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Do cats really eat mice?

Do Cats Eat Mice Whole? What Happens If A Cat Eats A Whole Mouse?

Do Cats Eat Mice Whole

Cats have an instinct to hunt mice. Whether indoors or out, Cats will quickly hunt out mice and other small creatures, just like they would in the wild. It’s just a part of who they are and something that comes easily to them. However, you might question if cats eat mice whole after they capture them. Cats can eat mice whole, but most prefer to consume them in pieces. This involves putting aside sections of the body they don’t like to eat, such as the stomach and/or spleen. Suppose you’ve caught your cat eating mice. In that case, you’re probably wondering if it’s safe, if cats eat mice whole, and if you should be concerned about discovering carcasses scattered around. If you wonder if cats eat their prey like mice whole or not, read on for some surprising discoveries.

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Why Did My Cat Eat A Whole Mouse?

Your cat ate a whole mouse because he enjoys eating it.

Why Did My Cat Eat A Whole Mouse?

Cats prefer to eat mice’s heads because it is the most accessible section of the body to swallow. The head is a treat for cats because it has the eyes that they are drawn to. It’s also a lot of fun to chew on. They generally go for the eyes or face when they attack and consume it, precisely like other predatory creatures. Cats are predators by nature. They will always have the desire to hunt, even if they have been tamed. Birds and mice are their preferred prey, although they may also hunt other live species such as snakes and rabbits. It is entirely dependent on the cat. Cats have distinct personalities, and their feeding habits differ from one to the next. Depending on the size of the mouse, some cats will eat them whole. Other cats will swallow the entire mouse except for the tail, which they will sever with a single snap of their teeth. Others will consume the mouse whole but will discard the stomach and spleen. Nonetheless, some cat owners report that their cat will only eat the head or the body and tail. Other cats will decapitate the mouse but just eat a limb or two, not the whole thing. If another cat threatens to take the mouse from them, some cats will only eat it whole. Others will eat mouse guts for a time but refuse to eat the gizzard because of its acidic flavor. Feral, stray, and outdoor cats are less likely to consume mice than house cats or tamed cats. House cats are more likely to hunt and play with mice than kill and devour them. Cats will hunt and kill mice, but they may not always eat them whole because they are trying to teach you how to hunt for food as their mama cats did. It’s also possible that they’re pursuing a mouse, and the game has become too harsh. Other cats will hunt and kill in order to bring it to their people as a gift. Mice are hunted and killed by particular cats, but they are not eaten unless they are starving. Other cats will capture mice but have no idea what to do with them to leave them about the house.

Is It Normal For A Cat To Eat A Whole Mouse?

It’s normal for cats to eat mice whole regularly and do so often in the wild. This permits the cat to consume its prey swiftly and safely while avoiding predators.

Is It Normal For A Cat To Eat A Whole Mouse?

Cats can eat a whole mouse, but only on rare occasions. Eating mice regularly is not recommended or encouraged since mice can carry roundworms, which can be passed to your cat. They also carry toxoplasma gondii, the cause of the infectious illness toxoplasmosis. Cats are (usually) programmed to capture mice. Mice are easy to catch, are high in protein and taurine, and are numerous, making them ideal prey for cats. When a cat captures a mouse, it will typically kill it and eat it whole (except the gizzard and guts). Still, cats may occasionally leave dead mice for you as a present. Cats that eat mice like to consume complete mice; otherwise, they would not bother. Of course, this behavior is influenced by various circumstances, including the environment. Suppose your cat is entirely domesticated and never learned how to capture mice from its mother. In that case, your cat may be less interested in eating mice and, at most, use them as play. This can result in you discovering whole dead mice lying about and a happy cat eating its regular cat chow. It’s improbable that cats despise entire mice; instead, it’s more likely that they’ve never learned to hunt them or don’t see the point in eating them. Some cats are just uninterested in being disturbed.

What Happens If A Cat Eats A Whole Mouse?

Cats can choke from eating a whole mouse.

What Happens If A Cat Eats A Whole Mouse?

