I found your info very useful. I’m wondering, are cats helpful in scaring away rodents that are inside a house?
Great question! No doubt lots of people believe this to be the case. But is there any scientific research or testing to confirm or dispel this widespread urban legend? Not that we’re aware of. However, we’ve done a little research on our own… And the results may surprise you!
First, one would think cats to be natural “ratters”. It’s common for cats to kill, retrieve and drag around small animals like mice, birds, lizards, rats, chipmunks and squirrels. But do all cats display this behavior? That would be a definite no. And what % of cats do? Anyone’s guess. I think most don’t have the chance to show they’re capable of doing it and even the few that do aren’t nearly as effective as their owners would like to think.
Which leads me to my next point. Most people who have pets like a dog or cat that routinely retrieve small animals are quick to point out their animal does this all the time. In these situations it becomes clear their pet is sometimes finding animals in their domain. In other words, for house cats that don’t go outside, the rodents are clearly coming inside. And many times the cats are able to get their “prizes” several times a week. This leads us to believe the rodents are “co existing” with the predatory cat or dog. Seemingly they don’t care! And for pets that venture off their land to seek their prey; we have found many of these pet owners to have an ongoing active rodent problem! In other words, we have customers that come to us confused because their pet hunts small animals yet they know they have a rodent infestation and can’t understand how this could be.
All this mixed data leads us to believe that cats and dogs can and will hunt small animals. But once they became domesticated, this hunting behavior became something they didn’t need to use to live or survive. That means it will be “fleeting” at best and not done to the level needed to provide true rodent control or pest elimination. And since we’ve seen case after case of rodents co existing with both dogs and cats that either don’t care or do kill some of the unwanted small animals found in their domain, in neither case do the rats or mice active seem to care. In other words, the pet doesn’t seem to deter or frighten the rodent away. Which explains why more than 50% of our customers with rodent problems own pets! One would think the two might be directly related but I’m pretty sure the relationship is more of a related “interest”. And this interest seems to be food.
No doubt pet food (in all forms) is more of a rodent attractor than the pets are a rodent repeller. This we are 100% sure and base it upon 30+ years of data. As explained in our ROOF RAT CONTROL ARTICLE, pet food is very nutritious and will attract rodents from far away. So to answer your question, I’m 100% there are some cats that can “scare away rodents that are inside a house”. But do all cats scare rodents and are all cats even interested? No way. And are all rodents afraid of cats or other pets? Nope. In fact, it seems as though they are able to gauge whether they should be frightened or not and when they detect a pet that might pose a hazard to them, the rodent will many times avoid the pet but still use the structure to some degree for either food or shelter. So even “rodent hunting pets” – or at least pets that show this trait strong enough to alert rodents to the fact they could be in trouble for hanging around – aren’t able to keep rats or mice away for sure. In the end, this glaring fact means that if wish to keep your property and house rodent free, you’d best follow the guidelines and practices outlined in our rodent control article. Hope this answers your question!!