My Cat Ate A Mouse – What To Do Next

Understand Why Cats Hunt

Cats are natural hunters with an instinctual desire to chase and catch prey. Hunting provides mental and physical stimulation that cats crave. According to Katzenworld, cats get joy and satisfaction out of stalking, chasing and ultimately catching prey like mice. They feel rewarded when they use their natural skills and instincts to hunt. It allows them to act out their inner predator. So while it may seem disturbing to us, catching mice is normal cat behavior.

Assess If It’s the First Time

Seeing your cat eat a mouse for the first time can be alarming, but it’s important to assess whether this is a one-time event or part of a pattern.

If your cat has never shown an interest in hunting or eating mice before, a single instance is likely just natural feline instinct kicking in. Cats are natural-born hunters, so an occasionalmouse may end up as prey.

However, if you notice your cat starts regularly hunting and eating multiple mice, this could signal an underlying issue. Frequentmice catching indicates your cat may not be getting proper nutrition from their diet. It can also be a sign of boredom orstress.

According to veterinarians, the occasionalmouse as prey is normal for cats, but repeated instances could mean it’s time to reevaluate their environment, enrichment, and diet [1].

The bottom line is – one-time mouse catching is likely not a major cause for concern. But if it becomes a common occurrence, take a closer look at your cat’s needs.

Monitor Your Cat Afterward

After your cat eats a mouse, it’s important to monitor them closely for any concerning symptoms over the next 24-48 hours. Watch for signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or abdominal pain, which can indicate illness from parasites or other issues caused by ingesting the mouse (Veterinary Emergency Group, 2023). Immediately contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms arise. They may recommend bringing your cat in for an examination or lab work.

It’s wise to schedule a veterinary visit even if your cat seems fine initially. The vet can check for internal parasites like tapeworms or roundworms, which are common in mice and can cause serious health problems for cats if left untreated (Quora, 2019). Annual fecal tests are recommended for cats with access to rodents. With prompt veterinary care, most cats recover fully after ingesting mice.

Continue monitoring your cat in the days following to ensure any concerning symptoms don’t arise later. It’s especially important to watch for lethargy, reduced appetite, or other signs of illness. Contact your vet promptly if you have any concerns about your cat’s health after eating the mouse.

Limit Future Instances

To help limit your cat from hunting mice in the future, there are some steps you can take:

Keep your cat’s food bowls full so they don’t feel the need to hunt for additional food. Cats that have a complete and balanced diet are less likely to hunt prey for sustenance.

Provide interactive toys for your cat during playtime, like feather wands, laser pointers, and treat balls. This allows them to act on their natural hunting instincts in a more positive way. Exercise and playtime also curb boredom which can lead to unwanted hunting behaviors.

Use deterrents to make your home less hospitable to mice. This includes sealing any cracks or holes where mice can enter, keeping all human and pet food in sealed containers, and eliminating possible nesting sites like cluttered garages or attics. Fewer mice means fewer opportunities for your cat to hunt. If the issue persists, consider contacting a pest control professional.

Outdoor cats may be harder to control, so you may need to limit their time outside if the hunting continues. But understand their instincts and don’t punish them for natural behaviors.

Check for Parasites

Mice can transmit harmful parasites like roundworms and Toxoplasma gondii to cats if infected. Roundworms can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss in felines. Toxoplasma gondii can alter cat behavior and pose risks if transmitted to humans. It’s important to have your veterinarian run a fecal exam on your cat shortly after they’ve ingested a mouse to check for parasites. Your vet can then prescribe medication to eliminate any parasites and prevent further health complications. Keep monitoring your cat for any signs of parasites like lethargy, appetite changes, or stomach upset. With prompt parasite testing and treatment, you can help safeguard your cat’s health after they’ve consumed mice.

Safely Dispose of Remains

When disposing of a mouse your cat has killed, it’s important to take proper precautions to avoid potential health risks. According to the CDC, wearing gloves is recommended when handling rodents or cleaning up after them

Put on a pair of rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves before picking up and disposing of the dead mouse. Gloves prevent direct contact and help avoid possible exposure to diseases or parasites the mouse may have been carrying. Be sure to seal the dead mouse in a plastic bag or lined trash can with a tight fitting lid. The CDC states that plastic, glass, or metal containers contaminated by rodents should be disinfected with a bleach solution or disinfectant. Once sealed, the bag containing the mouse can be placed in the outdoor garbage for normal trash pickup.

