Anyone want to help me with my cat idea?

So I just moved into an apartment in New York for the summer. Obviously being a young adult, I couldn’t afford one of those expensive places, so I am living in a place that isn’t exactly luxurious.

Okay but lets cut to the chase. I have a problem with mice. It is really freaking me out too. My roomate recently adopted a dog for a little while as a part of some kind of foster owner program, but the dog is gone now.

I was thinking, maybe I could get a cat with the same program? Not only would I be doing a good thing, but I also like cats, and I would hopefully be taking care of my rodent problem. So these are all of the good reasons to do this.

Also there are reasons I don’t want to deal with my mouse problem in another way. First, I don’t want to go digging around in the area where they live because it is gross, and I don’t even want to imagine it. Secondly, having a cat around that I know kills mice would make me feel alot better about the situation. Also I hear that having a cat around is an effective deterrent. Finally, we have already sealed up all of our food, and the problem now is that they have discovered the trash can.

So I realize that there are ways of dealing with them. Traps, closing off all of the holes, etc. But then i’d never know for sure that they would be gone. But if I got a cat, then I would have some idea that I have a furry predator to protect me…

One serious problem is that our apartment is very small. And there wouldn’t be a lot of room. Secondly, if it didn’t work out, the cat wouldn’t stay very long to begin with. If I liked it, I could adopt it myself. For those that don’t know, when we fostered a dog, we kept if for a couple of weeks. Someone came and took it after that.

Finally, this is the serious problem. I have a pretty big problem with litterboxes. The thing is that my roomate doesn’t like cats, and she wouldn’t want it in her room. The common room is so small, and probably not a good cantidate. So the last place would probably be my room, I’m sure. The main problem I have always had, however is that I had the smell of the actual cat-liter itself. I have no problem cleaning it every day, but do they make litter that doesn’t have that pungent cat-litter smell? I would rather have it smell of poo poo for the short amount of time before I discover it than smell of some kind of coverup the rest of the day.

So I guess my questions are these. Is there a good cat-litter that I could keep in my small room that wouldn’t smell bad even when there was nothing in it? And secondly, would a cat be a good solution to the mice problem?

Yeah, actually there are.

I find that the scoopable litter doesn’t smell, except for when I add more to the litterbox. Because the particles are so fine, there is some airborne dust that lingers for a little while. It eventually (15 minutes? 20?) settles and then I don’t notice any smell.

There is also some kind of little crystal looking litter, but I’ve never used it. I know it doesn’t smell like clay tho.

I’d go check out what they have at Petco or Petsmart or whatever large pet store chain is near you. Even the Wal-Marts have a good selection of different litters.

I can also recommend the auto-litterboxes. You still have to check them (with one cat you can get away with looking at it every 2-3 days), but they do work fairly well.

Oops hit submit too soon.

Cats are natural mousers, but not all cats are very good at it. But yes, a cat should help a bit. Most cats see a mouse and see a challenge.

Yes, I use the TidyCats with crystals stuff, and I don’t find it has a “cat litter” smell. There are many different types, I second what **Snowboarder Bo ** said, check out your local pet store for different varieties. Ask a clerk your questions, too, often you will find a cat owner who can answer questions from personal experience.

When my husband and I adopted our youngest cat, we got a ton of coupons (free vet trip and some free medicines, yipee!) and some were for a “natural” pet store, called Mud Bay. They had some really interesting litters, made out of many different materials. The lady there recommended a type made out of some kind of wood pellets that we tried (but our oldest hated it, so had to switch to a fine litter for her).

I’d really recommend staying away from the clay litters… they stink, they’re nasty to clean… blech. There are so many varieties of litter out there, have a look around, and good luck!

Cats aren’t all good “mousers”… but most are great deterents, at least. Chase, chase, chase! I haven’t met many cats who won’t chase something small and scurrying.

What Bo says, basically. You’ll get some cats that have very fine-honed hunting skills–we used to have one who’d bring us “presents” nearly every day–and then you’ll have others who will only chase wild animals halfheartedly and never catch a thing, or who are highly inept at it.

It can be kind of difficult to tell which sort of cat is which until you’ve observed them in action, but you could try bringing something–a ribbon, maybe?–to the animal shelter, and seeing how aggressively your cat of choice chases after it. You don’t want a kitten to depend on for your mousing needs, obviously, but you probably don’t want an ancient cat, either. (And of course, make sure that cats are allowed in your building!)

I don’t know what to tell you, really. You might turn out to get yourself a wonderful mouser, but you might very well get a cat who has no inclinations whatsoever in that direction. I don’t think I’d like to confine a full-grown cat to one room, either, but that’s just me.

If you really want a cat, then get one; any mousing would just be icing on the cake. I’d probably advise against getting one solely for any potential mousing benefits, though.

(Can you maybe harass your building super/person-in-charge into doing something about your rodent problem? Polite but firm perseverance can work wonders sometimes. :slight_smile: )

Actually, it wouldn’t be confined to my room. I just think that I’d have to put the litter-box in my room. Honestly though, having something that would just chase them would be good enough for me. I like cats though, and it wouldn’t be the only reason. Plus if I do the foster parent thing, then I’d get to have one without any serious commitment.