A bone trapped in the mouth or throat of a cat eating a mouse too quickly can cause a lot of harm, including choking. Call your veterinarian immediately if you notice your cat drooling excessively, bleeding from the lips, having trouble breathing, or otherwise acting strangely. Cats who consume poisoned mice may develop secondary poisoning. It’s not frequent, and the risk decreases the more prolonged the mouse has been poisoned, but it’s still something to watch out for. Contact your veterinarian if you detect symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, muscular spasms, or other unusual behaviors. Although eating entire mice is unlikely to harm most cats, consult your veterinarian if you notice anything strange about your cat’s behavior or health. Suppose your cat has been hunting wild mice, in particular. In that case, you have no idea what else has been taken up accidentally by his eating. Although indoor cats are less likely to catch mice than outdoor cats, it is possible. Because your feline pal is predisposed to hunting, they will occasionally attack odd items such as wads of paper or your feet. It’s conceivable that your cat will get sick after eating a mouse. According to the Animal Medical Centre, mice can be infected with roundworms, which they can subsequently pass on to your cat. Mice can also contain the toxoplasmosis parasite, which can be transmitted to cats and ultimately to people via cat feces. Cats and mice may never get along, but you can help by keeping your cat indoors, providing them with toys, and engaging them in playful activities. And if your cat does catch a mouse, it’s always a good idea to get them examined by a veterinarian.

Can A Cat Digest A Whole Mouse?

Yes, cats can digest a whole mouse, depending on the size of the mouse. Because they’ve never been educated, many indoor cats would cheerfully capture the mouse but have no idea what to do with it. They’ll then bring it to you (alive or dead) to deal with and brag about catching it. Even outdoor cats may refuse to eat a mouse if they are not hungry, and they are unlikely to consume a mouse if they are frequently feeding at home. Older cats may not hunt and devour mice as readily as younger cats, depending on their overall health. Mice are less complicated to catch than birds, but they still require quickness and agility. If your cat spends all of its time indoors, it’s doubtful that it’ll be engaging in eating entire mice (or any part of the mouse, for that matter).

Do Cats Eat The Bones Of Mice?

When a cat eats a whole mouse, the bones are consumed. Wild cats are solitary creatures. As a result, they hunt and kill tiny prey like mice and rats, and other rodents. Squirrels, rabbits, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, and tiny fish are among the animals they can hunt. It will be simpler for them to include the bones if they have these tiny creatures on their list. The teeth of a cat may shatter the bones of tiny creatures. As a result, they won’t have to be concerned and may chew to their hearts’ content. Furthermore, it is well known that bones can positively impact cats. They may train and strengthen their teeth by eating tiny pieces of meat with small bones. As a result, mice’s tiny bones will not be an issue for them. Furthermore, if they puke up the tiny bones, it would be quite a problem.

Do Cats Like The Taste Of Mice?

Yes, cats like the taste of mice. While cats can consume a whole mouse, they occasionally throw away other bits. The tail and the stomach are these sections. Cats discard the mouse’s stomach due to its unpleasant taste. Because a mouse’s tail is spiky, rough, and chewy, cats avoid it. When cats are full, they become choosy, and when they are hungry, they devour everything. The head is the most popular mouse component among cats. Even if they aren’t hungry, cats will devour the head right away. Not every cat will eat a mouse. House cats will play with mice or hunt them down, but feral cats will devour them. Although all cats can hunt mice, several breeds excel at it.

Why Do Cats Leave Parts Of Mice?

Cats leave some parts of the mice because they don’t like it. There will be two parts that they will most likely discard. These are the stomach and the tail. Cats often discard the stomach due to its unpleasant taste. The stomach has the most revolting flavor compared to the rest of a mouse’s body. The stomach contains many acids, which is why a cat won’t eat it. While a mouse’s stomach is not as acidic as ours, it is nonetheless exceedingly acidic. If fed, the pH of a mouse or rat’s stomach varies from 3 to 3.2; if not, it ranges from 3.9 to 4.0. In addition, the intestines are located in the stomach. While they are edible for cats, they are frequently avoided owing to their unpleasant taste. Finally, for some reason, cats dislike organs. As a result, they would pass for it because it is positioned on the stomach. Cats may eat the tails of mice, although they appear to be spikes that are generally rather lengthy. Furthermore, any cat’s tail can be relatively firm and chewy. As a result, if cats are in the mood to be choosy, they will pass on this.

