Chances are you don’t know where that mouse has come from and so, by allowing your cat to eat that mouse you are only risking your pet to potential parasites, infections, or secondary poisoning.
Which is why you shouldn’t let your cat eat mice.
This may have raised concerns like:
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Can Cats Get Sick from Killing Mice?
They most certainly do.
Historically, up until a few decades ago, cats were adopted primarily as mousers.
Even so, a mouser cat is likely to survive for only two years.
Contrarily, a cat living on a balanced diet will outlive a mouser, say for about fifteen years.
This clearly represents the damage a cat may endure by eating mice.
Despite that, a ground-up mouse is far more nutritious than any commercial cat food.
But a cat that eats mice is liable to unknown diseases as rats are carriers of pests and infectious agents.
If your cat encounters even a dead mouse, it will contract the disease from that mouse by being a new host for pests and infections.
Now you may be wondering:
What Kind Of Diseases Mice Can Transfer?
An infected mouse is a threat to both you and your cat’s safety.
Mice tend to act as vectors of parasites, infections, or to cause secondary poisoning.
Rodents commonly spread the following parasites:
These are the most prevalent parasites that shift from mice to cats.
Adult roundworms live in cat intestines however, their larvae persist in muscles.
A typical roundworm is about 8-12 inches long and looks somewhat like a grain of rice.
You can see these on your cat’s fur especially around the anal region or in the cat litter.
A roundworm-infested cat may experience extreme diarrhea, vomiting, or weight loss.
I suggest you immediately call your vet for deworming otherwise roundworm infestation may lead to permanent liver damage.
Flea bites spread Yersinia pestis which is the causative agent of the “Black Plague”.
However, this rarely transfers from a cat to its owner.
Nevertheless, flea bites may result in your cat having swollen lymph nodes, muscle soreness, fever, or cough.
On occasions, flea bites may lead to pus-filled lesions in your cat’s mouth.
Therefore, it’s best to treat fleas as soon as possible.
Ticks are normally not lethal for cats, however, can easily transfer through cats to their owners or other pets.
Tick bites often cause Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, especially among dogs.
Mice also transmit lice or tapeworms to the cats.
These infestations may be closely linked to diseases like bartonellosis or anemia.
2. Infectious Diseases
Rats can directly infect a cat with bacterial or viral infections. Most notably:
In cats, toxoplasmosis is usually symptomless.
However, some show signs like diarrhea, depression, or loss of appetite.
Also, the treatment won’t clear the infection rather turn it into dormant cysts, that may persist in muscles for a lifetime.
- A cat exposed to toxoplasma will not get re-infected.
- An infected cat will only excrete the next phase of the toxoplasma life cycle for only up to two weeks.
Besides, this infection is not detrimental to cats. However, it is a cross-species infection and so, it can transfer to humans.
This infection is precisely why pregnant women are prohibited from cleaning cat litter boxes.
Well, the causative agent Toxoplasma gondii is notorious for causing fetal disabilities or miscarriage.
Furthermore, it may cause nerve damage to immunosuppressed people.
So, if you so much as suspect toxoplasma,
I suggest you rush to your vet.
However, mice are not the only responsible source of toxoplasma. Others include:
- Undercooked or raw meat
- Unwashed vegetables
- Contaminated soil
So, if your cat mostly lives outdoor, it may already be infected.
So, mouse or no mouse, always be cautious of cat litter.
That’s why I have recommended in my other articles to purchase a automatic litter box
That way you’re not touching cat litter at all
[su_note radius=”4″]You can have a read of my article – Cat litter ammonia poisoning [/su_note]
Humans and Dogs are more susceptible to this virus.
However, your cat may expose you by bringing in an infected mouse.
Though, leptospirosis only causes flu-like symptoms.
Hantavirus may cause fever among some cats. However, a cat may risk your health by bringing dead infected mice to your doorstep.
3. Secondary Poisoning
Your domestic cat is highly unlikely to be a trained hunter, especially if it lives mostly indoors.
So, maybe that mouse in your cat’s mouth was exceptionally slow.
Of course, that mouse wasn’t some old geek with a walking cane.
Besides, mice rarely get the chance to live through old age.
Odds are, that rat was slowed down by ingesting some poison.
Traditional rat poisons like Ratsak and Talon, inhibit blood clotting.
After ingesting poison, it takes about two days for a rat to die from internal bleeding.
If your cat has engulfed such as a poisoned rat, it will lead to secondary poisoning.
This poisoning may manifest itself in the form of uncontrolled seizures, pale gums, gastrointestinal issues, or even drunkenness. So,
If you so much as suspect that a mouse was poisoned, I encourage you to rush to the vet.
Hopefully, your cat will recover from any such incidents.
You must think that only a hungry cat will eat a mouse, however, even well-fed cats eat mice.
Why Do Well-Fed Cats Eat Mice?
It’s probably because cats are born hunters.
Or maybe it’s just to get Taurine.
You see, taurine is an essential amino acid.
Unlike other animals, cats cannot produce taurine and so, the only way to have taurine is by consuming meat.
This makes that cats obligate carnivores.
Without taurine, a cat can go blind or even turn up dead.
Naturally, all commercial cat foods are now fortified with taurine.
That said, the heart of a mouse is rich in taurine. Therefore, cats have evolved to eat small mammals like rodents.
Maybe it’s just survival instinct kicking in that makes a well-fed cat eat mice.
Though, it’s not necessary that your cat will eat the mouse it just captured.
Now you may be wondering:
Do Cats Eat Mice Or Just Kill Them?
For a wild cat, food choices are limited.
Therefore, it would not normally pass the opportunity to eat a mouse.
But, a domesticated cat will probably just play with the mouse and not eat it.
Cause a small rodent is mentally stimulating and playing with it satiates a cat’s feline instincts.
Obviously, when a cat plays with a mouse, it usually ends up dying.
Furthermore, hunting is a feline instinct.
However, eating a mouse is a learned behavior.
So maybe your cat doesn’t see the mouse as food at all.
Unless your cat tastes the mouse and likes it, it will probably just kill a mouse in the name of playing with it.
Though, if you regularly add mice to your cat’s diet, you may observe a cat playing with the mouse before devouring it.
Related article – How does a cat kill a mouse?
Want to learn how you can stop your cat from eating mice?
Carry on reading..
How Do I Stop My Cat From Eating Mice?
The minute your cat held that mouse in its mouth, the mouse is toast.
There is nothing much you can do now.
But, you can take the following steps to reduce the chances of your cat eating a mouse:
- Set humane mouse traps to minimize mice around your place.
- Cats being nocturnal animals hunt during the dark. So, keep your cat indoors during the night and early morning hours.
Lock the cat door if you must.
- Lessen your cat’s outdoor tours.
- Tie a bell around your cat’s neck to scare away any prospective prey.
- Keep your cat well-fed.
- Buy cat toys or games to keep your cat mentally stimulated.
If you absolutely must distract your cat from eating a mouse, use some laser pen or a softball.
[su_note radius=”4″]You’ll find my article How to keep a house cat entertained useful so have a read! [/su_note]
Wrapping It Up
Since you don’t know where a mouse may have come from, it’s best to not let your cat eat it.0
Mice are carriers of flea or tick infestations as well as toxoplasmosis.
Furthermore, with an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you may not know what kind of risks a mice may pose to both you and your cat’s safety.