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Does Cat Litter Actually Prevent Mice in Your Home?

It seems like a well-kept secret that cat litter repels mice in your RV or home. Especially for those without cats, the idea that their litter keeps pesky critters at bay seems like an urban myth. 

Cats, sure. But litter as a repellent seems like a stretch. However, if you want to remove mice without resorting to carnage, anything with a whiff of truth seems worth it. 

Before you go out and buy a big bag of cat litter, take a few minutes to check out what we uncovered. 

Let’s dig in!

Why Do Mice Hate Cat Litter?

Mice, in fact, don’t care that much about cat litter. Well, clean cat litter. If you’ve got a cat, they’ll have to do a little business before rodents avoid it. Mice, especially those not exposed to cats, hate the smell of cat urine. And cats, being the clean creatures they are, like to pee in cat litter. 

No matter how much the rug ties the room together, are you willing to spread used cat litter to save it from the mice? Our guess is a hard no.

If you’re dealing with mice in outbuildings, the smell of cat pee might be okay. In this case, you’re in luck. Even if your cats are too lazy to chase mice out of your space, their urine will do the trick. 

If you’re hell-bent on using cat litter to repel mice, here are some of the best tips and tricks from around the Internet. 

The Best Way to Use Litter to Repel Mice

Most important in this scenario is the use of unscented cat litter. As we’ve discussed, mice only care about used cat litter, and scented products can mask the smell. Then, make sure that your feline friend has used the box. 

Once you have the used cat litter on hand, figuratively please, the next step is figuring out where there’s rodent activity. Look for signs of entry and droppings. It’s easy to tell where mice get in because they often leave chew marks at entry points. 

Gather up some used cat litter, but not with your hands. This should go without saying, but there’s science behind this tip. Besides being nasty, your natural odors can also mask the smell of cat urine. 

Using a disposable spoon or scoop, spread the used litter in the areas you’ve identified. Monitor the sites for several weeks, and reapply as needed. Despite your efforts, you may have another problem if the mice keep coming in.

Pro Tip: Want to use a natural solution to keep your home mouse free? Find out Does Irish Spring Soap Keep Mice Away?

cat litter box
If you don’t want your home to smell like a litter box, try using cinnamon, peppermint oil, or mint toothpaste instead to ward off mice.

Does Cat Litter Always Work to Repel Mice?

If you try to get rid of mice using this method and it works, great! You’ve saved yourself some money and a headache. But used cat litter doesn’t always work to repel mice. Some mice have the opposite reaction because of a microscopic parasite or early exposure.

The Parasite That Makes Mice Attracted to Cat Poop

Cats excrete the parasite Toxoplasma gondii in their waste. If a mouse becomes infected with the parasite, something strange happens. Even after they clear the infection, their altered brain chemistry removes their fear of the smell. 

In cats, the parasite is somewhat symbiotic because it makes prey less likely to fear the predator. This means the host cat is less likely to run out of food and live longer. 

In humans, toxoplasmosis may make you less risk-averse and more willing to try new things. Entrepreneurs who tested positive for the parasite make $6,000 more yearly than their counterparts.

Everyone is happy! 

Why Cat Urine is an Aphrodisiac for Mice

Using cat urine as rodent repellent may increase your rodent problem. If conditions are right, male mice become more aggressive when exposed to cat urine and are more willing to fight with other male mice. Aggressive mice also have a different odor, and this new, more macho smell attracts female mice. 

Left unchecked, your rodent population may explode!

What Happens When Baby Mice Are Exposed to Cat Urine

Pregnant mice exposed to the smell of cat urine have a higher likelihood of miscarriage. However, once the mice are born, things change. Baby mice exposed to felinine present in cat urine have a reduced stress response when exposed to the smell, which leads them to have less fear of cats. 

This is different than a toxoplasmosis infection because the baby mice have only been exposed to the scent. Imagine a baby mouse exposed to felinine and then Toxoplasma gondii in cat litter. We’d probably have a race of supermice!

Cat looking at mouse.
Stop the cat and mouse games. Don’t rely on cat litter to keep mice away!

What Other Scents Will Keep Mice Away?

Rest easy if you don’t have a cat or just hate the idea of spreading used litter around your house. Several other scents have similar effects without the gross factor. 

You’ve probably already got some of these items in your pantry or spice cabinet. Mice hate strong scents, so the smell of cinnamon, peppermint oil, and mint toothpaste are good options. Used tea bags are also great deterrents because of their strong odor. 

Other spicy scents like cayenne and cloves keep mice at bay. 

Moving into more offensive smells, vinegar and ammonia both keep mice away. Of course, they both smell like cat pee, so you’ve replaced one funky odor with another.

Another item in your cleaning closet will help because mice hate the smell of dryer sheets. Drop one where you think mice are getting in, and you could be good to go.

Pro Tip: Keep your camper mouse free by using these 7 Ways to Keep Mice Out of Your RV.

So, Does Cat Litter Actually Prevent Mice in Your Home?

Looking at all the information we’ve found, it looks like cat litter doesn’t prevent mice in your home. Unless you’re willing to sprinkle used litter, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere for solutions to your rodent problem. 

Some mice are scared of the scent, but others don’t care or may even benefit from the effects. If you have one or two, it could work out. However, you may need a more reliable solution if you’re dealing with an infestation.

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