Want to know the best cats for catching and killing mice? Check out the list below to see photos and learn more about each breed.
Are you considering getting a cat to help keep the rodent population down on your property? Cats have strong hunting instincts, and many are natural mousers.
But not all cats will actively hunt mice. Check out the following list of cat breeds with a good reputation for their killer instinct.
Table of Contents
Which Cat Breeds Make The Best Hunters?
Ten of the best breeds for catching mice are:
- Maine Coon
- American Shorthair
- Japanese Bobtail
- Turkish Angora
Learn More About The Best Cats For Catching Mice
Each type of cat has its own unique skills and personality. See photos of each cat breed and learn what characteristics make them good mousers and members of your family.
1. Maine Coon
Sometimes called the gentle giants of the cat world, the Maine Coon is known for having a calm and docile temperament. One of the larger cat breeds, females weigh between 9 and 12 pounds and males between 12 and 15.
Their sweet nature makes them excellent family pets and loyal companions. But don’t let their sweetness fool you. Arriving by way of trading ships, the Maine Coon was prized by the early American settlers and farmers for being very good mousers.
With their large size, strong form, and high intelligence, it is easy to see why the Maine Coon cats would have no problem taking down a mouse or two.
2. American Short Hair
The American Short Hair is one of the most common breeds in American homes today. They have a muscular, stocky build and sweet, attentive nature. Not only do they make a loving companion for the family, but they are also great at catching mice.
Brought over to America from Europe, the American shorthair cat was considered a working breed and commonly enlisted to cull the rat population on ships and in the cities.
But they are not only good workers, but they also make great companions. If you want an easy, low-maintenance cat for the family and keep the rodent population down, the American Short Hair cat breed is a good choice.
3. Burmese Cats
Burmese Cats are energetic and curious, with large, thought-provoking eyes that will capture the heart of anyone they encounter. They are very people-oriented and will seek out their human companions for love and affection.
This breed is playful and fearless, making them natural-born hunters. While they are smaller, they are also very muscular, so they have no problem pouncing on their prey.
4. Persian Cats
It is easy to identify Persian cats due to their flattish faces and big eyes. Persians are the quintessential “lap kitty” with a long coat and attentive nature. They love to be close to their owners and will follow them around the house.
While they are generally calm, they still have fun playing with interactive toys and other family members. This playful nature keeps their skills up to par in case they encounter rodents in the house.
The Chartreux breed hails from France and can be easily identified by their wooly blue-colored coat. These cats are particularly good at catching mice because of their powerful broad shoulders, excellent climbing ability, and fast reflexes.
The Chartreux breed of cat lived with the monks, where they protected the grain used to make Charteuse liqueur from neighborhood rodents. They are also very intelligent and have been discussed in French literature as “being fine mousers.”
6. Bengel Cats
Bengal cats have the coloring of a leopard with a long striped tail. They are medium to large in size, athletic, and energetic. This makes them excellent mouser cats because they can chase down their prey without tiring.
They are affectionate housepets and love the water, so don’t be surprised if your Bengel joins you in the shower!
7. Japenese Bobtail
The Japanese Bobtail is easy to spot by their short stubby tail. These cats are very active and full of energy. They will run, pounce, and chase each other in the house and always want to be the center of attention.
You will never be bored if you add a Japanese Bobtail cat to your house. You can even teach them to fetch as they love to carry things in their mouth.
A very happy cat in the home, this breed is also quite vocal. So if you like to talk to your cat, this one will probably talk back.
This cat is known as the tailless cat and may have anywhere from a small rump to no tail at all. The breed originated on the Isle of Man and is found in several color variations including black and white, orange and white, seal point, or blue point coloration.
The Manx has powerful hind legs and is very agile, jumping turning, and running at great speeds. They make excellent hunters and start practicing at a very young age stalking insects or other critters outdoors or toys if they are raised inside.
A native of Russia, Siberians are strong and powerful cats. The breed was popular on local farms to keep the rodent population under control.
Since they lived in such a cold climate, they have a thick heavy coat, that keeps them insulated against extreme weather. Even the inside of their ears is furry.
