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Do cats catch mice at night?

How to Stop a Cat From Bringing Dead Mice Home (5 Proven Methods)

cat with dead mouse

Cats are natural predators. In the wild, they would hunt small rodents, small animals, and small birds. They would watch, stalk, jump, and kill their prey. While you might provide them with two square meals a day, regular treats, and plenty of time and attention with a fake bird on a piece of elastic at home, this isn’t always enough to quell a cat’s instinct to hunt.

If your cat brings you dead or half-dead mice and other animals, it could be for many reasons. However, if you are not enjoying receiving these “gifts,” there are some steps that you can take to minimize how often it happens or even prevent it from happening in the future.

Read on to find out more about this intriguing habit and learn if there is any action you can take to help prevent it.


Why Does My Cat Keep Bringing Me Dead Animals?

Before you determine the best way to stop your cat from bringing you dead mice, you should determine why it partakes in this funny habit. Nobody really knows what goes through a cat’s mind, but possible reasons for bringing dead mice include:

cat carrying a dead mouse

Neighbor’s Cat Leaving Dead Animals

Your neighbor’s cat has the same possible motivations for bringing you dead animals. If you have very little to do with the cat, it is more likely that your doorstep was a convenient location and is free from would-be food thieves.

If you feed your neighbor’s cat, they could be repaying a kindness, and if you let them in, they could have recognized your inefficiency as a hunter and are trying to provide you with the essential skills you need.

Stray Cat Leaving Dead Animals

Similarly, a stray cat is leaving food on your doorstep for one of these reasons. Stray cats tend to be more protective over food and more likely to eat the small animals that they do hunt down. Safety and convenience, therefore, are the most likely. If they are leaving the catch as a gift, remember that stray cats don’t know where their next meal is coming from, so leaving food for you is something of a risk for the cat.


How to Stop a Cat From Bringing a Dead Mouse Home:

If your cat does bring you dead mice, you should avoid the temptation to get mad. You should try to thank the cat for their gift and try the following steps to help, at least, minimize the number of dead mice you are given in the future.

1. A Collar With a Bell

Put a bell on your cat’s neck, and it will warn prey when your cat is coming. It essentially removes one of your cat’s greatest weapons: stealth.

When buying any collar for a cat, do remember safety. A rigid collar that sits tightly and securely around the neck can get stuck on branches and other surfaces. This can trap the cat and prevent it from getting home. Worse still, it could tighten and prevent your cat from breathing. Ensure that the collar is quick release.

2. Dictate Time Outdoors

One way to prevent your cat from hunting any prey is to stop them from going outdoors. However, if you still want your cat to enjoy time outside but want to prevent the catching and killing of animals, restrict their time outdoors.

Birds are more prone to attack just before sunset and just after sunrise. They are a little groggy, and their senses are not as keen as at the height of the day, so they are more likely to get pounced on by your cat. Mice tend to come out at night, so this is when they are more prone to being caught by your cat. This is why you are more likely to find a dead mouse on your back doorstep first thing in the morning.

Consider when your cat is bringing gifts most often, and then stop it from spending too much time outdoors during this time. Arrange meal times and activities to encourage your cat to remain at home during these intervals.

bombay cat_Viktor Sergeevich_Shutterstock

3. Don’t Make Easy Prey

Feeding tables and birdbaths are beneficial for wild birds because they provide a regular source of food and somewhere to sit and bathe. They can also be very beneficial to your cat because they provide a guaranteed spot where birds are going to hang out and where they aren’t necessarily paying attention.

Similarly, feeders may attract other animals, such as mice that eat the remnants of the food that is found on the floor around the base of the feeder. Even if you keep the bird food in a shed or garage, there is a reasonable chance that the mice have found it and your cat has worked out where they are heading.

Put feeders out of the reach of cats, use baths that are not easy for cats to get on, and protect little animals from feline hunters.

4. Play More

No matter how often and how much you play, your cat may still head out and feast on local wildlife. But if your cat has started bringing a lot of dead animals, it could be that it is catching the mice and other animals simply as a means of entertainment. Even if this isn’t the case, if you play with your cat more, it can sate its feline desires to get out and chase things.

Interactive toys, like the fishing rods with pretend birds on the end of a piece of elastic, are especially appealing to the hunter cat. The movement of the bird mimics the erratic movement of a wild animal, and because the toy is usually plastered in catnip, it will appeal to your pet’s senses.

Laser pointers are another popular toy, and they are not only fun for your cat but very easy for you to play with. You can sit in your favorite chair and gently encourage your cat to burn off energy while charging around the room.

domestic shorthair cat biting into a pink ribbon

5. Training

This particular option may fall under the heading of “hopeful but unlikely,” but you can train your cat to perform desirable actions and prevent them from performing undesirable ones.

Training your cat to stop bringing you dead gifts can be difficult, not least because you are attempting to stop your cat from doing something that is perfectly natural to them and is ingrained in their behavior. But also because cats are very independent.

