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Will Mice Eat Cat Food? Vet-Approved Info & Food Storage Tips

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

long-tailed mouse close up

Will Mice Eat Cat Food? Vet-Approved Info & Food Storage Tips


Dr. Luqman Javed Photo


Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Mice are common house pests that enter our homes through the smallest holes, and if they have access to food and water, they’ll make a new home in your house. Practically any food can attract mice, and they’ll often go for the first edible thing they can find. Unfortunately, this means they will eat cat food as they’re opportunistic omnivores.

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Why Do Mice Eat Cat Food?

Mice will eat cat food because it’s available. In the wild, mice must fight for survival and take each meal as it comes. This is called being opportunistic, and cat food lying in a bowl offers the perfect opportunity for a good meal that takes little energy to find.

Cat food contains fats, proteins, vitamins, and carbs. Mice benefit from these as a cat would, although the protein amounts are generally too high. Mice will sniff out the food and either take it from your cat’s bowl if they are bold or chew a small hole through the cat food bag. The cat food will provide the mouse with energy and sustenance at a low energy cost, meaning the mouse has to expend minimal effort to get to the food.

Does Cat Food Attract Mice?

kitten food
Image Credit: Crepessuzette, Pixabay

Cat food attracts mice for the same reasons it attracts cats! It contains aromas and flavors to entice cats to eat it, which attracts mice into your home if left out. In addition, mice have an incredible sense of smell; an impressive portion of a mouse’s DNA is dedicated solely to smell!1 They use this amazing sense to locate food and track it down, meaning that even one small piece of cat food left out can catch a mouse’s attention. This is especially common at night since mice are more active under the cover of darkness.

What Do Mice Eat?

Mice in the wild will eat almost anything edible, belying their opportunistic omnivore nature. Mice typically eat grains and vegetation like seeds, nuts, and fruits. They will also eat invertebrates if they get the chance, and they’ll often eat carrion if that’s all that’s available.

“House mice” then find their way into our homes and will eat any domestic food they can. Bread crumbs, cheese, biscuits, cereal, and pet food are welcome sights for the mice. Pet food is especially inviting to mice as it contains many key nutrients they need to survive.

How Do I Stop Mice from Eating My Cat’s Food?

cat eating food from automatic feeder
Image Credit: Kylbabka, Shutterstock

The key to stopping pesky intruders from stealing your cat’s food is to remove it after mealtime and keep the bag locked away. Cat food (particularly dry food) that is left out is an attractive offering to a mouse, so keeping it in an airtight container and cleaning up any leftovers from your cat is the best way to stop mice from getting to it.

Dry cat food in bags should be transferred to airtight bins since mice can chew through bags at the bottom to get to the food inside. After your cat eats, disposing of any food left over and cleaning up any mess can keep tempting aromas to a minimum. If your cat likes to have food available throughout the day, consider using a microchip feeder with a lid. The lid only opens while your cat is eating, and only your cat’s microchip can unlock it. However, do take note that a mouse might still be attracted to crumbs left over by your cat.

Lastly, keeping your cat’s food away from places mice frequent, such as garages, is also wise.

Do Mice Prefer Wet Cat Food or Dry Cat Food?

Mice typically go for wet and dry cat food, but dry food is usually easier for rodents to transport and store. Mice may be more attracted to the smell of wet food, which is why it’s crucial to clean it up after your cat has eaten. However, dry food usually contains more grains, which a mouse will enjoy. Ultimately though, being opportunistic, they readily accept cat food in either form.


Final Thoughts

Mice will eat cat food if it is available, both wet and dry varieties. Because mice are opportunistic omnivores, they will take whatever they can find regarding food. Cat food is often kept in places mice frequent, such as garages or cupboards, so it’s an easy source of sustenance for them to access.

Mice are attracted to cat food because of its scent, and they have a keen sense of smell that helps them find all sorts of food. Keeping your cat’s food locked away in an airtight container, cleaning it up after your cat is finished, and using a microchip feeder are good ways of keeping mice away from your cat’s food.

Featured Image Credit: Ralphs_Fotos, Pixabay

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