1) Does the signal degrade with increased travel distance?
yes, but under 100m it makes no difference. ethernet spec is <100m without repeating.
2) Would cat6 be a better choice or does it even matter? I have fiber optic internet.
cat6 is niice but overkill....5e will do the job fine.
3) I hate spiders
so do I but bug spray and focus takes care of that
Veritas Principium Libertas