You have mice in your house, and you want to get rid of them. The first thing that comes into many people’s heads? Buy a cat. Sounds reasonable. But a moggy could be a big mistake when it comes to getting rid of mice, or preventing mice infestations. Here are five reasons – and some may amaze you!
1. Not all cats catch mice
It is true to say that one main reason cats were domesticated by ancient Egyptians 4,000 years ago was to control mice. However, since then they have learned to enjoy the easy life. With plenty of food in the bowl from doting owners, many fussy felines will simply view mouse chasing as recreation rather than a job.
Sure, some cats are active and efficient ‘mousers’. But their aptitude varies depending on age, sex, variety, upbringing and even current mood.
In general, though, most domestic cats see mice as a bit of fun, and you may find they’re surprisingly half-hearted when you cry out to them: ‘Eek! Mouse! Kill!’
By contrast, ferrets are far more effective. They take ‘micing’ very seriously. But then they don’t like cuddles quite so much, and look a bit like furry snakes. Not a good cat substitute.
2. The smell of cats gets male mice horny
Amazing but true, a pet cat could be a male mouse turn-on. Studies have shown that male mice exposed to cat odours get an increased libido, and suddenly want to make as many babies as possible.
This makes sense from an evolutionary point of view. Back in the day when cats were efficient mice eaters, the smell of a cat was a signal to a male mouse that he’d better help make as many babies as possible, so there is more chance his genes will get passed on.
But, as we now know, cats are not quite the mice-eating machines they once were. So their presence could merely raise the ardour of male mice, and increase the mouse population!
3. Cats cost more than you think
Whilst most cats can be bought for little or no money, the actual running costs of a cat in terms of food, veterinary bills, accessories, accommodation whilst away, extra cleaning, damage to curtains and carpets and the like soon adds up to a considerable sum.
For example, in 2011 Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance quoted the average lifetime cost of owning a cat as being £17,200. Surprisingly, that’s more than a dog, which cost on average £16,900.
If the average cat lifespan is taken as 15 years, that’s £1,146.67 per year! And prices have only gone up in the last five years.
Quite a bit of cash. Especially if it turns out to be a bad-tempered, furniture-scratching, incontinent fur ball. And too busy snoozing to make an effort with your mice problem!
4. Cats need looking after
Yes, they have a reputation for independence. But they still need daily feeds and attention, plus somebody to look after them should you go away for more than a day or two.
You will also have to forgive the occasional vomit and other such ‘surprise’ about the house. You might find you need a high-tech (translate – expensive) vacuum cleaner to get the millions of cat hairs out of the carpets.
Depending on the sex of your cat, you may also find your pet, just like mice, are quite active breeders themselves. With all this going on, there is another key aspect about cats. They do not respond too well to performance management (remember the saying about herding cats).
If your moggy is not a champion mouser in the first week, don’t expect any improvement.
5. Cats may bring mice into the house
This is a particular galling one for the home owner wanting to get rid of mice. Your cat could make the problem worse!
As explained earlier, cats don’t quite have the hunting instinct they once possessed, and they don’t really see mice as food anymore.
However, they will see your home as their home. Therefore, they will feel quite entitled to bring in mice they’ve chanced upon outside, so they have something to play with again on a rainy day.
Two things can then happen.
If you are lucky, you will find dead or dying mice dotted around the house. If you are not, you will find the dead mouse after first smelling it, then hunting high and low for its rotting remains.
Or, the mouse will escape your cat’s clutches and could then set up home in your house! Thank you cat. If you didn’t have a mouse problem before, you do have one now.
So, still thinking about buying a cat to catch a mouse? Thought not. There is only one permanent, safe and guaranteed alternative. Got a mouse problem? SUPERPROOF™ it.
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