Many people want their cats to curb the rodent population in their homes. Thus, many wonder if their kittens will kill mice.
Keep reading, to find out the answer, plus some of the breeds known to be hunters, and how to train your kitten to catch mice.
I will also tell you why it’s dangerous for your cat to bring mice into the house, dead or alive.
The answer to whether kitten will kill mice:
If your kitten is over 3 months old it can kill mice, but rarely eat them. Hunting abilities depend on its background and personality.
Not all cats know how to hunt; some don’t respond to their mother’s training.
Adopt breeds known to be hunters. However, rodents carry bacteria and viruses.
Not all Kittens can Hunt
We know our feline friends to be natural-born predators, but not all cats have the ability or desire to hunt and kill prey.
It is common for mama cats to teach their kittens to hunt and kill small prey such as mice, but unfortunately, not all cats respond to this training.
Furthermore, the domestication of cats has reduced hunting instincts in indoor cats. If your kitten was not trained to hunt, it may respond in fear when seeing a mouse and run away.
Another worse scenario is when your kitten catches the mouse but does not kill it. Toying with the live animal might seem such a fun activity for your little one, and when tired it will let the prey flee.
An indoor kitten rarely eats prey despite its strong hunting instincts. Hunting is a thrill for your furry friend, and also a form of exercise that helps it stay alert.
Mother cats Teach their Kittens to Hunt
Even though your kitten is an indoor cat, it retains its hunting instinct from its wild ancestors, , but killing and eating prey are learned behaviors from their mothers.
Mother cats bring their nursing kittens food they have killed. As the kittens grow, she will bring live rodents to teach her young ones how to kill them.
3-Month-old Kittens kill Mice but Rarely Eat Them
Cats in general, are attracted to movement. It’s part of their hunting instincts. That’s why your kitten plays with leaves, sticks, your feet, or even its tail.
If your kitten is over 3 months old, it will be able to pounce on birds, frogs, and mice. But this will be just part of a fascinating game for your kitty. It will play with they prey, and eventually, claw so much that it will be too much for the prey until it dies.
Your furry friend might leave the dead animal outside, but they do sometimes bring them in. So, be prepared to clean up the mess. However, don’t try to stop your kitten from these little adventurous journeys.
Furthermore, most cats give up this habit once they grow up. Perhaps they just grow old and lazy.
The Smell of Cats Keeps Mice Away
Even though your kitten is too young to be able to kill mice, its presence is enough to keep rodents away from your premises. So, if mice have become a nuisance in your place, your furry friend walking around in the house will spurn them for good.
Studies have shown that the smell of cats on your property, regardless of whether they know or don’t know how to hunt, or are indoor cats, will keep mice at bay.
Don’t underestimate the power of your kitten. If you hear tiny movements in a specific area of the house and suspect mice might be there, place treats in that location. The treats will attract your kitten to that spot, and no rodent will stay near the smell of cats.
Train your Kitten to Chase Mice
Even though hunting instincts are wired into your kitten, there is something you can do to train your little one to grow into a skilled hunter. Here is what you can do:
1. Encourage play with interactive toys
Spend time playing with your kitten using toys that encourage it to explore its hunting and stalking instincts. Attach a string to a ball and pull it over the floor for your kitty to chase.
There are also toys designed to look like a mouse that you can buy for your feline companion. Your kitten will be thrilled to chase such a toy, and this experience can translate into chasing real mice.
2. Give it dead mice caught from traps
Teaching your kitten to hunt using a method its mother used can be effective. Mother cat often brings food it has killed to its kittens to set an example.
Use a rat trap to catch a mouse, and bring the dead rat to your kitten.
3. Reward the hunting behavior
Positive reinforcement is a tactic that has worked when training kittens.According to many cat owners you shouldreward your kitten each time it hunts and kills the prey.
Their reward comes in form of you petting them under their chin, giving treats, or using other ways to show affection. This kind of encouragement will motivate your kitty to catch prey on its own.
Signs your kitten is a Hunter
- The kitten likes to carry toys in its mouth.
- It is active and curious.
- Shows interest in anything moving and likes to pounce on things, including your toes.
- It spends a lot of time playing with toys. A good hunter has a long attention span.
How to Choose a Kitten that will kill Mice
1. Adopt a female kitten
Part of the reason why many people believe that female cats are better hunters, is that mother cats teach their kittens to hunt.
2. Adopt a semi-feral kitten
Semi feral kittens have stayed in the wild for some time with their mother, and have probably learned a lot about hunting.
Remember that a lot of time and patience is needed to tame a semi-feral kitten. But your time and love are worth the effort.
Once they have adjusted to their homes, these kittens turn out to be the most affectionate and appreciative pets.
3. Adopt breeds known to be hunters
If you appreciate having a kitten who is a skilled hunter, you can adopt one of the breeds known to be great hunters.
Here are some:
The Siberian is an agile breed known to be a great hunter. An adult Siberian cat can weigh up to 20 pounds.
Besides being good at chasing mice, this breed has a thick beautiful coat,, so if you like a fluffy kitten this would be a good choice.
Most cat owners love these energetic felines that have a masculine physique. If you adopt a Chartreux breed, you are assured of a little one who will not hesitate to pounce on a mouse passing by.
They are also very friendly, so will be glad to spend time with you.
- Maine Coon
Although a very affectionate cat, the Maine Coon is a great hunter and likes to chase at things even when still a young kitten.
The Siamese is a beautiful and vocal cat breed that many cat owners have welcomed into their homes.
Adopt this kitty to enjoy double blessing; a cat known for its expert hunting skills and one that makes a wonderful companion.
This breed has excellent hunting skills to get the job done when it comes to getting rid of mice. It has a short tail which makes it a unique feline.
Rodents Carry Health Risks to Humans and Cats
People have always believed that cats keep rodents away. Although this is true, it should never be your main reason why you keep a cat.
Your little one needs to stay in a safe environment, but exposing it to rodents poses serious health problems for you, and your little one.
Mice and rats carry bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can be dangerous for both cats and humans.
Toxoplasmosis is a common parasitic disease that affects outdoor cats. Most often, kitties get infected with this toxoplasma gondii by ingesting mice infected with the parasite.
Your kitty may not show the symptoms but will remain a silent carrier. Humans contract the virus through the handling of cat poop infected by the parasite, and accidentally ingesting it.
Toxoplasma gondii can be fatal for the unborn child of a pregnant woman. That’s why expecting mothers are advised not to handle cat litter.
Rats and mice may also carry plague , and cats might be infected by eating the meat of infected animals.
Some rodents also carry a rare bacterial infection called leptospirosis. When your kitty brings an infected rodent, it exposes you to the diseases because humans are susceptible.
The bacteria can cause liver disease in humans.
Hantavirus is another yet another harmful virus that can lead to a serious health complication in humans when exposed to an infected rodent.
Furthermore, your kitty may eat a mouse that has eaten rat poison. The result is a condition called rodenticide which is highly toxic to cats. Seek help immediately from your vet if you suspect your kitty has ingested a cat exposed to rat poison.