Monthly Archives: September 2013

Should Cats Eat Mice and Birds?

We all love our feline pets. They love to show they love us by bringing us little presents they capture in the wild. Many a cat lover has discovered a half eaten mouse or bird on their doorstep left by their kitty as a token of love for being such a good caretaker. But, we wonder, is it safe that they have eaten some of that wild animal, especially when we have no idea where it has been?

Cats are carnivores and predators. In fact they are obligate carnivores meaning they must have meat to live. Meat contains taurine which is one of the essential nutrients to a cat’s diet. The bones of the animals they consume are full of calcium and are easily broken down and digested. The bones, guts, fur and feathers of mice and birds contain fiber which is another essential nutrient. They obtain water from their prey as well. Cats enjoy a variety of textures which is why they relish chewing on mice and birds. Their natural instinct is to hunt.  If you do not wish to have them bring home such wildlife, you will have to keep them indoors or monitor their time outdoors.

If your cat is allowed to roam, be sure it gets regular check-ups for worms and other parasites. Be sure vaccines such as rabies and feline leukemia are up to date. In very rare cases, a cat can contract a disease such as toxoplasmosis which can lead to uvitis and glaucoma. Again, regular checkups for your outdoor cat are good preventative medicine.

Humans should take care when disposing of their little  presents of mice and birds. Take care to wear gloves and even a mask when handling the gift.  Viruses, such as the sometimes deadly hantavirus, can be spread for example, by handling a mouse. Scrub any surface that the mouse came in contact with.  Cats are not carriers of the virus nor can it be transferred from one person to another.

In general, it is not harmful for cats to eat mice and birds. This is how many cats live in the wild. However, keep your cat safe by keeping it’s checkups regular and keep yourself safe by using gloves when you handle strange wildlife. Happy hunting!