Something about cats makes them the most adorable and quirky little animals. They have soothing motors, bright eyes, a curious disposition, and long claws and teeth for tearing mice into bite-sized pieces. It’s amazing how they’re able to be both adorable little balls of love as well as being fierce and brutal hunters, but somehow they manage just fine.
If you have a nasty mouse infestation and you’re looking for an “all natural” approach to getting rid of them, look no further than cats. If you need advice on the right type of cat to help solve your mouse problems, keep reading to learn more about how to employ cats to get rid of unwanted mice.
Are Cats Good At Catching Mice?
Is water wet? Is the sky blue? Are cats good at catching mice? Cats have something called a “hunting instinct” which is exactly why they lose their minds over a laser light or a string with a feather on the end of it. When cats play, they’re actually honing their hunting skills.
Believe it or not, not all cats are naturally born mousers. It’s something that they learn as kittens from their momma cat. While they’re naturally curious and playful, their momma has to teach them how to kill and eat mice by bringing home wounded rodents for them to eat.
Here are the steps that momma cat takes to teach her kittens how to hunt mice:
- She brings home a dead mouse.
- The kittens get to bat the dead mouse around, and in the process, they develop a taste for it.
- Momma cat now brings home an almostdead mouse. This mouse is severely weakened by injury, making it easy prey for her kittens.
- The kittens learn from playing with this mouse how to capture and subdue it, with little risk of it escaping.
- Momma cat brings home a live, healthy mouse for the kittens to play with.
- The kittens have to act quickly to bring the mouse down before it gets away.
- Momma cat takes her kittens with her on her next hunt so they can use their new skills in the wild.
Eventually these sweet little kitties grow up to be excellent mouse hunters just like their momma cat.
Sometimes, though, you’ll come across a cat that seems to have no desire to hunt. More than likely, this poor kitty was separated from its mother at a young age and never learned how to hunt. Or – also very likely – you just have a fat, lazy, well-fed cat that doesn’t want to work for his supper!
Can Keeping a Cat Around Prevent a Mouse Infestation?
Keeping a cat around can help prevent mice from showing up in two ways: one, the cat will chase after the mouse and if he catches the mouse, he’ll eat it. But even if your cat doesn’t catch the mouse, two, just having a cat around can prevent mice from ever showing up in the first place. If you think you have mice and want to know how to get rid of mice in attic, click here.
Mice are terrified of cats, and over time, they have evolved to know the smell of a cat and avoid it completely. What, exactly, is so scary about a cat that the mice will flee if they think there’s a cat nearby?
- Scientists recently discovered a protein in cat saliva called “MUPS”.
- MUPS is an acronym for “major urinary proteins.” (It’s found in cat saliva and rat urine.)
- The mouse has something called a vomeronasal organ.
- A vomeronasal organ is also known as Jacob’s organ, which is just a fancy way of saying that the mouse has a special smelling organ that allows it to smell pheromones and cat saliva.
- If the mouse’s Jacob’s organ picks up on the MUPS, it will freeze and drop into a crouch low to the ground.
- If it determines there is no real threat, it’ll carry on as usual.
- If there is a threat, it’ll run away.
How to Train Your Cat
If your cat is failing to be a proper mouser, there are things you can do to help teach it how to do its one job properly. If your cat doesn’t catch mice, you’re going to have to step up into the role of momma cat and show him how to catch them.
To teach your cat how to hunt mice, here are a few things you’ll need:
- Crinkly Toys
- Mouse Trap
Your job is to set up a reward-based system for catching and killing mice. You’ll start with wiggling a crinkly cat toy to trigger your cat’s curiosity and hunting instinct.
Once you know your cat’s interested in playing, then you can move onto using a live mouse. If you need more information on how to catch a mouse, click here. Set it free in front of your cat, and if he catches it, give him a treat or a good petting.
Why Do Cats Hunt Mice?
Cats hunt mice for several reasons, including:
- They need the taurine that they get from eating mice.
- They have a natural hunting instinct, which manifests as hunting.
- Mice are easy to catch, compared to birds or fish!
- They’re bored. Sometimes a cat just wants something to play with, and a mouse is an easy target.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they need to eat meat to survive. Their bodies aren’t able to produce an amino acid called “taurine, ” which means they have to get it from their food.
If your cat hunts, it’s just acting on its normal drive and instinct.
Do Cats Eat the Mice They Catch?
Everyone who has ever had a cat has had the gruesome experience of waking up to finding a headless mouse as a “gift” from the cat.
