Mice are very particular about their habitat. If safety and food source is assured, then mice choose the place to be their living space.
They always decide to consider a hole in the house, under the kitchen cabinet, or attic to be their place to live and breed.
Generally, a cat is an effective mice deterrent, and mice can avoid the household just because of the cat’s smell.
But, a cat’s presence does not guarantee that there won’t be any mice in the house. If the food source is minimal, they can still consider any home as their only option.
We will provide all the information you need to understand if mice can sense a cat in the house & why having a cat may solve mice’s problem in your household.
Can mice sense a cat in the house?
Yes, mice sense a cat in the house. The presence of a cat is very apparent for mice. Mice can sense cats in various ways, and it can prevent the mice from choosing one’s household to be their living space.
How can mice sense a cat in the house?
Experts have pointed out three main ways of how mice can sense a cat in the house. We will give a complete overview of each point to explain why cats may be the solution to the mice problem. The three ways how mice sense a cat in a household are-
- Presence of a protein called Mups in cats’ excretion.
- The innate fear towards hunters
- Smell of cat
Mice have a specially enabled sensory organ called the vomeronasal organ in their nose. This organ can detect a special kind of protein called Mups from a long distance, and Mups are present in the cat’s urine or saliva.
Scientists have pointed out that the organ directly connects to a part of the brain, which is involved in memory, emotion, and hormonal release.
The hormonal release triggers fear in mice. Their discovery has shown that mammals have developed this kind of receptor to detect any other species’ presence.
One can observe that animals can communicate with each other using the chemicals present in the pheromone.
It is also their defense mechanism against being eaten by other animals. The chemical signal triggers the vomeronasal organ in mice, and they show tendencies like freezing, staying close to their nest, or investigating their surrounding for predators.
Researchers also suggested that if the vomeronasal organ works perfectly, it can modify itself to sense other animals.
It is how mice can feel a cat in the household. Even a mouse, which hasn’t seen or smelled a cat in its entire life, can fear a cat too. So, we can say mice fear cats from their birth.
It is why cats are one of the best mice deterrents because mice can leave the house even if they can detect the protein in a home.
The fear in mice can also attribute to the hunting behavior of cats. European wild cats and usual household cats used to share the same scientific name until recently.
Now, household cats have their scientific name and considered their species – Felis Catus. So, we can surely assume that they possess similar hunting traits as of their ancestors.
Wild cats and domestic cats have hunted 70% mammals, 20% birds, and 10% other animals, depending upon their habitat’s biodiversity.
So, genetically cats are bound to have the reputation of being rodent hunters. Whereas mice are usual in a city, and cats consider that as their primary food source.
So, mice develop a natural tendency to avoid going near a cat. Despite the instinct to chase mice, cats are not always the best deterrent for mice. We can point out some of the reasons-
- Cats can’t reach all the nesting areas.
- All cats aren’t hunters.
- Mice can be in danger of diseases.
- The fast reproduction cycle of mice
- Cats can’t stop the infestation.
These are the reasons why having a cat does not ensure that the household will be mouse-free. A cat can even ignore a mouse if it is not fond of hunting games.
However, mice have developed a natural fear of cats to avoid facing the hunt, which helps a lot in controlling the mice population in a household.
The hunter-hunted relationship between cats and mice is a big reason mice avoid areas where they can sense cats.
The distinctive smell of cats is also one-way mice can detect the presence of cats in a household.
A mouse can smell a cat from a long distance and avoid the area if they sense a cat in the surroundings. This fear can help to get rid of mice in the household.
If one plays with a cat in places with mice infestation, it leaves traces of its scent in various corners. Mice will avoid those places due to the smell, and one can find a mice-free household.
For example, if mice infest the attic, take your cat and let it play there. It will help in removing the mice from the attic. This solution is not entirely foolproof as mice often decide to overcome cats’ fear and continue to live in the same place.
Tom and Jerry don’t get along because of the hunter’s instinct and hunted working on both sides. The chemical compound Mupspresent in the cat’s urine or saliva stimulates fear in mice.
But it does not ensure a pest-free household. Having a cat will make sure that mice stay hidden and live subtly.
If the hunting cat brings dead mice, it doesn’t mean that the problem is solved. It means that there are mice in the house.
One can follow a rodent and mice control program to deal with mice problems. However, the best way to avoid mice infestation is to prevent them from entering the house in the first place.
References & Citations:
1 ) https://www.bbc.com/news/10117428
Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.