The Curious Cat Behavior Explained. Why Cats Can’t Resist Licking Spider Webs

Why Cats Can’t Resist those Cobwebs

Cats are known for their quirky behaviors, like chasing laser pointers, knocking things off tables, and loving cardboard boxes. But one of the strangest feline habits is gobbling up spiderwebs. As a cat owner, you may have caught your furry friend feasting on dusty cobwebs tucked away in the corner or underneath furniture. While the behavior can seem bizarre, there’s actually an explanation behind why cats are drawn to the webby treats.

The reasons for web snacking tap into a cat’s ancestral instincts, curiosity about new textures and tastes, and nutritional biochemistry. Understanding the complex motivations behind the behavior can help owners appreciate their cat’s perspective. While most spiderwebs are harmless, there are also risks associated with cobweb eating that cat parents should be aware of.

History of Cat Behavior

Cats were first domesticated by ancient civilizations like Egypt over 4,000 years ago. Originally descended from solitary hunters like the African Wildcat, cats retained many of their natural instincts despite living alongside humans. An independent spirit and curiosity were traits that proved useful for controlling rodent populations in early settlements. Cats also maintained an instinct to play-hunt using their paws and teeth, even when well-fed. Their playful nature provided entertainment and companionship for humans.

Over time, humans began breeding cats for their playfulness, curiosity, and hunting abilities. This reinforced behaviors like exploring, investigating objects, stalking prey, and pouncing. Even as they transitioned indoors, those instincts never fully disappeared. Today’s house cats closely resemble their ancestral counterparts in temperament and behavior.

Texture and Taste Theories

Many experts believe that cats are attracted to the texture of cobwebs and find them appealing to eat. Cobwebs have a light, stringy, somewhat sticky texture that cats may enjoy playing with and chewing on. According to one source, “Finally, some cats enjoy the taste of spider webs. While it’s not clear why this is the case, it could be due to the texture or flavor of the web itself.” (

In addition to the unique texture, there is also a theory that cats like the taste of cobwebs. Experts are unsure what exactly makes cobwebs taste appealing to some cats. It could be from residual traces of insects, the substance produced by the spiders, or something inherent to the cobwebs themselves. The taste appeal seems to vary between individual cats, with some drawn to lick and eat cobwebs more than others.

Nutritional Benefits

Spider webs contain vitamins, protein, and carbohydrates, making them appealing as a natural food source for cats. Some research suggests spider webs contain nucleic acids and amino acids like glycine, alanine, serine, and tyrosine. 1 The protein and amino acids in spider webs may help supplement nutritional deficiencies in a cat’s regular diet.

One of the key amino acids found in spider silk is taurine. Taurine is an essential nutrient for cats that supports heart and eye health. Since cats cannot manufacture their own taurine, they must obtain it from their food. Eating spider webs provides cats with an extra source of this vital amino acid. Researchers have found that spider webs can contain up to 5% taurine by dry weight. 2 While the amount from spider webs is relatively small, some cats seem to enjoy this tasty source of supplemental taurine.

Pest Control

One reason cats may eat spiderwebs is for pest control. Spiderwebs can indicate the presence of insects and other prey that cats like to hunt and eat. By consuming spiderwebs, cats may be able to reduce the number of pests in their environment.[1] The spiderwebs themselves likely do not provide much nutritional value, but they signal the potential presence of tasty insects. Cats have strong predatory instincts, so spiderwebs can trigger their hunting drive.

In the wild, cats must hunt prey like rodents and insects to survive. Domestic cats retain these natural instincts even when provided food by their owners. Eating spiderwebs and the associated bugs allows cats to engage in hunting behaviors. It satisfies their prey drive and provides mental stimulation. So pest control is one possible explanation for why cats are drawn to spiderwebs.


Curiosity and Play

Cats are naturally curious animals that enjoy exploring their environment. Licking spider webs may stem from this innate desire to investigate their surroundings. Much like playing with toys, batting at cobwebs provides mental enrichment and satisfies a cat’s predator instincts.

