Topic-icon Best cat for mouse/rat control

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01 Apr 2018 09:55 #539252 by Song

We have been having a lot of rodent problem in our house! Tried all sorts of poison and trap. Trapped a few but still activities around ie poos everywhere.

Thinking of getting a cat to help :( we are not used to cat or dog in fact. So we really new to this but we are desperate. Any particular breed is good? We need it to be good! Desperate.

Thank you so much.

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01 Apr 2018 10:14 #539253 by Ruth

How have you been poisoning them? If it has not been successful, you probably haven't done it correctly or perhaps for long enough.
You will always have rats around at times, because they'll continue to come to your larder from 'out there'. Cats are unreliable ratters. Some individuals are apparently good at it, others won't touch rats and some are simply scared of them. Rats defend themselves in a fairly frightening manner.

So what bait/toxin have you used and how have you used it?

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01 Apr 2018 13:38 #539254 by iSor

From our experience, our Maine Coon is excellent at catching mice and the occasional rat (along with birds and rabbits), often bringing them back alive inside the house. Unfortunately this behaviour only adds to our rodent problem because at any given time we don’t know if he has brought a mouse or rat into the house only to let it go free while we weren’t looking, were out or were asleep.

A better alternative, if you are not used to cats or dogs, is to set mouse traps laced with peanut butter around the house and you just need to remember to check them regularly. Also, we put those blue poison baits up in the roof cavity and in various places around the house such as the cupboard next to the dishwasher, because it’s warm there, hot water cupboard, under the fridge and pantry etc.

Don’t get a cat unless you love them unconditionally, because at times you may also be woken up in the middle of the night when they want to show you their rat which they then let go and is running around in the bedroom.

Last Edit: 01 Apr 2018 21:04 by iSor.
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01 Apr 2018 15:13 #539255 by Anakei

In my experience the best ratters I have had, have been adopted from half feral parents. They don't make very good pets (don't sit on your lap, and scratch when "playing" ) but were excellent ratters. The 2 I have now are town cats whose mother was a lap cat and they don't bother to hunt at all. My theory is if they survived in the wild they must have come from good hunting stock.

I second the poison, but make sure you put it in bait traps.otherwise rodents will take bait back to the nest and store it, without ingesting it. Keep replacing the bait and then one day the bait will still be there and then you will know you are on top of the problem. Refresh the bait now and again so any incomers will take it. I had to put bait out every day for 4 weeks before I got control of the rats in the hen house. I am now baiting again as I have noticed half eaten eggs so think they have come in for the winter.


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01 Apr 2018 16:36 #539257 by Furball

Don't get a cat! As others have said, cats are not reliable for rodent control and are likely to kill birds, native skinks and native insects. Also, even if your cat does go after rats a large rat can do serious damage to a cat, which will mean anguish for you as an owner and also vet bills. That's not even considering the cost of cat food, neutering/spaying, kitty litter, and vet bills for all the other illnesses cats get, or for car accidents. Cats are not a cheap method of rodent control.

Go and get some proper bait stations (the black plastic ones that have a wire inside and that lock closed) and some bait which has a hole through each bait piece. The chocolate flavour "pestoff" bait is good. You can get this from Mitre 10, Farmlands or RD1. Fill the bait stations, using gloves to place the bait on the wire. Place one bait station in the attic. Place one bait station alongside the wall of your house in an area that has cover, such as under a bush - rodents like to run along walls - or if your house is raised, place a bait station under the house. If you have a large property with outbuildings, place one bait station in or by each shed, outhouse or greenhouse that you have. If you keep animals or have a compost bin, place a bait station near the compost bin or near the place the animal food is kept.

Write on the calendar when you put the stations out. After two weeks, check them, and replace any missing bait. Bait takes time to kill the rats so it is pointless to put new bait out every day at the beginning, as rats which are "walking dead" will still keep eating your expensive bait for many days until they die. After another 2 weeks, check and replace bait again. After this, check the bait stations once a month and replace any missing bait. If the bait becomes soggy or has slugs on it, remove the old bait carefully and place it in a plastic bag and tie it shut and place in the rubbish. Replace with fresh bait. If you refresh the stations regularly once a month you will no longer have a rodent problem.

