Showing posts with label mice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mice. Show all posts

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Open spaces around the home means less mice in the home

It is true that open spaces around your home should deter mice as they have a fear of open spaces. They don't want to cross them to get to your home where they may have access to warmth and food. 

In effect this means reducing the vegetation around the home. My girlfriend had a mice problem because they had access to the space behind the shiplap panelling attached to the wall. From there they found a way inside her ground floor apartment. 

The problem with open space around the home is that if a mouse does venture into the space it is more likely to be attacked by a cat if the home owner lives with a cat companion.

So it is true that you are less likely to have mice coming into your home alive with an open space barrier, you might also have more mice coming into the home half dead in the mouth of your cat! 😉

The other obvious deterrent for mice is to keep the home free of food scraps. That means keeping the kitchen clean and vacuumed and the home generally uncluttered and so on,

The rodent expert who proffered the advice about open spaces is Laurence Barnard, Professional & Speciality Solutions Manager, for BASF.
"Cutting back vegetation and bushes around the building will help....because rats have a fear of open spaces, so by trimming back shrubbery they will be less inclined to cross an open space to gain entry. It also means natural predators, like cats, will be able to spot them more easily!"
Also watch out for structural defects in the walls of your flat or house. I mean small holes such as between pipes and brickwork through which the amazingly pliable mouse can wriggle.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 26 December 2023

The reasons why the majority of cat owners don't stop their cats killing native species

The Daily Mail talks about waging a war on killer cats. The deadly domestic cat. Humans need to wage a war against them to stop them preying on precious wildlife. There is already a news media war against the domestic cat especially in Australia where the citizens of that fine country are gradually being indoctrinated into believing that the domestic cat is the embodiment of the devil; something like the belief of Europeans in the Middle Ages. The era of witchcraft.

The reasons why cat owners don't stop their cats killing wildlife
Cat predation on crested lark curtailed by Walldorf's administrators. Image assessed as being in the public domain. The cat is starting to be seen in the same way as they were in the Middle Ages.

I don't think it is wise to talk about "waging a war" against the domestic cat because it is likely to encourage animal abuse. But certainly, the predation by domestic cats, a so-called invasive species, on native species is highly problematic and is beginning to upset a lot of people.

Natural process

But it doesn't upset, enough, the cat owning public across the planet (except Australia!). I think the truth of the matter is that most cat owners - and this certainly applies in the UK - are aware that their indoor/outdoor domestic cat occasionally kills wildlife but they don't mind enough about it. They see it as nature taking its course.

It seems that cat owners see the domestic cat as just another wild animal which should be allowed to prey on small mammals and marsupials because it's nature in action. What right have people got to prevent domestic cats expressing their natural desires and motivations? I think that is the reasoning behind a lot of people allowing their cat to go outside unsupervised and kill animals.

Pet owners simply don't care enough about small native species being killed by their cat companions. That's the raw truth of it I believe.


Perhaps this is an example of speciesism. This is when people favour one animal species over another. And it is probably normal and natural for a cat owner who adores their loved domestic cat to favour their pet above small rodents, the typical prey animal of the domestic cat. And birds. Birds are favoured above rodents by nearly everybody and cats kill birds and rodents. They don't mind about rodents being killed but the birds are another matter. This is another example of speciesism.

Don't care enough about nature. More concerned about the home

To be brutally frank, I don't think people are sensitive enough to the predation of animals by domestic cats. They just don't see it as a problem in terms of ecology and conservation. Cat owners see domestic cat predation as a problem for them because the cat can bring the animal back into the home and cause a bloody mess. 

Or the mouse runs under some furniture and you can't get it out and the animal starves to death and starts to rot making a smell in the home. Once again the problem with domestic cat predation for most pet owners is not the killing of prey animals but the disruption to the way of life of the human caregiver that predation causes.

Until the wider public have been indoctrinated into believing that it is their duty to protect wildlife and the planet in general, I don't think we going to see a big change in attitude by cat owners in the UK and other countries.

Perhaps another reason why many people are distanced from nature and therefore don't want to really get involved in protecting nature is because they've become emotionally distanced from the natural world. People often live in the urban environment and are not really connected with nature and wildlife. Global warming is an example of how humankind has become distanced from nature and addicted to products and a way of life which harms the planet. Think big diesel SUVs (still sold) and sport hunting (still prevalent).

