How to stop a mighty hunter hunting?
July 30, 2005 3:33 PM   Subscribe

How do we stop our indoor/outdoor cat bringing in mice?

Our ten year old cat has suddenly (re)discovered the delights of bringing in takeaway dinners for herself. It wouldn't be so bad if she didn't bring them in living and then let them roam around the house by themselves. How do we stop her?

Bells simply don't work - she stays motionless on a wall or car bonnet and then just falls on her prey.
posted by twine42 to Pets & Animals (16 answers total)
you don't ... the best you can do is not let her in until she's finished with her prey ... your cat is going to do this no matter what you do ... in time, she might catch on that you don't really like having live mice in your house, but don't count on it

it could be worse ... she could be bringing in live birds ... chasing a live robin through the house with a cat and a 4 year old kid chasing around too will liven up any afternoon ...
posted by pyramid termite at 3:51 PM on July 30, 2005

One solution: make her an indoor-only cat. I don't know how happy she (or you) will be, nor how practical it is, but that eliminates her going out and getting you 'presents'.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:05 PM on July 30, 2005

Both of our demon hunters like to bring home the bacon. or cicada. or vole. or mouse. The best solution I have found to date is to outfit them with cat-safe collars (they break if the cat gets 'caught' on them) and to put both a bell and a tag on the collar. It took our girl cat, Squeaky a while to get used to it, but Milhouse, the boy cat, acted like it was the most natural thing possible. While they have the collars on, the only thing they can catch is insects. Good luck!
posted by dirtmonster at 4:18 PM on July 30, 2005

There are plenty of reasons to keep your cat indoors, and lots of groups advocate for it. It's good for wildlife and reduces the chance of injury or illness in your cat. I realize yours is older and won't exactly appreciate the change, but it's even more important as she gets slower and less able to dodge cars or fight off other animals.
posted by nev at 4:19 PM on July 30, 2005

It is in their nature,and nature creates a few birds for cats to enjoy.
posted by hortense at 4:20 PM on July 30, 2005

oops, mice.
posted by hortense at 4:22 PM on July 30, 2005

Response by poster: Bells really don't work. Trust me. Actually... are you guys still using that Liberty Bell thing?

Bringing her indoors wouldn't really work. She's been used to access outdoor for her whole life and has a major dislike for litter trays. The whole traffic / wildlife thing isn't too much of an issue because we're in the country, she has good road / fox sense and the only things she hunts are mice, voles and (occasionally) baby rats - any of which are fair game IMHO. Point taken though. Thankfully outdoors is a lot safer for cats in the UK than it seems in the USA.
posted by twine42 at 4:24 PM on July 30, 2005

It's the cat's nature. You may as well try and teach it to stop purring.

Nature's icky.
posted by xmutex at 4:28 PM on July 30, 2005

If you don't want to make her an indoor kitty, my only advice (I have three cats, two indoor/outdoor and one outdoor only) is to bolt the kitty door at night.

When you block her easy access, she'll howl at the door when she has a 'present' for you, because she loves you and she wants you to see what she got for you. You then have some choices: you can go out and take the gift away from her, you can leave her outdoors to play with it, or you can ignore her until she comes back without such a gift. It's somewhat inconvenient for you, but at least you'll control what comes into your home. Don't tell her she's a bad kitty for bringing you such gifts; it's her nature, as others here have pointed out, and she'll get really confused. Always praise such a gift.

Honestly, I've racked my brain about this problem with our two hunters. We don't have a kitty door for just this reason.... and because huge possums and raccoons tend to show up on our back porch. Old kitties can learn new tricks.
posted by lambchop1 at 4:35 PM on July 30, 2005

You could set up a high-tech cat door that won't let her in if she has something in her mouth!
posted by librarina at 4:50 PM on July 30, 2005

Best answer: Ah crap. Correct link. Sorry.
posted by librarina at 4:51 PM on July 30, 2005

librarina - incredible! What an amazing solution to the problem. And, by the way, Flo is a cutey!
posted by ericb at 5:06 PM on July 30, 2005

twine42: Fair enough, and I agree that prey isn't going anywhere any time soon.

That cat door is awesome.
posted by nev at 5:17 PM on July 30, 2005

Hey, Librarina, I'd consider patenting that device -- if not for cat owners, then for parents of teenagers!
posted by rob511 at 8:15 PM on July 30, 2005

Response by poster: Doesn't look like we have an aswer though. Well, not til my wife lets me fit the catflap with a webcam. :)
posted by twine42 at 12:51 PM on July 31, 2005

Facts about Cats.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:42 PM on July 31, 2005

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