Do Cats Eat Mice Alive?

"Just walk away. You saw nothin'."
i George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images

There’s nothing quite as disturbing as watching your innocent feline shred apart a mouse. Cats are natural-born predators, so there’s no way to stop it. Charlie will do his best to kill it so it doesn’t scurry away, but it might still be wiggling a bit when he’s getting ready to dine.

The Hunt

Watching Charlie hunt is truly intriguing. He’ll catch the slightest movement from the corner of his eye and crouch down towards the ground, glaring at the source of the motion. Moving one paw at a time, he’ll slowly crawl closer. As soon as he locks eyes on his prey, he’ll plant all four paws firmly on the ground, wiggle his rear end and sprint across the patio, pouncing on the mouse.

The Catch

You’ll see Charlie gripping the poor little rodent, almost like he’s squeezing it in his fist. While it probably looks weird, he’ll get it in his mouth and shake it violently from side to side. He’s trying to snap its neck so it dies. Ideally at this point the mouse will become listless, giving Charlie the opportunity to feast on his catch, but this doesn’t always happen.

The Feast

Depending on the size of the mouse, your mischievous pal may eat pretty much the entire thing -- from head to toe. Sadly, the little mouse may still be alive and twitching in the beginning, although it’ll be put to rest rather quickly. Not all domestic cats eat their catch. Since you’re such an excellent caretaker, he may offer it to you, leaving you his “gift” right on your front doormat or pillow. Don’t get upset with him, it’s in his nature. Simply smile, pat him on the head and bury the little critter where Charlie won’t find it again.


Even though catching rodents is natural for felines, it isn’t always safe. If he’s gnawing away on a mouse that’s still wiggling, he might be eating quickly and get a bone stuck in the roof of his mouth or worse -- lodged in his throat. Lying low to the ground and coughing, drooling and collapsing are signs that your fuzzy buddy may be choking. Get him to the vet as soon as possible. Additionally, if you have mice in the area, be wary of mouse traps. Rat poison, live traps, sticky traps and snap traps can be very dangerous for your beloved friend. Even if you don’t have these things on your property, your neighbor may have them hidden in his garage. Keep Charlie safe by making him stay indoors and get rid of any of those old mouse traps in your basement.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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