Is it safe for my cat to eat the mouse she just caught and killed?

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No. Just because they did it in the wild doesn’t mean your cat should eat it. Mice today carry all kinds of diseases, often have worms, and your cat could ingest poison and other chemicals the mouse has ingested.

Cats, however, are born with a natural instinct to hunt, as cats born in the wild must hunt in order to eat. A well-fed cat, though, will generally chase and play the mouse to death.

One of the biggest things you’ll need to worry about if yours is an outdoor cat is the ingestion of mouse poison. Although you may not use it, your neighbors might and, unfortunately, you really can’t control that.

Different poisons produce different symptoms and there are two types used to kill rodents.

• Anticoagulants are used to help get rid of rats and mice. The poison is a blood thinner and prevents clotting in the body and causes internal bleeding, killing the rodents—but it works on any sort of mammal, making it a hazard around cats. Symptoms of a cat ingesting an anticoagulant poison include bloody feces and urine, as well as nosebleeds and vomiting. They will be lethargic and will appear to have bruises under their skin.
• Strychnine is one of the most deadly poisons a cat can ingest; the results can be fatal if not treated quickly and properly. When used properly, strychnine can help keep rats and moles under control. Cats can ingest the poison two ways, either by eating the bait or by consuming an animal that has eaten it. Symptoms include convulsions, a quick heart rate and difficulty breathing. Because the toxins in strychnine interfere with the neurological system, stiffness and rigidity in the cats movements are symptoms as well.

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