So a cat eats a mouse...what diseases could it get?

I was staring at my tabby the other day as it chased a small mouse out of my living room–I’d like to thank my landlord here–and I started wondering…if my cat caught that mouse, killed it, and ate it, could she die? I mean, I’m sure that’s a possibility, but ahat sort of diseases do mice carry? Would they be transmittable to the preditor? What if a dog then ate the cat? And then I, taking my cue from cheap Vietnamese food, ate the dog?


I called my vet one day and asked her that very question as I watched a tail disappear down my cat’s throat. I think she said that there was a small chance of tapeworms, but other than that, not much.

I would not, however, put down mouse poison if your cat is a mouser.

That’s a bit shocking, what with the bubonic plague and all…but that was rats, wasn’t it? Or fleas on rats, to be precise. Sorry mouse-kind, I’ve been judgemental.

Boy, if eating rodents were very dangerous to cats, I think just about every cat would be horribly sick or dead. Ours gets fed regularly, but has brought home about 3 rats (in a suburban area) in the past 5 months.

I just wish she would kill them first, and not bring them inside alive so they can hide inside the couch, like that one time…

Tapeworms are really not that rare. Other than that, I can’t think of anything that would be prevalent. I don’t have the answers, but two that I would ask a vet about would be the Hanta virus (usually passed to humans through dust infected by mouse droppings) and Lyme disease. Hanta is pretty rare (although potentially lethal) and Lyme is endemic to specific regions of the country (but is usually passed by ticks moving from one blood source to another, so I do not know whether the stomach acids destroy Lyme when the carrier is eaten rather than having it passed by parasite).