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  #1  
Old 05-06-2009, 06:28 PM
gravitycrash gravitycrash is offline
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Are cats effective at catching moles?

I thought about putting this in GQ but I've been around here long enough to know how even seemingly innocent cat questions can devolve into a spectacular train wreck so here it goes.
I'm thinking about getting a cat for work and affection. The work part is in the thread title. I hate moles. They are destroying my once immaculate lawn and I am pissed. I'm not passionate about much but I am anal about my grass.

I have tried all of the latest and not so great methods in trying to kill the little bastards and nothing is working for me. Either I have really smart moles or I did something bad in a previous life and am now paying for it.

I like cats and they seem to like me. I grew up with cats and have had them as an adult as well. The cat would primarily be an indoor cat and I would spoil it rotten but it must be able to kill or at least put the fear of the mole god into them so that they can move on, maybe into the neighbors yard (it would be payment for their two yappy dogs).

The reason I haven't had a cat in the past five years is that I live alone and I'm kind of picky about my house also. But the mole problem outweighs the cat hair and potential flea problems.
So, I know cats are great hunters and I've seen it myself growing up and remembering all of the remnants of mice and other critters deposited on the doorstep but I don't remember mole remains specifically (there could have been though).
I have a large yard and the backyard is mostly wooded with squirrels and rabbits...it wouldn't break my heart if the cat would get a few bunnies to, they like to munch on my hostas dammit.

After rereading this post I sort of come across as a whiny bitch but gardening and landscaping is about the only hobby I really enjoy. Any advice or funny stories with your cats venturing into the wild is welcome as are any other solutions to the great mole problem of 2009.

Also if I get a cat it will keep it's claws obviously, even at the risk to my couch.
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  #2  
Old 05-06-2009, 06:55 PM
kathmandu kathmandu is offline
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Since moles live primarily underground, I would be surprised if a cat would be at all effective in reducing their numbers. Mind you, this is just a wild guess.
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  #3  
Old 05-06-2009, 07:08 PM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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A cat has to be a pretty devoted hunter to go after moles, IME. Birds, lizards and mice are more common prey. You might consider adopting an adult cat who is a known hunter, rather than risking a kitten who may or may not develop an interest in hunting.
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  #4  
Old 05-06-2009, 07:26 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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Mole Pro
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  #5  
Old 05-06-2009, 07:55 PM
miss elizabeth miss elizabeth is offline
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My cat kills moles all the time, and is an all around avid hunter. She leaves them on my doorstep for me to step on at night in the dark (ew!). She kills anything she can find though, it's kind of amazing. I've been trying to keep her inside because she has killed birds, and I really hate that, but she is good at getting out when my kids are running in and out. So, anyway, even though moles are underground, cats can kill them (and will) but I think you will have to deal with your cat killing everything else too. Might not be worth it, but YMMV.

By the way, my neighbor who gardens adores her, and it really has fixed her problem with moles. I second trying to find a "hunter cat" though, as my other (lazy) cat doesn't go after them at all.
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:03 PM
notfrommensa notfrommensa is online now
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I have had cats who killed moles, and, of course, brought them home for me to cook.

Jack Russell Terriers and dachshunds are known to be very good mole hunters. Maybe you offerr to board one or the other for a few weeks?
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  #7  
Old 05-06-2009, 09:14 PM
gravitycrash gravitycrash is offline
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Guinastasia If moles can laugh then they are having a great time joking about those mechanical traps. I've had three in the yard for the past month. There are some nice spider webs on them though.

I have no problem getting a rescue cat from the humane society. Actually I would prefer an adult cat with outdoor experience versus a kitten anyway. Maybe I can take applications: Professional vermin killer wanted... especially moles. Only allowed to be lazy indoors, must work for food.
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  #8  
Old 05-06-2009, 09:18 PM
tygre tygre is offline
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My mom owned 4 different cats, all indoor/outdoor, all hunters, and only one caught moles. The rest preferred birds, bugs, and mice.

