Do Cats Eat Mice Whole?

Do Cats Eat Mice Whole?

Cats are natural predators. Although they are already domesticated, they will always have the urge to hunt. Their favorite prey is birds and mice, but they will willingly pursue other living creatures like snakes and rabbits. If you are wondering if cats eat their prey like mice whole or not, read on for some surprising discoveries. 

Do cats eat mice whole?

It really depends upon the cat. Cats have unique personalities, and eating habits will vary from one cat to another. Some cats will eat mice whole depending on the size of the mice. Other cats will put the whole mouse in their mouth except for the tail, sever the tail with one click of the teeth, and swallow the rest of it. Others will eat the mouse whole but will leave the stomach or spleen behind.

Still, some cat owners note that their cat will either eat just the head, or only the body and tail. Other cats will decapitate the mouse but will not eat it whole, just a leg or two. Some cats will only eat mice whole if some other cat is threatening to snatch it from them. Others will nibble on mouse guts for a while but won’t touch the gizzard due to its acidic taste.

Interestingly, house cats or domesticated cats are less likely to eat mice than feral, stray, and outdoor cats. House cats are more likely to hunt and play, but less likely to kill and eat mice. 

Cats will hunt and kill but not always eat the mice whole since they may be trying to teach you how to hunt for food, just as their mama cats taught them. It may also be that they are just chasing a mouse and the playtime gets too rough. Some other cats will hunt and kill to present it as an offering to their humans. Some cats will hunt and kill mice but will not eat them unless they are extremely hungry. Other felines will catch mice but do not have an idea what to do with it; they will just leave it around the home.

Reasons Why Cats Hunt Mice

Cats hunt mice for many of the following reasons:

  • They can get the taurine that they need if they eat mice.
  • They have a natural hunting instinct. 
  • Mice are easier to catch than birds or fish. 
  • They are bored and want something to play with. 

Cat Breeds That Are Good at Hunting Mice 

These are some of the best cat breeds for hunting mice:

  • Manx 
  • Siamese 
  • Maine Coon
  • Siberian 
  • Domestic Shorthair 

Why do cats eat the heads off mice?

Cats will eat the heads off mice since they find it the best part of the body to swallow. They will usually go for the eyes or face when they attack it and eat it just like other predatory animals. For cats, the head is a treat since it bears the eyes to which they are attracted. It is also very desirable to chew on. 

Is it ok for cats to eat mice?

Yes, it is okay for cats to eat mice, but only occasionally.  Eating mice regularly is not okay and should not be encouraged since mice could be infected with roundworms that can be transmitted to your cat. They also carry toxoplasma gondii, the agent of toxoplasmosis, an infectious disease. 

Do cats eat mice or just kill them?

It will depend on the cat. It is an instinctive behavior among cats to hunt because they are natural predators. However, cat experts note that cats may behave differently when it comes to their prey. Some cats will not eat mice and may not even kill them; they will only chase and play with them. Certain cats will hunt, kill, and eat mice, but this also depends on how hungry they are. 

How long does it take for a cat to digest a mouse?

It takes a cat at least 10 to 24 hours to digest a mouse and for it to move through the entire digestive tract. However, other things that cats ingest may take months to be fully digested. Some objects are too big to pass through the digestive tract and may cause an obstruction. 


Cats are natural hunters and they will pursue rodents like mice. Each cat is unique, which is also reflected in the way they eat their prey. Some cats eat mice whole, others eat only the heads, and others just decapitate them and leave them for dead. 

Image: / Sonsedska