Author Topic: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in  (Read 2058 times)

gibbo

  • Riding for fun, cake and beer.
    • Boxford Bike Club
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?


Over-feed your cat at home until it becomes fat and lazy.

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
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

Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

gibbo

  • Riding for fun, cake and beer.
    • Boxford Bike Club
we even had a bat one night!

A bat here too  :facepalm:

MikeFromLFE -  I hope you're right about growing out of it...

Pingu

  • Put away those fiery biscuits!
  • Mrs Pingu's domestique
    • the Igloo
Don't let her out at night.

gibbo

  • Riding for fun, cake and beer.
    • Boxford Bike Club
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.

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.

Isn’t this why some cats have bells?

(Or is that just because their horns don’t work?)
L'enfer, c'est les autos.

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.


 
Cats to the left of me, cats to the right of me, cats sitting on my keyboard making far more sense than I do.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Frog, rabbit, snake, mole.

The last two were the hardest to repatriate...
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #10 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/
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

gibbo

  • Riding for fun, cake and beer.
    • Boxford Bike Club
Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #11 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!

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #12 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.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #13 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.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #14 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.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #15 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.

Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #16 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.

Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #17 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.


gibbo

  • Riding for fun, cake and beer.
    • Boxford Bike Club
Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #18 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.

Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #19 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.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #20 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.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #21 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.
!nataS pihsroW

caerau

  • SR x 3 - PBP fail but 1090 km - hey - not too bad
Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #22 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!

It's a reverse Elvis thing.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2019, 10:19:55 am »
One of our cats first catches was an earthworm

He was very proud of it.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

caerau

  • SR x 3 - PBP fail but 1090 km - hey - not too bad
Re: My cat is a prolific hunter aka how do I stop her bringing live mice in
« Reply #24 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  ;)
It's a reverse Elvis thing.