The one that did catch moles was very good at it, though.
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  #9  
Old 05-06-2009, 11:12 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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Most of the indoor-outdoor cats we had were good mole/shrew catchers. (NH has both the largest shrews and smallest moles, so they're sort of hard to tell apart, especially if they've been maimed) We used to find a lot more dead soricomorphas than birds.
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  #10  
Old 05-07-2009, 12:10 AM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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My indoor cat, who is allowed out in the yard on a leash under supervision, didn't kill, but stunned, a mole a few weeks ago. Took him inside, later on the mole was gone. That was the high point of his boring life and he's been haunting that very spot ever since waiting for lightning to strike twice. He's got the instinct, but not the experience.
Living at home with my mom, her outdoor cats were much better hunters and left plenty of moles on the front step.
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  #11  
Old 05-07-2009, 03:09 AM
Sebastienne Sebastienne is offline
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I had a big fat lazy Maine Coon as a kid that, contrary to his otherwise sedate (read: comatose) habits, loved to kill moles. It's how I learned moles are seriously funny looking.

Don't make the mistake of letting the cat go hungry so he'll be more eager to hunt; a distressed or needy kitty is more likely to harass you for food and attention than be an effective rodent rooter. Try to keep the cat spry and healthy, of course, but giving the cat praise, praise, and more praise when it hunts is the way to go. Domesticated cats love to bring kills to their owners, but are usually met with a "yuck" for their trouble.
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  #12  
Old 05-07-2009, 03:19 AM
Marienee Marienee is offline
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My former neighbor borrowed our feline Great and Mighty Hunter for about a week to deal with a problem with rodents. It was sort of a lark really but it did work for her. She had dogs and did not want a cat so borrowing ours was the right solution.

Really, the problem is that not every domestic cat is a hunter, and of the ones who are, my own experience is that they have preferences for certain kinds of prey. I once had a cat who was the most amazing snake killer ever but had no interest in moles or voles or mice. He would also toy with a chipmunk now and again but that was about it. (Toying consisted of putting his paw on the chipmunk, picking it up by the scruff of the neck, carrying it to the street or other location bare of vegetation, and letting it go, chasing it down again and lather, rinse, repeat). His companion was death on four paws to the local bird population, so much so that we ended up belling him. But he had no interest in snakes.

I would first look into borrowing a cat if there are any in the neighborhood. Otherwise I would look into getting a barn cat or its offspring if there are any farms in the general vicinity -- barn cats are expected to work whether the barn is for a farm or a stable.
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  #13  
Old 05-07-2009, 07:23 AM
Cicero Cicero is offline
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I have two cats and have never had problems with moles in the backyard.

Mind you, that maybe because there are no moles in Australia. At least in my backyard.
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  #14  
Old 05-07-2009, 07:49 AM
Maus Magill Maus Magill is offline
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I had a cat who would deliver a mole every other day. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to cut their numbers any.
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  #15  
Old 05-07-2009, 09:50 AM
Jimson Jim Jimson Jim is offline
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I'll chime in and suggest a dog. Our beagle is a mole killer extraordinar. We don't have any problems. We've loaned her our to my father in law and a neighbor. I've seen her kill several moles along with birds (she's caught and killed two as they were on the wing low through our yard), mice, lizards, snakes and a squirrel.

If you're up for a more long term solution might I suggest Grub-ex. Kill the moles food and they leave.
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  #16  
Old 05-07-2009, 10:42 AM
Love Rhombus Love Rhombus is offline
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Are ferrets any good at mole-killing?
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  #17  
Old 05-07-2009, 03:38 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Love Rhombus View Post
Are ferrets any good at mole-killing?
They might be since they're definitely rat and rabbit killers, but using a ferret for hunting sounds like a lot of work. From descriptions I've read about it, they'll hunt gamely enough, but then as often as not they'll immediately curl up in the now dead prey's burrow, and you have to wait around for hours to get them back.
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  #18  
Old 05-07-2009, 05:58 PM
teela brown teela brown is offline
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My friend, you want the Rodenator.

Of course, your lawn might look like hell afterwards, but think of the satisfaction of blowing up the moles!
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  #19  
Old 05-07-2009, 06:08 PM
gonzomax gonzomax is offline
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My beagle has killed 10 of them. My cats never did. They cleaned out the rat population and they have not rebounded. How does a cat get a mole. My dog dug them out.
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  #20  
Old 05-07-2009, 07:40 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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I had a dog (collie/shepherd mix) and he could catch moles. Of course he ate bugs too.

We had a cat and the only thing she could catch was a baby bird, that is when the Robins and Blue Jays weren't dive bombing her.