When your feline friend brings you a dead mouse, thank it and give it a catnip-scented toy to play with before disposing of the dead mouse when your cat’s attention wanders. Keep doing this, and eventually, your cat may choose to bring you catnip toys instead of dead mouse toys.

outdoor cat enclosure_SariMe_Shutterstock


Cats and Dead Mice

Cats are exceptional hunters. They especially excel at watching, stalking, preying, and stealthily leaping on their quarry. They will hunt mice, small birds, and even frogs and butterflies. They may bring some of these animals to you, as a gift or as a training aid, and it can be difficult to convince them to stop. Above are five techniques you can use to try and stop your cat from bringing dead mice.

Featured IMage Credit: B_kowsky, Pixabay

Lead Pet Expert & Pet-ditor in Chief

Nicole is the proud mom of 3 rescue fur babies, Baby, a Burmese cat; Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway; and Mac, a Lab/Mastiff. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband and new baby daughter in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ know ledge with pet lovers across the globe. . Read more

Do cats eat mice, and should they?

Cat parents living in houses must have witnessed their kitty catching a mouse, playing with it, and maybe even eating it. Should cats be doing this? Do cats eat mice because they like to, and is it safe for them to do so? Find out whether such behaviour is something to be concerned about and whether mice are on the forbidden food list for cats!

Why do cats hunt mice?

Hunting is a natural instinct for cats. Wild felines hunt mice, rats, birds, insects , and small reptiles for food and water (they meet their water requirements by eating), but why do domestic cats hunt, then? Ten thousand years ago, when cats got domesticated, they were often used for pest control, so the hunting instinct persisted. Nowadays, regardless of their lifestyle, domestic cats still feel the need to hunt despite getting a steady supply of food because the habit is engraved in their genetic code. Indoor cats rarely have access to prey, so they express their hunting urges during playtime. Outdoor felines encounter and hunt many small animals, from squirrels to mice, but what happens when a domestic cat catches their prey? I don’t know why mum doesn’t like mice. Look how nice my toy is! Source: billi_chartreux

Do cats eat mice they catch ?

Domestic cats will rarely eat mice if they have never done that before. A feline spending a lot of time outdoors hunts to eat if they don’t get enough food for the day. Cats also bring the prey to their parents as a token of appreciation or to receive praise for their efforts. Another (rather amusing) theory about cats bringing mice inside is that they think of humans as poor hunters.

How do cats eat mice ?

Felines who eat mice don’t do so straight away. They play with, push, and throw around the rodent until it goes unconscious or passes away. After ensuring the mouse doesn’t move anymore, cats will bring it into a secluded area (typically their home) to eat in peace, where no one can steal their food. Cats typically start from the mouse’s head and proceed to the muscular bits. Veterinarians assume that cats think of the head as a treat. If they’re hungry, they will eat the entire animal, but if not, they will only treat themselves to the rodent’s head.

Why is letting your cat eat a mouse a bad idea?

  1. Diseases
  2. Poison their prey previously ingested

Diseases mice can transmit to cats (and even humans)

Mice can transmit various diseases dangerous to felines and humans. Check out the details in the table below:

Diseases humans can contract from mice their felines bring into the home

Diseases that are dangerous to humans and cats

Diseases caused by ticks and fleas from mice

  • The mouse plague
  • Leptospirosis
  • Hantavirus
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Roundworms
  • The mouse plague
  • Lyme disease
  • Typhus
  • Cat scratch disease
  • Tapeworms
  • Tularemia
  • Rickettsialpox

What happens when a cat eats a poisoned mouse?

Cats can become sick if they eat a previously poisoned mouse. Symptoms of mouse bait poisoning include:

  • Seizures
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Nosebleeds
  • Poor balance
  • Kidney failure
  • Excessive drinking
  • Excessive drooling
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Blood in urine, faeces, or both

If you notice the listed symptoms after suspected mouse hunting, you must take your feline to the vet immediately. The following table explains the most commonly used rodenticides and their effect on cats:

Toxic substances

Effect on cats

Warfarin, bromadiolone, and indanedione

Prevent cats from synthesising vitamin K, which obstructs blood clotting and causes internal bleeding

A lower dose causes loss of balance, hind limb weakness, tremors, and vomiting. Higher doses result in muscle tremors, seizures, ataxia, paddling, and stiff forelegs

Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3)

Increased calcium levels cause constriction of blood vessels, preventing organs from receiving enough blood

If you’re using rodenticides, make sure they’re out of your cat’s reach or opt for other pest-control methods. Refrain from using essential oils as pest repellents because they are also toxic to cats.

I’m not hunting anymore, mum, promise. I don’t know how that toy got here, though.

Are there any benefits to allowing cats to eat mice?

Rodents are nutritionally and portion-wise appropriate for a cat. They have a perfect moisture content (70%) which keeps felines optimally hydrated.

Unfortunately, the risks outweigh the benefits, and your cat can get the same nutritional value from safe and healthy products.

Let’s compare the approximate nutritional values of a wild mouse and a tin of Untamed’s popular dish—Chocka Chicken in Gravy—on a dry matter basis (without moisture):

100 grams of a wild mouse

100 grams of Chocka Chicken in Gravy

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