How to Train Your Cat to be a Better Mouser

As a homeowner and potential pet owner, you’re probably looking for a few ways to keep your castle from being overrun by pesky rodents. There are many ways to do this, but one of the oldest and most trusted methods is to use a feline companion to do the job.

But this method is not as simple as just swiping a stray cat off the street and letting him run wild through the house. Here are a few pointers to help you train your cat to become the ultimate mouse-eliminating machine.

Step 1: Pick the right cat.

Not all cats are good at catching mice. Some could even be considered lousy. In reality most cats are wired for hunting, but there are some breeds that simply do a better job than most. To list a few:

  • Maine coon
  • Siamese
  • Manx
  • American shorthair (orange tabby is ideal)
  • Siberian
  • Japanese bobtail
  • Burmese
  • Persian
  • And many others

Step 2: Train the cat.

Some would argue that this step isn’t necessary. In some ways they’re right. But as someone who grew up with cats, I can tell you that there’s nothing wrong with a little extra practice. Plus it will help you bond with your new housemate and earn their trust.

For starters, you’ll want to buy the appropriate mouse toys. Something that squeaks when it moves is best (to mimic mice behavior) but anything that resembles a mouse is fine. Once you’ve acquired such toys, give them to your cat and let the fun begin. If you’re dealing with a cat that needs a little incentive, tie a string around the toy and have them chase you around the house.

Next, you’ll want your cat to be properly fed for the hunt. A good mouser will be fed just to the point of being hungry, but not overfed in the slightest. You’ll want your hunter to be in prime shape and always looking out for the next meal. Don’t feed your cat at regular intervals either, always make it random to keep them off guard. And when you suspect a mouse in the house, dial back the meals just a bit to encourage the hunt. BUT DON”T STARVE YOUR CAT!

A final point to make: when your cat brings you the dead mouse, be sure to reward him/her generously to encourage future catches. Positive reinforcement goes a long way for a cat, so be sure to keep some cat treats on hand for such an occasion. However, if you use the treats too much, you might make your cat lazy and spoiled, and the only thing that benefits is the mouse who invades your home. Not good!

A few final tips to consider:

  • Teach your cat to set mouse traps. Sure, this might be    impossible, but why not try? Some people train their cats to do incredible things, so why not up the ante a little?
  • Have your cat watch the movie “Mouse Hunt.” A good laugh for you and a training video for your cat, Mouse Hunt (1997) is the perfect film to show your cat if you want to teach them what NOT to do when chasing after mice.
  • Teach your cat a little humility. Nobody likes being woken up at three in the morning with a dead mouse dropped on their bed sheets and their cat staring them in the eye. This is the end result of using toys to train them, but there is a way to make this result disappear: train your cat to use a proper burial unit in your home. This could be a bathroom waste basket, the toilet (you’ll have to train them to flush) or an outside area if your cat is an indoor/outdoor hunter. Again, this is where the treats come in handy.

However, if you don’t like cats in your home or your cat fails to do its job, just give us a call at 517-202-5543 (ext. 102). We offer interior trapping services and exterior year-round baiting programs. We’ll get the job done for you, because we love this stuff!