Mice have tortured humanity for thousands of years with their disease-ridden presence. Nothing about mice is pleasant to humans. Which is why, the phrase “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” continues to ring with clarity as much today as it did when it was first coined by Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 1800’s.
While we wait for someone to build a better mousetrap, we can at least get a head start reducing the mouse population by training our cats to be good mousers.
Whether you live on a farm or in an urban high-rise, mice are everywhere. Remember, An American Tale first took place in New York City before the sequel moved the Mouskewitz mice family out west!
Not all cats are born with a desire to catch mice. If you’re hoping to mobilize your cat to attack mice, you first need to follow some basic guidelines.
- Train them while they’re young
The phrase “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” applies to cats, too. Start training your cats when they’re kittens. I once adopted a grown feline from the humane society and was met with only frustration when trying to teach her to catch mice.
- Use toys
You can buy some great toys to help cats find enjoyment in the chase. Pet stores like Petco and Petsuppliesplus.com are good starting points to find toy mice designed specifically for training cats to catch rodents. Even Walmart sells some. One of their best sellers is the SmartyKat Skitter Critters Catnip Cat Toys. For about $6 you get ten toy mice.
- Use real, dead mice
If you can catch a real mouse in a trap, take the dead mouse and let your cat play with it outside on the sidewalk. This will help your cat get accustomed to what a real mouse looks, feels, and tastes like!
- Reward your cat
Anytime your cat successfully catches a mouse, reward her with a treat. This communicates that she did a good job and will help encourage her to continue catching mice. Don’t punish her for dragging a dead mouse into the house. Cats sometimes do this as a “gift” for their owners. If your cat drags a dead mouse inside, though, be sure to clean the spot(s) touched by the dead mouse. Use a pet-friendly cleaner from Melaleuca or Petsmart. From what I’ve read from various Melaleuca reviews and Petsmart reviews, both companies offer great product solutions.
- Place food in mice-infested rooms
If a particular room has a mouse problem, consider keeping the catfood bowl in that room. It will help keep the cat’s presence there, hopefully long enough, to catch mice if/when they choose to reveal themselves.
Mice have always been with us, and they will always be with us. And until someone invents the better mousetrap, one of the best traps we can use is the one that’s withstood the test of time: cats.