I think since a dog digs it'd be more effective. Once something is out of reach a cat says "Oh well," and will wait for it. A dog tends to make more of an effort
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  #21  
Old 05-08-2009, 06:46 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miss elizabeth View Post
My cat kills moles all the time, and is an all around avid hunter. She leaves them on my doorstep for me to step on at night in the dark (ew!). .
If you have the keen senses and pouncing skills of the typical cat, Whack-A-Mole is something you do well at.
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  #22  
Old 05-09-2009, 07:23 AM
gonzomax gonzomax is offline
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Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
If you have the keen senses and pouncing skills of the typical cat, Whack-A-Mole is something you do well at.
They don't come out. They live in tunnels.
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  #23  
Old 05-09-2009, 12:12 PM
Eureka Eureka is offline
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My parents have a problem with moles in the yard, and a neighbor has an outdoor cat who seems to be an effective hunter of other critters.
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  #24  
Old 05-09-2009, 01:13 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Originally Posted by gonzomax View Post
They don't come out. They live in tunnels.
However they push excavated soil out to form their little mole mounds. I've seen little mole faces and forelimbs on the surface more than once. A cat observing a mound in formation could easily pounce and pin one through an inch or two of loose soil. My guess is that is how they are usually taken ( by cats at least, as noted dogs can dig them out ).
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  #25  
Old 05-09-2009, 11:04 PM
trudi fermelli trudi fermelli is offline
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Just an fyi on keeping the claws. Your sofa need not be harmed, as long as you keep a post covered in fresh carpet at all times. Cats are easily trained to use them. And yes, they are great hunters of moles, need not be outdoor cats. I had a 12 year old indoor Maine Coone who caught one in our house (the floor was open due to remodelling). My only fear was that she would bring it to me as a gift into my bed. She didnt, we found it under the dining room table the next morning. Good girl! And she never stepped a foot outdoors in her life.
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  #26  
Old 05-10-2009, 03:22 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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Originally Posted by gonzomax View Post
They don't come out. They live in tunnels.
Says you. They do so come out.
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  #27  
Old 05-10-2009, 05:28 PM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cicero View Post
I have two cats and have never had problems with moles in the backyard.

Mind you, that maybe because there are no moles in Australia. At least in my backyard.
See how good a job your cat did at getting rid of them!
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  #28  
Old 05-10-2009, 05:52 PM
Rubystreak Rubystreak is offline
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Originally Posted by gravitycrash View Post
Ipotential flea problems.
If you use Frontline or one of the other liquid flea and tick prevention medications every month, which is highly advisable, you won't have any flea problems. If your cat is eating prey, it would be a good idea to take a fecal sample with you when your cat goes to the vet (regularly), to deal with potential worm infestations.

My cats, who do not go outdoors, caught a mole out on the back porch. I'd think a cat with a hunter's instinct would catch moles if they were plentiful. When you go to the animal shelter, ask the people who work there to recommend a good mouser. I bet they will be able to direct you to one.
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  #29  
Old 05-10-2009, 06:00 PM
appleciders appleciders is online now
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If you do adopt a cat as a hunter, it's probably best to get a female- neutered males tend to get fat and lazy more easily. And you should definitely try to find a cat with a history of mole-killing; as noted above, cats ave individual preferences on what they like to kill. Some love birds, others mice, others lizards, and my own cat is death on squirrels and rabbits.
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  #30  
Old 05-10-2009, 06:56 PM
Rubystreak Rubystreak is offline
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Originally Posted by appleciders View Post
If you do adopt a cat as a hunter, it's probably best to get a female- neutered males tend to get fat and lazy more easily. And you should definitely try to find a cat with a history of mole-killing; as noted above, cats ave individual preferences on what they like to kill. Some love birds, others mice, others lizards, and my own cat is death on squirrels and rabbits.
My male cats are the hunters. The ladies are not as good, so YMMV.

You could test the cats before choosing. My cat Shadow is great at catching ground critters, like snakes, chipmunks, mice, moles, etc. He is completely uninterested in birds. If you play with him with a string toy, he will go for it if it's on the ground but won't leap for it if it's in the air. That could be a way to test for a cat who is more interested in moles than birds, or just not interested in chasing at all.
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  #31  
Old 05-10-2009, 08:18 PM
Rysto Rysto is offline
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Are cats effective at catching moles?

Terrible. The British tried replacing their counterintelligence service with cats in the 1940's and look where it got them.
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