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I need a cat breed which is a good hunter

(44 Posts)
ratflavouredjelly Thu 13-Oct-11 13:03:12

Hello! Can anyone recommend a cat breed which is:
A: brilliant and ruthless at killing mice/rats
B: fine around children (3 and 4).

Am i asking too much? We have moved into a property near a river bank - huge garden, outhouse etc. We found remains of an old 'problem' and have caught a mouse in the attic yesterday.

I used to have a black moggy - lovely but she was rubbish at catching anything - used to play with mice and set them free in our old house.

I was advised to get a farm cat, but don't want my kiddywinks to be scratched. Any advice? I read tabby's, american shorthair and kittens over 6 month born to a feral/semi feral mother are good.

Thanks :-)

Bunbaker Thu 13-Oct-11 13:05:54

A bog standard moggy should fulfil those criteria. I think you were just unlucky with your last cat.

I used to own a black cat and a ginger one. Both were excellent hunters and fine round children. You can encourage your kitten to hunt by playing games with it. Thigs like chasing a piece of string helps hone a cat's hunting instincts.

RedRubyBlue Thu 13-Oct-11 13:07:31

I have had three tabby of both sexes and they were all fabulous mousers.

My little fluffy black and white boy wanted to keep the mice as pets and love and cuddle them forever hmm. He was lovely but rubbish at hunting.

A scraggy old tabby won't let you down. My tabby cat at the moment cleared the mice in the compost heap and garage within a week of arriving.

tabulahrasa Thu 13-Oct-11 13:08:27

It's purely an individual thing - whether they're hunters or not, cats seem to cause more rodent problems than they cure, because as your old one did, they tend to bring them back alive to play with them.

I'd get humane traps myself rather than get a cat for that reason. (If you want a cat anyway, fine, get one as well and maybe it will help, but treat that as a bonus)

HettyAmaretti Thu 13-Oct-11 13:08:32

Yes, a moggy really would be ideal. You need to stimulate hunting instinct as PP say, is true with any breed.

CMOTdibbler Thu 13-Oct-11 13:09:42

I'd rehome a feral cat to live in the outhouse and deal with the mice and tell the children not to fiddle with it.

You can't predict which cats will be good hunters otherwise - of our three cats, its the ginger boy who is best, but the tabby will catch and kill a rabbit, and the black one is amazing at birds. They are all rescue cats

LoveInAColdClimate Thu 13-Oct-11 13:11:12

We had two killer Siamese but I think any cat can be a good hunter - or not. It's the individual cat, I think, not the breed.

RedRubyBlue Thu 13-Oct-11 13:13:39

Must add a disclaimer - it sounds like I acquire and discard cats at a rate of knots. I promise that is not the case, they have all died at a ripe old age and my 'current' cat is 9 years old blush

SazZaVoom Thu 13-Oct-11 13:14:00

I have a rescue 3yr old black & white cat who looks is a docile & placid little sleeper, with no issues around children (we knew this as the rescue place knew her background).

So far this week we have had a dead mouse, a vole and a bird. There have also been the liver/kidney remains of 2 other animals. We have now had to shut her out of our bedroom otherwise she would insist on bringing the half dead prey into us and miaowing to show us how clever she is <eeeewwwww>

Our neighbour's black & white cat managed to catch a squirrel. At 19yrs old and 2 weeks before she died. Incredible.

SouthernandCross Thu 13-Oct-11 13:15:45

You want a kitten whose mum is a good hunter and kills her prey. We used to get ours from farms. Leave the kitten with the mum for at least 10 weeks, preferably 12. Females are usually better hunters than males.
HTH

solittletime Thu 13-Oct-11 13:17:11

We had loads of semi-feral and house cats (mainly thanks to old cat lady living next door to us) while I grew up. Semi-feral Tabby all the way, everytime. Great with mice and my best friend through childhood. And he was male and neutred, not sure if that makes any difference.

paddypoopants Thu 13-Oct-11 13:17:13

Weirdly over the years we have noticed that the cats who have been good hunters have been small(ish) and have had a very high pitched mewl. Despite not being in anyway related.
We got 2 black male kittens last year and the smaller one of the two is a killing machine wheres the other one couldn't give a rats fart.

ColdSancerre Thu 13-Oct-11 13:18:39

Agree with CMOT go for a neutered feral and make a home for it in the outhouse.

I have a semi/ex-feral who was rescued from a feral colony at about 2 months and has never come to trust humans completely, so is very nervous around them but not nasty, in 7 years of him living with us he's never scratched once. He is the most phenomenal hunter, mice, birds, bats, everything. Although he does live in the house in reality he much prefers to be outside, for example last night he decided to sleep outside.

One good thing about him is he NEVER brings the things he catched in the house, is content to bring them back to his home, which he considers to be the garden.

