Curled Cat Coiled Snake Comparison

Nearly all of us know about cats mimicking a snake’s hiss as a way of defending themselves. The snake is obviously known throughout the animal world as a dangerous creature. The whole defensive measure is based on that. It is also based on the sound of the snake.

The interesting thing about the cat is that it also mimics the snake’s appearance when curled up asleep.

Curled Cat Coiled Snake Comparison

Curled Cat Coiled Snake Comparison

I am referring to domestic tabby cats. The cat in the collage above is a small/medium sized wild cat, the ocelot, but it has a tabby-type coat. You don’t refer to wild cats as having tabby coats but they are. And the ocelot’s high contrast markings very much mimic the coiled snake.

It has been suggested that the tabby coat is not simply the best form of camouflage but that it goes a step further and is an imitation of the camouflage markings of a snake.

When a cat is sleeping it is vulnerable to attack. A large bird such an an eagle might see a curled cat as a snake and steer clear. Certainly in the wild, the ocelot curled up on a tree-stump looks uncannily like a snake from a distance. And the when the cat hisses, spits and wags his tail like a rattle snake the predator is suitable convinced.

See a magnificent serval hiss.

Photo originals descending order:

Facebook Discussion


Curled Cat Coiled Snake Comparison — 9 Comments

  1. Hi Michael,

    Cats have some snakelike qualities.

    To that I might add that I’ve heard – but don’t quote me on this – that cats strike with their claws quicker than a snake.

    It might be true. I have relatives that live down south. Their cat catches and brings rattlesnakes into the house on a regular basis.

    As an aside, but related is the fact that the quickest of the professional boxers also strike faster than a snake. I think I saw that one on either Animal Planet or some kind of Myth De-bunkers show a few years ago. I don’t remember which show exactly.

    =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

    • Interesting. It seems very feasible that cats strike with their paws faster than a snake because one the main reasons why the African-Asian wildcat was domesticated in the first place was to catch snakes. The African-Asian wildcat is a good snake catcher. I guess the cat has to move faster than a snake to do that.

  2. I’ve just bought a book on cat behavior by Desmond Morris and some of the information in there is fascinating! One of the things he mentioned were the comparisons of a coiled snake and curled up cat, but he also talked about a cat hiss and how it was more just similar to that of a snake. Also brought to attention was the ‘shake’ a cat does right before it pounces, which he likened to a snake swaying from side-to-side before striking. Just found your page, but I will be rummaging through it 🙂

      • I’ve had my own little cat, Zowie, for almost five years, so gaining a small insight into her actions and what’s behind them is, to me, well overdue. Unfortunately, in the book I read, it doesn’t really go into the differences between an outdoor domestic cat and an indoor cat. I do know an indoor cat has more sounds as opposed to an outdoor. I know that one all too well LOL

        A lot of people refer to me as ‘cruel’ for keeping Zowie indoors, but I live less than 20 feet from a main road where three cats have already been found this year. I’d rather spend money on good things for her, such as cat gyms, noisy balls (which are hidden from 9 pm-8 am!), and of course the good food.

        So if you know of any other reads about cat behavior that are more indepth, I’d be very grateful. Jude xxx

        • Hi Jude, thanks for visiting and commenting. There is actually a lot of information on this site about cat behavior. The search box will find it. There are many decent books about cat behavior but they tend to be a little bit boring for me. I agree, if you live near a main road you have to keep your cat inside. The British don’t like to do it. In the US it is common. If you have garden space a catio is a nice compromise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please try and upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks. Comment rules: (1) respect others (2) threatening, harassing, bullying, insulting and being rude to others is forbidden (3) advocating cat cruelty is forbidden (4) trolls (I know who they are) must use real name and upload a photo of themselves. Enforcement: (1) inappropriate comments are deleted before publication and (2) commenters who demonstrate a desire to flout the rules are banned. Failure to comply with (4) results in non-publication. Lastly, please avoid adding links because spam software regards comments with links as spam and holds them in the spam folder. I delete the spam folder contents daily.