How to choose a good mouser

wireweinersDecember 17, 2007

My mom and dad are having a terrible time with mice in their house. They have been catching as many as 3-4 a night. They have a neutered tom cat but Betty Elizabeth (don't ask) is around 14 and isn't much interested in catching mice. I used to have a mouse problem but since I have adopted 3 cats, the mice have disappeared. My mom is considering getting another cat, so does anybody have any tips for choosing a good mouser. She would want an adult cat that could get along with Betty and her 2 dogs. I've always heard that spayed females make good mousers.

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The best mousers are those who learned from their own mom, and who have had a chance to get experienced. So if you can find a cat who has been with his/her mouser mom for at least 4 months, that is your best option. I haven't heard anything about spayed females being good mousers. Most I see are fat indoor cats, not your hunter types.

Betty Elizabeth -LOL!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 7:19PM
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Honestly, we have found that the regular old snap traps work best. Under the sink so the pets can't get at the traps though.

Also, we had 2 dachshunds who were great mousers. So cats aren't the only ones to excel at that job!

Also, you may want to try and store your pets dry food away in a bin overnight (when the mice come out) cause our mice were extremely attracted to the dog food and were hiding pieces of it all over the house. We would then bring the food out into the bowls again in the daytime.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 2:38PM
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We have 4 inside cats that wouldn't know a mouse if it came up and bit them in the butt...Now the 3 ferals that we take care of, are forever leaving presents on the rug outside the door...I'm sure they do learn this from their mother. Have they tried those traps that the mouse goes in but can't get out...I'm not sure what happens but supposidly the mouse dies....

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 3:57PM
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Sounds like Mr. Betty is on Social Security. Your problem may not be that of finding a good mouser as much as getting a young, agressive mouser who will respect and get along with the old pensioner. There is a great book called "Cat Vs. Cat" that deals with introducing a young cat into a home with other animals.
I would suggest calling your vet as well as your local shelter. The people who work at my vet's office are always getting calls from people who are finding and fostering strays and street cats, or from people who can no longer take care of their cats. The advantage of a vet's office might be that they often can give you details of a cat or kitten's background that shelters can't easily provide.

My 8 yr old shelter cat loves playing with her stuffed fur "mice"...I'd love to see how she would handle the real thing...although she would probably expect the mouse to run toward her. Good luck!


    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 4:39PM
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I had a neutered male Persian who was partially blind (one eye was almost 100% blind, the other slightly affected), declawed, and who had broken his jaw so he had an underbite. I didn't do this to him, by the way, he was bought from a disreputable pet store. He was the sweetest, most gentle thing you would ever see. A real love-bug. And he was a mouse catching machine!! I moved to the city when he was about 4, and I would frequently come home to a dead mouse left next to my bed as a "gift". He never caught a mouse before that. Since he didn't have claws, we assume he would smother them or squeeze them in his mouth. There was never a mark on them and he never ate them. He did bring a live one into bed with me one time. I never screamed so loud in my life.

So, there is no predicting good mousers, as far as I'm concerned. My departed Ragdoll loved to "hunt" bugs, etc. I'm sure she would have been a great mouser if we had any in the house. My new kitty also loves to play "hunt".

I would look for a cat that shows signs of liking to play hunt and who seems to have good paw abilities. Maybe a shelter has an adult cat that is a reformed feral/outdoor cat. I'd be a little concerned about a new cat and the old cat getting along.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 4:56PM
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I agree that getting a good mouser is "hit and miss". You just never know for sure until they're confronted with a mouse.
If the only reason you are wanting another cat is to catch mice you might want to just continue with the traps. What if he/she didn't catch any mice, would you then get rid of the cat?????

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 5:52PM
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We have 4 inside cats that wouldn't know a mouse if it came up and bit them in the butt