How Many Mice Do Cats Eat In A Day?

The average feral will consume nine mice per day, with a few unsuccessful hunts thrown in for good measure. If left to their ways, Cats would eat multiple little meals throughout the day instead of the one to three meals that their domesticated counterparts consume. This quantity of mice provides the protein, taurine, and energy that cats require to maintain their lifestyle. If your cat stays strictly indoors, it is unlikely to consume mice. Instead, it may bring you the mouse to kill or present you with a dead one, but it will not eat it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do Cats Leave Mice Guts?

The stomach pH of mice was 3.0 (fed) and 4.0 (fasted), while rat stomach pH was 3.2 (fed) and 3.9 (fasted) (fasted). Because the intestines of a mouse are acidic, cats will not eat them.

Why do cats bring you alive animals?

Cats were created to hunt. This implies that if a cat gives you an alive or dead animal, they consider you a member of their family. Their instincts tell them that they must do this to live and that they must pass on these vital, life-saving talents to their family.

Is it bad if my cat kills a mouse?

Unless the mouse ate poison before being caught, it isn’t particular. However, because the cat killed the mouse and did not eat it, everything should be alright. A vet visit is likely necessary if he demonstrates any unusual behavior.

Final Words

Cats are natural hunters, and they will go for mice and other rodents. Each cat is distinct, which is mirrored in how they consume their prey. Some cats eat mice whole, while others only eat the heads, and yet others simply decapitate them and leave them to die. Drop your queries in the comments section below. Also, check out Are Female Cats Better Hunters Than Male Cats?



Can Cats Eat Mice? What You Need to Know!

Cat and mouse in the garden

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Cats and mice—the great rivals of the ages. It’s not unusual to see your cat hunting down and stalking mice and other rodents to play or feast. We can also bid them a thank you for inspiring favorites like Tom and Jerry, making childhoods memorable for decades.

But when it comes to your house cats, can they eat a mouse safely? We’re not here to stifle your cat’s natural prey instincts. However, the quick answer here is no, c ats shouldn’t ever eat a mouse if you can stop them. We’ll explain in more detail why down below.

Cats & Natural Diets

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need only animal proteins and fats to survive. Animals have everything your cat needs to stay healthy, containing just the right amount of nutrients. So, if your cat ate their natural diets in domestication, it would be perfectly balanced.

However, that’s just not a feasible reality when owning a domestic cat, so pet food companies had to improvise. Cat food is explicitly crafted to meet the dietary needs of cats. However, let’s talk about the types of protein and how they differ.

a tabby cat eating from a white bowl

Plant vs. Animal Protein

Cats would naturally eat smaller prey animals like rodents, birds, and fish in the wild. But cat foods usually contain common proteins like chicken, fish, beef, pork, and duck. You wouldn’t see a ferocious feline taking down a cow or pig in the wild—so it’s not 100% spot on, but still specially formulated.

These animal proteins are crucial for cat development and bodily maintenance. Animal proteins are considered complete proteins, containing all the amino acids your cat’s body needs to function. On the other hand, plants have incomplete proteins that don’t contain necessities on their own.

So, it’s apparent that an obligate carnivore would need a high dose of protein. In fact, they would get much more than the minimal 26% protein per meal in the wild.

Mouse Dry Matter Analysis

In this example by PetMD, we can look at the dry matter analysis of a mouse.


So, as you can see, your cat’s daily protein intake is significantly higher with live prey than dry kibble. Currently, the AAFCO says cats require 30% crude protein during growth and decline and 26% for bodily maintenance. Ideally, it would be much higher in nature.

Thankfully, pet nutritionists and companies strive to learn more about feline diets to accommodate our kitty’s needs better.

cat carrying a dead mouse

Dangers of Cats Eating Mice

Finding dead vermin is quite normal if you have an indoor/outdoor cat with any predatory instinct whatsoever. However, your cat really shouldn’t ever be eating a mouse due to the associated risks.


Mice have tiny bones that can easily get lodged in a cat’s throat. If your cat attempts to eat them, you might be in for a vet visit if they aren’t careful. If you aren’t even aware they are eating it, a choking hazard could be that much more dangerous.

