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Will Cat Litter Keep Mice Away? Facts & FAQ

pouring cat litter
Image Credit: EvGavrilov, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Kerry-Ann Kerr

Unless it’s a pet, the idea of a mouse running around in your house is troubling. Mice carry disease and cause destruction wherever they go, and you may be curious about effective methods to get rid of them. Is kitty litter one of them?

Yes and no. It isn’t cat litter that will keep a mouse out of your house; it’s the cat urine. Bear with us. Using pee to keep mice away isn’t as gross as it may sound, and it’s actually an inexpensive, safe, and humane way to keep the little critters out. Keep reading to find out how this works and what other options you have if it doesn’t!

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Using Cat Litter To Keep Mice Away

Mice are conditioned to turn and run at the mere whiff of a cat’s urine, which is what makes using cat litter such a good idea. Once you’ve identified that you have a rodent problem, determine where they’re getting by searching for scratches, bite marks, and collections of food droppings. These are the places where you’re going to leave your cat’s litter deposits.

Some people place the litter on a small sheet of metal or plastic since paper can soak through and make your floor smell. The other option is a container with holes. Although it’s the most hygienic method, it can reduce the amount of odor released, which could make it less successful. When handling the litter, don’t use your hands. Not only is it unhygienic, but your scent could mask the smell of your cat’s urine.

Cleaning cat litter box
Image Credit: Zoran Photographer, Shutterstock

Cat Litter Doesn’t Always Work

If mice are exposed to cat urine at a young age, they may react differently to the smell later in life. In fact, mice can permanently lose their innate aversion to cat urine.

Mice can also lose their fear of cats in adulthood, and a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii is behind the inconvenience. Toxoplasma is found in many birds and mammals but only reproduces in a cat’s intestines.

A mouse infected with Toxoplasma loses its natural fear response to the smell of cat urine, which makes it easier for a cat to catch and eat it, thus ensuring the parasite survives. However, this also causes you a problem. Toxoplasma is shed in a cat’s poop, and the same litter you are using to scare mice away could also be the reason it doesn’t work very well in the future.

mice litters
Image Credit: Kapa65, Pixabay

Other Options Available to You

If using kitty litter doesn’t work out, there are other ways to keep your rodent problem under control. Prevent them from getting into your house in the first place by searching for any holes, cracks, or pipes they may use to enter your home. Make sure your house isn’t as tempting by keeping it clean, and ensure all food (human and pet) is stored in mice-proof containers

Humane traps are an excellent option, but if you release mice too close to your home, they will track their way back, and you’ll just be repeating a never-ending process. In terms of mousetraps, cats are curious and can get hurt by them too, and killing one mouse leaves a space for another to move in and take its place. If you end up turning to a professional and use an exterminator, make sure they know you have household pets before they create a plan for you.

Exterminator fumigating a room
Image Credit: Michelangelo Buonarroti, Pexels

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Tom and Jerry provide insight into how complicated the relationship is between cats and mice. Sometimes the presence of a cat and its litter box is enough to keep a family of mice away from your home, but you’ll need to use other methods is the litter is ineffective. Whichever technique you use, ensure you can resolve your rodent problem while keeping your pets and family safe.

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Featured Image Credit: EvGavrilov, Shutterstock

About the Author

Kerry-Ann Kerr
Kerry-Ann Kerr
Kerry-Ann lives in Scotland and wishes her garden was bigger so she could have her very own Highland cow but thinks her dogs probably wouldn’t like that idea very much. She has a La Chon called Harry who was poorly with a liver shunt when he was a puppy. It wasn't likely he would make it into adulthood, which was difficult to comprehend, but he beat the odds and is a healthy old man now. She also has a Pug called Maddie who is a big foodie. She’s small, sassy, and every day she finds a new way to wind her brother up.

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