Many people like to have cats around to help keep rodent populations under control. However, there can be disadvantages to using house cats for the purpose of killing mice and rats. Below are some considerations to keep in mind before obtaining a cat to use as a rodent-fighting pet.
Risk of Disease and Injury
Mice and rats are known carriers of a variety of diseases, including Hantavirus, hemorrhagic fever, tularemia, and salmonellosis. In addition, mice and rats are often infested with fleas and ticks, and these tiny pests can also carry a host of illnesses — some of which are deadly to humans and cats alike.
If house cats come in contact with infected mice and rats, they may contract a disease or carry it into the home and make members of the household ill. The fleas and ticks may also transfer from rodents to the cats and gain a foothold in the home.
Disease is not the only danger posed to house cats; cats may be injured in encounters with mice and rats. Both of these rodent species have sharp incisors that can inflict deep bites. These bites can become infected and cause serious injury to cats as a result.
Some Cats Simply Won't Hunt
Many house cats are natural-born predators, but individual cats vary in their ability and desire to hunt down prey. Though it is common for mother cats to teach their kittens to hunt and kill mice and other small prey, not all kittens respond to the training.
In addition, centuries of domestication have reduced hunting instincts in house cats. Even cats that demonstrate prey-locating behavior may do nothing when confronting mice and rats. In fact, some cats may respond in fear and flee from their prey.
Worse, even if a house cat does hunt and catch a mouse or rat, they may not kill it. House cats are known to carry their live prey into homes and may allow the mice or rats to escape.
Rapid Reproduction Rate of Mice and Rats
Both mice and rats are able to reproduce rapidly. The gestation period for these rodents is only about three weeks, and females can birth multiple litters per year. In fact, it is not uncommon for female mice to produce well over fifty offspring per year.
This fast population growth creates a significant obstacle for cats that hunt. Most house cats aren't able to catch and kill mice and rats fast enough to keep up with increases in the rodent population. Even the most willing cat is likely to fall short in making a sizable dent in your rodent population.
Cats Don't Address the Causes of Rodent Problems
Another reason why house cats aren't the answer for mice and rat problems is that they fail to address the root causes. Mice and rats are well-adapted to living in homes with humans, and it doesn't take much for them to find comfortable spots to live, reproduce and feed.
In addition, mice and rats are proficient at locating ways to enter homes. They are known to enter through openings no thicker than a fraction of an inch, and rodents can also exploit other entry points by chewing their way through wood or other materials.
A house cat will not prevent mice and rats from being able to enter a home, and once the pest is inside, it can be impossible for cats to catch them if the mouse or rat hides in a confined area.
Cats are wonderful companions, but the reality is much of the time they aren't sufficient for mice and rat control. Instead, be sure to contact Nick's Pest Management Inc. for assistance. The professionals at Nick's can effectively eliminate a rodent problem quickly, without putting your cat and household at risk.
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