Borrowing A Cat To Get Rid Of Mice

Using cats to get rid of mice is an effective and natural pest control method. Mice infestations are very common – approximately 21 million homes are invaded by mice and other rodents each winter in the United States alone (source). Cats are excellent natural mousers, with quick reflexes and strong hunting instincts. Having a cat can eliminate a mouse problem without the need for traps or poison.

The benefits of using cats as mousers include: they are a chemical-free and humane option, they can access small spaces, they hunt 24/7, and they help deter mice from entering the home. Properly introducing and training a cat can provide long-term mouse control. This guide covers ideal cat breeds, training tips, safety precautions, and advice for effectively borrowing a cat to get rid of mice.

Why Cats Catch Mice

Cats are excellent mouse catchers thanks to their natural hunting instincts, quick reflexes, and ability to see in low light. As predators, cats have an innate drive to hunt. This makes them attentive to the slightest sounds and movements that betray the presence of prey like mice. When they detect a mouse, a cat’s quick reflexes allow it to pounce in an instant. Cats can see well in low light conditions where mice like to stay active. Their superior night vision gives cats an edge over their prey.

According to Pet Medicus, “Cats are renowned for their exceptional ability to catch mice, a skill that stems from their nature as skilled and stealthy hunters.” Their instincts and physical abilities make cats ideal for catching mice that have invaded a home.

Ideal Breeds for Mousers

When it comes to choosing a cat breed skilled at hunting mice, certain breeds stand out for their strong prey drive and prowess. Some of the most common and adept mouser cat breeds include:

Maine Coons – One of the oldest natural cat breeds in North America, the Maine Coon is known for its skilled hunting abilities, large size, and intelligence. Their patient nature and ability to learn makes them excellent mousers (

American Shorthairs – With their muscular bodies, sharp eyesight, and persistence, American Shorthairs are adept hunters often used in barns and farms. Their patience and focus makes them ideal for mousing (

Japanese Bobtails – Agile and energetic, Japanese Bobtails have strong back legs that provide powerful pouncing skills. Their intelligence also aids their mouser abilities (

Selecting a mouser breed known for speed, intelligence, focus, and strong hunting instincts can provide an effective natural deterrent against mice.

Training a Cat to Catch Mice

An important part of getting a cat to catch mice is providing proper training and rewards. There are a few key things to keep in mind when training a mouser cat:

Use food rewards like small pieces of meat or fish to positively reinforce the cat’s hunting behavior. Give rewards immediately after the cat captures or kills a mouse to connect the reward with the desired behavior. Avoid giving treats for no reason.

Gradually phase out food rewards over time so the cat is motivated by the inherent satisfaction of hunting rather than just the treat. Intermittent rewards can help maintain the cat’s motivation to hunt.

Some other effective training tips include:

  • Start training kittens early by using toys that mimic prey. Drag toys along the floor to trigger instinctual hunting behavior.
  • Allow the cat to play with dead mice so they become desensitized to them and see them as prey versus companions.
  • Make sure the cat always has access to appropriate scratching posts and areas to climb. This maintains their predatory abilities.
  • Use target training to direct the cat toward mice burrows or hiding spots where they are likely to hunt.

With time, rewards, and encouragement, cats can become quite skilled at dispatching mice and keeping them under control. For more tips, check out this helpful guide on how to train a barn cat to hunt mice.

Preparing Your Home

Before borrowing a cat to catch mice, you’ll need to prepare your home to increase the likelihood of success. One key step is eliminating competing food sources that may distract the cat from hunting mice. This means storing all human and pet food in sealed containers, cleaning up crumbs, and removing any bowls of food left out at night.

According to WikiHow, when you first bring the cat home, it’s also a good idea to keep the cat confined to a single room or area at first1. This allows the cat to become comfortable in its new environment before introducing it to the rest of the house. Start with a quiet room like a bathroom or spare bedroom.

You’ll also want to set up a litter box, food and water stations, resting places, and toys to keep the cat happy. Providing adequate enrichment will encourage natural hunting behaviors. Once the cat seems comfortable, you can give it access to more areas to patrol for mice.

Safety Considerations

When allowing your cat to hunt mice, it’s important to take some safety precautions. First, try to monitor your cat during the actual hunting, especially if they are indoors. Make sure they don’t get carried away chasing mice into hazardous areas of the home.

Also, inspect any mice your cat catches for signs of disease. Wild mice can carry parasites, viruses, and bacteria that could sicken your cat. Wear gloves when disposing of mouse carcasses. Keep your trash cans tightly covered as well to discourage scavenging.

Finally, maintain your cat’s vaccinations including feline distemper and rabies. Vaccines will help protect your mouser against any diseases carried by their prey. Discuss any additional recommended vaccines with your veterinarian. Stay alert for any signs of illness in your cat after a successful hunt.