I use pine pellet stable bedding (sold under various names such as EquinePine) for cat litter. If you get it at the feed store instead of PetsMart, the price is much lower for the same product. PetsMart has their own brand, which is cheaper than the FelinePine brand. Tomahawk pine pellet stable bedding is my first choice. It doesn’t have that over perfumed litter scent.

Many cats never learn to hunt successfully. However, since the mice don’t know “that cat don’t hunt” a cat being in the house may be a deterrent.

We use the “worlds best cat litter” it’s made out of corn, so it smells more like corn meal than cat litter. It does definitely have an odor, it’s just not the same as other litters. We also tried something called Yesterday’s News, that was made of recycled newspaper.

Beware… cats sometimes leave little “presents” of their newest kills for you in your bed.

What **DarkSide **said. You’re not likely to find a cat who will EAT the mice cleanly and completely and let you forget about them. You may find a cat who will chase and play with the mice before getting bored/clumsy and stepping on it, snapping its back and killing it, and then simply walk away and leave you with little mouse carcasses to clean up.

Finally, and I speak from personal experience here, you may find a cat who scares the mice into playing dead or knocks them unconscious for a few hours, so when you come home and pick up the “dead” mouse, it starts wriggling and “comes back to life” in your hand! EEEEEK! ZOMBIE MICE!!! :eek:

If your roomate is more amenable to dogs, try contacting a foster program and requesting a terrier (or even better, finding a terrier rescue group - lots of Jack Russell pups were produced in the mid-late '90s during the Wishbone craze who are unwanted and abused now). Terriers are ratters and mousers by nature, and more likely to eat their kills. 'Cause, you know, they’re dogs. Dogs’ll eat anything.

Oh good lord PLEASE do not try to get a Jack Russel Terrier into a small NYC apartment! They are “high activity” dogs that can get destructive and neurotic without proper activity level, cannot be left unattended for a full workday, and are not that easy to train (some describe as “willful”). This profiler will help you understand the needs of JRTs and why you should almost definitely not get one

I have seen both male and female cats hunting, but it seems to me that female cats have a higher natural prey drive to hunt and kill. Most of the best mousers I’ve known have been lady cats.

Why don’t you try some traps first? If those don’t work, then get a cat. Or better yet, call your landlord and have them send over some pros.

You’re probably right. Mea culpa. I’ve loved (and fostered) so many Jack Russells I forget what a PITA they can be for newbies.

Scratch all I said about the dog. Get some traps.

If your roommate doesn’t like cats; don’t get a cat! That is not fair to the poor cat, or your roommate. You even admit you have a big problem with litterboxes. Why would you even consider it? I just have a bad feeling about what will happen to the cat after the mice are gone, or if the cat is a non-hunter - foster program or no.

Spend the money, get an exterminator.

I wouldn’t do it around here because some mice have a disease that I don’t remember the name of right now. It might be the Janta virus.

If you’re thinking of doing it, make sure that there are no mousey-viruses going around that could hurt the cat.

Nah, you guys are getting me all wrong…

Okay, today I set up traps, and I caught two mice. I don’t really know if there are more, but I dobut it. BUT, the reason I want a cat so badly, is that I can have some sense of trust in knowing that he will at least sort of tend to the problem. If my club has a bouncer, I don’t care if he kills the unwanted patrons, just so long as they are out of my sight. I’m just tired of coming home and seeing something or other all gnawed up. I don’t really care if they are killed, or god forbid, consumed whole. I am really a cat person too. I think i may get one as well, because my roomate said that if I take care of it, its okay with her. We worked out a place that wasn’t in my room for the litterbox, and it sounds like I can get some litter that doesn’t smell. I mean that stupid FreshStep stuff is the worst, IMO. Its one thing to have a house smelling of crap until you clean it up, but its another to have it smelling of that awful litter 24-7 I live in New York, and there is some kind of big fancy pet store on Lex and 86th near where I live, so I imagine they would have some kind of suitable litter there. I went to visit my roomate today. She is house-sitting for someone who has three cats. She has the litter box in the bathroom and it is really fragrance free. It looks sort of like tiny rocks. Anyway…

The point is, my roomate doesn’t despise cats so much, she has to deal with them for her work baybsitting, and I like cats despite their mousing abilities. This is the way I’d put it…

I love having pets, but I have problems rationalizing the need to have one in almost any circumstance. Now, if said pet can take my mind off of my mouse worries, then I have killed two birds with one stone. I woulnd’t get a kitty just to expect it to take care of my problems. I’d like to have one as a pet, in general, but just haven’t found a way to rationalize it. But now, I’ve got a good reason, and the vermin fearing part of me is really convincing me to do it.

Lex and 86th is a PetCo, they have a mountain of stuff you can work with. Don’t discount your little local store though, sometimes they have different brands than the big stores. A bit more expensive, perhaps, but shortening the walk with a 15lb bag of kitty litter is worth it. A suggestion, if you can afford it, get a premium quality food. My cats eat well (Iams or Eukanuba) they have great coats and stay nice and healthy.

Do you know where you are going to get the cat?