Why It's A Very Bad Idea To Let Your Cat Handle Your Mouse Or Rat Problem
Do you rely on your cat to keep small rodents out of your house? If so, it's time to consider a different pest control strategy. While your kitty may love their job and perform it well, allowing it to eat rats or mice could be detrimental to both its health and yours. Read on to learn about the health consequences of owning a mouser and how you can help your kitty retire and keep your home rodent-free.
Illnesses Spread Via Rodent
Rats and mice are infamous for carrying dangerous viruses and bacteria. Here are three common diseases that can be spread either directly or indirectly from rodents to your cat, and then onto you.
Leptospirosis. Your cat doesn't need to actually eat a rat or mouse to pick up this disease; the bacteria can burrow right through its skin to infect it. While most cats exhibit only mild symptoms of infection, leptospirosis can be passed on to humans to whom it is far more dangerous. Once inside the human body, this bacteria heads straight for the bloodstream, reproducing and spreading in the liver, kidneys, and nervous system. If left untreated, leptospirosis can cause extensive liver and kidney damage, as well as meningitis, respiratory distress, and even death.
Toxoplasmosis. Your cat can acquire this parasitic disease by ingesting an infected rodent. Once in your cat's body, the bacteria will live and multiply in the intestines. The bacterial' eggs are passed with your cat's feces for about 2 weeks following infection. You can become infected with toxoplasmosis yourself during this time period by accidentally ingesting these eggs while cleaning your cats litter box.
Both adult cats and adult humans are usually immune to toxoplasmosis, but those with weakened immune systems may experience flu-like symptoms. This disease is especially dangerous for unborn children, as it can result in abnormal fetal development, miscarriage, or stillbirth.
Hantavirus. This very serious, sometimes fatal virus is carried by deer mice, white-footed mice, cotton rats, and rice rats. While it is not known to infect domestic pets, it does infect humans. You can be infected by hantavirus simply by breathing in air that has been contaminated with it, so if your cat is a mouser and he's leaving the remains of his prey around your house, you're at increased risk of developing the disease.
Symptoms of hantavirus include fatigue, muscle aches, fever, dizziness, chills. If left untreated, hantivirus can cause shortness of breath as the lungs fill with fluid. The human mortality rate for this disease is 38 percent.
Stopping Your Cat From Eating Mice
If you have a mouse or rat infestation on your hands, contact a pest control professional to get the problem under control. The pest control service can offer various methods to kill your existing home invaders, and point out vulnerable locations where the rodents may be entering your home. Seal your house up good to prevent any more mice or rats from entering by caulking any cracks or holes in your foundation.
With the rodent problem in control inside your house, it will be far easier to keep your kitty from practicing their skills. Only take your cat outside when you can watch them closely. Avoid evening outings since cats are nocturnal and prefer to hunt at night. Give your cat plenty of food and treats so they don't feel the need to seek out their own snacks.
Finally, tie a few bells onto your cat's collar. The jingles produced by the bells will give any mice or rats that your cat does happen to find a warning sound; they'll have a little longer to react so they'll be more apt to get away as opposed to becoming your feline friend's dinner.
Your cat may be great at pest control, but that doesn't mean that it's safe for him or her to eat rodents. Rats and mice carry several diseases that are dangerous to your cat and to you. If you've got a mouse or rat infestation, get your problem under control by contacting a professional pest control service and then take the necessary steps to help your cat retire from rodent patrol duty.