Make a Good Mouser Out of Your Cat

People often need cats for mouse control. Select a cat that will be a good mouser, and provides ideas you may not have thought of regarding care.

Many people have cats as pets, companions, or confidants. Still many others have cats for a purpose. They want a cat to control the mice. You many require an indoor only cat, a cat who is both indoors and outdoors, or if you are on a farm you may want an outdoor only cat. Before going further I will add that if you are a farm home, and the cat will not be allowed in the house, you will require some sort of shelter for it, access to a warm barn will be fine, but expecting it to survive without shelter is cruel.

Photo by author, a barn cat left behind on my farm when the owners moved away.

The breed does not matter. Some of the best mousers are mixed breed cats, and if they are going to be an outdoor only cat, a short-haired cat is preferred as longer haired cats require attention to prevent painful hair mats. Certain breeds who are known to be more laid back, such as Persians or Himalayans, may not be a good choice.

Age should be considered. If you are getting one who will strictly be kept outdoors do not get a young one. The survival of younger animals when kept outside only is poor. They are easy prey for owls, coyotes, and so on. If you are looking for a strictly outdoor barn mouser I would suggest getting an adult and keeping indoors for a while so it gets used to your place as its home. Or consider rescuing a feral cat. Some shelters get feral (semi-wild) cats that they spay or neuter and then adopt out for free as mousers to farm homes where the cat will be outdoors.

When looking for a good mouser you want a cat, or kitten, who is playful. One particular habit that seems to be a sign of good mousers, is that they want to carry things (usually soft toys) in their mouths. So when selecting a feline for mouse control you need to have a few soft toys you can roll around and see which cat is the most interested. If a cat looks like it thinks it “owns” the toy, then it will probably have a good sense for hunting. If you can find a cat or kitten from a farm home, they tend to be natural mousers, having learned it from their mothers. However if they are straight off the farm they will require a vet check, vaccinations, and worming.

The best and usually most affordable cats are ones you adopt from shelters, such as the SPCA, or RSPCA. Being non-profit, these places act on the best interest of the pet. When you get a “Free” kitten it still requires its shots, worming and should be vet checked. These all cost money, as well its extremely important to spay or neuter. Not only will this make a cat into a better mouser, it will add an average of 2 years to their life.

Females cats are natural hunters are said to be better mousers, but I have a male barn cat who managed to kill a gopher once, so do not discount males. Solid white cats are sometimes deaf, a sense that is needed for mousers. As mentioned, spayed or neutered pets will make better mousers, as they are not preoccupied with hormonal desires.

One common mistake people make is that they think if they starve their cat it will be a better hunter. This is completely incorrect. A well fed cat will hunt for fun, and will catch more mice than one who is only hunting for need. Putting the cats food in the room where you have the most mice is probably going to help you also, and the smell of the cat may help keep mice away. You will want to make sure any cat used for mousing is vaccinated and wormed regularly.

I recommend keeping your new mouser in a small room in your house at first, then allow it to explore the rest of the home after it has relaxed. This is especially important if you get a kitten, as finding the litter box can be tricky for the first while. Play with your kitten to encourage its prey drive. If you intend to let it out, wait until it is spayed or neutered first. With millions of kittens euthanized every year there is no reason to allow yours to breed. House mice are most active at night so if you want to control mice indoors, make sure your cat is inside at night. Garden mice are active in both the day and the night.

Good luck with your new cat.

Other Reading

Why Cats Catch Mice But Do Not Kill Them

Risks of Letting Cats Catch Mice

Republished on Full of Knowledge

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  1. Eddie

    On July 29, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Great advice. I have two cats, brother and sister. Both a year old. The female has brought me two mice (alive at first!) and now I think back she did indeed love to carry around toys and growl at anyone who came close. Clearly a good mouser in the making whilst her brother never did this and has brought in nothing though he is much more athletic and active. Good news about food too. Friends want to borrow my cats whilst I’m away to help deal with a mouse issue and it looks like she is earning their keep!

  2. beth

    On August 3, 2008 at 3:49 am

    Thanks for the info it has really helped!
    Thanks Beth+Albert(the cat!)

  3. Zack and Anna

    On September 23, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Greet article. WoW! Your weeb site is fantastic!!! Thank YoU for sharring such important and helpful infortion. My sister, Annna, is not interestted in hunting. That is okay. She is a very sweet and laid back Ragdoll. Me on the other hand am a fantastic and fears hunter. Since kittenhood I have had a natural instinck to hunt and I am darn good at it too. I caught my first live mouse at only threee months old. I know, cool huh? Wee were adopted at four weeks old. Wee were feral kittens and our mudder had gone to live with the angles up in heaven.