Maryz Thu 13-Oct-11 13:27:14

I have a black and white moggy who will catch anything (she caught an enormous rat which was actually bigger than her when she was just a kitten).

I have another enormous black and white moggy who couldn't catch anything to save his own life. He sits on the sofa, only leaving the house if physically picked up and kicked out.

Cats are like teenagers - they all have their own personalities and talents, and the more desperate you are for them to do something the less likely they are to do it grin. So get any old moggy, and pretend to be cross when it catches something. Then it will catch more.

Maryz Thu 13-Oct-11 13:27:55

Oh Paddy, I missed your post - my catcher is also very small with a high-pitched yowl. Good theory.

ratflavouredjelly Thu 13-Oct-11 13:36:18

Thanks everyone - great suggestions. Tabby's and rescue cats are scoring highly here. ColdSancerre and CMOTdibbler I'm going to run with your suggestion for housing a feral/semi-feral rescue in the outhouse. What I hope is that they won't bring any rodents back in the house. I do like cats and used to have a lovely small black moggy, but she was like a teddy bear.

Do you think i could let a feral loose in the house to hunt for any rodents (just in case)? I rang a local farm who said they re-housed their feral cats with a cats protection league.

SouthernandCross did you just used to ring farms up to enquire about cats?

I also wondered should I get a kitten or adult?

bemybebe Thu 13-Oct-11 13:40:45

I have two russian blue siblings. The girl is a fabulous hunter (pita for me having to clean blood off the kitchen floor in the mornings), I was very interested to watch her hunting on a few occasions - lighting strikes... the boy is a fat lazy bully, never caught anything in his life (i think), just happy to grab whatever his little sis catches...

CMOTdibbler Thu 13-Oct-11 13:50:39

Yes, you could invite the cat into the house to check it out.

The cats protection league will be v glad to hear from you - at out local branch they always have a number of non house cats that just want a nice barn/shed to sleep in

ColdSancerre Thu 13-Oct-11 13:52:35

Ring cats protection, that's where I got my semi-feral from. And they obviously work on the feral population in your area judging by what your local farm said.

What they will do is go to a feral colony, trap cats, neuter the adults and either return them if they can or rehome them to a suitable place (like a farm, or stables etc) if they can't. If they consider the cats are young enough to be 'retrained' into becoming house cats, as mine was, they will place them with a fosterer who will get them used to humans. However ex-ferals are hard to rehome as they are difficult to have as a house cat when you aren't used to their ways. But for your situation a young ex-feral sounds ideal.

I got my ex-feral at 4 months old from CP and he's lovely, he is the most handsome black cat in the WORLD (slightly biased) and despite his difficult start has grown into a huge powerful sleek cat.

If you do go down the feral/semi-feral route you'll have to accept that it is likely you'll never have a cuddly fluffball. If that's OK with you then consider it.

That said the other thing about ferals is they usually love the company of other cats because f their background. I have two cats at the moment and they are best mates.

Maryz Thu 13-Oct-11 13:53:30

It depends - what upsets you most, rodents in your house or cat pee in your house grin.

Most semi-feral cats are still house trained (i.e. they perform outside), but they do tend to mark territory a bit. I had terrible trouble with one cat spraying on my washing, but that's another story.

If you have small children get an adult cat. If you have older children they are sensible enough to give a kitten a bit of space.

Maryz Thu 13-Oct-11 13:55:03

Though ColdSancerre's advice is actually much better than mine - if you are going the feral route get a young cat and you can domesticate it a bit. If you are going the rescue route get an adult.

Sausagesarenottheonlyfruit Thu 13-Oct-11 13:55:15

I own a British Shorthair who is as soft as butter around children, sleeps on DDs bed, doesnt scratch etc.
He is also a ruthless killing machine who regularly supplements his diet with mice, rats and small garden birds. I have wasted a small fortune on bell collars but he has devised a system of disposing of these.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 13-Oct-11 13:56:17

Farm kittens can be perfectly tamed but still wicked hunters. I speak from experience of treading barefoot on guts right through childhood.

Sausagesarenottheonlyfruit Thu 13-Oct-11 13:56:24

Not that this matters but he is also stunningly gorgeous [shallow]

RiffRaffeta Thu 13-Oct-11 13:56:48

We have a rescue cat - a mog but looks very much like a Maine Coon but not the ears, iyswim - got him as a kitten at 8 weeks. He didn't go outside til he'd been done at 5 months, and we get shrews daily. Robins at Christmas. I've trained him to leave them outside.

He is a little nervous around strange adults ( aren't we all ) but adores all children and puts up with maximum manhandling from my DC and their over eager friends.

So, my advice, rescue kitten. Get them young so they are used to DC from an early age.

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