Last Edit: 01 Apr 2018 16:41 by Furball.
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01 Apr 2018 18:21 #539258 by Born2Fight

No matter what rodent you are dealing with, chances are you can take matters into your own hands. Consider the size of the rodent when choosing elimination methods. Snap traps that would kill a mouse will often only wound a rat or squirrel, and then you risk having the animal drag the trap into an inaccessible area of your house. Worse yet, you may have to put a trapped rodent out of its suffering, and that is not a pleasant activity. Live traps are not advised for rodents. Rodents have excellent memories, and they will often return to an area that has been noted as a viable food source or warm form of shelter.

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01 Apr 2018 18:29 #539259 by Ruth

Squirrels? Where are you?

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01 Apr 2018 22:18 #539263 by Stikkibeek

Welcome to the LSB. You must surely be an International newby. (We don't have squirrels in NZ) Love to hear a little about the area you live


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01 Apr 2018 22:39 #539264 by Ronney

Song, there is no breed of cat that is going to be specifically good at rodent catching. It just doesn't work that way. I've owned over 40 cats in my lifetime (and I can give you the names of every one of them), none of them were breeds, all of them were/are what are termed Alley Cats. Most of them would mouse/rat but only one took the prize - a black cat with beautiful, big green eyes that lived with our pigs for over a year before venturing up to the house - ergo half feral. I suspect he'd been dumped and we inherited him. Mice, rats, stoats, eels, pheasants and once a morepork:( He was the exception rather than the rule and I suspect it was largely due to his beginnings.

However, I'm reading that you are suffering from mice/whatever inside the house? In which case a cat is not a stupid idea. If you have never owned a cat you may well find that you will enjoy them and they will go a long way to keeping your home vermin free.

I keep bait stations at the cowshed where rats can become a very real problem - the cats deal with anything around the home. Read into that what you will.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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02 Apr 2018 15:26 #539266 by Mudlerk

Once owned a cat that cleared out all the skinks, birds, even rabbits anywhere near our 5 acres...even then she couldn't cope with the mouse/rat problem. I agree with everyone else who thinks cats are a poor method of rodent control...their real expertise seems to be birdlife!

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02 Apr 2018 19:03 #539277 by Hawkspur

A friend has a moggy that brings in a rat or more every night. She has been trained by the cat to kill them after it releases them in her bedroom.:whistle: It is of indeterminate breeding.

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02 Apr 2018 19:03 #539278 by LongRidge

When using those blue balls of poison, crush one up and put it on a saucer or suchlike. That way they don't take the whole thing away. When using poison, always, as in always, put down a bowl of water near the poison. Eating poison makes them thirsty, so they then gnaw the water pipes in the ceiling cavity, which is not fun to repair :-(. We had one or a family of rodents gnaw the same pipe three times before we finally got rid of it or them :-(. Dead rodents tend to find somewhere warm to die, so can stink for a few days. In the cavities of a dishwasher, fridge or oven are favorite places, but watch out for the ones that hide in the pop-up toaster. Roast mouse flavoured toast is definitely an acquired culinary delight :-).

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02 Apr 2018 19:57 #539280 by iSor

Yes, we learnt to crush the baits up after we could hear the rat rolling them around in the ceiling cavity between the two storeys, but the problem was getting bait into the cavity. The only access was through downlights pulled out then re-positioned after the crushed bait went in next to the hole.

We figured out that the rats were getting into that level via a feijoa tree which had grown right up to the gutter of the carport adjacent to the bottom storey of the house, so that there were probably feijoas stored in the cavity as well. After the activity stopped, the smell of the dead rat soon wafted out through the downlights below and we tried not to have visitors for a week because the stench was a bit embarassing.

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02 Apr 2018 20:36 #539283 by 4trees

We use the Pest Off baits, which have hole in the middle, we get a long nail, piece of wood and nail the bait to the wood, they have to just chew away without taking the whole bait. Rats will take traps away unless they are nailed onto a heavy piece of wood. Our rats are biggish and they tend to cart the poison away if they can, they store it and don't always eat it so that was when we went to the nail on the wood. The other thing is you can put the bait up high out of children or pets road when there is a piece of wood, or it is nailed down. Good luck they have just started coming in in the last couple of weeks. Cheers and good luck.