Mouse bones are tiny—but so is your cat’s throat. While they are usually pros at eating, they aren’t familiar with live prey if they are a housecat. So, just make sure to take their latest kill and properly dispose of it before your vet is sifting out a mouse rib from their esophagus.

Intestinal Injury

If your cat manages to get the mouse down without choking, those tiny, sharp bone fragments can actually cause injury or damage to the digestive tract of the body. While this is more uncommon, as mice are typical prey for cats—it still can happen.


Especially in cold months, mice like to find warm places to rest and eat. Many homeowners put out rat and mice poison without considering the transmission that can take place to family pets. While you might not have any poison out, your neighbors certainly might.

Mice are pests, so finding a poisoned mouse isn’t so far-fetched. If your cat eats a contaminated mouse, they might get very ill—or worse. So, you must take it very seriously if your cat ate a mouse at any time.

Impressively, one mouse nest could have up to two dozen mice therein. So, where there is one sickly mouse, there is likely more. If a mouse has poisoned themselves, it might make them even easier to catch, posing an even more significant threat.

So, you can see how this could lead to a big-time problem. If your cat has ingested a mouse and you suspect the mouse was poisoned, seek veterinary care immediately.



Mice can carry several parasites in their bodies, transmissible to cats. Parasites like toxoplasma gondii live in the mouse’s brain, causing them to lose their fear of predators. Just like a domino effect, it then makes them an easy target.

The parasite lives in the rodent’s brain. When the cat eats the parasite unknowingly, it travels to its intestine to multiply. Most cats will not develop clinical disease though some may develop toxoplasmosis.

Symptoms of toxoplasmosis include:

In addition to this dangerous but rare circumstance, your cat can (much more commonly) contract roundworms. Roundworms typically don’t show symptoms, but you might get some clues in some cases.

Symptoms of roundworm include:

If you suspect something just isn’t right after your cat eats a mouse, it’s best to get them examined by your vet.

cat and mouse on the grass

Benefits of Cats Eating Mice

In a perfect scenario, your cat ate a mouse that is 100% healthy with no parasites or toxicity to mention. Your cat will benefit significantly in this case, but the scenario isn’t plausible.

However, mice are natural prey for cats and other small creatures like moles, birds, and even small reptiles. Eating wild prey gives your cat the right amount of nutrients from all parts of the body, including bones, organs, and muscle tissue.

Cat’s bodies are literally designed to break down these materials. In fact, cats get most of their moisture content from the prey they eat in the wild. So, they thrive on protein, amino acids, fatty acids, and taurine in every way.

Housecats have it considerably easier than their wild cousins. Some cats even kill by mistake, simply playing with the prey, opposed to viciously attacking. But unless a cat is feral, they shouldn’t ever eat live prey as a main dish. The necessity just isn’t there for domesticated cats.

Why Does My Cat Try To Give Me Dead Mice?

It isn’t unusual to see your cat give up an offering to its human friend. Your cat might sneak a dead mouse into your bed—or lay it by your front door. And while you can’t understand why they would do this, there is actually a pretty darling reason for it.

In the wild, mother cats will hunt and bring back their kill for their cubs to teach them the fundamentals of hunting and to make sure they’re nourished. So, every time your cat hands you their latest kill, they are taking care of you the same way they would their own kind.

So, you can see how that might melt your heart—despite how disgusting it is.

Cats + Mice: The Verdict

A healthy mouse wouldn’t be detrimental to your cat’s health. In fact, it would be quite beneficial. But wild mice carry far too many illnesses and feeding your cat a live domesticated mouse is plain cruel. So, let’s just say—no, your cat shouldn’t eat a mouse.

However, if you have a cat with a super high prey drive, it might be inevitable that your cat kills mice. When you find the mouse, it’s best to dispose of it entirely. Also, get your cat to the vet if they exhibit any symptoms that indicate illness.

Featured Image Credit: 165106, Pixabay

  • Cats & Natural Diets
  • Plant vs. Animal Protein
  • Mouse Dry Matter Analysis
  • Dangers of Cats Eating Mice
    • Choking
    • Intestinal Injury
    • Poisoning
    • Parasites
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