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Do All Cats Kill Mice

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Not all cats are good at hunting and killing mice.
  • Cats that still hunt for fun may play with their prey and not always eat or kill it.
  • Factors such as breed, sex, age, and temperament can affect a cat's hunting ability.
  • The scent of cats can keep mice away, as mice are often afraid of the smell of cat urine and litter.
  • Some cat breeds, such as American Shorthair, Maine Coon, Siberian, Siamese, Chartreux, Japanese Bobtail, Burmese, Persian, and Turkish Angora, are known for their hunting skills.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Saturday 9 December 2023
Last updated on
Monday 30 October 2023
Do All Cats Kill Mice
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Cats have been part of urban areas for centuries because of their skill as mouse hunters. After all, the cat vs. mouse rivalry is present in idioms and cartoons around the world for centuries as the classic predator-prey relationship. If want to learn more about cats’ skills as mousers and whether all cats kill mice, keep reading.

Do All Cats Kill Mice?

Cats are not all good at killing mice. Many no longer hunt because they considered pets for hundreds of years, but those that still do it for fun. Some cats don’t eat their prey, and sometimes they don’t even kill it when they go hunting. Torturing and playing with their catch is common among indoor-outdoor cats who don’t have the opportunity to catch live prey. 

Most people agree that a cat’s breed, sex, age, and temperament affect whether or not it is good at killing mice. For example, the popular Maine Coon was originally bred to kill mice but has lost its reputation as a mouse killer. In contrast, breeds like the Birman and Ragdoll are considered calm and relaxed.

In contrast, evidence has shown that the smell of your cat might be enough to keep mice away. You could put treats in parts of the house where you want your cat to pay more attention, like the parts of the basement where you hear little feet running.

Mice are often afraid of the smell of cat urine and litter. Research shows that mice will go in the opposite direction when they smell this scent. On the other hand, mice exposed to the chemical composition of cat pee early in life are less likely to avoid the fragrance of cats later in life.

According to studies, mice exhibit a physiological reaction to this cat-specific chemical. A mouse’s neurons detect the smell of cat litter, resulting in a rise in stress hormones. When a pregnant mouse smells cat urine, it either aborts its fetus or gives birth to a small litter.

How Do I Choose A Cat Who Kills Mice?

If you live in or near a rural area, find a farm with a litter of barn cats. These kittens have probably killed a few animals because they learned how to hunt by watching their mothers. You can also use the factors below to choose one:


A cat’s behavior can reveal a lot about its hunting instincts. Does the cat appear to be aware of its surroundings? Is it simple to grab its interest? If so, you could be looking at a fantastic mouser or ratter.

Cats are often thought to be disinterested and aloof, but the truth is more complicated. Some cats with the most refined instincts will be attentive, with their ears constantly swiveling and their trained eyes always looking for a new target.


Keep an eye on the cat’s behavior. You will be able to tell whether it has finely tuned hunting instincts without a doubt. Strong hunters will observe every movement with interest, even if they do not act on it. They will follow your hand or a piece of lint as it blows by, and you might even get the impression that they are keeping an eye out for those roughhousing kids.

While you can detect some of their hunting instincts, they occasionally seek support in bringing them to the fore. Play a little laser pointer or aluminum foil ball with the cat. If it chases you, you know it will not be long before it turns into a mouse-hunting machine.


Sometimes you can tell where a rescue came from. It could have grown up on a farm or been found on the street. Depending on where a cat came from, its background might make it better suited to living outside than indoors. If you find a cat that used to live where mice and rats like to hang out, it probably grew up hunting smaller animals and could be a good tool for getting rid of mice.

Try to spend as much time as you can with any cats you consider bringing into the family, especially if you have young children. Some cats you meet will have strong hunting instincts but will not be very friendly. Some people will have the opposite set of qualities. Others will have both of them, which is a very valuable combination. Take your time. You are not just giving a mouse home you also want to find a friend.

What Are The Best Cat Breeds For Catching Mice?

We’ve selected some of the finest cat breeds known for their hunting skills, as well as their aptitude for getting rid of mice problems in homes.