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03 Apr 2018 17:48 #539286 by Anakei

I ALWAYS use the black bait stations after the dog got into a home made one and ate the bait. Luckily I found the nail and piece of wood and spotted the bright green poo :sick: so I got him to the vet on time. It was too late to make him vomit (not the vet) so he went on vitamin K for a month. It could have been a lot worse!


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04 Apr 2018 13:04 #539292 by Jaybee

I've been told female tabby cats are the best hunters - have no idea if it is true or not.

I have two cats, a desexed male and female, both tabby. Their mother was a stray, and I'm guessing the father was feral. They are excellent hunters, without them we would be overrun with mice. During mouse season (as soon as the weather gets a bit cold) they catch several mice each per day. The male cat also gets a rabbit for dinner most days. They will catch the odd rat, but never eat them. Over the eleven years I've had them, I've only seen them catch a couple of birds, silver eyes they managed to pick off the edge of a large flock attacking my fig tree.

So I would say for keeping the house free of mice, a cat is excellent, but only get one if you like pet cats. Otherwise those grey plastic mouse traps baited with peanut butter work well.

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04 Apr 2018 14:06 #539294 by Stikkibeek

I can agree that our tabby female cat is a great hunter. she catches lots of mice (lets the odd one go inside) and has caught rats and killed them but not eaten them, plus the odd sparrow. Our other cat which is a Birman, is a refrigerator cat.

I was told once that guinea pigs were the best way to keep rats away. The man who told me used to work in a feed store in Holland and the guinea pigs were running free in the warehouse. Apparently the ordinary squeaks and whistles they make, is very similar to the distress call of a rat, and send rats scurrying away.


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05 Apr 2018 19:48 #539327 by sandgrubber

Anakei wrote: I ALWAYS use the black bait stations after the dog got into a home made one and ate the bait. Luckily I found the nail and piece of wood and spotted the bright green poo :sick: so I got him to the vet on time. It was too late to make him vomit (not the vet) so he went on vitamin K for a month. It could have been a lot worse!

I had two sets of neighbors recommend a safer DIY method using baits with holes in the center. Get pvc drain pipe (50+mm diameter). Cut lenghts of half a meter or so. Drill a hole through the center of the length. Center the bait in the pipe, and keep it centered by threading a long bolt or screw through the hole in the bait. Screw or bolt the pipe + bait to a chunk of wood. Rats love going into holes.

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05 Apr 2018 21:33 #539328 by Stikkibeek

Or, what we do. length of pvc drainpipe. 30cm or so, a length of welding wire or electric fence wire (not tape or that string stuff but wire) that exceeds the length of the pipe, thread the rat bait (type with hole through it) onto the wire place inside the pipe and bend the ends of the wire around the ends of the pipe. We like the welding wire as it is soft enough to bend and doesn't break for quite a long time when bent or unbent to replace bait. Place the pipe on a fence line or beside a building, as rats run along walls etc. Won't take them long to discover the bait and as they can't take it away attached to the wire, they will eat it there. Check it every few days and replace bait when needed.


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09 Apr 2018 18:44 #539365 by Belle Bosse

Song wrote: We have been having a lot of rodent problem in our house! Tried all sorts of poison and trap. Trapped a few but still activities around ie poos everywhere.

Thinking of getting a cat to help :( we are not used to cat or dog in fact. So we really new to this but we are desperate. Any particular breed is good? We need it to be good! Desperate.

Thank you so much.


Song, as a cat lover and owner of two delightful cats, there are a few things you need to know BEFORE getting a cat... or dog for that matter...

A cat is A COMMITMENT...
Cats are living, breathing, highly intelligent, inquisitive, funny, loving, sensitive souls that thrive on unconditional love and affection, respect and devotion... for 20 years or more!

