PEST CONTROL WITH CATS
Whether we like it or not, insects and animals will always be a part of our lives. Rich or poor – no matter how clean your place is – they are there, living in your property without paying rent.
At the same time, pets are essential to most homes in Winston-Salem. Pets, especially cats and dogs, bring joy to the lives of millions here in America. They make us happy, they help relieve stress, and to most people, pets bring special meaning to their lives. Pets truly are a great addition to any family, and thus deserve our love and protection, especially from pests and the diseases they transmit.
Most insects and animals are actually beneficial to the ecosystem. They only become pests when they get close to human dwellings. They only look for three basic things inside our houses: food, water, and shelter. And in case you are not yet aware of it, cats also provide food for pests like fleas and ticks.
But what if things are turned around and cats are the ones doing the protecting? It has been said that cats can be used for controlling pests, but are they effective?
In this article, we will explore the value of cats as pest control for some of the most common household pests in Winston-Salem – rats and mice.
Cats for pest control
There is no doubt that people love cats, though there will always be a debate about that cats-vs-dogs thing. These sweet felines are great pets for families because of their calm nature, and they are especially great for kids.
One thing not many people know is that cats can be a very effective weapon against pests. Like their cousins the lions, tigers, and leopards, cats are very predatorial. Yes, beneath that calm, sweet exterior is a killer with murderous intentions.
Do you watch the cartoon series “Tom and Jerry”, or at least have seen an episode? It may be a humorous look at the adversarial relationship between cats and mice, but that happens a lot. That show, though, makes us root for the mouse and hate the cat; in real life, we should all be behind the cats.
Cats are great hunters; it is part of their instincts. For centuries they have done this for their masters, and maybe you should too. If you have mice infestation problems at home, cats can be perfect. They are obviously natural, without leaving any poisonous pesticide residue at home because, well, you are not using pesticides.
When did humans start using cats as pest control?
According to archaeologists, the relationship between humans and cats have been going on for almost 10,000 years now. Speculation was that wild cats were drawn to human dwellings because of the presence of rats that were already pests at the time. Rats were seen munching away on the stored grains of our prehistoric ancestors. Cats were seen as being effective in hunting then, and continue to be so until now.
Advantages of using cats for pest control
The presence of cats can create an atmosphere of fear among mice. Mice have always been a predator and prey at the same time. Over the centuries, they have learned to be wary of predators as they forage for food. Common cues they use to know if there are predators include actually seeing their hunters, smelling them, or smelling predator urine. Thus, mice run away and hide from places where they know a predator is nearby. Cats are among the creatures that make them do that.
Cats have better senses than humans, being the natural predators that they are. They can smell mice, and hear higher frequencies like a mouse squeaking. Indeed, they can detect mice faster than humans can. Cats are also fleet-footed and more “athletic” than humans. Cats also do not leave poisons after killing pests.
Are all cats good at controlling pests?
Are all cats good at controlling pests? While it is true that all cats are hunters, there are some breeds that are better than the others. A good hunter of mice is the American shorthair cat. It is great at catching mice, and a great and loving pet too.
Another one you might want to consider is the Maine Coon. Siamese and Siberian cats are also effective pest controllers.
If you are not aware of working cat programs, then this is the time to be aware of it. Working cat programs provide care to homeless cats, then get them to areas where there are mice infestation problems. You might check out your local community in Winston-Salem to know if you have a program like this.
If you get feral cats from a working cat program, they normally would do the vaccinating and neutering for you. They may also help in taking care of these cats as well.
If you are using feral cats for pest control in your home, there would not be much problem. If you are going to use cats for controlling pests in your business, then you may have to check your local bylaws, especially if your business involves food and beverages.
Since feral cats are used to living outdoors and are not accustomed to human contact, you should do your best to make them stay. Provide food for them regularly to make them stay. You can also give them shelter to protect them from the elements.
Another option is getting one as a pet and a pest controller all rolled into one. Get a breed that is good at hunting, like the ones we mentioned above. Or you may also get any or some of the following breeds: Chartreux, Manx, Burmese, Turkish angora, Persian, and Japanese bobtail.
Or why not keep a stray cat. If she has kittens, keep them too, but be sure to neuter them when they are old enough. Neuter the mom too. By keeping the mom and her kittens, the kittens will learn some tips and tricks on how to catch mice.
Take care of your cats, and they will take care of you too.
The danger of not controlling your mice infestation problem
Mice look cute enough to become pets themselves, but the reality is that they are pests that can cause both economic and health problems. Mice are known to destroy personal belongings like books, clothes, boxes, cardboards, notebooks, papers, as well as furniture and even walls. They also chew on electric wirings and gas pipes. Chewing on the last two items actually makes them a fire hazard.
Mice are constantly in need of chewing on something. They have incisors that are always growing. Chewing on something stops it from growing.
Mice are also “yucky”, having crawled from one garbage bin to another. It is hard to know where else they have been, frankly.
They can also transmit several deadly diseases. Among these is leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that is transmitted via ingestion of water that is contaminated by mice or rat urine. Wading through floodwaters while having an open wound on your lower extremity also puts you at risk. If not treated, leptospirosis can lead to death.
Hantavirus is another disease transmitted by mice. This is transmitted through rat droppings or urine that is stirred up and become airborne, which would result in humans inhaling them. Bathing in water contaminated by mice urine and droppings can transmit the disease as well.
Mice contaminate our food through their droppings, urine, saliva, and vomit. Ingesting food and water contaminated with these will surely make you sick.
Signs of mice infestation
One of the surest signs of mice infestation is the presence of mice droppings. Mice poop a lot because all they do aside from playing and mating are eat. Mice droppings look like little black pellets and you will see a lot of them if a mouse is in your house.
You might also find chew marks on your books, papers, cardboards, papers, electric wires, and gas pipes.
Physically seeing a mouse is, of course, the top sign you have mice infestation already. If you see one mouse, there are probably many more hiding there. Mice are social creatures and they live in a nest with hundreds of others.
This goes to show the important role cats will play in controlling mice in your home.
Are cats enough?
Unfortunately, cats may not be enough to solve your mice problem, especially if the infestation is heavy. Mice reproduce quickly; 5-month-old mice are already sexually mature and can reproduce already. They can also reproduce every three weeks.
To maximize the effectiveness of using cats for pest control, other forms of control should be used at the same time. Keep your food inside sealed containers. Cover your trash and throw away your garbage regularly, Also, seal all cracks, crevices, and holes that mice can use as entry points.
If your mice infestation is too much for you to handle, you may call the best mice and other pest control near me, Go-Forth Pest Control.
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned pest control company that has been around since 1959.