If eating mice is so important to a cat’s survival, why did it leave the mouse for you to find? If your cat is bringing live mice into your house, click here to learn how to kill mice.
Check your cat’s food dish. If there’s food remaining in it, then there’s a good chance your cat wasn’t hungry. If Mr. Whiskers has an all-you-can-eat buffet of delicious kibble and pate, why would he eat a mouse?
How to Prevent Your Cat from Smuggling Mice into the House
If you’re tired of finding dead mice in your home, here are some things you can to prevent your cat from bringing dead mice into your clean abode:
- Don’t let your cat go hungry. If your cat is getting plenty of food from you, it’s less likely to go on the prowl for mice.
- Don’t let your cat get bored. A bored cat is a killer cat! Get some toys for your cat to play with, and if you get interactive toys that you can use to play with your cat, even better! Cat toys are generally inexpensive, so stock up on a wide variety to keep your kitty entertained.
- Don’t let your cat go outside! Cats belong indoors, and the outside can be very dangerous. Going outside increases the risks of your cat from getting attacked by wild animals, contracting diseases, or getting injured by an oncoming car.
Why is Your Cat Leaving Dead Mice at Your Door?
Everyone loves getting presents, but a “gift” from your cat usually is unwanted and unappreciated.
If you found a dead, headless mouse in your home, it’s more than likely one of the following reasons as to why your cat left it there:
- Your cat thinks you’re a lousy hunter. Have you been looking skinny lately? Your cat wants you to be well fed and left you a snack for later.
- Your cat loves you and is looking out for you. For all of those times that you slipped a tiny piece of chicken down to your begging kitty, your cat is now returning the favor. The mouse is his way of saying “Thanks!” for all that you do for him.
- Your cat is hiding the mouse from other predators to eat later. Sometimes the thrill of the hunt ends in a victory, but now your cat has the unwanted attention. The cat has to run back inside to savor its mouse. If he gets distracted or isn’t hungry, he’ll save it for later and just might forget about it until you found it in your doorway.
Can You Rent a Cat?
There are several places you can rent cats from to catch mice, but why would you want to? Isn’t it better to just hire an exterminator? To learn other ways to get rid of your mice infestation, click here.
Sometimes mouse exterminator or setting out traps is exactly what you need, but here are several good reasons to rent a cat for your annoying mouse problem:
- Using a cat is more sanitary than using poisons that can be bad for the environment.
- If you’re looking for a more ethical, humane way to get rid of mice, a cat will do the job perfectly!
- Cats have over 10,000 years of evolution on their side to make them the perfect mouse-exterminators.
- Cats make awesome companions! Having a cat is a win-win situation: you get rid of your mouse problem, and a loving kitty gets a new home!
Which would you prefer to cuddle with? This:
The answer is obvious! Cats are superior every time!
Which Types of Cats Make the Best Mousers?
Some types of cats are just better at catching mice than others. Which one is the best?
While kittens are adorable, they aren’t very good mouse-catchers. They’re too young and immature to do it properly, but with training, they can grow to be excellent mousers!
Male cats are actually worse at hunting mice than female cats. Female cats have to teach kittens how to hunt, so they’re naturally better at it. Male cats will only hunt if they have a mate or they’re neutered.
Not all cats will catch or eat a mouse, either. If the cat was never taught by its momma cat to hunt, they may lack the skills or the instinct to hunt. A lazy cat would rather wait for you to feed it, so they won’t catch mice either.
It may seem gross, but there are “good parts” to a mouse that a cat enjoys more. The organs are more tasty to a cat, so your cat may eat just parts of the mouse and leave the head and tail behind.
The Best Breed for Hunting Mice
Some cats are natural-born mousers, and some are just lazy bums who look to their human to feed them.
If you want a cat who will catch and kill mice, look to these breeds:
- Siamese: Lots of energy and personality and will happily hunt mice.
- Manx: Outgoing and friendly and love to hunt.
- Maine Coon: Big and strong and are pros at hunting.
- Domestic Shorthair: Hardworking and loyal and will hunt for sport.
- Siberian: Surprisingly agile for their large size, and can take down prey without batting an eye.
Whether you’re looking to get a cat to solve a mouse problem, or you already have a cat who has been leaving you “presents, ” then you know how funny, smart, and curious these little guys are. If you have a cat in your life, consider yourself lucky. If you don’t, please consider adding one to your household. It’s a decision that you won’t regret!