Can a cat really "charm" a snake?

No, I don’t mean as in buying it flowers or taking it to dinner and a movie.

When I was growing up, my grandmother used to tell me that a cat could charm a snake. I presume she meant it as a sort of hypnosis.

Do cats really have any such ability?


Sounds like something that wasn’t meant to be taken literally.

Well… onto the next obvious question. What do you suppose was the origin of the idea? Seems she wasn’t the only one who believed it to be so.

Cats will hunt & kill snakes. I guess by stalking them that might be considered snake charming? It lets the cat attack without getting bit.

Dude, use the obvious metaphors.

Well, there may be some old-timey logic behind it. Witness this article. Yes, it’s a humor site, but this is one of their ‘bet you didn’t know this’ columns. Essentially it says that the reason cats, when frightened, pull back their ears and make that loud hissing sound is because it makes them resemble an aggressive snake (putting their ears back gives their head a very pointed, triangular shape like a snake’s). I guess if a cat were to do this to a snake it might, I don’t know, confuse them.

Regardless of whether or not this works, my guess is that because people used to believe that snakes could ‘hypnotize’ their prey with this aggressive posturing some think cats can too.

I saw my cat kill a snake face to face. She held her left paw up and moved it around slowly, when the snake struck at it, she nailed on the back of the head with the other paw. After 3 of these the snake was dead and she carried it away. Damned if it didn’t look like charming a snake. But I guess cats are just smarter than snakes. I’m not sure of the type snake but it was striking and was about 2.5 feet long.