American Shorthair

The history of American Shorthairs is long and interesting. People lived with them for about 300 years and were brought to the United States from Great Britain. Urban legend says that there were Shorthairs on the Mayflower and that they helped keep mice out of the food stores so that the pilgrims could eat. In addition to being good hunters, Shorthairs are also very loving, which is why they deserve to be at the top of our list of cat breeds.

Maine Coon

Some of the best hunters among cat breeds are Maine Coons. In the 1800s, people liked these cats because they could catch mice, rats, and other pests on farms and ships. When Maine Coons have access to the outdoors, they catch a lot of different kinds of wildlife.

Maine Coons grew up naturally in the United States, where they had to adapt to the snowy, cold climate to stay alive. These big cats are very smart and good at solving problems. They also think ahead better than other cat breeds. This makes them better at choosing what to hunt and when and how to sneak up on it.


Another kind of cat that excels at capturing mice is the Siberian. They are huge enough to handle even the largest rats when dealing with a rat infestation. The average adult Siberian weighs around 20 pounds.

They are native to the coldest regions of Russia and Siberia. This is why many Siberians choose to wear such luxuriously thick furs. Incredibly, such massive felines can move with such grace and agility. Additionally, they are suitable as housepets.


The Thai royal family has a long-standing preference for Siamese cats, renowned for their ability to hunt rodents. The modern version of this regal cat breed retains its legendary abilities as a hunter, easily sniffing out and eliminating rodents and other pests. The Siamese has a worldwide reputation as excellent mouser.


The Chartreux is an extremely rare cat breed, particularly in the United States. As a result, breeders set high prices for these pets. That’s too bad because these cats have so much more to offer than just being pretty and cuddly. They are also expert hunters!

The Chartreux cat matures slowly and may only reach full maturity once it is three years old. When hunting, this muscular, energetic breed enjoys stalking prey.

Japanese Bobtail

The Japanese Bobtail cat is not native to Japan but rather Korea. These friendly felines were bred to eliminate rodent populations in silk factories. Before the introduction of the Japanese Bobtail, rodent control in Korea’s silk factories was a constant challenge.

Japanese Bobtails make great companion cats, as they are both smart and loving. The breed does best in active households with many people to play with and pet them. However, owners should be wary about pairing this cat with another breed because it can be a bit of a control freak. On the hunt, however, you will be glad for your superiority.


Burmese cats are more likely to act on their instincts than any of the other breeds presented here. They do well in places where they can get a regular meal, such as libraries, homes, and workplaces. In exchange, you can hire out their mouse-catching skills. The Burmese cat is ideal for a household with kids because it is friendly, playful, and smart.


Persian cats, like many other breeds, have a playful side. Despite their lackadaisical attitude, they’ve been a fan favorite at cat shows since the 1800s. Some people call them “furniture with fur” in a humorous sense.

Even so, we feel it’s important to include this well-known breed. Persians are known for their above-average intelligence, and the females are particularly skilled at catching mice.

Turkish Angora

The Turkish Angora is a naturally occurring cat breed that originated in Turkey. This allows them to develop a keen sense of smell, incredible speed, and balance while hunting.

Thanks to their high IQ, Turkish Angoras can quickly become a treasured family pet. They form strong relationships with their owners and thrive in the spotlight. However, they will also guarantee that no mouse will again set up permanent residence in your territory.

How Do Cats Kill Mice?

When cats hunt rodents, they will play with their prey to tire it out before killing it. Mice and rats will fight for survival by biting. Cats have a variety of methods for capturing prey. A variety of factors influence your cat’s behavior. The prey’s size, energy levels, and personal safety will all be considered.

Many cats prefer to bat prey with their paws. The goal is to exhaust the small animal. The more severe the physical punishment, the less likely a mouse will escape. Rodents’ bones are also thin and brittle. During this interaction, the spine could be shattered.

Cats will also throw mice into the air. This is frequently a death blow. If the mouse lands hard on the ground, it will be crushed to death. If the prey survives, it will be dazed enough for a cat to take its life quickly.

The majority of cats hunt alone, but some hunt in groups. This is especially common in kittens. In such cases, the cats may team up to catch prey. They will bat the animal between their paws, passing it from one to the other. The cats believe that there is safety in numbers.

