It is a common belief that cats actively hunt mice and rats, ridding you of these common household pests. Cats are natural hunters and carnivores, and with cartoons like Tom and Jerry, this assumption is prevalent. But will cats keep mice out of your home? We have your answer!
When it comes to domesticated household cats, this is not entirely true. While some cats will get active when they see a squirrel or a bird outside, you would be surprised that many domesticated cats do not hunt.
They have it easy because their owners feed them maybe two times a day, so they do not have to exert energy to get their food, thus killing their drive to hunt. However, just the smell of a cat and cat urine from a litter box will deter mice from coming into your home. But this, too, is not 100% effective.
As you continue to read this article, it will discuss the ordinary interactions between cats and mice. We will also talk about other, possibly more effective, mice deterrent and extermination methods. Keeping that in mind, let us get to know more information down below.
Will Mice Stay Away If You Have Cats?
Well, if the mouse is clever, then yes, just having a cat as a pet will keep them out of your home. Mice tend to stay away from their predators, as most prey do. Mice have very acute smelling capabilities that will alert them to the presence of their predators, cats included.
Typically if a mouse were to get a tiny whiff of cat urine, they would go on high alert and do their best to get away from that smell as fast as possible stealthily.
However, if a mouse has is exposed to the smell of cat urine at an early age, the mouse can be conditioned to that smell, thus making them not scared of the possibility of a cat attack. Mice can permanently lose their natural aversion to cat urine.
Remember, mice produce exceptionally quickly, so even if you do own a cat, it is implausible for them to be effective enough against this.
Not only will mice hide from your cat in your walls where it can not go, but females tend to have litters of 4 to 10 mice every 3 to 4 weeks, and these babies can reproduce themselves effectively in roughly six weeks.
Domesticated Cats Don’t Really Chase Mice
Speaking of cats hunting mice, you would be surprised how much a fully domesticated cat will chase. They are conditioned to a comfortable lifestyle.
Their owner provides them with everything they need to live a long and happy life. So if your cat sees a mouse, they are more likely to play with it like a toy for a few minutes at most or not even care and watch the mouse scoot along your walls.
Outdoor Cats May Make Matters Worse
Here is something else to consider about the interactions with cats and mice. If you have outdoor cats, they can, in rare cases, make your mouse problem much worse. Some cats like to bring their captured prey home as a trophy, and sometimes that prey is not dead.
On top of this, cats tend to toy with their prey. They will capture them, release them, and pounce on them again. Sometimes the previously caught victim can escape.
Keep in mind that cats are nocturnal hunters, meaning they hunt at night. So this rare circumstance will generally happen when you are sleeping, and your cat could bring you a mice problem without you even knowing.
The Dangers Of Hunting Mice
There are some things to consider when allowing your cat to hunt mice, if it does at all. Mice can carry several diseases that will put your cat and yourself at risk of infection. Mice are common carriers of HPS (Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome) and Lyme disease.
HPS can cause your cat to get very sick, causing them to have fatigue, diarrhea, and vomiting, among other side effects, including death. Lyme disease is not a joke either. Some significant symptoms are stiffness in joints, difficulty breathing, fever, lack of appetite, and even heart and nervous system complications, eventually leading to death.
If all of that sounds scary, if your cat is infected with either disease, they can easily infect you.
How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Home
Owning cats can help a small amount when it comes to exterminating mice in your home. But by and large, the best method is professional pest control.
However, if an exterminator is too expensive for you, you can tend to the issue yourself. Keep in mind the effects of doing it yourself will take longer and are not 100% guaranteed as it is with professional help.
1. Identifying Entry Points
If you plan to handle the mice infestation yourself, the first step is to find and seal off entry points into your house. This would help to minimize the chances of the infestation worsening or even beginning.
This, though, can be challenging. Mice are tiny animals that can fit into tiny spaces to infiltrate your home. Without professional assistance, you are unable to discover all of your home’s entry points.
You can start by caulking the cracks around your home’s base. Another option is to follow the locations where your home’s vents and utility pipes emerge. Since a mouse will chew through plastic, rubber, wood, and pretty much everything else, you’re better off using caulk or steel wool.
2. Setting Up & Choosing Traps
Once you’ve sealed up the majority, if not all, of your home’s entry points, the next step is to set up traps. Modern wooden snap traps will suffice for light to moderate mouse populations, but keep in mind that most people underestimate mouse infestations. Setting a dozen catches for a single mouse – or what you think is a single mouse – is not uncommon.
Make extensive use of it. Setting up a variety of traps is also a good idea. You are using lure traps, multiple-capture live traps, and glue traps in addition to the wooden traps. This increases the likelihood of catching some rodents, as they might be sensitive to such surprises and know how to avoid them.
3. Baiting Your Traps
After you’ve set up your traps, it’s time to pick the bait for them. You can use any food that the mice have been eating in your house as bait, as well as mouse-approved favorites such as chocolate, peanut butter, bacon, oatmeal, dried fruit, or hazelnut spread.
Use a fishing line or dental floss to tie the bait to the trigger until you are ready to set the bait trap. This means that the mice die promptly and do not escape with the bait of choice.
To secure the lure, you can use a hot glue gun. Replace it every two days with a fresh lure. If the bait isn’t working, try using cotton balls or feathers as nesting material.
4. Choosing The Best Spots For Traps Around Your Home
Placing the traps parallel to the walls and the control section facing the baseboard is a good idea. As a result, rather than running over the trap from the wrong direction and releasing it prematurely, the mouse naturally runs straight into the lure as it scurries around the walls.
Set traps anywhere you see mice or signs of mice, such as mouse droppings or rubbings on baseboards and walls.
Mice don’t venture more than 10 to 20 feet from food sources and breeding sites, so set traps anywhere you see mice or evidence of mice, such as mouse droppings or rubbings on baseboards and walls.
Every two days or so, change the position of the traps. Mice, like rats, are naturally curious and can not resist lures.
5. Keep Your House Clean
Mice can survive on as little as 3 to 4 grams of food a day, so a few scraps here and there are all they need. To clear any dust, crumbs, or access to food sources, vacuum the surfaces and clean the counters. It’s a good idea to keep food in glass jars or airtight containers.
Don’t be hesitant to secure your garbage. Mice have sharp incisor teeth that allow them to chew through almost everything, even concrete if the mood strikes them, but plastic bags are no match for these voracious rodents.
Remove any litter that may serve as a hideaway for mice. It’s best to keep weeds to a minimum, and you should destroy burrows and breeding areas as soon as they are found.
Nesting and burrowing can be avoided by lining the base of your house with a strip of rough gravel. The less garbage and debris in your home and yard, the easier it will be to spot mouse activity and stop mice in their tracks.
Mice are a horrible pest to have in your home. While cats are not the best solution to clearing your home of an infestation, they can be good if a mouse sneaks into your home now and then. However, this only applies to particular cats with the right personality. You should take from this article that if you have mice in your home, call an exterminator or deal with the issue yourself.