Cats are wonderful companions for a variety of reasons. And a lot of people think that a house cat is a solution to their mice infestation. But are having these soft and furry friends help keep mice away? Well! To some extent YES, but we can’t say that this is the only solution. Having a cat keeps mice away but if the infestation is severe, you may still have to look for other solutions.
How cats keep mice away? Cats and dogs produce a chemical signal that terrifies mice. Mice detect specific proteins found in cat saliva and they react with fear. These proteins are called Mups which act in cells in a special sensory organ in the mouse, called the vomeronasal organ. The proteins trigger a fearful reaction in the mice. This makes these predators an effective form of pest control.
Aside from being wonderful family pets, cats are a natural deterrent to mice as well as other rodents.
A cat will keep the mice away, but will it keep them away forever?
While a cat may help keep the mice population down, it is not the most effective solution to get rid of them permanently. The rate at which mice reproduce is very high and they also carry many harmful bacteria and viruses. Therefore, just having a cat is not the only solution when you have severe mice infection. Also, rodents can detect the presence of predators by their scent and this can act as a deterrent.
A cat may keep mice out of the living area and other rooms of your house. However, they won’t be able to do the same in the attic, basement, and other corners of the home. Rodents often venture outside for food and stay inside the unoccupied portions of your home.
Well! Here are some reasons why having a cat is not enough to control mice infestation:
- Cats Can’t Reach Nesting Areas – Cats might be able to keep the rodents but they can’t reach their nesting areas. They often don’t have access to the areas where the mice are nesting. These areas may include the tough corners of your home like the walls, attics, basements and even gardens. Furthermore, rodents that live inside the walls are extremely difficult to remove.
- Some Cats are Afraid of Mice – Yes, you read it right that some cats are afraid of rodents. Instead of keeping the mice away, they themselves stay away from them. Isn’t it funny? While there is a stereotype that all cats are mouse hunters, there are some that are non-hunters. So, it depends on the type and traits of the cat.
- Risk of Diseases – Even if your cat was able to catch a mouse or rat; there is always the risk of dealing with an even bigger problem. Cats can get harmful diseases either by catching or eating mouse. They can also get ticks, fleas, and other parasites from rodents. So, it is not a better idea to let your cat act as your first line of defense.
- Cats Can’t Solve Root Cause – Even if your cat is able to catch or eat one or two mice, it can’t solve the main problem. If mice are getting in your home due to cracks or holes in the foundation or any other way, cats will not be able to stop them. Also, mice multiply fast and if the population is huge, cats can’t do anything.
- Mice Reproduce Fast – Having a cat can’t stop mice from reproducing and trust me these tiny creatures multiply super fast. A severe mice infestation means that you’re fighting a long battle which requires a lot of solutions. A female mouse can give birth to a litter of 4 to 12 pups every three weeks. So, having a cat is not the only solution.
- Some Cats are Playful – There are some cats that will just want play with anything, even mice and rats. Your cat might bring home a mouse that is still alive just to play. Your cat may also let the mouse go and hide anywhere inside your home. So, be thoughtful when bringing a cat to keep rodents away.
So how do you get rid of mice permanently?
The best way to get rid of mice infestation is to prevent them from entering your home. As it is always said, “precaution is better than cure”. Follow the following tips:
- Check for any cracks or holes and fix them immediately.
- Trim back bushes or any branches touching your home.
- Check for any gaps in doors and window frames and fix them on urgent basis.
- Install door sweeps on all the entry doors.
- Store food in airtight containers to reduce food sources for rodents.
- Keep all corners of your home clean and tidy to reduce shelter for rodents.
- Keep your kitchen and pantry clean.
- Use traps to catch the mice or rats.
- Use natural remedies like peppermint oil, onions oil etc to keep them away.
- Clean the mouse waste with a special enzyme cleaner.
- Pay attention to cleanliness and hygiene.
As per my experience, I would say that having cats won’t guarantee a rodent free home. If you fear a sever mice infestation, you may have to consider other solutions as well. While cats can keep mice away, they can’t identify the root cause and solve the problem permanently. Try using traps and natural repellents to get rid of rodents. However, if nothing works, contact your local exterminator who will help you get rid of mice quickly.
If you already have a cat, they can still be an effective mouse deterrent. All you need to do is encourage them to visit the area where you suspect rodent activity. You could lure your cat by giving a few treats where the mice are known to frequent. Cats and other predators tend to leave their scent trail behind. The trail they leave behind will keep the rodents away from that particular area.
I would also add that the only way to keep mice away from your property is to seal them out. Inspect your entire home for any cracks, holes, or gaps and seal those areas permanently.