Is your pet an amazing mouser? Beware of these risks. A guest post on Pete the Vet’s blog

guest post from amber kingsley

This month’s guest post is from Amber Kingsley, a journalist and lifetime pet lover from the USA

The risks of having a mouse-hunting cat

The term “cat-and-mouse” has a long and colourful history that dates back many centuries. But the more recent definition that we’re more accustomed to involves reports about a repeated, continuous and dangerous game that causes potential problems with all of the players involved. Usually when we witness a cat encountering a rodent, we see the feline making mincemeat of a mouse in record time. They do tend to play with their prey once they’ve been captured or cornered into submission, hence the game.

On the other hand, there are also certain breeds of canines that have been bred throughout history and continue to be excellent “ratters,” capturing and disposing of these rodents in a very timely manner. Some of these smaller, purebred animals, are known for this propensity to trap and kill rodents. This is where the term “rat terrier” was originally derived, and eventually was known to encompass many different breeds of these cunning canines.

But playing or preying on these rodents and other pests come with some very serious, dangerous and often unforeseen consequences that owners should acknowledge. In the past, we may have  imagined rabies being a problem with these types of pesky animals, but thanks to diligent owners and their yearly vaccinations, this peril has been greatly diminished over the past decades. Still all of these wild animals pose other types of realistic and potential threats to our pets.

While our protective companion animals are guarding ourselves and property from these types of intrusions, sometimes we forget that others are doing the same thing in the form of using deadly and dangerous pesticides. Pumped full of these toxins, rodents are often wandering around long before these poisons take effect. Even when they’re deceased, these little pests could still be packed full of these powerful poisons.

Once these little nuisances have been digested by our protective four-legged friends, they have the same deadly consequences that were meant for their prey. Even if they don’t consume their victims, contact with their blood or saliva could still pack a powerful punch. This type of poisoning, of a large animal by ingesting a smaller, poisoned animal, is known as secondary poisoning, and while it’s rare, it’s something to consider.

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll stop your pet’s natural instincts to hunt, protect themselves, you and your property from these intruders, but it’s definitely in your best interests to prevent them from coming into contact with these pests in the first place. Protect your pets by keeping your home, property and outdoor areas clear of rubbish, always contain garbage inside tightly covered containers and do your best to stop these critters from coming into contact with your pets and your property:

  • If you have a garden, make sure it is well fenced and keep fruit and vegetables picked up when they’re ripe
  • Keep overhanging trees, branches and shrubs well trimmed to eliminate possible entrances to your property from these pests
  • Continuously check your fence line for holes, loose boards, faulty hinges or latches that could make for easy access
  • If you have a compost pile, keep it away from your house and covered as recommended

Keeping wildlife away from your companion animals will help to ensure they will continue to be by your side. Vaccinations offer some protection, but you can do more to protect your pets from unnecessary exposure to unwanted pests and the many dangers they may present.

 

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