Seeing a cat play with prey can be upsetting. However, do not intervene because you will endanger your health. In self-defense, either the cat or the prey may bite you. The cat’s instincts will also be frustrated, and it may become aggressive toward you.

Furthermore, the prey animal will have already been harmed. Even if the rodent can limp away, it will be severely injured. This means it will die regardless, but it will take longer and be more painful. Allowing the cat to finish is more efficient, cleaner, and humane.

Is It Okay For My Cat To Eat and Kill A Mice?

You don’t have to stop your cat from hunting. However, it should not be allowed to interact with or consume any rodents it kills. The pros and cons of allowing your cats to eat mice are detailed below.

Risks of Letting your Cats Eat and Kill Mice

Although most cat owners know the dangers of letting their cats hunt mice, some may not know that this can lead to a big vet bill. Here are some risks that you should be aware of:


A rat infestation can spread many harmful diseases to humans and cats, including hantavirus, leptospirosis, and a condition known as rat-bite fever. The entire household is at risk if your pet cat eats a rat.

Toxoplasmosis is a disease that could infect your cat (the reason why pregnant women are instructed to avoid litter boxes).


Ticks usually live on mice. Unlike fleas, which go from being born to eating blood to dying, ticks need two hosts. They are born, find an intermediate host (usually a mouse), fall to the ground, and then find their final host, humans or pets. A mouse is often their first host. If your cat hangs out with the tick host in your area, it could bring ticks into your house. Your cat could get Lyme disease.


Despite the effectiveness of poisons for mice, rats do not die immediately when they eat them. It can take several days for the poison to kill the rodent, during which time your cat could easily find and eat the poisoned animal.

Advantages of Letting Your Cat Find and Eat Mice

Although it is not a good idea, here are a few reasons why your cat might benefit from hunting mice:


Most cats will be happier if you let them continue to practice their natural behaviors and allow them to maintain their feline identity. Satisfied cats with somewhere constructive to channel their excess energy are less likely to resort to destructive or offensive behaviors like inappropriate toileting or furniture destruction.

Better than an Exterminator

Using your cat to catch unwanted household visitors is fairly common. It is non-poisonous rodent control that is gentler on the pest than a sticky or snap trap. The cat does not always need to catch the mouse to have the desired effect of driving the pest away. The mere presence of a cat is often enough to evict squatting rodents.

Do All Cats Kill Mice: FAQs

If you have any questions about whether all cats kill mice, you can check our FAQ for more information.

Why do cats chase and kill mice?

Mice are often on the menu for cats because they are small, easy to catch, and do not struggle much, just like birds. Cats are relentless stalkers who pounce when their prey is weak.

Do cats eat mice or just kill them?

Mice are on the menu for felines, along with rats, other small mammals, and even certain birds. When cats play with their food, they are actually practicing hunting.

Why do cats bring mice as a gift?

It is also a compliment if your cat brings you mice and dead animals. According to cat behaviorist Anita, cats will carry home the prey they have hunted and killed to a location where they feel safe, comfortable, and secure. It could be because they want to share their catch with their family!

Cats prefer to bring their catch of the day back to their territory, which, unfortunately, is your house. This is normal cat behavior that cannot be stopped but can be minimized.

Can cats smell mice?

Cats have extraordinary senses, especially their sense of smell. Cats can detect rodents such as rats and mice by their scents. There are 70,000 scent receptors in a cat’s nose, while humans only have 20,000.

Are cats effective in keeping away pests?

Cats are free pest control options that can be used in addition to traditional ones. Even having a cat will prevent potential pests because their pee and aroma are natural warning signs for mice to avoid.

Should I let my cat eat mice?

Allowing your cats to eat mice is not a smart idea. Cats can become ill from eating rodents, though this is rare. Aside from the potential of poison, mice can also transmit parasites such as roundworms, mites, and fleas. So, if your cat is an adept hunter, we urge that you keep up with monthly parasite prevention.

As you can see, there are as many different points of view on this subject as cats are not all good at killing mice, but some of them still do it for fun. Many older cats have lost their predatory instincts, but domestic house cats may inadvertently lead mice away from your home with their odor alone.

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