What to Do with Caught Mice

If your cat catches a live mouse, the most humane option is to release it back outside unharmed if possible. Carefully transfer the mouse into a box or bin using gloves or a towel. Quickly take it outside far from the home and release.

If the mouse appears injured or you can’t release it, check to see if any wildlife rehabilitation centers in your area will accept wild mice. They may be able to provide care and later release the mouse. You can also look into purchasing or borrowing a humane mouse trap to catch and release mice without harm.

For mice that have already been killed by the cat, the safest disposal method is to place the body in a plastic bag, seal it, and put it in an outdoor garbage bin. Always wear gloves when disposing of mice to avoid exposure to parasites or disease. Thoroughly wash your hands after.

While catching mice may seem like a solution, it’s best to address the root cause by sealing any entry points mice can use to get indoors and implementing humane deterrents. This will provide a permanent fix to keep mice out of your home.

When to Get Professional Help

There may come a point when a mouse infestation is simply out of control. Signs that it’s time to call in professional exterminators include:

– Seeing more than 10-20 droppings per day. A high volume of droppings indicates a substantial infestation that may be difficult to manage on your own. According to experts at Perma Kil Pest Control, seeing droppings in multiple rooms is also a red flag for a serious problem (source).

– Mice are no longer afraid of noise or light. If they’re active day and night without regard for human presence, their comfort level is a bad sign.

– You spot other pests like roaches or rats. Mice can indicate a broader pest management issue that requires professional treatment.

– The smell is overpowering. A putrid odor likely means there are dead mice and accumulated droppings in hard-to-reach areas.

Exterminators have the proper tools and chemicals to fully eliminate mice and prevent reinfestation. They can treat all affected areas inside walls, under appliances, in attics, etc. If you’ve exhausted DIY methods without success, don’t wait to get help. A massive mouse problem will only get worse over time.

Borrowing a Mouser Cat

If you need help getting rid of mice, borrowing or temporarily adopting a cat known to be an active mouser can be an effective solution. There are a few options for finding a feline mouser:

Ask friends, family, neighbors or co-workers if they have an adult cat that has shown skills and enthusiasm for hunting mice. Make sure the cat’s owner agrees to this arrangement and can provide assurance that the cat is up-to-date on vaccines and veterinary care.

Contact local animal shelters and rescue groups to ask about adopting an adult cat known to be proficient at mousing. Shelter staff have insight into cats’ personalities and behaviors. Describe your situation and ask for recommendations of cats that consistently catch mice.

Reach out to local cat breeders that focus on breeds that retain strong hunting instincts, like Maine Coons, American Shorthairs, and domestic shorthairs. Ask if they have young adult cats (over 1 year old) available for temporary adoption. However, kittens under a year old typically do not have reliable mouser skills yet.

Before borrowing a cat, assess if it shows key signs of being an enthusiastic mouser, including: energetic, athletic, stealthy, patient, focused, and exhibiting strong prey drive. Observe the cat stalking and chasing toys. An ideal mouser cat will be skilled at creeping up quietly then pouncing swiftly on prey.

When borrowing a cat, provide proper care and supervision. Have food, water, litter box, toys, bedding, and a safe closed room set up. Check on the cat frequently. The cat should only be left alone in the problem mouse areas when supervised. Collect any dead mice the cat catches and dispose of them safely.

Most cats will naturally hunt mice without any training. But monitor the cat’s progress at reducing the mouse problem. Borrow the cat for as long as it takes to eliminate the mice from the area, whether weeks or months. Return the borrowed mouser cat back to its owner once the mouse problem is fully resolved.

Other Natural Methods

There are some additional effective natural ways to deter mice without using poison or traps.

One popular option is peppermint oil. Mice are repelled by the strong smell of peppermint. You can soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them along baseboards, in cabinets, and anywhere else you see signs of mice. Replace the cotton balls regularly as the smell fades. According to this source, peppermint oil is an intense natural deterrent that rodents avoid.

Another traditional method is mothballs, which have a strong odor mice dislike. Place mothballs around the home in areas prone to mouse activity. However, mothballs can be toxic to pets and humans, so use them cautiously. Make sure they are placed out of reach of children and pets.

Sealing any entry points into the home is also critical. Use steel wool or caulk to seal up any cracks, holes, or openings where mice can get in. Pay special attention to areas around pipes and wires. Removing all food sources like crumbs and open packages will also encourage mice to look elsewhere for food.

Combining several natural repellent techniques may be the most effective approach. Peppermint oil, mothballs, and sealing the home can work together to make an environment inhospitable to mice without requiring poison or traps.

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