By Elisa Black-Taylor
Readers, I’ll warn you before I begin this article “Using Cats As Snake Food” that this is perhaps the sickest, most vile thing I’ve ever heard of. I’m not even sure it’s legal. Unfortunately, the legality of feeding a cat to a pet snake makes little difference to the person who owns the snake. One online website suggested “not to tell the girlfriend” about using cats as snake food. Just acquire the cat by whatever means necessary, feed your snake and keep your mouth shut.
I’d NEVER heard of this before. I thought the scumbags who take kittens and sell them to research labs to be the lowest form of humanity. It seems I was wrong. Free kittens and even shelter kittens and cats are being used to feed hungry snakes.
I didn’t do much research in order to write this. I’m terrified of snakes. I don’t want to see one in person, on TV or online. So forgive me if I leave the research up to those of you who want to know more about this topic. I’m only writing this as a warning to those of you who have outdoor cats (especially feral cats who haven’t been “treated” with chemicals) or who plan to give away a litter.
The cats and kittens are fed mostly to large pythons who have outgrown mice and rats as food. I don’t know how long this has been going on. Someone at some point got it into their head that felines make an ideal food for snakes. The same was said for puppies, rabbits and other small mammals. The snake owner doesn’t discriminate. They justify using cats and kittens for two reasons:
- Cats and kittens living feral cause damage and death to other wildlife;
- The shelter is going to euthanize the cats anyway, so why not put them to “good use”.
Apparently a dead prey food is better than feeding the snake a live cat. Something about all of the squirming done by the cat as it slowly dies can internally injure the snake. One reference I forced myself to read through stated C0² (carbon dioxide) was used to first kill the cat. Breaking a cats neck or smothering would probably do the job just as thoroughly. After all, the snake owner doesn’t want to harm his pet with any dangerous chemicals that could be in the cats system at the time of death.
This just gets scarier and scarier. One online website suggested for the snake owner to send friends or family on scouting missions to acquire free kittens. Do snake lovers look different than the rest of the population?
Cat lovers, be careful who you give kittens to. I never realized this was going on, but it really doesn’t surprise me. Cats get the bad end of the deal in a lot more situations than we know about. These snake people are out there and they want cats. They’re not going to advertise this. It’s almost like a secret society between snake breeders. Tips to grow a healthy snake without offending the rest of the world or being locked up for something that sounds like it should be illegal.
I found references to these python groups in Florida as well as in Australia. Is this going on in every country?
Readers, do any of you know anything about this practice? Does this fall under animal cruelty? Are there any snake breeders out there who would like to explain who came up with this horrible idea and how your conscience will allow you to murder beautiful animals for the purpose of supplying a meal?
That’s it for me. I’m getting sick just thinking about this…
Note from Michael (Admin): This has got to be known about by the police, surely. Or by organizations such as PETA (yes, I know PETA have a bad reputation on killing unwanted cats) . Perhaps they consider it normal and natural as it is the sort of thing that would happen in nature, which brings me to the question of whether it is animal cruelty and falls under the animal protection and welfare criminal code.
When feeding live kittens to snakes, the question is whether a person encouraging natural predation is committing a crime. Regrettably I would guess that the authorities would not think so. But if the cat is killed before feeding to the snake using a method that is cruel then it would be a crime. CO² would cause asphyxiation and would be an act of cruelty in my opinion.Why isn’t law enforcement involved?
That said, a python kills an animal by asphyxiating it. What is the difference? Feeding cats to snakes poses lots of ethical and legal questions.It also poses questions about the involvement of so called shelters. How many supply kittens? And are they involved in other commercial enterprises. I have always said that they commonly are and it undermines the objective of a shelter. It creates a conflict of interest.
I hate the idea of kittens/cats as snake food. For me it is cruel and quite unnecessary when there is commercial snake food around. There are also too many people keeping exotic type pets in America. It is a kind of obsession and disrespectful of animals. Can’t we just live on the planet together?
In one case a snake farmer, David Beauchemin, was also operating and dog and cat shelter on the same premises! It is alleged that rather than sheltering the cats and dogs he was feeding them to his snakes. He has been arrested on animal cruelty charges but the investigation continues. The charges appear to relate to the condition of the snakes.
I have just noticed that I made an earlier post on this subject.
Original photo of snake on Flickr