This Spider Looks Like a Cat

Caitlin Dempsey


A close up of the abdomen of a cat-faced spider.

The cat-faced (or cat face) spider (Araneus gemmoides) is a common outdoor orb-weaver spider. The spider gets its name from the shape of its abdomen which looks similar to the face of a mountain lion.

These spiders are considered beneficial garden residents as they will consume many types of pests. The female cat-faced spider dies soon after laying eggs.

A close up of the abdomen of a cat-faced spider.
A close up of the abdomen of a cat-faced spider. Photo: Lauren Reid/NPS, public domain.

The cat-faced spider is one of the most common orb weavers in the Western United States.

The abdomen of the spider contains a pair of conical humps at the top of the abdomen that form the “ears” of the cat-face pattern. Other markings on the abdomen contribute to the face-like features on this spider.

Although the size of this spider can be intimidating to some people, this orb weaver spider is considered non-harmful to humans.


Cat face spider. (n.d.). Department of Entomology – Washington State University.

Eaton, E. R. (2011, October 30). Spider Sunday: Cat-faced spider. Bug Eric.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey holds both a master's in Geography from UCLA and a Master of Library and Information Science. She is the editor of and an avid researcher of geography and feline topics. A lifelong cat owner, Caitlin currently has three rescued cats: an orange tabby, a gray tabby, and a black cat.