Yet Another Cycling Forum

Random Musings => Miscellany => Where The Wild Things Are => Topic started by: gibbo on April 25, 2019, 08:06:53 am

Title: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: gibbo on April 25, 2019, 08:06:53 am
My cat, who's now about 18 months old, has over the last year perfected her hunting skills to the point where almost every single night she'll bring into the house a live mouse. She either plays with them until they die or they hide up and I catch them and return them to the wild. She doesn't eat them. I spent over an hour last night trying to catch a mouse and then this morning had to return a bird to its maker. Suspect the bird thing will only increase as the fledglings come.

She's chipped and we have a cat flap that's programmed to open/ close just for her so she free roams any hour of the day and night.

Anyone got any ideas on how to stop her bringing her prey in?

Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: De Sisti on April 25, 2019, 08:32:08 am
Over-feed your cat at home until it becomes fat and lazy.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: MikeFromLFE on April 25, 2019, 08:32:12 am
The bad news : I don't think you can stop this behaviour. The good news : I believe your cat will grow out of doing this.
I say this based on our experience of The 5kg Killing Machine who, as an adolescent went through the same tiresome killing spree as you are experiencing - we even had a bat one night! And then it stopped. I'm sure other more reassuring cat-psychology centred views will be along soon, but Bob no longer kills stuff (or at least he doesn't bring them home)

Sent from my Moto E (4) Plus using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: gibbo on April 25, 2019, 08:35:39 am
we even had a bat one night!

A bat here too  :facepalm:

MikeFromLFE -  I hope you're right about growing out of it...
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Pingu on April 25, 2019, 08:41:19 am
Don't let her out at night.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: gibbo on April 25, 2019, 08:45:38 am
Don't let her out at night.

We've tried - she gets really pissed off and starts scratching the carpets etc. She gets the same when it snows or rains hard.

Might have to give it another go though.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Ham on April 25, 2019, 08:53:48 am
Our (ex-feral) moggie is a mouser, but it goes in phases matching the proliferation of prey. While she isn't up to the volume of your haul, that's more likely to do with your location. All in all, being mouse free is one of the limited tangible benefits of cat ownership, I'd jut go with it. And, be thankful you have half-dead mice to deal with as opposed to half dead mice, which are in an alternative yukkk space.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Paul on April 25, 2019, 08:56:31 am
Isn’t this why some cats have bells?

(Or is that just because their horns don’t work?)
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: essexian on April 25, 2019, 08:59:01 am
The bad news : I don't think you can stop this behaviour. The good news : I believe your cat will grow out of doing this.
I say this based on our experience of The 5kg Killing Machine who, as an adolescent went through the same tiresome killing spree as you are experiencing - we even had a bat one night! And then it stopped. I'm sure other more reassuring cat-psychology centred views will be along soon, but Bob no longer kills stuff (or at least he doesn't bring them home)


This. They do tend to grow out of it eventually: normally around 3 or 4 based upon the kittens we have had recently (Purrdee the new kitten on the block hunts but hasn't caught anything yet! She is aiming high and trying squirrels first!). They seem to decide that sleeping is far more fun than killing and just stop.

And...if we are playing top trumps on the killing side, we had a bat once which went unnoticed for a week for a week until CBH got so fed up with the smell....she thought it was me....that she went searching for the source and found the remains. We also had a dead pigeon half way through the cat flap and a live magpie in the living room.
 :facepalm:

We have a couple of humane mouse traps which we use when there is a live one brought into the house. They work well when baited with a little peanut butter.


 
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Jaded on April 25, 2019, 09:00:38 am
Frog, rabbit, snake, mole.

The last two were the hardest to repatriate...
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Kim on April 25, 2019, 10:22:38 am
Camera and neural network controlling the catflap, so it only lets her in if she isn't carrying anything.  Computer vision software left as an exercise for the reader.

https://lmb.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/people/ronneber/cvflap/
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: gibbo on April 25, 2019, 10:24:06 am
Camera and neural network controlling the catflap, so it only lets her in if she isn't carrying anything.

https://lmb.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/people/ronneber/cvflap/

I had thought of that myself - didn't know it already existed!
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Kim on April 25, 2019, 10:32:05 am
Camera and neural network controlling the catflap, so it only lets her in if she isn't carrying anything.

https://lmb.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/people/ronneber/cvflap/

I had thought of that myself - didn't know it already existed!

