How Do You Get Rid Of Mice When You Have Cats?

Assess the Extent of the Mouse Problem

Before trying to get rid of mice, it’s important to assess the extent of the infestation. According to census data, around 2.9 million homes reported sightings of rodents like mice in 2019 [1]. Mice typically enter homes between October and February looking for food and shelter from the cold weather [2].

Look for signs of mouse activity around the home like droppings, chewed materials, greasy rub marks, and nests made from shredded paper or fabric. Listen for scratching or scampering noises coming from inside walls. Also check for a musky odor from mouse urine. Locate entry points like cracks around pipes or under doors where mice may be getting in.

Traps and tracking powder can help determine how many mice are present and where they’re active. This will allow you to gauge the size of the infestation and focus your efforts on problem areas.

Evaluate Your Cats’ Hunting Abilities

It’s important to consider whether your cats actually have strong mouse-hunting abilities before relying on them to get rid of a mouse problem. According to https://www.greenleafpestcontrol.com/2015/10/should-you-rely-on-your-cat-to-catch-mice-in-your-home/, cats can be inefficient mouse catchers in many cases. Factors like the cat’s age, health, energy level, and predatory instincts can determine their mousing effectiveness.

Kittens and older cats may lack the speed and energy needed to regularly hunt mice. Ill or injured cats will also have more difficulty catching active rodents. Even young, healthy cats sometimes lack strong natural hunting behaviors if not trained by their mothers. And a well-fed, pampered house cat may not feel motivated to hunt prey. Consider your specific cats’ ages, health, energy levels, and predatory drive to determine if they can effectively help control the mouse problem.

Use Humane Mouse Traps

Humane mouse traps, also known as live traps, are an effective and cruelty-free way to catch mice in your home. These traps work by luring mice inside with bait, then trapping them unharmed so you can release them outside. Popular options include:

Tunnel Traps – These long plastic tubes have a trap door at one end. Mice enter through the opening attracted by bait, then get caught inside when the door shuts behind them. According to studies from ThanosHome, tunnel traps have a 75% success rate.

Box Traps – Rectangular traps made of plastic or metal use a sensitive treadle to trigger the door when mice step inside. Box traps like the Wanqueen Humane Trap have high customer-reported success.

When using humane traps, check them daily and release caught mice at least 10 miles from your home to prevent them from returning. Place traps along walls or in high-traffic areas baited with peanut butter, seeds, or dried fruit. Follow manufacturer instructions to maximize effectiveness.

Apply Natural Rodent Repellents

One of the most commonly recommended natural methods for repelling mice is to use strong scents and oils that mice find unpleasant or overwhelming. Three popular options are peppermint oil, cloves, and garlic:

Peppermint oil is frequently advised as a DIY mouse repellent. The strong minty aroma can help mask scents that attract mice to your home. Some studies show peppermint oil may deter mice, but results are mixed on its efficacy (1). Use pure peppermint oil and reapply frequently for best effects.

Cloves contain eugenol, which gives them a strong, spicy scent. Some lab tests found clove oil repelled mice, but little research has confirmed if it works in real-world settings (2). Grind whole cloves and spread near entry points or mix clove oil with water in a spray bottle.

Garlic is another pungent scent said to be a natural mouse repellent. While garlic may help mask food odors, there is no scientific evidence it drives away existing mouse infestations. However, it’s a flavorful option to sprinkle around gardens and perimeter areas (3).

The effectiveness of natural oils and scents can vary. Use them as part of a comprehensive strategy, but avoid relying on them as a sole solution. Monitor carefully and address any lingering signs of mice.

(1) Herbal rodent repellent: a dependable and dynamic approach …

(2) Natural Mice Repellent And Why They Don’t Always Work

Seal Up Entry Points

Mice can squeeze through incredibly small spaces to gain entry into your home. A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime! Therefore, it’s important to seal up any potential entry points around your home.

Use caulk to fill and seal cracks and gaps in your home’s exterior, especially around pipes, vents, windows, and doors. Make sure to check inside cabinets for gaps in the walls or floors too. Focus on areas where utility lines enter the home. According to Preferred Pest, sealing gaps around the garage door is one of the best ways to prevent mice from entering your home.

Install weather stripping around doors and windows to block any openings. Copper or stainless steel mesh can also be used to seal up small holes both inside and outside that mice may use to get in.

Make sure exterior vents for air conditioners, dryers, and furnaces are covered with mesh screens, steel wool, or other materials that allow air flow but prevent rodent access.