According to a viral TikTok video, one cat owner discovered their pet playing under the house, completely covered in cobwebs ( This exploratory behavior supports the idea that curiosity motivates some cats to lick spider webs as they investigate new areas.

Additionally, cats use their tongue to analyze textures and tastes as they explore. Licking a spider web allows them to satisfy their inquisitiveness about these sticky formations. The novel texture likely appeals to their senses in an exciting way.

In summary, a cat’s innate desire to play and explore seemingly explains why they lick spider webs at times. It provides stimulating sensory input to satisfy their predatory instincts.

Individual Preferences

Some cats are more prone to licking spider webs than others. This behavior seems more common in certain breeds like Siamese and Oriental Shorthairs that exhibit more curious and playful traits (Source). It may simply come down to individual personality and preference. Just as some cats are more attracted to catnip or enjoy playing fetch more than others, certain cats seem intrinsically fascinated by spider webs.

According to experts, intelligent and inquisitive breeds like the Siamese tend to interact with spider webs more frequently. Their curious nature draws them to explore the sticky texture and nets (Source). Less investigative cats may show less interest. The behavior also varies based on environment – indoor cats have less exposure to spider webs, so may not exhibit the habit.

In the end, licking spider webs seems to come down to unique cat temperament and opportunity. While all cats may try sampling webs, especially kittens, some continue finding fascination in the sticky strands as adults more than others.

Risks and Dangers

While eating spider webs may seem harmless, there are some potential risks cat owners should be aware of. One concern is the risk of eating venomous spiders along with their webs. According to Catvills[1], spider webs can contain black widows, brown recluses, or other venomous species, which could pose a hazard if ingested by cats. Bites from these spiders could potentially make cats seriously ill. To reduce this risk, cat owners are advised to identify and remove any venomous spiders found near or inside the home.

Another potential danger of web eating is choking. Cobwebs can get stuck in a cat’s mouth or throat, creating a choking hazard[2]. Cats may try to swallow larger chunks of webbing, which could cause gagging, coughing, or more serious obstruction of their airway. Owners should monitor their cats when engaging in this behavior and consider discouraging or distracting them from eating large amounts of webbing at once. Supervision and removal of thick cobwebs may help reduce choking risks.

While occasional web ingestion seems fairly common in cats, owners should be vigilant about potential hazards. Addressing any nutritional deficiencies and restricting access to venomous spiders or large cobwebs can help keep cats safe.


Preventing the Behavior

If you want to stop your cat from eating spiderwebs, there are a few approaches you can take:

First, block access to cobwebs in your home by regularly cleaning them out. Spiders tend to build webs in corners, ceilings, and other out of reach areas. Use a broom or vacuum with an extension to remove webs and prevent your cat from eating them.

You can also place furniture or other objects to block your cat’s access to areas where webs accumulate. Close doors to rooms you don’t want your cat to enter.

Additionally, provide alternative textures and activities to satisfy your cat’s desire to chew and lick. Rubbery cat toys, cardboard scratchers, and treat puzzles with different textures can provide stimulation. Engage your cat in active play sessions to fulfill their natural hunting instincts.

If your cat seems obsessed with eating webs, talk to your veterinarian to rule out any dietary deficiencies or other medical issues leading to the behavior. With diligence and patience, you can curb your cat’s web-eating habits.


In summary, cats lick spider webs for a variety of reasons. Cats may enjoy the unique texture and taste of cobwebs. Spider webs can also provide nutritional benefits for cats, as they contain small traces of protein from trapped insects. The pest control properties of spider webs likely intrigue cat’s natural hunting instincts. And of course, cats are innately curious creatures that like to play and explore their environments. While it’s natural cat behavior, owners should be cautious of toxic spiders and make sure the habit does not become excessive.

Though the reasons are speculative, it is clear cats have an affinity for licking spider webs. Their penchant for these sticky insect traps stems from their playful nature, texture preferences, nutritional curiosity, and predatory ancestryl. While strange to us humans, it is simply normal feline behavior.

Scroll to Top