As the nights get colder and we all like to snuggle up warm, so too do rodents like mice and sometimes, even rats. Yes, it's not uncommon to see more mice than usual in and around your house during the winter months, usually in sheds and garages but often even inside your home (most people have seen a mouse dart across their living room at one point in their lives).
Traps and poison are usually the solutions recommend, but they're so often unnecessarily cruel and often ineffective. Many people consider hiring a cat to catch mice but is this actually possible and if so, is it effective?
In short, the answer is yes and yes - having a cat in the house will deter mice, and any that do brave entry will be "dealt with" by the cat. Cats produce a chemical which scares mice, so just their presence alone can often be enough to keep the rodents outdoors.
But although this all sounds good, it definitely isn't straightforward. In an ideal world, there would be some kind of online marketplace dedicated to this, but until that is created you'll have to get creative. Finding a willing cat owner is the first trick, and then finding a well-behaved cat is the second. We can't help with the second point, but we can help you find a willing owner - here are some tips:
Head to Reddit
If you haven't used Reddit before, it's sort of like the biggest forum in the world. You'll find lots of different communities dedicated to every interest you could imagine, and although there isn't a 'cat-hunter' community, there are communities dedicated to cities and towns across the UK. A good place to start might be to post in one of these communities to see if anyone locally would be willing to lend you their cat. so if you live in Brighton you can try /r/Brighton, or if you live in Edinburgh you can try /r/Edinburgh. We've seen posts like this before in these communities, and they seem to go down pretty well. Oh, and the reason for starting with Reddit instead of something like Facebook? People on Reddit love cats.
Adopt a cat
This is a long-term commitment and not something to be taken lightly, but if you're living somewhere with frequent visits from mice then adopting a cat might be a good idea. Obviously you can't just treat the cat like your personal mouse-catcher - the cat will become your pet and you'll need to feed and love him/her, but you'll have the added bonus of living with something which emits chemicals that mice hate. There are loads of good organisations you can adopt cats from, Cats Protection has a good page here.
Ask a friend or family member to borrow their cat
This is definitely your best bet in our opinion - if someone you know is a cat lover, it might be worth asking them if you can borrow their cat for a week or so until the mice get the message. You'll be giving your friend a break, the cat will get a nice holiday, and the mice will leave you alone. Purrfect!