Taking the time to thoroughly seal potential entry points can go a long way in preventing mice from making your home their home.

Remove Food Sources

Mice are opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of any accessible human or pet food. Make sure all human food, pet food, and pet treats are stored in sealed plastic, glass, or metal containers. Avoid storing food in cardboard boxes or paper bags that mice can easily chew through.

Thoroughly clean up any spilled pet food, crumbs, or residue from cooking. Do not leave any dishes with food scraps or dirty utensils sitting out overnight. Keep countertops, stoves, and the floor clean from any crumbs or spills.

Keep your pantry organized and containers sealed tightly. Any boxed or bagged foods like cereals, pasta, rice, oats, chips, crackers, flour, sugar, etc. should be transferred to plastic, glass, or metal containers if not already packaged that way. Be diligent about resealing bags and boxes after each use.

If you have fruit bowls or unrefrigerated produce sitting out, this can attract mice as well. Make sure to store bulk fruits, vegetables, breads and other fresh foods in the refrigerator or sealable containers.

Practice good sanitation and deny mice access to any food scraps by properly containing, storing, and cleaning up after meals. Keeping your kitchen spotless and free of crumbs or residue will help deter mice.

Keep Kitchen Clean

Mice are attracted to food sources and clutter, so keeping your kitchen clean is an important step in deterring mice. Make sure to wash dishes right after use instead of leaving them in the sink. Sweep up any crumbs or bits of food that gather on the floors or countertops. Take out the trash frequently and eliminate odors that may attract mice.

Dirty dishes provide a potential food source for mice, so wash dishes promptly after use. Don’t allow dishes, especially those containing scraps of food, to sit in the sink overnight (Source). Likewise, sweep up any crumbs that gather on floors or countertops from food preparation and eating. Mice can survive on incredibly small amounts of food, so even tiny crumbs can attract them.

Take out the trash regularly, especially food waste that will create odors. Mice have a strong sense of smell and are adept at detecting odors from food trash. Make sure trash cans have tight fitting lids and remove bags frequently to avoid odors that bring mice sniffing (Source). A clean, odor-free kitchen is much less likely to attract mice.

Use Deterrents

Deterrents can be an effective way to discourage mice without harming them or your cats. Some options include:

Ultrasonic devices – These produce high-frequency sounds that deter mice but are inaudible to humans and pets. Place them near entry points or suspected nesting areas. Best Mice Repellent – Amazon They do have limited range so multiple devices may be needed.

Predator urine – The scent of predator urine, such as fox or coyote, triggers a fear response in mice. Spray it along baseboards, under appliances, or near problem areas.Reddit – CleaningTips The scent may need to be reapplied every few days.

Noise makers – Mice are startled by loud noises. Battery-operated ultrasonic noise makers can scare mice away by producing random sounds at irregular intervals. Place near nesting sites or common entry points.

Hire a Pest Control Professional

When DIY options have failed to fully eliminate the mice, it may be time to call in a professional pest control company. Pest control experts have the knowledge, tools and experience to identify any remaining entry points into the home and set baits or traps in strategic locations [1]. They can also spot harder-to-reach areas where mice may be nesting and hiding.

A thorough inspection by a pest control technician can uncover the true extent of any remaining mouse infestation. Professional pest control services use integrated pest management techniques that combine nontoxic methods whenever possible. However, they also have access to stronger chemical treatments that require special licensing when other options fail [2].

Bring in professional help when DIY tactics are unsuccessful over time. The investment can pay off by quickly solving a stubborn mouse problem.

Prevent Future Infestations

To prevent mice from returning after getting rid of an infestation, it’s important to maintain diligence with sealing up entry points, keeping areas clean, and using deterrents.

Continue sealing any cracks, holes, or gaps where mice can enter the home with materials like steel wool, caulk, and weather stripping. Focus on areas around pipes, vents, windows, and doors. Check regularly for new openings or damage and seal promptly. Eliminating access prevents new mice from getting in (Source).

Keep your kitchen immaculately clean by sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming daily. Store any food in sealed containers, and don’t leave dirty dishes out overnight. Pick up any crumbs or spills right away. Removing food sources deters mice from returning (Source).

Continue using deterrents like peppermint oil even after removing the mice. You can spray it in problem areas or soak cotton balls. The strong scent drives mice away long-term. Maintaining these preventative measures will help keep mice from coming back (Source).

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