Is the house safe for kitty?
March 23, 2009 10:23 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine is interested in getting a cat, but is wondering how safe it is because they have been putting out poison for a mice infestation. Suggestions and thoughts?

What we would like to avoid is the cat getting poisoned, particularly by eating mice that have seemingly been unaffected by poison for months. Google says secondary poisoning is possible and reading about it made my blood run cold. My questions are: how likely is this to happen? Is it inadvisable to get a cat? What strategies can people suggest to provide a safe environment for kitty?

My thoughts so far included: cleaning up all the poison that has been put out, waiting a period of time between last poisoning and introducing the cat, and not letting the cat eat mice if it catches any.
posted by Gor-ella to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
I would just remove the rat poison and let the cat have fun with the mice. My guess is that the mice are ignoring the poison so the cat should be fine. YMMV & IANAVeterinarian.
posted by tdreyer at 10:48 AM on March 23, 2009

Where is the poison?

I could not get rid of my mouse problem. So I finally talked to an older woman at the farm co-op. I told her I was worried about killing my cats so I didn't want to use mouse poison. She said she has been using mouse poison for over 20 years and her cats are unaffected. She believes that her cats will not eat a sick or dead mouse, it's against their instincts.

Since mouse pee and poop is really a health hazard I decided to put one small dish of poison in my attic. For the first time I am mouse free. It has been six months and my two cats are fine. I think it is really important to keep track of where and how many poison centers you have. My cats cannot get in the attic. I wouldn't put poison out anywhere my cats could get to it.

We have had no dying mice walk around the main house. They all seem to die in the attic. If I do see my cats killing a mouse i will get rid of it so they won't eat it.

Also - there is a mouse poison that is not supposed to affect pets but I couldn't find it where i live.
posted by cda at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2009

I think you are right; you should remove the poison, wait a while, then get a cat. In the meantime, you could get a no-kill trap or some other means of dealing with the mice.

Also, if you have the opportunity to take dead mice _away_ from the cat, you'll want to do that. Remember, mice could be picking up poison from neighbors, exterminators, old stuff in the basement; they could be sick with something infectious; if the cat is a very small kitten, there's also a risk that mice (or more likely for a larger cat, rats) could actually injure the cat.

The cat -- especially if you get a big, active one with large ears and long tail -- will probably take care of the mice, possibly by chasing and terrifying them until they leave.
posted by amtho at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2009

Once they get a cat, they will only see mice when a dead one is dropped on their bed as a present from their cat.
posted by musofire at 11:25 AM on March 23, 2009

Poison is a bad idea anyway. A dead mouse/rat stinks for 3-4 weeks. There is nothing more "humane" than a old fashion mouse trap. use peanut butter & wrap a little thread around the peanut butter & trip plate. Gets 'em every time!
posted by patnok at 1:21 PM on March 23, 2009

If you have a cat, you do *NOT* need any sort of mouse traps or poison.

Back in my old apartment, I had a cat-owning roommate for about a year and a half. Never saw or heard any evidence of mice. The roommate and cat leave, and guess what? Mouse extravaganza! Like, all over the place. Eating my food, leaving their little turds, even going as far as to make a little nest under my bed.

Friends of mine have had similar experiences. One friend had a serious mouse problem, then brought in a friend's cat for a week, and lo and behold - the mice got the picture and stayed away for a while. (until they realized the cat was gone)

Mice are smart and can smell the cat. (or more likely, its urine) If you're in an apartment building, it's an easy choice for a mouse to make - either hang around an apartment where there's a badass natural predator, or just go one unit over where it's easy pickings.

Also, I recommend stopping up any/all holes in your walls and floors with steel wool. Mice CANNOT get through that shit.

But yeah. Ditch the poison, adopt the cat, and enjoy a rodent-free life!
posted by Afroblanco at 8:26 AM on March 24, 2009

This is good to hear everyone... I know the cat will most likely scare away the mice and taking the poison away is most definitely in the plan. I was more worried about the likelihood of cat poisoning. (Seriously, who wants to adopt a cat only to expose it to a horrific and painful death? Not someone I would consider a friend)

I will be recommending the switch to regular traps and a thorough removal of poison. Steel wool is a great idea, but it's an old house and it may be difficult to find all the gaps and spaces without an expert.

Thanks again - you may have saved a kitty!
posted by Gor-ella at 1:57 PM on March 24, 2009

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