You may wonder, is it safe for my cat to eat mice? Do cats eat mice? Are mice dangerous to cats? These endless questions could arise if your area or house is infested with mice and other rodents.
Cats are natural hunters who mostly taste meat(do you know your cat can’t taste pepper and sugar?) Obligate carnivores with an insatiable drive for beef, chicken, and the likes. Cats love to hunt down any moving thing that falls into their “prey” category—this is why they will play with and kill a roach.
If you have ever gotten your cat an automatic mice toy or a toy made of cloth that resembles a mouse, you will understand why they go after mice; that fast movement, low to ground movements—ignites the cat’s hunting instinct.
But why do cats chase after mice? Are they trying to kill and eat the mice? Most times, cats chase after things they consider prey; they mostly don’t eat things that are not part of their daily diet—this is why your feline friends don’t eat cockroaches; instead, they knock the roach around, killing and scattering its carcass. In some cases, your cat may eat these insects or rodents out of curiosity; if this becomes a constant habit, your cat may have PICA.
Is it safe for my cat to eat mice? No, it is unsafe for your cat to eat mice: rodents have roundworm infestation. Also, there is the risk of your cat eating a mouse that has been poisoned with rodenticides–this will lead to internal bleeding or more severe occurrences. Mice are also carriers of a parasite known as Toxoplasmosis–these parasites are also transmissible to humans.
In this article, we will explore why a cat will chase after a mouse if they eat the mice, the risks involved, and the role you could play in ensuring your kitty doesn’t find or eat mice.
Is It Safe For My Cat To Eat Mice?
It is very far from safe to let your cat eat mice, but don’t expect your cat to show symptoms of poisoning after eating just one mouse; you should be more concerned about the parasitic infestation on the rats. It’s no news that rats move through sewage pipes, dig grounds, eat from dustbins, and move on all irritating things you can think of — this is why you should guard your cats against eating mice by all means since you could be susceptible to whatever they may get from playing with or eating mice.
As we have analyzed above, you should actively prevent any case of your cat eating mice. You can avoid all interactions between your cat and a mouse if your cat is an indoor cat. If it’s not an indoor cat, it means you cannot control the possible contact between your cat and a mouse.
Generally, pregnant women and people with weak immune systems will show symptoms of Toxoplasmosis if infected. During pregnancy, a woman’s body is susceptible to a whole lot of infections, which is why you need to exercise caution if you’re pregnant or if you have a pregnant spouse–take all necessary precautions.
Do Cats Eat Mice Or kill Them?
Cats eating mice will happen if presented with the opportunity, cats are hunters, and their ancestors participated in hunting and controlling pests—they still possess these traits. A cat eating mouse is not a strange occurrence; it may be novel to you because; maybe it’s your first time witnessing your cat-eating mouse.
From my personal experience, it’s not every time a cat will eat mice; fluffy could flip and play with the rodents—killing the mice in the process. The urge to eat a mouse most times will arise if your cat is lacking essential nutrients; this is why we think store-bought food is better than homemade(except you know what you’re doing).
The research was carried out by the University of Georgia — by putting a camera on 60 domestic cats. They discovered that the cats spent lots of time hunting and killing lizards and small mammals. If the cats killed 100 mice, they ended up eating 30 and bringing 20 back home — placing the mouse on the doorstep or inside their owner’s shoes.
With this said, a cat will eat mice and will also kill the mice. Cats’ DNA has hunting—imprinted all over; it’s a way of entertaining themselves. Cats can be very useful in getting rid of pests.
Can a Cat Get Disease From Eating Mice?
Cats will kill and bring back home squirrels, mice, chipmunks, and rats, but at the same time, they will bring back home diseases and parasites, and toxins got from these rodents. In some cases, the conditions could be fatal if left untreated.
You need to recognize the symptoms of rodent-caused illness, which could come as neurological-related issues or gastrointestinal discomforts. Proper understanding will make you understand when you need to involve the vet.