Are you willing to welcome them into your life, your home, your heart, your bed, your expensive lounge suite, your budget... Are you willing to accept cat hair over everything, muddy paws, grass seeds, dirt, leaves brought in from where they were rolling outside, occasionally fleas.
Then the unexpected expenses like:
Expensive Vet bills... (Simon cat: $1,000. emergency out of hours bill to stitch an ear back together.)
Or; Chantelle cat's immigration: $1,000.+ to import the roadside rescue kitten into NZ from overseas).
Are you willing to patiently clean up after them when they vomit inside the house... on floor, furniture or bedding, or accidentally get locked in without a litter tray? Or when they get senile with age and forget they need the litter tray?
Are you willing to learn their body language to know when to leave them alone before they say "enough is enough!!"... and hiss a warning before striking out?
Are you willing to love them unconditionally, even if... they are the most inept mouser or ratter in the country?
Are you willing to be taught by the cat how to catch mice when he/she brings their catch inside and releases their prize, so you too can become skilled at this occupation and you can work together when necessary, to catch mice.

As to rodent control, I can honestly say that cats are unable to catch mice or rats if things are available for the mouse or rat to take shelter in or under or between...
There have been times when we knew there were mice in the shipping container but they were not taking the trap baits. My cat Chantelle was found several times camped over a spot where she knew there was a mouse but was unable to remove the items above their shelter to get them. Working together, with me removing items down to where the mouse was, she was able to get her mouse. She is a great little mouser and taught Simon mousing and rabbiting.
Five years ago we had 3 cats (20yrs, 2 and 1 years old) with us in a 14 foot caravan and had mice, mice and more mice!! I knew Simon (then 1 yr) and Chantelle (then 2 yrs) had lost a couple catches, but not that many! There were 14 mice in total by the time I eradicated them with traps... they had come in from outside and had set up camp in the wall insulation inside a locker... out of reach of the cats..!!

After seeing how ferocious rats can be I don't encourage my cats to go after rats. They tend to catch young rats twice the size of a mouse only.

Traps and bait I've found effective for mice:
From Mega Mitre 10: a "Wind-it" trap capable of catching and holding up to 10 live mice. To set the trap you put some goodies into the holding pen and wind up the trap handle. I had 6 in the trap a once in the old hen house; the chook food dish was placed on top of the trap... in sight, in smell and by taking a short cut through the trap, the mice were flicked into the holding pen.
Chocolate... Bounty bar, Mars bar and other chocolate cheapies attract mice
Chicken feed pellets, nuts, pumpkin seed, crunchy peanut butter.

Rats:
Victor Rat traps: bait pumpkin seed, crunchy peanut butter
DOC 200 traps with a non-toxic lure for Mustalids, cats and rats www.traps.co.nz/
Husband caught 6+ rats this last 2 weeks with the DOC 200 and Mustalids, cat and rats lure. Now that the rats are gone, the mice are taking the non-toxic lure baits. Hopefully the Morepork owls will take care of the mice, as our cats are on night time curfew for the Kiwi... we don't want to poison the owls with rat and mice bait.

Toxic baits are only placed in the shipping containers and caravan for mice if they come in, but try to keep baits away from the cats.

Last Edit: 09 Apr 2018 19:01 by Belle Bosse. Reason: finish sentence.

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29 Apr 2018 21:02 #539656 by Inger

The best mouse trap we've bought was the grey alligator clip shaped ones you can get at the supermarket. A bit of nice fresh peanut butter on the grid inside the trap and place the trap along the base of a wall that the mice travel along. They just can't resist it. We caught a number of rats with the same peanut butter, as they never got time to eat it.

Don't bother getting the larger version for rats though, it just doesn't work. For rats we use the Pest Off bait tunnels and blue poison blocks that thread through the pegs or wires. It doesn't take long for the poison to take affect and, if it's outside, which I recommend, the smell of dead rats tells you that it's worked. We have them all around our poultry pens and in the feed shed. If you place the bait station along a trail in the grass, the rats will find it easily.


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An old Heading Dog called Lad and a previously feral cat called Pusscat,

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06 May 2018 21:25 #539760 by tonybaker

Google gave me a good tip on catching mice. Don't bait the trap, but just set it and place the "catching" end up against the skirting. The mouse will run over it and get zapped. With baits, be sure to nail them down so the rats can't take them away. There are heaps of traps on You tube, some even work!


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25 May 2018 22:23 #540065 by Sparxnz

Have you tried the drum/bucket trap?
Excellent for large numbers of rats. Catch five or more a night no worries. I've made a few in workshops over the years. Rats seem to love workshops. Or more to the point, they love the poor hygiene exhibited by the kind of folks who tend to work, and have their smoko, in workshops.
Basically a drum or big bucket with a bent pipe leaning up against it and a smear of peanut butter on the end. Check Youtube for specifics, it's too hard to explain without some images.