    Check out our bloog site on the wurld wide weeb at:

    zackandanna-wecoolcats.blogspot.com

    You may be interessted in our post tittled: Borrow a CAt

    You take care and thanks again for such greet info,

    Zack the CAt and his sister Anna
    (=^.^=) (=^.^=)

    P.S. I have been nuttered and Anna has been sprayed. WEe get a checkup and our shots everyyear. Wee are mostly indoor cats who like to spend a little time outside each day with our humans.

  4. Zack and ANNA

    On September 23, 2008 at 11:07 am

    OOPs! Pleese disregard the above bloog address in the above “POst yoUR Comment.” Our CORRECT bloog address is:

    zackandanna-wecoolcats.blogspot.com/

    Cheek us out.

    Bestest Regards,
    Anna the Pooh and Zackaroo

  5. Sara Crystal

    On November 14, 2008 at 11:14 am

    looking for a cat who will mouse in the house right now. if you know such a cat let me know. 510-420-1888

  6. James Z

    On June 15, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Did you write a similar article for bukisa.com in january 09 under the psuedonym of be positive? If not you have been plaguerized!! Here is the link:
    http://www.bukisa.com/articles/17928_cats-make-terrific-mouse-traps

    The article has a slightly different intro and conclusion but the middle section is basically copy and pasted. Just thought you might like to know if you weren’t responsible for both articles that someone is ripping off your work.

  7. Brenda Nelson

    On June 16, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    great catch James – yes that is me, but I appreciate the notice too because plagurism does happen and its nasty!
    I edited it a bit when I submitted it to Bukisa, a few small changes.
    Thanks again!

  8. Angie

    On December 8, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Thank you so much for the very informative article! I will definitely print this out asap. If anyone knows of a good indoor mouser cat please email me at darklady24@sbcglobal.net– I need one or two (if they get along well) asap. Thanks again for the information!!

  9. Brenda Nelson

    On December 9, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Anyone looking for a mouser should check their local adoption facility.

  10. Fredrik

    On January 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Check out Norwegian Forest Cat, they are breed by nature and they had to be excellent hunters to survive. And they have a great, cuddling and calm personalities and are a very intelligent and patient cat.

  11. Holly

    On January 29, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Foundlings and shelter cats make great mousers. Our foundling who lived to 20 was a great mouser. She was only 9 weeks old when we got her and every mouse was gone in a week. Our shelter cat, a little black furball, who died at 13, 5 years after our 1st cat, was an excellent mouser, too and kept our house mouse free. This little girl, also had a special talent, she loved to take down pidgeons controlling the unwanted birds. After her passing, the field mice started coming into the house again and we went to a shelter and got 2 young cats. My 7 month was the most energetic and would hunt the mice but I have termed her “the dumb blonde” because I never saw her catch a thing. Our little 9 month old tuxedo cat is playful but more reserved, this little girl stalks the critters and doesn’t give up. She’s a champion mouser. I saw her studiously perched on the micowave inside our hutch and guessed she had a mouse cornered but couldn’t reach it, so I pulled the microwave gently out a few inches from the hutch wall so as not to disturb her and in less than 15 seconds, she had a mouse in her mouth. All mice gone in a few weeks. I don’t know how boy cats are at mouse catching as we always get girls and except for my “dumb blonde” who has yet to prove herself have had great success with our mousers. The only downside is some cats like to “present” their catch and I woke up one morning staring at a dead mouse resting on my pillow beside me. lol

  12. Literary Princess

    On July 21, 2010 at 6:16 am

    Thanks for the share.

  13. Aiden

    On February 17, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    getting a new cat tomorrow and i am hoping that he ( my mother is sick of female cats) will get rid off all the mice, rats and especially EVIL BIRDS away from around my house.

    My idea was to play constantly when he is a kitten, spacifically games that involve jumping up and quickly grabbing things that he has to climb for, so i can simulate the live bird experience and reinforce that its a good then whenever it shows me a kill ( which means lots of pats and special treats)

    I was also thinking it may be a good idea to train him with some live mice when he’s very young so he will be well prepared when he ventures outside. Cover all grounds i suppose. I am so excited and cant wait to have a furry best mate again

  14. AG

    On November 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    “With millions of kittens euthanized every year there is no reason to allow yours to breed.”

    I think that with millions of human babies being “euthanized” every year, there is no reason to allow you to breed either.

  15. Brenda Nelson

    On December 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    AG no idea what you are talking about in terms of babies being euthanized but indeed human over population is also a serious problem and one reason why I had my tubes tied after having only one child.

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