Luckily I've never had a mouse problem because my cats would do the same. My older cat won't even catch a bug. She'll just stare at it until figure out what is going on and take care of the problem for her.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 6:09PM
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Really, mousetraps are much more predictable. That and going around the foundation filling any tiny gaps where they are getting in - and then breeding. They could bring in fleas too.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 8:55PM
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I agree that this is something they learn from their mothers. I actually trained a kitten to catch mice - it was very entertaining, but it did work - he was avidly attentive as I batted around a fake mouse with my "paws" and then picked it up with my mouth and shook it around to stun it. Okay, I probably sound very scary right now to all of you but I swear it worked! LOL. He watched my every move and was the only housecat I've ever had that caught mice. I didn't have the energy to do that with my next two kittens, who have subsequently been terrible mousers.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 10:21PM
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Actually - I think it is luck of the draw. We had 2 littermates. One female, one male. Male was lazy as sin and did not mouse at all. Female caught everything, flies, spiders, you name it.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 4:30PM
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lol Naturegurl I'm sure that was entertaining to watch!!!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 4:24PM
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I have some cats who are excellent mousers and others who would sit and watch a mouse walk across the floor..Henry who I took from his mother at 4 weeks, evidently learned in that time because he caught a mouse in the house when he was quite young. Mine never leave the house but sometimes mice get in. I'm surprised we don't have more since this is a really old house. I don't do traps because I think it's cruel. In fact my DD's cat caught a mouse in the house a few years ago. SIL put it outside and it was limping so I brought it home and had him for two years. His name was Stuey and he was a deer mouse with big ears..He lived in a room the cats weren't allowed. BTW..I LOVE the name..Too cute.My cousin used to have a male cat named Elisabeth.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 1:18AM
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You must try to figure out where the mice are coming in first. If you can block their way in, possibly it won't be necessary to get another cat.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 11:13AM
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My experience has always been that it really doesn't matter if the cat catches the mouse. Just the smell of a cat around, deters the rodents.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 7:18PM
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I would agree with that, least as it pertains to multiple unit dwellings. I live in a NYC hi-rise. Every resident building superindendant who has lived here has had their own cat...and they have all told me that apartments with cats do not have mouse complaints. I like to refer our cat as our 'rodent deterrent system'. We never see roaches, either. Just another good reason to be a cat person.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 10:42AM
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My best mouser of all time is a shelter cat who had been surrendered at under one year of age along with her litter of 3 kittens (obviously her previous owner was not up to the task of responsible pet ownership.) The kittens all quickly found homes, and I eventually adopted the mom. She is a tiny, quiet, gentle thing, but a mouse-catching fiend. I think the early maternity brought out this urge to bring home the bacon, because she has often served one up to one of our Jack Russell Terriers.

Really, though, I think it's the luck of the draw. Some are really into it, some are not, and some haven't got a clue.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 11:01AM
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all the cats i've ever had were and are mousers supreme.there are also some dogs that are great mousers;jack russells are really good,if the old tomcat could handle the energy.LOL

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 7:58PM
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We went to PetsMart today and adopted and young adult spayed female cat. "Katie" was found abandoned in a warehouse so I figure she is somewhat used to hustling for her supper. The main concern now is will she get along with the older cat and the 2 dogs. If she doesn't, I suppose I will have another cat. She is a dark tortoiseshell and seems very sweet. I am hoping that a younger, more energetic cat will be a mouse deterent even if she doesn't catch that many. I think that was the case in my house. It seemed that once the mice figured out that there were cats on the premises, they decided to move elsewhere.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 5:27PM
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I agree with the cat smell (or perhaps voice) as deterrent idea. We once lived in a rather small and flimsy duplex house in Japan, with four cats. When I apologized for their yowling, the people on the other side said, oh, no, they welcomed the cats because they used to hear mice running around up above the ceiling all the time, but since we had moved in, they no longer did.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 1:56AM
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Just don't feed that cat. She will find her own food, mice being the primary target.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 8:17AM
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I feed my cats and also feed the cats at the feed store and they are all good hunters. Mice, rats, voles and gophers.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 5:54PM
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To the person who suggests not feeding a pet cat to encourage it to hunt mice...what awful advice. Not just inhumane, but 100% wrong! Anyone who knows cats knows that their instinct to hunt and eat are not interdependant. My cat's favorite time to hunt and capture her (toy) mice is right after she eats. My first cat who was an indoor/outdoor pet, was a terrific mouser...she proudly bought her prey to me and I disposed of the expired critters accordingly.

Unless a house is totally infested, there probably aren't enough mice to supply a cat with the necessary calories that he/she needs to maintain a healthy body weight (about 10 a day). And even if a house is infested, it won't be for long if a cat lives there.

Ideally, for the cat's health, you don't want puss to actually eat her prey...just catching and killing is preferable because mice can transmit intestinal infections.

You will also be encouraging feral behavior by not feeding you cat.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 11:17AM
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