Question about pests and cats

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by dogkahuna, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. dogkahuna

    dogkahuna Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We've got a rodent problem on our farm and I think there are enough folks on this site who live in rural areas who might have some advice. We want to get a cat to take care of our problem. Has anyone acquired cats to deal with this issue, and how did you go about it?
     
  2. GoldenFlight

    GoldenFlight Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Yes, a cat should keep the problem well under control.
     
  3. dogkahuna

    dogkahuna Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, we've had a cat on the property performing the task admirably, but the cat moved away with her human. We are looking for advice about installing a new cat into the program now.
     
  4. GoldenFlight

    GoldenFlight Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Sounds like a good idea!!!
     
  5. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rodents. What type? Mice? Rats? Prairie dogs? Beavers? Cats can help with some but not all of those.

    Typically a "rodent problem" refers to mice, and in particular, mice in a building. Most don't care about mice out in the fields. A cat can sure help with this but not all will. Some are too lazy to make good mousers. We just gave a darn good barn cat to someone who needs this type of help, and hopefully the cat will acclimatize to that barn and get to work.

    On the other hand, I've heard that cats won't kill bigger animals like rats, unless they really need to, preferring to live and let live as long as there is enough food to go around, but again, this will depend on the cat. I used to have one that regularly brought down full adult rabbits. But I also had one that refused to hunt, wanted to be fed, and simply could not cut it as a barn cat.

    I think you have to look at the type of rodent you are trying to control, is this in a building or out in a field, and then be careful about the type of cat you introduce. I think (or at least I hope) it goes without saying that whatever cat you get should be spayed or neutered. There are usually local clinics and plans to have it done in a very cost-effective way. You could check at a shelter because sometimes there are basically feral cats that are breeding out of control, so they can be trapped and altered, and then taken to your place. Such a cat would probably do a good job at hunting.
     
  6. dogkahuna

    dogkahuna Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Zoomie! This is exactly what I was looking for. We've got mice in our farmhouse. The cat that used to live here ranged over 2 acres doing her thing and did an excellent job; the mice didn't return for several months. I'm a dog-trainer by trade and am completely on board with neutering.
    We don't have a barn, so our cat would have to stay in our house, which we use to board dogs 350 nights a year. Perhaps a cat with feral origins needs its own "cat-house"? The barn cat archetype is what we're looking for....
     
  7. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm, OK, if you need the mice in the house to be gone, the cat would pretty much have to be in the house, and have access to the whole place, to be effective. It's possible you are going to be better off setting yourself up with traps though. Barn cats are generally wild, you would not want one in your house. Also, some cats are terrified of dogs, again, a barn cat might be like that, so it could be kind of difficult to work that out.

    We have a pretty serious mouse issue because we have the deer mouse here, and joy of joys, they carry Hanta virus. I therefore have to be extremely cautious when cleaning to not create a lot of dust; that is how people usually get Hanta virus, by breathing it in the dust, which has mouse urine in it. Yikes. I have traps set up in all the locations that the mice frequent, and we are slowly tightening up the house so that there are less places where mice can get in. Still, they don't need much of a hole; they say that if you can put a Bic pen in the hole, a mouse can get in there. This is a 150 year old adobe farm house, so it's a challenge to tighten it up but slowly we are getting there.

    There are a lot of traps you can use that won't harm dogs, for example I read on here a great idea of putting a trap inside a shoe box with tiny entrance holes for the mouse cut in it (was it @aart ? Sorry, can't remember...) but there are also multi-catch traps that work by the mouse simply running through a box and not being able to get out the other end. They have no outside moving parts and a dog would be really challenged to get hurt with one of those.

    DO NOT trap a mouse and release it outside. It will probably beat you back inside. They are clever and can find their way back from a surprising distance, so going far away won't work either. If you trap them, kill them. It's the only way to be sure... [​IMG]
     
  8. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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  9. dogkahuna

    dogkahuna Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, RosemaryThyme and Zoomie for helping my thought-process. We're leaning toward adopting a dog-friendly cat with a hunter's reputation to live an indoor/outdoor life.

    So, if anyone has input about indoor/outdoor cats, it would be appreciated. We live on a 5 acre parcel--house is on 2 cleared acres and the other 3 are wooded.
     

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