Siberian cats are known for being very alert and playful, coupled with a sweet expression that their owners cannot resist. They have an even temperament and get along with children and other pets in the family.
10. Turkish Angora
The Turkish Angora breed of cat is smart, playful, and outgoing. They are welcoming to all in the household and are often reported to be the first to greet your guests.
They have a dominant personality, so while they get along well with dogs and children, they will expect to be the alpha of the group.
Turkish Angora cats have a silky coat and a graceful, but athletic body type. They are very active and have a finely tuned hunting instinct and will be happy to hunt mice if they happen to be near.
For even more information on a specific cat breed to see if they would be suited to your lifestyle, see the Cat Fancier’s Association Companion Breeds Page.
Are Tabby Cats Good Mousers?
The word tabby describes the pattern of a cat’s fur instead of a specific breed of cat. The classic mark of a tabby cat is the M pattern on the top of its head. Horizontal stripes, swirls, and dotted patterns appear along their cheeks, legs, back, and tail.
Many American shorthair cats, which are known to be good mousers, have the tabby coloring and patterns.
Are All Cats Good At Catching Mice?
All cats are born with an instinct to hunt. It is part of their DNA. Most cats will learn this behavior from their mothers and watching other cats in their community.
But while all cats have the instinct to hunt, some have a stronger prey drive than others. Part of this will be due to the cat’s breed. But their environment, the availability of food, and role models will all affect whether or not a cat chooses to seek out prey.
If a cat was raised without a role model, they will still have the instinctual knowledge of how to hunt. But based on your cat’s lifestyle, they may not have had much practice.
You can awaken their natural instinct reinforce this behavior through play.
How Do You Train A Cat To Hunt?
First, be aware of the four stages of hunting behavior.
Observe your cat and notice when they naturally engage in these behaviors. Some cats will hunt insects in the house or sit on the windowsill trying to spot an easy target.
Next, encourage this behavior through the use of toys. String toys, feather wands, treat balls and squeaky toys are all good choices.
Finally, reward your cat when he or she catches the toy to reinforce this behavior.
How Many Mice Will A Cat Catch Per Day?
Anecdotal evidence suggests a cat can catch between three and four mice per day. This number comes from a study done on a distillery cat named Towser that hunted mice inside the Glenturret distillery.
But, many factors will influence this number, such as the individual cat, breed, availability of other food, etc.
Why Do Some Cats Play With Mice Before Killing Them?
There are a few reasons why cats do not automatically kill a mouse once they catch one.
Cats love the thrill of the hunt. For some, they enjoy the process of stalking and catching mice more than the actual killing. It is a fun game for them.
They may also be practicing and honing their skills. This happens often in nature. The mother will catch her prey then bring it home to her offspring and let them practice stalking and catching the mice.
And if your cat is well fed at home, he may have no interest in killing the mouse for food. He simply enjoys the chase and could be sharpening his skills for another day.
Is It Safe For Cats To Eat Mice?
This depends much on your environment. While cats have always hunted mice for food in the wild, that doesn’t always mean it is safe.
Mice are known to carry diseases, have parasites, and possibly fleas. They can spread these harmful problems to our household pets.
If someone is using pesticides or poison in the area, your cat may also ingest an injured or sick mouse.
But remember your cat does not have to kill or even actively hunt the mice to be an effective mouse deterrent. Read this article on how cats deter mice and keep them away from your home and loved ones.
If your cat makes his presence known, oftentimes the mice will choose a location without a predator on the premises – like your neighbor’s house!
Cats Have A Long History In Rodent Control
Cats have been used to help control the mouse population for centuries. Throughout history, they have been invited on ships, in cities, and even historical landmarks to hunt mice.
For example, did you know the Heritage Museum in Russia keeps over 65 cats in the basement?
The cats are cared for by 3 full-time employees and have been in residence since the 1800s – over 200 years. An empress brought the cats in to take care of the rats and mice in the museum. And they’ve lived there quite happily ever since.
There are plenty of cat breeds that are very skilled at catching mice.
And while having a cat on your property may not be enough to keep the mice away from your property forever. They can certainly help to put a dent in the population and keep them from coming inside.