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Do Cats Eat Mice? The Truth and Common Myths

April 05, 2024

By Rachel Maldonado

Do Cats Eat Mice? The Truth and Common Myths

Have you ever found yourself wondering, “do cats eat mice?” as you watch your favorite feline friend eyeball a particular corner of the room?

This isn’t just a matter of idle curiosity. It touches on the millenia-old relationship between cats and humans, where we first started welcoming our whiskered companions indoors in the first place because of their prowess in keeping our barns and granaries pest-free.

In the modern world, are cats still just as helpful? Or has their hunting become just a mere game? We’ll demystify it all in this post. 

Do Cats Eat Mice? Here’s the Truth

First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, cats do eat mice, as well as other small rodents like chipmunks, voles, and squirrels.

In fact, it’s a part of their natural hunting behavior to stalk, pounce, and consume their prey. It’s a  direct result of the domestic cats’ lineage as hunters and scavengers.

If you’re a cat owner, though, you may have noticed that your cat likes to kill the mouse (or perhaps just play with it) rather than actually eat it. The reason? It could just be that your feline is a picky eater. Cats are natural hunters, but they’re also known for being finicky. 

Domestic cats, particularly those who have known only a lifetime of kibble and wet food, may not always follow through with actually eating the mouse. To them, the act of hunting may be more thrilling than the meal itself.

Why Do Cats Play With Mice?

It’s not uncommon for a cat to play with the mouse it has caught, batting it around and letting it ‘escape’ multiple times before ultimately delivering the final blow. This behavior, while seemingly toying with the prey, actually serves a practical purpose. 

It hones the cat’s hunting skills. For an indoor domestic cat who wasn’t taught to hunt by its mother, practice makes perfect. The seemingly cruel playtime is an essential learning process for the cat to become an efficient hunter.

Why Does My Cat Present the Dead Mouse to Me?

One of the most baffling yet endearing behaviors of cats is the act of bringing home mice – or other kills – as a “gift” for their human companions. This instinct stems from their natural role in the “family.” 

In the wild, cats are responsible for providing food for their young. 

By presenting you with a dead mouse, your cat is essentially trying to teach you how to hunt, out of a deep-seated familial instinct. To them, you’re part of their clan, and they might think you’re in need of some food.

Common Myths About Cats Eating Mice

Let’s debunk some common myths:

Myth #1: Cats Keep Homes Mouse-Free

The myth that owning a cat automatically means a mouse-free home does have some truth to it. The presence of a cat does deter mice to an extent. 

The smells associated with cats and the threat of a predator in the home can make rodents think twice about settling in. However, it’s not a foolproof solution. Mice are resourceful and can find ways to avoid detection, often lingering in inaccessible areas (like walls) that even the most agile feline cannot reach.

For an older or less active cat, expecting it to patrol the house perimeter or actively hunt mice might be wishful thinking. Simple steps like sealing cracks and crevices, keeping your home clean, and storing food in airtight containers can significantly reduce the risk of a mouse infestation, even with a cat on guard.

Myth #2: Mice Make a Good Meal for Cats

While the occasional mouse may not immediately harm a cat, the act of eating mice can expose your feline friend to a variety of health risks. 

Mice can be carriers of various parasites and diseases, which can be transmitted to your cat through consumption. This includes, but is not limited to, tapeworms, bacteria, and other harmful pathogens.

Also, it’s important to remember that using chemicals like baits and poisons can be devastating to a cat. Don’t use them where the cats may gain access and consume the bait.

Myth #3: My Cat is a Supermouse Hunter, Always Keeping Me Safe

The truth is, no matter how much you want to believe your cat is a superhero saving the day from the mighty mouse invasion, they’re not always the most efficient pest control. Cats are territorial animals and will sometimes bring home a single kill over and over again, just because they found the “perfect” territory for hunting. 

Also, if you have a large mouse problem, it’s more effective to employ professional pest control measures alongside your cat’s natural deterrent.

The Takeaway

Indeed, cats can act as a deterrent to mice entering your home, but the effectiveness of this varies depending on the cat’s natural hunting and territorial instincts. 

However, if you have a particularly active hunter, the scent and visual presence of a cat can be enough to keep mice at bay. The best defense, as always, is a good offense. 

If your mouse problem has become more than your cat can handle, you need to give Hawx Pest Control a call. We take a proactive approach to pest control so you can keep unwelcomed rodent visitors at bay. 

Join our family of satisfied customers today – and long live the age-old game of cat and mouse with Hawx.

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