Cats are natural predators. They love to hunt toys, bugs, and even small animals if they get the opportunity to. Many people have cats as pets not only for companionship but also to help protect their homes from rodents and other pests (like cockroaches).
Not all cats eat the mice that they catch and kill, but some do. If your cat does eat a rat or mouse, it is unlikely that they will get ill, even if the rodent has been poisoned. The idea of your kitty eating a poisoned mouse might seem scary, but if you know the risks and the signs to look out for, you can have the confidence of knowing that you can handle the situation.
The 3 Steps to Follow After Your Cat Ate a Poisoned Mouse
1. Understand the Risk
While it is possible, it is not commonly reported for a cat to get seriously ill after consuming some or even all of a poisoned rodent. The amount of poison that a rodent must eat to be deadly is much less than what a cat would need. This does not mean that the poison won’t affect your cat in any way, and it is always recommended to contact your vet if you have concerns your cat may have been exposed to a poison.
Poisoning is not the only risk of a dead rat or mouse. These rodents tend to harbor things like mites, roundworms, and even fleas—none of which you want your cat to become infested with. If your cat is your designated rodent hunter, they should receive regular parasite prevention medications and treatments.
2. Keep an Eye Out for Signs
If you notice that your cat has eaten some or all of a rodent, it is a good idea to watch for signs of poisoning or illness for about 48 hours. During this time, your pet may display the following clinical signs if the poison in the rodent has affected them:
If any of these signs arise, contact your veterinarian, and visit an emergency veterinary clinic if possible. But you can relax if no signs of poisoning are displayed during the 48 hours after your cat eats a mouse.
Parasites take longer to settle in and do not pose as much of an immediate danger as poisoning does. However, you should continue to keep an eye out for signs of parasite infestation, which include:
If your cat does get infested with parasites, the problem can typically be treated by a veterinarian. Afterward, your cat will go on to live a happy, healthy, and safe life.
3. Consider Other Forms of Rodent Management
One of the best ways to ensure that your cat does not eat a poisoned mouse is to avoid rodent management options that involve poison to begin with. An effective option is a mechanical “snap trap” that enables you to load it with treats that mice and rats like, such as peanut butter or small pieces of meat. When a rat goes to eat the treat, the trap snaps closed and kills the rodent. This type of trap does require you to clean the trap, but it will ensure that your cat stays safe from poisons of any kind.
Other options include:
The idea is to employ measures to keep rodents out of your house without risking the quality of your pet cat’s health and happiness. There are always different options to turn to if one doesn’t work for you.
While it’s true that cats can become sick after eating a poisoned mouse, few cats become extremely ill, and good veterinary intervetion can help many of these. Cats are at higher risk of contracting a parasitic infestation than anything else. Now, you know the signs to look for if your kitty eats a mouse and what to do about it if you notice any problems.
Featured Image Credit: Viacheslav Lopatin, Shutterstock