We are currently facing an issue with rodents, most likely mice or rats, having taken up residency in our flat roof. The space itself is inaccessible for us or our cats, so they can't take care of this issue.

While we don't mind them per se and they do provide some entertainment for the cats with the noise they make in the night, they are apparently tearing up insulation while rearranging their residence and pose a fire hazard if they were to chew into electrical wiring, so we can't leave them there.

Lethal options, as in poison, are out of scope here, obviously due to the cats and local birds of prey potentially ingesting the victims, and we would very much like to avoid killing them.

Live traps are not really a solution either, as we live right next to a field, which comes with a truly massive population of rodents, so chances are we will mostly be trapping innocent bystanders.

I've been doing some research into noisemaker devices to scare them away, ultrasonic or audible spectrum, vibration, etc. The problem here is I couldn't find reliable information if using these would stress out the cats, manufacturers seem mostly concerned with the effect on the unwanted guests.

What I am looking for here would be:

  • reliable information regarding noisemaker options being stressful for cats
  • potential other non-lethal deterrents that are safe for cats
  • You may want to rethink your premise of "non-lethal"; Rodent fleas are generally blamed for the black plague and other diseases . I doubt their droppings result in anything good. Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 16:06
  • @blacksmith37 Appreciate the input, however short of tearing up and rebuilding the whole roof, there is nothing we can realistically do about droppings. Since this is a recurring issue in this neighborhood due to the nearby field, we will have to live with that. Poison isn't something we can use due to agricultural use of the field, and our own pets as well as endangered birds in the area. As far as traps go, there is no real benefit over live traps with those that kill, and there are too many rodents in the area to make them viable options.
    – bgse
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 16:22
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    By searchin on german websites I find again and again "close all holes they could come through (after be secure there is no mouse inside anymore)" and "use strong smells to scare them away". Smells like peppermint oil, terpentin and used cat litter ^^ How bad is your access to the roof? And do you know, how they come in? Because they need to go out for food right? Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 15:00
  • @Allerleirauh There is no access at all for us to the roof, it is a bungalow style flat roof from the 1960s. We are pretty sure they are accessing the roof through vent holes, emergency drainage holes or something of the sort. Closing all those holes up is probably going to be next to impossible, there are literally hundreds of them, some hidden behind outdoor paneling, etc. The smell suggestion might work though, since we could drill into the ceiling in a few spots and stick tubing through into the internal roof structure to disperse something.
    – bgse
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 15:35
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    I’m voting to close this question because it is not about pets. It is about a problem that needs to be solved professionally. If not solved professionally, it can lead to disasters (mechanical, health-related etc.)
    – virolino
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 10:30

1 Answer 1


I am pleased that you do not want to use poison. Thank you for this! I have found that daily application of peppermint oil deters rats as they have a very sensitive sense of smell. It will not hurt them. They simply do not like the smell. The key is this--it's a lot of work!! as you must apply the oil profusely morning and night, but it works. I did this for years until I adopted a cat, then he took care of the rats!!

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    Be aware, that peppermint may be dangerous for cats! They absorb things even through their paw's skin, so peppermint oil at surfaces where the cat walks are a bad idea... Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 7:53
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