Rodent Related Illness
When your cat eats mice, it can contract rodent-related diseases. Parasites are regular on the list, but you could readily handle them. Bacteria from your cat eating a mouse and a mouse bitting a cat are usually the base for concerns in the US. Also, the fatal part of cat eating mice is that rodenticides have poisoned them.
Rodents such as mice are carriers of intestinal parasites that could cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even cause you and your cat to lose weight. Your cat will eventually get these parasites if they are outdoor cats who spend their time chasing after rodents and small mammals or if your house is a haven for rodents. When your cat gets infested with hookworm, tapeworm, and roundworm, you risk these parasites getting into your system.
Toxoplasma gondii parasite can only complete its life cycle in cats, making fluffy a good host for the parasite. Your cat can contract this parasite if they eat a rat or a mouse or come in contact with contaminated soil or feces. The typical signs of toxoplasma parasites include lethargy, gastrointestinal distress, and respiratory tract problems.
As a human, you are likely to contract this parasite from cleaning the cat’s litter box. I will advise you to wash your hands thoroughly or use gloves, then disinfect your hands after you clean up litter boxes of an outside cat or an indoor cat that gets exposed to rodents.
Cats are usually asymptomatic, carrying this parasite for their entire lives. Schedule a routine comprehensive checkup if you feel your pet gets exposed to mice and other rodents.
Just like toxoplasma, cats rarely show symptoms of hantavirus. Your pet will get this virus from eating rodents, but the good news is that your feline friend can’t pass it on to you.
But if your house has a rodents infestation that gains entry through fissures and other loopholes, you will likely contract this virus directly from the mice.
Yersinia pestis bacteria causes plaque infections carried by rodents. If you ever came across the story of “black plaque” that happened in the middle age–it was caused by Yersinia pestis. Fleas mainly transmit this plaque, but if your cat kills and ingests an infected rodent, your cat will also become infected.
Weight loss, lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lesions in the mouth, and enlarged lymph nodes are the symptoms associated with this bacteria. Early treatment increases their chances of survival. Care and antibiotics will help your cat get through it.
If your cat consumes a rat whole, the chances of rodenticide toxicity go up by 100%. Rat poisons, even in small quantities, can upset a cat’s system— causing seizures, lack of coordination, weakness, pale gums, and gastrointestinal distress.
Since cats are climbers, you must get creative in setting up poisons for rodents in your house. Some rodenticides come with ingredients that attract rats, like fish. This fish in the rat poison will equally draw your cat, and the rest will soon become history. Contact your vet when you discover your cat has ingested rat poisoning.
How Can I Tell if My Cat Has Eaten a Mouse?
You are most likely not going to know. However, if your cat has eaten mice—your feline friend will show symptoms depending on what he contracted from the mice. Signs could be displayed immediately or after some days, like in the case of bacteria and parasites.
If your cat eats the following rat poison, he will display associated symptoms.
- Bromethalin: a rodenticide that contains Bromethalin will cause swelling to your cat’s brain if invested. They can’t be treated with vitamin k1 since they don’t clot the blood. Symptoms become entirely blow from 2 to 38 hours. The symptoms include seizures, anxiety, tremors, vomiting, lethargy, and coma. Your vet can treat Bromethalin poison with induced vomiting done as quickly as possible and emptying of the cat’s bowel through osmotic cathartic.
- Anticoagulant Rodenticides (ACR): this poison will cause internal bleeding and prevent the cat’s blood from clotting. Signs are usually visible from the third day to the fifth day. Symptoms include pale gums, coughing without blood, lethargy, difficulty breathing, nose bleeding, and swollen joints. The best treatment is Vitamin K administered for 30 days.
- Cholecalciferol: Cholecalciferol is the most dangerous on the list; it is tough for vets to treat in cats; it’s just as lethal as death itself. Symptoms include death, kidney failure, lethargy, bad breath, increased thirst, and urination. No antidote is available; the best option carried out by vets is a lethal fluid injection aimed at flushing the cat’s kidney.
