Mouse Infestation? Help Your Cat Catch The Pests

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If you have mice in your home, then you may need to contact an exterminator or pest control specialist to get rid of the rodents.  Mice can destroy food items and they can also spread diseases like hantavirus.  If you do not want to spend money right away on pest control, then your cat is more than capable of controlling the mouse population in your home.  If your cat has not caught any of the mice yet, then help your cat with mice extermination with the tips below.

Encourage Natural Hunting Behaviors

Cats have natural instincts to chase, attack, and hunt prey.  Indoor cats do not hunt for food, but their instincts will kick in if a prey animal is present.  Cats use their incredible reflexes and agile bodies to catch mice, and they use their mouths to kill animals after they play with them for a while.  

Unfortunately, if your cat is an indoor pet, then he or she may not be agile or swift.  This may mean the mice in your home are able to scurry away before your cat can catch them.  Also, cats that live inside do not have the opportunity to hunt and they may be out of practice.  The last hunting opportunity may have been when your cat's mother introduced partially dead prey to her kittens to kill on their own.

Exercise Your Cat 

To help encourage good reflexes and proper hunting abilities, make sure to exercise your cat.  You should exercise your cat for about 30 minutes a day during two or three 10 to 15 minute sessions.  During these sessions, you may notice your cat panting, much like a dog.  This indicates exhaustion and the end of exercise time.  When you exercise your cat, use toys that look like prey animals.  Small stuffed mice and feathers on a long stick are great options.  Move these toys across the floor quickly in long sweeping motions to get your cat to chase and hunt them.

Move Litter Boxes

Mice use their powerful sense of smell to survive.  Specifically, the nose is utilized to detect predators and potential homes where predators live.  Mice smell for the animals themselves, and they also search for the scent of animal urine.  The strong smell of ammonia will indicate to the mouse they should find another place to live.  Mice are also drawn to spaces where abundant food, water, and shelter is present.  This makes your home a perfect location regardless of the presence of a litter box that smells like urine.  

The urine will make the mice cautious though, and they will likely avoid the areas directly around it.  If your cat's litter box sits in a place where your cat spends the majority of his time, then he is not likely to see any mice.  Consider moving your cat's litter box to a different place, so mice are more apt to venture out where they can be spotted.  Think about setting the box in your bathroom or move it to the basement and keep the door open for access.

Clean the Litter

Another good way to get mice to venture out is to make sure your litter box does not emit a strong ammonia smell.  This means cleaning the box at least once a day.  Daily cleaning is often suggested anyhow to reduce urinary tract infection and improper elimination concerns.  To clean the box, use a scooper with slatted openings to remove clumps of urine.  It may be wise to switch to a clumping type of litter to make this easier.  Place the clumps in a plastic bag and seal it.  Replace litter and sprinkle a small amount of baking soda over the top to minimize smells.

If you have mice and if you also own a cat, then you should think about letting your cat take care of the mice.  If your cat has not been doing a very good hunting job lately, then help him out by exercising him and by moving and cleaning litter boxes.