Flo Control (now 404ing) was done in the early 2000s.  The image recognition was fairly crude, and depended on backlighting and constraining the access to the cat-flap (with a short tunnel) so the cat would present a consistent pose to the camera.  I'm sure modern tech could do a better job, but as always with neural nets, it comes down to having the right training data.

I do wonder if weighing the cat with some sensitive and well-filtered scales would work.  "Unexpected mouse in bagging area."  Mass of a mouse is probably within an order of magnitude of a wet cat, though.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: fuaran on April 25, 2019, 10:33:12 am
Cats should not be allowed outside on their own. They can decimate local wildlife populations. Even if not bringing anything in, they are probably still killing and leaving it outside.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: ian on April 25, 2019, 11:33:38 am
The 'decimate local wildlife' things is overstated, generally what they kill leaves a niche. It's only an issue if what they killing is already in low numbers.

Our cats grew out of it, when they were young we had mice, frogs, slow worms, sparrows, pigeons, and a cuckoo, now the only things they can be bothered catching are balls, squeaky toys, and (unaccountably) pyjama bottoms. Cue much miaowing. Cats are ultimately top predators, so hunting is what they do.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Rod Marton on April 25, 2019, 01:52:52 pm
Lock the cat flap at night? I can't think of any other way.
My experience is that cats lose interest in any possible prey when they are indoors, so the only solution is to stop them bringing them in in the first place. Although my current cat enjoys tormenting spiders in the bathroom. Normally he doesn't bring his mice back and leaves them all over the garden, though after we returned from a few days away recently we were presented with a dead mouse on the front doorstep as a welcome home present. Sweet, really, though Mrs Marton didn't seem to appreciate it.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Nuncio on April 25, 2019, 02:25:10 pm
While she isn't up to the volume of your haul, that's more likely to do with your location.
There's your answer, move house.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Flite on April 25, 2019, 02:53:45 pm
None of my cats have ever grown out of catching prey. 

The last one was still fetching voles and the occasional small rabbit in the hatch till a few months before she died aged 24!
The one before was actively hunting the day before he had to go to the vet for investigation and was found to have untreatable cancer, aged only 12.
As well as the usual prey, the current cat is expert at finding adders, but she hasn't tried actually catching one (yet).
 
Their ability to jump over fences with rabbits larger than themselves, and manoeuvre then them through the hatch is pretty amazing.
We do live in an area overrun with rabbits (the gamekeepers kill most of their natural predators like stoats), so the cats are not making a big impression on the overall population.  On the rare times we have been without a resident cat, the garden has suffered.
There is one area in the utility room where eating dead prey is permitted.  She hasn't yet worked out that live offerings tend to disappear.
I've never succeeded in keeping a collar and bell on any cat, and I'm sceptical they are effective as cats tend to be stealthy ambush hunters.
The cat(s) are almost always indoors by dusk, probably exhausted.

Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: gibbo on April 25, 2019, 03:47:32 pm

I've never succeeded in keeping a collar and bell on any cat, and I'm sceptical they are effective as cats tend to be stealthy ambush hunters.

24 - wow!

Was thinking about one of those easy break bell collars for mine but she's never worn one and trying to get her to keep it on will be interesting... again I will have to give it a go as I'm spending way too much trying to capture wildlife in the house.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: rafletcher on April 25, 2019, 03:48:58 pm
Our 1 year-ish old rescue cat came trotting up the garden this morning, with two newly hatched and recently deceased chicks in her mouth. Fortunately she dropped them outside the flap. (We did have one that brought 3 baby bluetits in, and laid them out on the upstairs landing twixt bedroom and bathroom  :hand:)

As other have said, it's seasonal. We've had precious little over the winter - 2 or three chaffinches - but this last week we've already had two voles plus the chicks. And that's just the ones she brings in, I found the remains of a goldfinch in the border whilst gardening on Sunday. This is a well fed cat too.