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06 Jul 2018 15:46 #540814 by iSor

... specifically, this is a reason you do not go out and get a cat for rodent control.

I had shut the door to OH’s den/playroom not knowing there was already a rat in there (which the cat brought into the house while we weren’t looking).
The rat’s not stupid and Sherlock decided that as the rat couldn’t get out the same way it came in, (through the open door to the passage), it tried scratching its way out from BOTH doors to OH’s den/playroom over the last day or so.
The house is sealed and vermon proofed from the outside and the rat certainly couldn’t have got into the room through the LED lights and there were no holes in the room when the house was built 8 months ago.
Not much damage done to carpet this time but if we went away for a few weeks...we will be setting bait stations everywhere.

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06 Jul 2018 17:42 #540819 by sandgrubber

Isor: dog beats cat. I tend to leave doors open and rats sometimes get in. They usually go for the kitchen or pantry. The dogs (Labrador) love going for them and give them a quick death. True, they tend to knock over garbage cans etc. in the chase, but that's not much of a price to pay.

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06 Jul 2018 18:03 #540821 by iSor

Yes, dog is best.
Cat just wants to play.

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07 Jul 2018 09:11 #540824 by tonybaker

when you live rurally, you really do need to have an active rodent management programme. Bait stations are best.
People who say their house is rodent proof are dreaming! Rats can easily eat through plasterboard. I found that rats can even eat through that flexible steel ducting that goes from the top of the rangehood! Mice partially ate through my phone cable, funny thing was, I was still able to get slow internet but not phone service. After years of poor speed, I replaced the cable and all was sweet.....


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07 Jul 2018 10:07 #540825 by Stikkibeek

tonybaker wrote: Mice partially ate through my phone cable, funny thing was, I was still able to get slow internet but not phone service. After years of poor speed, I replaced the cable and all was sweet.....


Not so surprising. Telephone cables do have two lines. Phone calls can go out at the same time as internet, but may cut out the internet (or phone) if on the same line. We had issues with that here, until the techy hooked up the internet to the second feed.


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07 Jul 2018 13:42 #540828 by iSor

Our rodents and rabbits are given free, assisted entry into the house by the cat through the cat door and they become squatters until we trap them. I’ve not yet seen evidence of forced entry and I’m reluctant to have to set those rat bait traps in every room but that’s what its come to now if rodents become shut in a room.

We once had a rat die in the ceiling cavity and some of the crushed blue bait fell through the downlights onto the blue carpet below and I didn’t notice it. We then had a gathering at home where some people who ended up bringing their kids round, found it before their toddlers did! I didnt know the kids were coming let alone that the poison was on the floor. Shock /horror!

We also had a rabbit living in the back of the kitchen cabinetry in the old house. I only noticed it through the corner of my eye when it came out during the day through a gap, and no matter how we tried to trap it it survived for three weeks after that until it died and started to smell. We thought we would have had to dismantle the kitchen to get it out dead (or alive), but luckily managed to locate it through the back space by taking a photo and dragged it out before it disintegrated.
This rabbit would feed on the cat’s pellets and water at night and go back through the hole until it’s head got too big to fit through anymore.

I’ve made the decision to not replace the cat (which is only seven years old !).

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08 Jul 2018 00:52 #540852 by BlueApple

I have chihuahuas and they are very good at running after mice and hearing the smallest noise they make but so far they still haven't caught one.

My rescued street cat murders rats, mice, lizards. We use to have huge rats for a few months and she took care of all of them in a matter of days. She hunts birds too, unfortunately. The trick is to feed them really well in the morning so they don't feel like going out during the day and they just sleep inside all day, and then set them loose at night and they will hunt whatever is out ( rats mostly).

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08 Jul 2018 09:04 #540856 by Ruth

BlueApple wrote: ...The trick is to feed them really well in the morning so they don't feel like going out during the day and they just sleep inside all day, and then set them loose at night and they will hunt whatever is out ( rats mostly).

