How to Get Your Cat to Catch a Mouse

Orange and white cat licking its paw.
  • 3-5 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-30
What You'll Need
Cat food

Many domestic cats are not able to catch a mouse, because they did not spend long enough with their mother and kitten siblings to learn these abilities. You can teach your cat how to catch a mouse, and other skills it needs for the hunt, by using these guidelines.

Step 1 - Introduce Your Cat to a Mentor

Find a friend with a cat who spends a lot of time outdoors and has developed hunting skills. Get the two cats together so your cat can observe the skilled hunter in the field. They will need a little time together to become comfortable with each other first.

Step 2 - Play Hunting Games with Your Cat

Cat playing with a ball

Use your cat's toys as teaching tools so they develop the skills of stalking, pursuing, pouncing, and catching. Develop your cat's physical strength with tug-of-war games and other play activities. Use a wind-up mouse for pursuit and stalking skills. Reward your cat with tiny food treats when he or she does a training activity correctly.

Step 3 - Feed Your Cat Adequately

Neither allow your cat to overeat nor withhold food to try to develop hunting skills. Cats need to be healthy and have well-developed muscles and bones to be successful hunters.

Step 4 - Be Prepared to Find Your Cat's Prey in Various Places

woman petting a cat

Once your cat develops its hunting skills, it will bring its prey to you. This is how it is actually trying to teach you to hunt, as it has retained some of that instinctive behavior reinforced in cats by their mothers for millennia. Go away and let your cat finish off its prey if it has brought it to you wounded; do not participate.

Step 5 - Remove Rodent Poisons or Traps from the House and Yard

Cats who become hunters may want to eat what they have caught. Be sure the prey will not have ingested poison or be wedged in a trap that could injure your cat. Keep your cat's immunization shots up to date so they do not catch any dangerous diseases from their prey.

Step 6 - Supervise Your Cat's Outdoor Time

Your cat may come up against larger animals from time to time. Cats are very protective of their territory, so be sure you can remove him or her from danger should the situation arise.

Step 7 - Make Allowance for Your Cat's Age

After several years, your ferocious hunter may wind down and mellow out, becoming content to bask in a sunny spot and sleep for longer periods. This reduced activity is a natural part of aging. If your cat starts to show signs of stiffness or pain, have your veterinarian check her or him over to note any development of arthritis or other joint or bone problems. Some of these problems can be relieved with medication or changes in diet.

Domestic cats are a long way removed from their lion, leopard, and saber-toothed tiger ancestors. You can help revive their hunting instincts to a degree. Supervise your infants and toddlers carefully around your cat during the retraining process, to prevent inadvertent injuries to both your child and your cat.