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After reading up on cat nutrition and switching my cats to raw meat plus a supplemental powder, I've been wondering if it wouldn't be healthier to feed them live mice that I breed at home. I'm not sure if they would like that, so before I go to the pet shop to buy mice, I thought I'd ask for advice here.

Has anyone fed live mice to their (indoor) cats, and how successful has your experience been?

Edit

I found feeding live mice documented in a book about cat nutrition. I'd like to post the reference with an excerpt as an answer. (but I don't have enough reputation to vote to reopen)

closed as primarily opinion-based by JoshDM, user9, Zaralynda, woliveirajr, John Cavan Jan 23 '14 at 18:07

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I'm not thinking about feeding mice only but more like every other day as an interesting change to the chicken and turkey they have been getting. – Matt N. Jan 23 '14 at 7:50
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    This question is polling for anecdotes about feeding mice to a cat. I am not really sure that this is appropriate for the site. This sort of thing is of limited value and is not likely to contribute positively to the health of the site. – user9 Jan 23 '14 at 16:14
  • I sensed this question was going to end up being put on-hold or closed for being opinion-based, which is why I revised it to be more definitive, but included the original question in order to maintain proper context. As that is no longer the case, the question swiftly rolled in the non-positive direction. – JoshDM Jan 24 '14 at 0:09
  • I found feeding live mice documented in a book about cat nutrition. I'd like to post the reference with an excerpt as an answer. – Matt N. Jan 25 '15 at 2:54
  • I think it's probably better to consider a new question, better phrased to not be opinion oriented, and then supply your answer. Pros and cons questions are better than more polling oriented ones, I think. – John Cavan Jan 25 '15 at 4:16
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Here are some of the factors to consider before switching your cat to a live food diet.

Legality

In some jurisdictions it is illegal to feed live mice (or illegal to feed live food when the animal will eat dead food). The laws are generally written with reptiles in mind, but may apply to cats depending on how they are written.

Willingness of your cat to kill live mice

With live prey you have to consider how you will offer the mouse to the cat in a way that will prevent it from escaping into your house if your cat is not interested or does not kill the mouse right away.

Is it animal cruelty?

If you buy frozen mice, the mice have been killed quickly. If you offer your cat a live mouse you are giving it mental stimulation/enrichment at the cost of the mental wellbeing of the mouse.

Your willingness to clean the leftovers

Unlike reptiles, cats do not swallow mice whole and may leave bits for you to clean up. I've read some accounts (when researching nutitrion) that cats often leave the stomach/intestines uneaten. Are you willing to clean this up?

Health of the feeder mice

There have been some accounts of pet-store mice having parasites and other transmissable diseases because they are kept in such close contact with each other. Are you able/willing to fully vet the health of your food source?

Monitoring your cat's health

You're counting on the mice to have all of the essential nutrients that cats need (such as taurine) that you're supplimenting right now. If you plan to feed exclusively live food, you should know the signs of deficiency and make sure your cat has regular vet check ups in case the mice are deficient in some way.

My experience

My cats won't eat anything that does not look like cat food. I've experimented with food items like raw chicken necks and my cats don't seem to recognize that it's food (they think it's a toy). Before making the jump to live food I would suggest trying similar items (already dead mice, for example) to see if they recognize it as food.

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