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My Cat Killed a Rat, What Do I Do Now?

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 7, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat with dead rat

My Cat Killed a Rat, What Do I Do Now?

The first time that your cat brings you a rat, it can bring up all sorts of emotions: Disgust, anxiety, and more are all common and perfectly normal. But none of those emotions tell you what you should do if your cat brings you a dead rat.

The truth is that you might not need to do much, as hunting and killing rats are normal cat behaviors. That said, there are a few things that you may want to do if your cat kills a rat. This guide breaks it all down for you.

divider-catclaw1 Why Is Your Cat Killing Rats?

Some people think that a cat chasing a rodent around means they’re not trying to kill it. But that’s not the case. Cats chase their prey before killing it in order to wear it down and make it safer for them when they finish it off. So, if you see your cat chasing around prey, it’s not for entertainment purposes alone.

But that doesn’t explain why your cat is chasing and killing a rat, to begin with. It all comes down to instinct. Your cat sees small prey like a rat, and it’s their instinct to hunt and kill it.

While you might be able to convince your cat that a specific pet rat or mouse isn’t prey, it can be an extreme challenge. Cats simply view small rodents as prey, and if they get a chance, they’re going to attack and try to kill them. It’s just how they are.

kitten about to pounce on a rat
Image By: Dieterich01, Pixabay

What to Do If Your Outdoor Cat Kills Rats

If your outdoor cat kills and brings a rat from outside to you, you need to know how to respond. They’re only doing something natural to them, but that doesn’t mean you want to deal with a plethora of dead rats.

Start by cleaning up the rat. Keep the cat out of the room while you clean; otherwise, they might grab it and move it to a new location. Next, wear gloves to pick up the dead rat and put it in a plastic bag. Tie the bag before throwing it away outside. Otherwise, other animals can find the rat, which can lead to other problems that you’ll need to deal with. Next, clean up the area where your cat dropped the rat. Use an appropriate disinfectant for the surface.

While you might not want your cat to bring you dead rodents, if you have an outdoor cat, it’s their natural instinct to hunt while they’re out. It’s also not likely to stop anytime soon.

If you find that the rat bit or scratched your cat, you might want to consider taking them to a vet for testing, to ensure that the rat didn’t spread any diseases. We also recommend talking to the vet for a more thorough explanation of what you should do if a rat bite or scratches your cat.

What to Do If Your Indoor Cat Kills Rats

If your cat does kill a rat in your home, wear gloves to pick up the rat and put it in a plastic bag, then dispose of it in an outside garbage can. Then, follow the steps in the above section. If this is a frequent occurrence, make sure that your cat is on some sort of parasite prevention, since rats can spread parasites to your cat.

You don’t necessarily want to scold your cat for killing a rat in your home, so the best thing that you can do is catch and take care of the rats before your cat gets a chance to. Set out traps to catch rats, seal up entrances so they can’t get into your home, clean up clutter, and ensure that conditions aren’t ideal for incoming rats.

If all else fails and you can’t get the rats under control yourself, don’t think that you can rely on your cat. While they’ll catch the occasional rat and likely enjoy chasing them around, they won’t be nearly as effective at controlling the rat population as you might hope.

So, consider contacting a professional. You don’t want to deal with a horde of rats in your home, and a pest professional can help you fix the problem once and for all.

divider-catclaw1 Final Thoughts

When your cat brings you a dead rat, don’t make it more of a big deal than it needs to be. You don’t need to like it; just know that in many ways, it’s part of owning a cat. That said, it’s still important to know what to do when they bring a rat home. This way, you can handle the situation with confidence even if you’re not thrilled about it!

Featured Image Credit: HikwaMehluli, Pixabay

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