as still as possible to slow the spread of venom throughout the body.
Snake bites to our pets are rare but by no means unheard of. The ASPCA estimates that more than 100,000 cats and dogs are bitten by venomous snakes each year. Of course, if you keep your cat indoors, the chances of such an occurrence are scant to nil. But if he is bitten, immediate medical attention is critical.