A lot of people enjoy wildlife and one can't generalise because there are many people who really are sensitive towards wildlife and nature and the natural world. I'm afraid not enough people are genuinely concerned about the predation of native species by the domestic cat which is an invasive species. Although, we have to question the phrase "invasive species".

Invasive species?

How long has the domestic cat got to live in a country to become native to that country? There are no hard and fast rules on that.

We can't pass the buck

Whatever happens next, people need to remember that it is humankind who domesticated the North African wildcat and created 500 million domestic, stray and feral cats on the planet. It is the work of humans. The cat is an innocent victim of human behaviour. Anything we do needs to be humane and decent. The problem is ours. We can't pass the buck onto the domestic cat.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Friday 16 September 2022

2 reasons why domestic cats 'play' with prey (and it is not because they are psychopathic)

You might know the 2 reasons why your domestic cat - if she is allowed to go outside - 'plays' with the mouse she catches but I'd like to play with the topic for a while. Sorry about the pun. 

2 reasons why domestic cats 'play' with prey (and it is not because they are psychopathic)
2 reasons why domestic cats 'play' with prey (and it is not because they are psychopathic). Image: MikeB.

The first reason is that most domestic cats don't really get enough hunting time. Hunting is in their DNA, and they need to express this desire. For indoor cats it is in the form of play-hunting. When a cat is able to successfully catch a mouse, they want to extend the fun as long as possible and so they toy with the poor animal both before they die and after death. It looks horrible, callous and psychopathic to some humans, but we can't measure cats by reference to human characteristics. 

Cats are insensitive to the pain they cause. They are insensitive to the emotions of the prey animals that they terrorise. We must avoid anthropomorphising cats. So, the first reason why cats play with prey is to extend the excitement of the hunt and the kill because they don't get enough of it. 

Hunting becomes more than an act of survival. It is playing out the hunting instinct and as you know cats hunt when they are not hungry.

The second, instinctive, reason is linked to the first. Many domestic cats get a little bit out of practice on their innate hunting skills and want to make sure that they don't suffer a nasty bite from a highly defensive and athletic little mouse. And so, they bat, slap and toss around the poor creature using their paws thereby avoiding getting their head near the animal, which exhausts the mouse and makes them less of a threat in terms of acquiring an injury. 

Cats want to kill mice with a bite to the head but that exposes them to a bite from mice. The safer way to kill is to exhaust them and this has the added advantage of taking longer. As there is no need to eat the mouse taking longer over the kill is not a problem. In the wild, the domestic cat's ancestor would not mess around so much. They get on with killing and eating.

Rats certainly can harm cats. You don't see domestic cats playing with birds so much or hardly at all because they are harder to catch and less of a danger to the cat. Also, when birds are caught by a cat they don't respond in the same exciting way as mice. 

They just try and fly off. Mice gallop along the skirting board and hide. Cats love that. They love to prod and poke their paws into tight places where the mouse has found sanctuary. And one cat hunting strategy is to sit and wait by a burrow. When a mouse hides under the sideboard it is the same thing to a cat.

The whole hunting process for a domestic cat is like a play - another awful pun.

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Climbing skills of mice to avoid cats hunting them

This picture shows the climbing skills of mice to avoid cats hunting them. I've seen this sort of climbing ability in my home with my cat doing his damnest to catch the little fella. Mice are remarkable in their skills and courage when fighting a cat. They scream at cats at the top of their voice at a volume where I can hear them from yards away. 

Humans are not meant to hear the high frequency sound of mice but when they shout as they do in the face of death by cat bite, they can he heard. They can hold the sort of position you see in the photo for a long time. I admire them which is one reason why I hate my cat's delight at killing them but I fully accept it. I have to.

Mice can jump extraordinarily well when they have to, to escape capture. They move rapidly and can squeeze through the tiniest of holes. I've saved a few from the jaws of my cat. I put them out at the back of the garden and hope for the best. I don't believe that they survive because they are too traumatized or they've been injured. But I can't do anything else but try.

Pic: MikeB. This is all that is left of a mouse after my cat has finished with it. Horrible and tragic.

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