We tried a cat-safe collar, but she just gets rid of them after a day or so, so bells not an option.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Flite on April 26, 2019, 08:48:51 am
When she was quite young, I put an expensive, bright pink, highly recommended collar and bell on the current cat (Zeppy).
She went out, came back an hour later, never did find the collar.....
After years of practice, I have a well developed technique for catching and if possible releasing live prey. 
The important first move is to remove the predator from the scene...

The 24 year old did well, considering she was made homeless at about 12 years old, and she had a few problems.
She decided to live with us having noticed the abundance of rabbits and places to shelter....

One scary thought is that if Zeppy lives that long, she will probably outlive me.
She is registered with Cat's Protection, they promise to look after her and try to re-home her if anything happens to me.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: ian on April 26, 2019, 10:14:32 am
Never had a cat that hasn't figured out in minutes how to remove a quick-release collar and I wouldn't trust them not to hang themselves otherwise.

The garden is full of slow worms, and they're not exactly difficult to catch, but the cats have given up. They prefer to sit on the windowsill inside and make noises at the magpies.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: caerau on April 26, 2019, 10:16:56 am
Would a slow-worm interest a cat?


I had high hopes our cats would rid our garden of slugs when we first got them.  But if it doesn't move like lightning they don't appear to be interested.  If it does move like that - KILL!

Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Jaded on April 26, 2019, 10:19:55 am
One of our cats first catches was an earthworm

He was very proud of it.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: caerau on April 26, 2019, 11:26:50 am
Ours began with spiders as kittens.


I think yours must be what is technically known as a wuss  ;)
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: ian on April 26, 2019, 01:19:03 pm
Would a slow-worm interest a cat?


I had high hopes our cats would rid our garden of slugs when we first got them.  But if it doesn't move like lightning they don't appear to be interested.  If it does move like that - KILL!

They went through a phase of bringing them in (despite the name they do seem to move fast when a cat is after them). I'd find them everywhere. Mostly just a bit chewed or minus their tail, but occasionally it was a blood bath (they're really quite bloody). Scared the hell out of the cleaner who is scared of snakes. I know, I explained they're lizards, but it didn't really help.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Kim on April 26, 2019, 01:20:43 pm
One of our cats first catches was an earthworm

I had a cat who would regularly bring home earthworms as presents for my mum.  I saw her hunting them once, which was hilarious.  (Jump up and down in the vegetable patch until worms come to the surface, then grab one, bring it in and deposit it at mum's feet.)

There was the occasional bird and small rodent, but those were for her own entertainment, rather than presents.


(I knew a particularly rubbish cat who hunted slugs, presumably because they were the only thing slow enough for her to catch.  I know this because I found a whole one (she had no teeth) in a pile of cat vomit I was cleaning up...)
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: pcolbeck on April 26, 2019, 01:23:29 pm
Our cat is 16 now and doesn't hunt as voraciously as she did when she was young. Unfortunately one of the other village cats has started to leave us gifts on the doorstep. Shows all the signs of wanting to come in the house as well, no idea what's wrong with its current gaff as it looks well cared for.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Kim on April 26, 2019, 01:34:42 pm
Our cat is 16 now and doesn't hunt as voraciously as she did when she was young. Unfortunately one of the other village cats has started to leave us gifts on the doorstep. Shows all the signs of wanting to come in the house as well, no idea what's wrong with its current gaff as it looks well cared for.

Maybe they're friends?  The cat I mentioned above was playmates with one from a couple of houses down the road, and - as we eventually discovered when talking with his humans - they had negotiated a reciprocal visiting/dining arrangement.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Mrs Pingu on April 26, 2019, 02:27:07 pm
Mojo used to bring wasps in.
Live.
In his mouth. Humming.