And any other unfortunate ground-based creature that happens to be around, like lizards, skinks, some ground birds... No, that is not the trick. The trick is to feed them well and then lock them in at night. Stop letting cats kill endangered wildlife!

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08 Jul 2018 16:05 #540868 by North50

Hi Song, if you are going to use baits, suggest you see if you can find one called Contrac. But if you are going to use baits, make sure they are fastened in place, otherwise rats especially will run away with them, store them and not eat them. You then get a false impression that they must be eating heaps because it keeps disappearing! Also be aware that if you have a rat that has set up camp inside a wall cavity and it dies there, the stink will persist for days. If you are using them in bait stations outside, another good idea is to put the bait in a small ziplock bag. This keeps it fresh and stops slugs and snails from getting at it. The rats and mice will eat right through the plastic as if its not there. If you are using traps (especially for rats), use three traps grouped together facing the wall. Bait them but don't set them for a few days until you see all the baits being eaten, then re-bait them and set just the center one; rats are highly suspicious of anything new.
Hope that helps.

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09 Jul 2018 00:40 #540874 by Ronney

C'mon Ruth, that's your take on it. I'm sick to the back teeth of tripping over dead rats and mice at the bottom of the stairs, in the kitchen, under the table, on the way to the washing line....... and not a bird amongst them, or anything else for that matter. And I can still see little Molly making her way down the hill with her biggest kill ever dragging underneath her - a stoat. I suspect that the rats and stoat might be doing as much damage, or more, to the wildlife as ever my cats are. I think one Gareth Morgan in the world is enough.

When the last of the previous cats departed this life, within 3 months the house and vegetable garden were overrun with both rats and mice and for the first time I had to set bait traps around the house. Got the first two new kittens and by the time they had been here 6 months the population had started to decline. 3 years on and four cats, there are now no rats and mice at the house and what's more, they're taking care of them at the cowshed. Only one doesn't seem to be keen on extending himself to hunt and I can live with that.


Cheers,
Ronnie

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09 Jul 2018 08:43 #540876 by Ruth

Ronney wrote: C'mon Ruth, that's your take on it. I'm sick to the back teeth of tripping over dead rats and mice at the bottom of the stairs, in the kitchen, under the table, on the way to the washing line.......

The obvious answer to that is, stop them going out hunting and bringing them in! ;) :D

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09 Jul 2018 10:32 #540877 by Ronney

Not a good solution at all. It's by leaving their presents in strategic places that I'm aware of just how many they do put paid to. Not only that, it takes less time to pick up the mice and rats than it would to do the unpleasant job of cleaning out the litter boxes of indoor cats. I'm not doing smilies because they don't seem to work for me.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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09 Jul 2018 14:32 #540886 by Furball

"C'mon Ruth, that's your take on it."
Er, that's not just Ruth "having a take". It's a fact. Cats do kill our endangered wildlife. Research has proven that house cats spend their nights hunting even when they’re not hungry; in this study they only ate what they killed 30 percent of the time. 49% of the time they left their prey to rot where they killed it and only about 21 percent of the time they brought their kill all the way home.
www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/kitty-...lling_n_1757070.html

Yes, this is an American study, but even there they found that cats killed a lot more small lizards than anyone had expected - this behaviour was not known about by the owners as the cats either ate the lizards immediately or left them where they were killed. A New Zealand study in Dunedin found that birds were the most common cat prey there, ahead of rodents. So many birds are being killed by cats there that the city is a "population sink" for birds, where the population cannot breed fast enough to replace its members.
www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320709004133

You may be seeing a lot of dead rats and mice, but you're certainly not seeing what else your cat is doing. And just because you're not seeing it, doesn't mean it's not happening. It's definitely your right to have your own opinion about cats, but you can't have your own facts :-)

Last Edit: 09 Jul 2018 14:35 by Furball.
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10 Jul 2018 16:41 #540904 by Anakei

They are alternative facts :evil:


Urban mini farmer and guerilla gardener

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14 Jul 2018 06:58 #540943 by sandgrubber

Seddon is crawling with cats. So much so that a few show up as roadkill every month. I've been here for 15 months and not seen a single lizard, and bird population is low and dominated by house sparrows.
I've yet to see a single possum in town, and out of town, one every few months as roadkill. I tend to think cats are to blame for virtual local extinction of native species.

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