As a young kid growing up, one of my favorite cartoons to watch was ‘Tom And Jerry’. Tom is the cat that’s always trying to have Jerry the mouse as a snack.
Needless to say, Jerry was a smart mouse and always gives Tom the slip. However, it always doesn’t happen this way in real life. Mice are a cat’s favorite prey due to their size and many cats have no qualms about killing one for a meal.
Many cat owners have experienced their cats bringing them dead mice as a gift. But what if your cat brought it a mouse that is still alive? Can you still save the mouse?
If your cat has brought in a mouse that is still alive, there is a chance that you can still save it. The first thing that you need to do is to isolate the mouse in a box and get your cat away from it. Mice are very fragile creatures and it doesn’t take much to kill them. You can observe the state of the mouse once it’s in the box to see what needs to be done.
As an animal lover, every life matters. And if you feel the same way, this article will show you how to care for a mouse that your cat caught.
Why Is My Cat Catching Mice?
Truth be told, your cat catching mice comes very naturally to them just like how we will grab something from the fridge when we are hungry.
Even though our indoor cats love having personal food butler, their natural hunting instincts will take over when it sees a small prey like a mouse, squirrel or bird.
It is due to this natural hunting instinct that makes cats pounce on our moving fingers and toes at times.
This is how outdoor cats and feral cats stay alive, by hunting for their food. These cats don’t have an owner to feed them or a refrigerator filled with food to take from.
What Do You Do If Your Cat Catches A Mouse?
If you live in an area that has an open field or close to the woods, it is common for your cat to bring in small dead animals or even dead mice.
The next time your cat decides to catch a mouse, here’s what you should do.
Get Your Cat To Release The Prey
Many cats hunt to kill and the chances of a mouse surviving might be slim. But we will still need to check on its condition.
When my cat brings me a ‘gift’, the insect or animal is already dead on the floor. But there was once when he was actually gently holding a very tiny mouse in his mouth.
I managed to get him to release the mouse by giving him his favorite treat. Don’t try and forcefully pull the mouse from your cat’s mouth as that can do more harm.
If your cat is playing with the frightened mouse or has its paws on it, carry your cat away and put it in another room for now.
Check The Condition Of The Mouse
Before handling the mouse, I would strongly suggest that you put on a pair of gloves and do it outside where it is well-ventilated.
Wild animals can carry diseases and parasites which you don’t want to be catching.
If the mouse is still moving and doesn’t seem injured, put it in the container with some food and water. You can feed the mouse stuff like rice, grains, cornflakes, etc. Just make sure there’s no salt in it.
You can even make the mouse a little bed with shredded tissue paper for it to rest comfortably.
Seek Medical Attention
If you noticed that the mouse isn’t doing too well or is showing signs of external injury, a visit to the vet can help with its recovery. The poor mouse might need some antibiotics or medication to get well.
Refrain from handling the mouse too much if possible as they are very sensitive to stress and don’t like being handled.
You can also try asking your local wildlife rescue center for advice about the inured mouse. They might ask you to bring the mouse in for an examination.
Can A Mouse Survive Being Caught By A Cat?
Based on my experience, the chances of most mice surviving are slim if there are already signs of external injuries like a puncture wound or bleeding.
Given the fragile nature of such animals, many mice would have probably suffered some internal injuries like broken bones or nerve damage after being tossed around by the cat.
If the mouse doesn’t show any improvements in its movement after a few hours, I doubt it will survive much longer without medical treatment.
But if the mouse shows signs of recovery and is eating well, you can release it back into the wild after a day or two.
In the unfortunate event that the mouse doesn’t make it, put the dead mouse in a plastic bag and dispose of it in your bin outside. Do not bury the mouse in your garden as your cat has the ability to find it with its keen sense of smell and dig it up.
Should I Be Worried If My Cat Catches A Mouse?
I know of many pet owners who are paranoid about their pets catching something from other prey that are wild.
There is always a risk of contamination like internal parasites, toxoplasmosis and leptospirosis when your cat comes into contact with a contaminated wild mouse.
Another real health risk is secondary poisoning. This happens when the mouse that your cat caught has already been poisoned by rat poison or rodenticide. Such poison is strong enough to harm your cat even without eating the mouse.
It might be even worse if your cat ate the mouse.
There’s a story of a dog falling seriously ill just by having a dead mouse in its mouth. This shows how dangerous rat poison can be for our pets when ingested.
If your cat shows symptoms like:
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
You need to take your cat to the vet right away for medical treatment. Something in the mouse is causing an adverse reaction in your cat.
Should I Clean My Cat After He Catches A Mouse?
Even though the thought of our cats handling or even eating a mouse is really yucky, our cat’s bodies can handle it to a large degree.
Your cat’s saliva has antibacterial properties and its digestive system is made for eating such prey. So most cats will be fine.
But just to be safe and to feel less icky about having your cat on your bed, you can disinfect your cat’s paws with some saline solution and clean its mouth with a damp cloth.
There’s no need to go overboard and start treating your cat like it has been contaminated with radioactive waste.
How Do I Stop My Cat From Catching Mouse?
As a cat owner, I really dislike my cat going about trying to catch live prey. There’s no telling how contaminated and infected these wild animals are.
Here are some ways that you can help to curb your cat’s outdoor killing spree.
Keep your Cat Indoors
This is by far the most the best way to stop your cat from running into wild animals and seeing some of them as food. An indoor cat can sit by the window and admire all the wildlife but allowing it out isn’t an option.
Letting your cat out isn’t the best idea for our domestic cat breeds. They can run into a whole lot of trouble such as:
- Being hit by a car
- Attacked by other animals
- Eating and drinking contaminated food
- Getting stolen
Furthermore, I have heard so many sad stories of family cats running away once they are let outside.
Be a responsible pet owner and keep your cat healthy and safe indoors.
Let Your Cat Wear A Bell Collar
If you do allow your cat to roam outdoors, I would suggest that you let your cat wear a bell collar. This allows the mouse to hear your cat as it approaches the mouse giving it ample time to escape.
Not only does the bell help to alert the mouse of the cat’s presence, it also serves as a warning bell for other potential prey.
Cats are known to be serial hunters when they are outdoors. In fact, cats are responsible for the deaths of billions of birds and small critters in the United States alone.
This can have a heavy impact on the population of some wildlife species, even to the extent of causing some species to go extinct.
Cats can easily decimate bird wildlife by eating their eggs in the wild and killing their chicks in the nest.
When choosing the collar, make sure that the bell is loud enough to be heard and that it’s a break-away collar. This allows the cat to snap the collar apart if it gets caught onto something.
Satisfy Your Cat’s Pet Drive
Given that our cats are natural hunters with a strong prey drive, we can help our cats scratch that itch by simulating hunting sessions at home.
Get your cat a mouse toy of a feathered toy which you cat can chase, stalk and pounce on. This helps your cat blow off some predatory stream and make it more well-behaved.