After 27 years of having indoor-outdoor cats, the last one died in May 2015. (We now have only an indoor cat.) During those 27 years, we never had a problem with mice.

During Snowzilla (Jan 2016), the storm that dropped over 29 inches on our area, we sprinkled bird seed under the eaves of our house, in addition to shoveling a space on our patio and stomping snow-shoe trails to the bird-feeders. At least two mice came in through a space created by the installation of a new heat pump.

Sixteen trapped (and released) mice later, and with the entry space stopped up, we thought the problem solved. A few months later -- more mice -- twelve trapped, plus one eaten by the indoor cat. Now, another two months later, more mice.

Short of getting another indoor-outdoor cat, what do you recommend? What would be ideal would be a spray for the outside that would smell like a cat, and would fool the mice. We leave no food outdoors, except for in the bird feeders, which are 100 and more feet away from the house. (We live in a semirural area.)

And, why do you suppose we were free of mice for 8 months until the aftermath of the big snowstorm?

  • are you sure there arent other ways in? it takes just a small gap (or a door open for really short time). The reason of more mice now than before could be related to the disappearance/migration of some predators, not necessarily your cats. Aug 12, 2016 at 15:10
  • Sue just now pointed out that this question was "untagged"; that was an oversight. I tried mice and rodents, no tag. So I tagged it wildlife, which seemed pretentious, so I retagged it animals. Feel free to propose a better tag.
    – ab2
    Jul 15, 2017 at 23:49
  • @ab2 pests, maybe? but not pest-control, since that would lead to "flies in the house" sort of questions. Jul 18, 2017 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


Rodents are tenacious beasts. We've seen river rats in our area dig through concrete footings to get into storage areas. As long as it's just mice they can't usually get through concrete or stone. However rebuilding your dwelling with new materials may not be an option. Failing that, doing everything you can to seal gaps with the toughest material possible will help. Unfortunately mice can get through incredibly small gaps.

Rodents are most likely coming in for one of two reasons: Shelter or Food. You can minimize food any of a number of ways but with it being cold outside and warm inside, your house will always be shelter. It may be unpopular with some but the best way to deal with rodents is to kill them. They know where you live and if you release them anywhere nearby they will just keep coming back.

Regarding them coming in the aftermath: The snow melt quite possibly flooded their burrows and they were all flushed out to seek new homes.

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