February 25, 2010

Do Cats Really Catch Mice?

Filed under: barn cats,cat and mouse,cats catch mice,cats chasing mice — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:09 am

cat hunt mouseIndeed, they do. Cats naturally love to chase and sometimes even kill mice. Some people even use cats to control problems with mice and rats. Barn cats are the most common example of this phenomenon but people have even been known to get a cat when they have mice in their homes or apartments. Unfortunately, not all cats, especially domesticated ones, are interested in hunting mice because they have a guaranteed food source. Still, many cat owners will tell you stories of their cats bringing home a dead mouse to show gratitude, whether said owner appreciates it or not.

Surprisingly, it can actually be dangerous for your cats to eat these mice. Depending on where you come from, mice can be infected with a number of diseases that can be harmful to cats and humans. In 1993, a new virus, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), was found in New Mexico. More than forty people were infected and 11 people died. This particular virus is spread by mice and can be highly infectious.

Should your cat deliver an unwanted guest, you need to be careful when handling it. Always wear rubber gloves and even a mask, as HPS can be transmitted through the air. Moreover, you should thoroughly clean any area that has had contact with the dead mouse in order to kill any remnants of the virus.

As a cat owner, you shouldn’t be surprised when your cat brings home a dead mouse. They are hunters by nature and mice are their typical prey. Still, remember that mice have been responsible for the spread of many diseases in the past and it’s always advisable to take extra precautions to protect the health of your cat and your family.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.