And then he would come home and release them into our flat.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: ian on April 26, 2019, 05:40:48 pm
They do eat spiders which is especially gross, watching the legs frantically squiggling out the side of their mouths. Moths too, which go down with a troubling amount of crunching.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: pcolbeck on April 26, 2019, 09:30:20 pm
Our cat is 16 now and doesn't hunt as voraciously as she did when she was young. Unfortunately one of the other village cats has started to leave us gifts on the doorstep. Shows all the signs of wanting to come in the house as well, no idea what's wrong with its current gaff as it looks well cared for.

Maybe they're friends?  The cat I mentioned above was playmates with one from a couple of houses down the road, and - as we eventually discovered when talking with his humans - they had negotiated a reciprocal visiting/dining arrangement.

Well it has seen of evil rescue cat (it was a Greek street cat) from next door but one who was terrorising our cat. So maybe it is her friend. She used to be friends with one of the neighbours cats before they moved away. Its complicated in cat world here as we have seven neighbours (long garden and complicated interlocking village plots).
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Tail End Charlie on April 26, 2019, 09:45:55 pm
My cat, aged 16, eats all her prey, usually leaving the spleen and in the case of rabbits, the back legs and tail. She doesn't go after birds now, but there's a constant stream of catches throughout the year. In the last week she's caught two moles and two bunnies.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: MikeFromLFE on April 27, 2019, 09:02:27 am
Cats should not be allowed outside on their own. They can decimate local wildlife populations. Even if not bringing anything in, they are probably still killing and leaving it outside.
I understand your concern.
The biggest change in negative terms in the amount of wildlife in my suburban garden was when the 1930s school close by was replaced by a super-duper modern academy.
The security fence seals us off from the foxes; there are manicured lawns instead of rich feeding grounds full of wild stuff for the birds where the sports field used to be. The developer said there were no bats in the building or grounds, but we see a twentieth of the numbers we used to see on a summer evening. They decimated the trees so we no longer hear woodpeckers, or have the variety of birds we used to get. The wet area at the bottom of the sports field where I think our frogs came from (which we are slowly trying to get back into our pond) has been drained - were there any newts there? Dunno, the report said not, but I doubted it then, and now I know who paid for it.......
So cats = killers, but humans WTF.

Sent from my Moto E (4) Plus using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: caerau on April 27, 2019, 12:17:14 pm
Yup, reminds me of my neighbours who in great horror, ostentatiously signed the anti-tree netting petition that went around last week....whilst having their lawn replaced with artificial grass  ::-)
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: ian on April 29, 2019, 10:50:54 am
There's that strange British obsession with chopping down any tree within sight of their house so they get the 'light' and then having to keep their blinds or curtain closed.

I'm really not sure why every school these days must be surrounded by a prison grade security fence...
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Jaded on April 29, 2019, 12:14:03 pm
That's to stop the pupils getting out to buy pizzas.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Kim on April 29, 2019, 12:20:09 pm
I thought it was Pedobear.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: ian on April 29, 2019, 12:42:24 pm
We used to live next to a school, the actual height of the fence (on top of the existing outbuilding) was about the same height as our two storey house. The pedobear would have to have either trampolined over or been fired into the school by trebuchet. Someone must have a good, lucrative contract to supply these fences, every school now seems to be surrounded by one.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: caerau on April 29, 2019, 12:48:10 pm
They should give Trump a call
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Jaded on April 29, 2019, 12:51:34 pm
I’d imagine that Thomas Hamilton’s actions had some bearing on school fences.
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: ian on April 29, 2019, 02:31:55 pm
Possibly, but fences have gates. Our local school is surrounded by a small mountain of litter anyway. They should fear the trash yeti.

Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: Ginger Cat on May 02, 2019, 03:05:18 pm
Can I borrow your cat please?

I had a nice bed of carrots overwintered and developing well in the polytunnel on the allotment. Then a couple of weeks ago a mouse got in and had them all- nibbled through the top of the carrot.  :( Left a few half-done so could see what it was.

I seriously need a proper mousing cat over at the allotment......

GC
Title: Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
Post by: gibbo on May 02, 2019, 03:17:34 pm
Can I borrow your cat please?

 :D  I'll ask her what the going rate is. In the meantime I spent another hour of my life (and Mrs Gibbo), that I won't get back, extricating another mouse yesterday. Field mouse this time.