Will a cat who is a mouser catch rats, too?

This thread got me thinking about this. If I know that my cats will catch and kill mice, does that mean that if a rat got into my house they would at least try to catch and kill it? Can cats generally kill rats?

How big is the rat?

In my experience, housecats don’t kill animals that approach their size.

What you need is a Rat Terrier, or a Jack Russell. They might go after the cat, though.

depends on the size and ferocity of the cat and the size of the rat.

Cats generally won’t tangle with critter that could seriously hurt them. However, if a rat or big squirrel were to invade the cat’s house, the cat would raise a ruckus to let the humans know there was something wrong. If your cat risks his own life to kick the butt of a creature his own size, you can buy him a tuna steak dinner, but he’s a fool. :smack:

We gave them some tuna sashimi, more than we normally would give them if we were having sushi, the night after they got the mouse.

Luna saw a squirrel just on the other side of the bay window in our living room once. She swatted at it with her paw, but of course the window kept her from hitting it.


How big do they get?

Rats as big as two pounds have been found rarely.

you could name it Fido.

while they can get big depending on species and habitat, 4 to 8 inches could be common.

As a kid I had a very well-mannered and loving indoor/outdoor housecat. She caught and ate mice. She also killed moles, a couple grey squirrels (I watched her fight one of them, it was terrifying) and baby rabbits. One time she teamed up with the dog to kill a mountain beaver (she snuck around a log and chased it out into the open where the red hound was waiting).

I have no doubt she could have handled a good-sized rat until she was about 10 years old or so.

If my cats are 9 pounds and around 15 pounds, would they be likely to be willing to take on a two-pound rat?

I’m going to say maybe but doubtful. They certainly could, but it really depends on how strong their prey drive is, and if they have any experience killing prey.

Here’s a long piece on rodent control that includes this bit –

A few years back I heard an interview on NPR with a man who wrote a book about rats. He claimed that you should never let a cat alone with a rat, it would lose every time.

I however, having grown up in farm country, can tell you that I have seen more than one cat with a big-ass rat dangling from its mouth.

I am not a keen judge of weight, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a two pound rat. Even a well-fed pet rat usually only goes 1.5 pounds.

I’m sure you’re right, but in my opinion there’s a big difference between a barn cat and a house cat, if that’s what you’re talking about.

My late and lamented KC, Lord of the Serengeti, was a 20-someodd pound tomcat that could and would kick the ass of pretty much anything entering his domain, up to and including a Great Dane. In fact, KC once attempted to claw his way through a glass door to reach a Great Dane for the purpose of kicking its ass. When that cat bowed up, it made sounds I’d only expect to hear somewhere on or about the 457th level of the Abyss.

A rat would have been dispatched in about a nano-second. Maybe three nano-seconds if KC was feeling playful.

I miss that cat. :frowning:

Our cat regularly kills (and eats) rats that have taken up residence in prickly pear catcus near our house. He’ll also go after mice, lizards, snakes, and baby cottontail rabbits. Very rarely will he take a quail. Full grown cottontails are right out, I’d I suspect he would run from a jackrabbit. I’ve seen him swat at scorpions, but he had zero interest in a 6 inch centipede last week.

This is a cat that runs away from any other cat that is even slightly aggressive. Rats though? No problem.

Edited to add: He’s maybe a 10 pound cat. Not very big.

I found a feral kitty in the park and took it home. It was a killer. No way you could keep him in. We had a rat problem in our suburb. I saw them as a walked the neighborhood, day or night. He cleaned them out. I was left with big dead rats in my driveway every morning. The rats have never come back.

We had a farm bred moggy when I was growing up. When the garden of the house over the back got a rat infestation due to the piles of crap they were collecting the first one he tangled with gave him a lot of trouble. We watched the fight from the window and it took about twenty minutes before the rat was dead. Every morning thereafter we found a dead rat outside the kitchen door until the people moved and their huge rat’s nest was cleared up. So I guess the answer is that cats can learn to kill rats if they are so inclined.

If you put Chuck Norris’ mind in my body, he could kick a very serious quantity of ass. With my mind in my body, however, the only ass that would get kicked consistently would be my own.

I reckon it’s the same with cats. A 5 pound ball of badass is going to be a better killer than a 15 pound, Fancy-Feast eating, unaltered thomas-cat who has never been outside. It’s got everything to do with disposition and skillz.

The effectiveness of cats versus rats is highly variable, due to a variety of cat and rat sizes, as well as a variety of respective demeanors. In the case of cat versus mouse, the size difference is so much greater even an inept cat will typically handle one with no problem.

Not my 24 and 16 pound cats, however, who had a deer mouse nesting under their sleeping box for nearly a month, and surely must have seen it, but never even threatened it.

They’re sweet, affectionate, purring cats most of the time for me and Mr. Neville, and Luna, the 15-pounder, is really lazy. They’re both indoor cats, and hadn’t caught any prey since we adopted them in 2004. That’s partially why I was so surprised when I went downstairs to find a partially devoured mouse a few weeks ago.

I agree with the size argument. We tried to have a pit fight between a cat and a rabbit and the cat refused to fight.

But, imho, cats have a deterrent affect on rodents, either through sound or smell, so they don’t need to catch the rodent directly to be affective.