- Cat Selection is Important
- Committing to Your Cat
Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that cats are great at chasing down prey such as rats and mice and they’re nature’s best mice repellent. And if you’re one of the unlucky souls that have been the subject of a mice infestation (or are currently experiencing it), getting a cat may be beneficial for both you and your home. Cats are predators that have been domesticated by people way back in the past. But did you know that big cats such as lions, leopards, tigers, and others, behave in a similar fashion as small, domestic cats? That’s right; all cats are kitties in the heart. Although, you probably wouldn’t want to cuddle with a lion.
Anyway, let’s get to the point. Cats. Why is getting a cat such a good option? They’re quick, most active during the night (and have specialized night vision), and damn good at taking out mice. There’s no better natural deterrent to mice than cats. And even though you might be thinking that simply getting a cat will let the problem take care of itself, which simply isn’t the case. There are a couple of things that you should know if you want to make the most out of a ‘hunter’ cat. If you’re interested in some other methods of repelling mice, check this article out.
Another big plus in having a cat is that you’ll have an animal to bond with. Cats might not be (usually) as friendly as dogs, but they’re just as good. Science has actually proven that people who are going through a tough time in life (depression, sleep deprivation, huge amounts of stress) feel better once they get a pet. Cats are, in this regard, awesome. Their purring actually soothes people’s minds and helps them relax. So, you know, after a tough day of exterminating mice, you should cuddle with your cat (if it lets you!).
Cat Selection is Important
You need to know that cats aren’t universally good hunters, even though they might appear that way. Some cats are better than others in terms of chasing and getting rid of mice. There’s simply no way around it! But, there are certain things to look out for when picking your cat, since you’ll want the one which is great
for hunting mice. Cats that have been in a home for a long time won’t hunt. They’re used to living in relaxed conditions and they have no need to hunt since their owners feed them.
Your best bet is to find a cat that has spent some time in the outdoors. Stray cats are a possible option, although caution is advised; stray cats are often wild and won’t give you a chance to tame them. The best choice is finding a barn cat that has spent a part of its life outdoors, but also close enough to humans to feel welcome and trustworthy. There are plenty of these cats in most rural areas of most cities, so you should be able to find one that’s the perfect choice.
Start off by contacting your local shelter. They usually have plenty of cats that are looking for homes, and, as long as you tell them what kind of cat you want, they’ll be happy to help. Now, don’t make the mistake of getting a kitten. Kittens may be sweet and cuddly, but they’re bad at hunting. Frankly, they don’t know how to hunt. You should get a fully grown, adult cat which has seen its fair share of hunts. Or, you could get a mother cat and a kitten cat. The kitten will learn how to hunt from its mother. So you’ll have one cat for hunting, and another one that will become a hunter once it reaches a certain age (plus, you’ll have a kitten – what’s not to love!?).
The main problem arises when people already have cats but their cats aren’t good at hunting mice. Fear not! You can still teach these cats what to do. Try to encourage it to visit the places where you might have mice (attics, basements…). Give it a treat once it visits such a location. One added benefit of owning a cat is that they love to brush up against walls and objects, leaving their scent behind. There’s not a single mouse that would risk exposure to a predator that’s been leaving its scent everywhere.
Making Sure that the Cat is Effective at Keeping Mice Away
Now, cats are great at keeping mice away and getting rid of them if they’ve already made a shelter in your home, but they aren’t all-powerful. Chances are, there’s an area in your home where the cat didn’t go and leave its scent. This is most likely the exact area where the mice will try to build a shelter for themselves. On top of that, mice have been known to make decisions which aren’t exactly healthy, like pop up in the middle of the day in your kitchen, right in front of your cat, trying to get to the food. Desperation makes us all brave, doesn’t it?
These reasons are the exact reasons which make picking the correct cat necessary. Again, not all cats are fierce hunters!
Kill or Play?
Cats are intriguing creatures. Some cats like to play with their pray for various reasons. Your cat might be simply trying to play with the mouse, instead of killing it. You can check this out by giving your cat a mouse toy and observing what happens. If your cat is playfully biting and licking it, then this is what it would do with a real mouse as well. This presents a problem – how to teach your cat to kill the mouse instead of playing with it. Well, for starters, you could teach it to kill by giving it treats whenever it does kill. You see, you might have a cat that’s interested in playing with the mice, but it will probably kill once in a while. When this happens, be sure to reward it. The cat will then start associating killing the mice with treats.
Be prepared to face dead (and sometimes alive) mice on your porch. Cats love showing off and bringing their trophies home for their owners to see. A friend of mine has a cat that constantly brings dead mice into his home. Unfortunately, this is unhygienic since the mouse is dead and, therefore, dangerous. The bad side of this is that they’ve rewarded the cat each time it killed a mouse and brought it inside the house.
Don’t make this mistake – teach your cat that it’s okay for it to bring a trophy home, as long as it’s outside the house. Cats learn rapidly and they’re smart animals. As long as you do your best to it and teach it exactly what needs to be taught, it will reward you by being the best mice repellent you could have gotten.
And then there’s the whole ‘cat brings mouse alive’ thing. Yeah, it’s not unusual for cats to bring injured mice or ones that are completely fine. What’s important in this scenario is that you don’t freak out and spook the cat (which would then drop the mouse and run away, and the mouse would be free to roam your home with no contest).
Committing to Your Cat
Don’t forget that a cat is, in fact, a pet. You didn’t get yourself a universal mouse killing device; you got yourself a pet that just happens to be good at hunting mice. Therefore, you should do your best to connect with your cat and keep it happy. Reward it when it does good, and teach it to not do bad things. Before you actually go for a cat, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions:
Do I Have the Time?
If you’re a homeowner that doesn’t have a lot of time to devote to a pet, then a cat might be too much. No pet should be neglected and, if you don’t devote enough time to it, it will get desensitized. Cats that don’t live happy lives will run away if the opportunity presents itself.
Do I Have the Money?
Owning a pet isn’t cheap. Owning a cat might be cheaper than owning a dog, but you’ll still need to buy things on a weekly basis. Food is one thing. You might be thinking that there’s no need for this since the cat will simply hunt the mice and eat them, but you’d be wrong. Cats don’t always eat their kill, especially if you’ve taught them properly. It’s a good thing if your cat doesn’t eat the mice since it might get sick.
Other items that you’d need for a cat is litter (if the cat is at some time during the day and/or if you want to potty train it), and toys. Keep in mind that if your cat gets sick, you’re going to need to pay for treatment (in some cases). Also, regular vet checkups are a must and in some places in the world, this costs quite a lot of money.
Does It Have a Place to Live?
You’d be surprised by how many cats go missing because their owners let them sleep outside (in undisclosed locations). Your kitty should have a proper sleeping spot and it should be clean. Let your cat out during the day but let it back in when it wants to get back inside. If there’s no suitable spot for everything she needs (pee and poop locations, sleep location, etc.), then it might be better not to get a cat.
Once the answers to these questions are positive, you’re pretty much prepared to own a cat and have it give the mice headaches.
Most people wouldn’t think about getting a cat because of their mice problem, but it’s a pretty viable and effective option. As long as you take care of your cat properly, you aren’t going to have any issues. Cats are great hunters and are easily able to keep mice populations under control. One single cat will either take care of the problem itself, or it will drastically reduce their numbers. But using traps is still recommended as an additional weapon against mice. Just be sure that the kitty can’t hurt itself on anything and you’re all set!