Do Cats Get Rid of Rats? - Critter Control Tampa

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Do cats get rid of rats?

Cats are well-known worldwide for their propensity to catch and kill mice. It’s a trait that is entrenched in general knowledge as well as pop culture, as Tom and Jerry fans can attest. Mice are in many ways the perfect prey for cats, who love stalking their prey and pouncing on mice as they skitter unpredictably about.

It’s not just mice that cats have been known to hunt for fun—voles and birds are common prey, also. But mice, voles, and birds aren’t as destructive or as potentially problematic as the big rodents that wreck property and bring disease: rats. So, can cats kill rats, too? Should you rely on feline ferocity for your Tampa area rat control needs? The answer may surprise you.

Can Cats Kill Rats?

Cats are excellent hunters. In a feral environment, kittens learn how to hunt for and catch prey, but even domesticated cats can be quite adept at hunting live animals, as any cat owner who has seen their cat carryying their prey in their mouth knows. In fact, cats kill billions of animals like birds and rodents every year.

Famous for successfully hunting mice, cats are also adept at killing other small mammals. Voles and chipmunks are potential prey for felines looking for some fun. As a result of this propensity for animal slaughter, residents of some cities have actually utilized cats to help with pest control in both an official and unofficial manner.

In Chicago, for instance, Tree House Humane Society helps put colonies of feral cats to work. Originally famous for becoming the United States’ first no kill, cageless cat shelter, they feed and care for cat colonies in places where they can affect local rodent populations. And New York City is famous for bodega cats, who are rather effective at keeping rodents away.

Why Cats Aren’t the Best Pest Control for Rats

Unfortunately, while cats are great hunters and clearly are skilled at catching some animals, rats are a different story. Because rats are similar to mice, many people tend to think that cats are great rat catchers as well. Can cats kill rats? Yes. They have the skills to do so, certainly. But do cats kill rats? Not so much.

In a unique research paper published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolutions, four researchers found that cats are not the rat killers that many think they are. In the paper, they point out that, while cats are known killers of mice, the significantly larger urban rats that infest properties are too big to entice feral cats to come attacking.

The researchers set up shop at an industrial waste recycling site in Brooklyn, installing infared cameras that kept tabs on the ~150 or so rats as well as the colony of feral rats that had also made the waste facility their home. And despite a not insignificant amount of cats at the facility, the researchers found that only three serious attempts to kill a rat were made, and only two of those were successful. Ultimately, the cats were not effective at controlling the rat population and were often indifferent to the rats.

So, how do you explain the presence of bodega cats and the success found through Tree House Humane Society? Simply, cats act as a deterrent, as rats tend to stay away from them. Cats can change rat behavior, but when the rubber meets the road, you can’t count on cats to be effective rat control.

How to Get Rid of Rats

While cats may not be a solution to your rat problem, that doesn’t mean said problem is unsolvable. Professional rat control technicians in Greater Tampa are experts at getting rid of rats in your home and at your property.

Rat control professionals focus on four factors when dealing with rat infestations:

  • Rat Nests
  • Extermination
  • Dead Rat Removal
  • Exclusion

Getting rid of rats requires multiple approaches. Rat nests must be removed and rats must also be exterminated. Exclusion—or preventing rats from being able to get into your home—is also important. Rat carcasses must also be removed from your home, lest the smell proliferate further throughout your home.

Critter Control Can Bring Rats Under Control

Owning a pet can be a consistently rewarding experience. Cats in particular are helpful in controlling populations of birds, mice, and yard rodents such as voles—in addition to being furry, cuddly companions. Cats can even help to deter rats, but only to an extent: owning a cat or cats will not guarantee you protection against a rat infestation, and relying on them to do so will likely bring you disappointment.

Thankfully, Critter Control is here to be your rat control experts. Our technicians can help identify the extent of your rat infestation and address the core causes behind it. And if those rats have left behind property damage, we can help with that, too. Contact us online or call us today to see how we can help you with your rat problem.

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