After handling the dead mouse, it’s crucial to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. The CDC recommends scrubbing hands for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer can be used as an additional precaution after hand washing. Properly disposing of the mouse’s remains while wearing gloves minimizes health risks for you and your family.

Sanitize the Area

It’s important to properly sanitize any areas where the mouse remains were found in order to prevent the spread of bacteria and potential diseases. Start by thoroughly cleaning the area with an enzymatic cleaner that is designed to break down organic matter such as pet stains and droppings. Enzymatic cleaners contain active enzymes that help eliminate odors and neutralize bacteria that can linger even after normal cleaning. Let the enzymatic cleaner soak into the affected area for 10-15 minutes before wiping it away with paper towels.

Next, create a disinfecting solution using a 1:10 ratio of household bleach to water. According to the CDC, this bleach solution can be used to disinfect any hard surfaces contaminated by rodents Spray or wipe the bleach solution over the cleaned area and let it sit for 5 minutes before rinsing and drying the surface completely. This will sanitize the area and prevent bacteria from spreading.

Be sure to wear gloves when handling contaminated items and thoroughly wash your hands after the cleaning process. Properly disposing of any cleaning materials used can also help contain bacteria. With the right sanitizing techniques, you can protect yourself and your home from potential health hazards.

Make Your Home Less Appealing to Mice

To discourage mice from entering and staying in your home, it’s important to limit access points and food sources as much as possible. Here are some tips:

Seal any possible entryways into your home. Mice can squeeze through openings as small as a dime, so inspect areas like cracks in your home’s foundation, around pipes, inside walls, and under doors. Use steel wool, caulk, concrete, or metal kick plates to plug holes both inside and outside.

Store human and pet food in sealed, hard plastic or glass containers. Avoid flimsy bags, boxes, or paper that mice can easily chew through. Keep food containers in rodent-proof cabinets, like ones with tight seals or self-closing doors.

Use deterrent smells that mice don’t like. Try placing dryer sheets, bags of mothballs, or cotton balls soaked in oils like peppermint, clove, or eucalyptus around entry points. Ammonia-based cleaners can also help mask inviting food odors. However, research shows that ultrasonic repellants don’t work on mice.[1]

Consider Letting Your Cat Outside

For cats that live strictly indoors, allowing limited and supervised outdoor access can provide enrichment. Outdoor environments offer novel sights, sounds, and smells that indoor cats don’t experience. Access to grass, leaves, dirt, and other natural elements also allows cats to exhibit natural behaviors like scratching, digging, and hiding.

However, it’s important to supervise any outdoor access to prevent undesirable behaviors like hunting. You can allow access to an enclosed patio or yard on a harness and leash initially. This allows your cat exposure to fresh air and new stimuli while preventing any incidents with wildlife. Over time, you may allow short spurts of unsupervised access while monitoring your cat’s activities from inside.

The key is controlling the amount of unsupervised outdoor access to prevent problematic behaviors from developing. With time and patience, you can potentially provide your indoor cat safe enrichment opportunities outside. Just be sure to keep a close eye anytime your cat is roaming unsupervised. Refer to this article for more tips on safe outdoor access.

Be Understanding of Instincts

Hunting mice and other small animals is completely natural behavior for cats that goes back thousands of years. While startling, try not to be alarmed if your cat eats a mouse, as this is an instinctual act for them. Cats are natural-born hunters with a strong prey drive. According to the Animal Humane Society, “It’s not uncommon for cats to kill and sometimes eat rodents such as mice and rats.”

As obligate carnivores, cats need animal-based proteins as a critical part of their diet. Mice can provide this, along with nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, niacin and vitamin A. So while you may find it unsettling, your cat eating a mouse is not cause for panic. With some precautions afterward, your pet can move on from this normal act of instinct. Focus instead on measures to limit future instances and keep your cat content indoors.

According to the University College London, “The act of catching prey and playing with it relates to natural predatory behaviours. Cats that live with humans do not need to catch prey to eat, but they still retain their natural hunting instincts.” So understand this is simply an expression of your cat’s innate skills and desires. With care and prevention, a cat eating an occasional mouse does not have to become a major concern.

Scroll to Top