What Should I Do if My Cat Has Eaten a Mouse?
If your cat has eaten a mouse, the first thing you should do is call your veterinarian. Mice can carry a lot of diseases, and some of them can be deadly to cats. Your vet can tell you if your cat is at risk and what treatment options are available.
In the meantime, you can take some steps to keep your cat safe and healthy. Make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water to drink, and your pet stays indoors until the vet clears. Monitor her closely for any signs of illness, and call your vet immediately if you see anything worrying.
How Can I Prevent My Cat From Eating Mice?
Preventing your cat from eating mice can be a challenging task if your cat is an outdoor cat. If your cat stays indoors, you can take the following measures to keep them safe from mice:
Avoid Using Rat Poison
Rat poisoning is the easiest way to poison your cat. If your cat eats a mouse that has ingested rodenticide, it is likely to suffer from the lethal effect of the poison, mainly if your cat consumed the rat whole.
Use other pet-safe methods of eliminating rodents from your house; this will ensure you don’t kill your fluffy accidentally.
Ensure the Cat Doesn’t Leave the House
An indoor cat is less likely to come in contact with or be in a position where it has to hunt down or kill and eat parasite-laden mice. Ensure you block all escape routes for the cats. If you aren’t around for an extended period, consider creating or keeping things that will entertain and engage your cat in your absence.
Block Fissure and All Rodent Entry Points
You can use the service of a professional exterminator to get rid of all the entry points of the rodents in your house, or you could use your free time to scan for cracks, fissures, holes on the door, holes in the cabin, and any other place you suspect the rodents could use as an entry point. Block all mice entry points.
Have your Cat in Mind When You Buy Traps
Most persons may fall back on glue or generic mice traps, get any cat-safe mice trap, but get a mice trap that your cat won’t have easy access to, and be creative in where you place these traps. You know how curious our feline friends can get.
Clean Your House Properly
Clean your house properly and get rid of any property that is of no use to you or the home. The hiding and gathering spots for mice are usually in the kitchen, garden, packed-up rooms, and unused rooms. Regular and proper house cleaning will help uncover any hiding spots or entry points.
Ensure you don’t leave the kitty’s food lying around as this could attract mice. Also, clean the cat’s food bowls or use auto feeders.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many Mice do Cats Eat in a Day?
If you can take away the parasites and disease from a mouse, or if you can feed your cat a parasite-free mouse, your cat will be able to eat 5 – 6 mice a day. Each mouse contains about 40% of protein.
Why do Cats eat Mice Heads?
Eating the head of mice assures the cat that it has killed the mice; cats find the head of a mouse more interesting than the other parts of the mouse’s body—this is why they eat only the mice’s heads most of the time.
Do Cats eat Mice Bones?
Except if the bones of the mice are infected, your feline friend will have no issues eating a mouse’s bone since they usually eat the mice whole. Eating bones are a way of strengthening your cat’s teeth; it’s also a way of cleaning your cat’s mouth without a toothbrush.
Why do Cats Play with Mice?
Cats always want to tire out their prey before killing them, leading to the cat knocking the cats around. It may hurt you to know that; the more significant the game, the longer it takes for it to die. However, if your feline friend is hungry, it will kill the mice faster.
What Parts of a Mouse Does a Cat not Eat?
The part of a mouse that the cat won’t eat is the gizzard. Cats don’t eat the gizzard of mice because the predator has strong acid in it, which makes it unpalatable to your feline friend.
My Cat Killed a Mouse But Didn’t Eat It
70% of the time, your cat kills mice without eating them, especially if the cat is well fed. Most times, a cat chase after some mice; they are only attracted to the movements made by the mice.
The best way to keep your cat’s mind busy is to provide plenty of toys and scratch posts to keep them amused so they don’t have time to hunt for mice. Ensure you clean your house correctly and close all entry points for the mice; this will help end the cat and mouse story.