Makakilo Cat Lady Gives Five Insights on Mousers

Wild "Sugar" would rather be chasing mice.
Wild "Sugar" would rather be chasing mice. | Source

Having lived in Makakilo aka Mouseakilo since 1992, I know that having cats is an excellent way of keeping rodents outside. Construction is crawling up the hill behind my house for a dreaded residential development. Field mice forced from the wild brush are forging their way into my neighbors' gardens and homes. Feral cats keep my house rodent free. "Mouseakilo" was coined by the media when Makakilo's prolific mouse population made Hawaii headlines in the 1980s.

"You couldn't even walk out on the sidewalk without stepping on a mouse," says lifetime resident and friend Candace.

People who didn't have cats were finding mice poop in their silverware drawers . . . just like my neighbors today. When the poop hits your silverware it's time to act fast. What action to take: Traps, poison, or cats for the rodent subway system beneath your kitchen? Traps and poison can possibly harm children and pets, and are only a temporary remedy until the next infestation. They also cost money, when sadly feral cats are everywhere for free.

If you have a feral cat population put them to good use.

Being a Cat Lady or Cat Lord is an enjoyable and inexpensive way to keep your home rodent free. Since I moved into my current home in 1998, I have had the pleasure of caring for five feral and two domestic cats. I must be a cat magnet and living on the edge of a wild ravine helps, as all my feline friends have simply showed up. Listed below are five insights for attracting and managing your mousers.

1. Gain Feline Trust

To attract and maintain your cat pack gain their trust. This is easily done by providing food and water to the same location at the same time once a day. Cheap, dry vitamin rich cat food is available at any grocery store. I buy the 20 pound Kirkland Super Premium Healthy Weight Cat Formula from Costco. It is the least expensive and all the cats vigorously dig in.

As a Cat Lord or Lady, you have responsibility for their health and welfare. If one of your cats becomes injured or ill, do your upmost to aid them. Most feral cats will let you pick them up if you have been feeding them for a few years. Not true of Storm, a grey tipped white female who has been here for a little over one year. NEVER try to pick up or touch a cat until it has touched you first. Cat bites are one of most easily infected wounds. Feral cats build their affection and trust slowly. They will place themselves closer and closer on each day you feed them. Soon you will notice them right under your feet. Eventually they will rub themselves against your legs. At this point it is okay to pet them, but gain eye contact first.

2. Use Your Humane Society

Your local humane society can be of great assistance. My neighborhood participates in a feral cat program. Feral cats are trapped, brought to the humane society, neutered, notched and released back into the neighborhood. A small notch on one ear identifies neutered cats. As a Cat Lady, I feel it is imperative to make use of this free service. One not so good thing about Oahu's humane society: Kittens under one pound are put to sleep. Most cities and towns have additional cat care organizations that keep feral kittens. Kitten Care and Joey's Feline Friends are two on Oahu.

Batman and Robin with their sidekick Sassy.
Batman and Robin with their sidekick Sassy. | Source
My family with cats Gilligan, Sugar and Sassy
My family with cats Gilligan, Sugar and Sassy | Source

3. Female Cats are Better Mousers

From my experience female cats are better mousers. Sassy and Sugar are two female cats who adore the chase. I brought a kitten home for my 5 year old daughter Jackie in 1996. Jackie named her Sassy and the name rang true. Sassy Cat would line mouse carcasses along the lanai for our inspection. One day I found a rat that was half her size. Unfortunately Sassy also liked to poop in Grandma's suitcase when she came to visit. Grandma was happy when Jackie brought Sassy with her to college. Old lady Sassy who now lives in a Waikiki apartment, still chases the occasional mouse.

Sugar is one of five kittens I found abandoned on the side of the road. I was jogging with my golden retriever, Amber when I stumbled upon the motherless babies. Most likely someone dumped them there. Cat Lady that I am, I loaded them into the back seat next to the dog. While I planned to give them all away, Sugar became a favorite and stayed. I named her Sugar hoping for a sweet personality, which I got along with another keen huntress. Sugar goes after anything smaller than her that moves. I have seen her climb to the top of the patio screen after moths and lizards. If the patio door is left open she has a way of flushing the unwary bird inside where in a flurry of feathers, I try to flush it back out. Sugar's mousing technique is heinous. She holds the mouse gently but snugly in her mouth before dropping it into a metal umbrella base, where she "plays" with her trapped prey.

Storm has been hanging around for a year or so. She eats on my lanai, but only allows me so close. No doubt this feral female is keeping vermin away.

Gilligan with his best friend Amber.
Gilligan with his best friend Amber. | Source

4. Male Cats Wander

Don't get too attached to your male cats. Gilligan is a ginger cat who came out of the field behind my house one day. At the time I was potty training our puppy Amber. "Gilly" became extremely attached to Amber, they potty trained together and he would follow us on our walks. Perhaps Gilly thought he was a dog. My heart broke when I had to put cancer ridden Amber to sleep in 2011. Gilligan's heart must have broken as well, because soon after that he disappeared. Occasionally he shows up when I am leaving for work in the morning. One time he let me pet him, but he doesn't come to my lanai anymore.

Other male cats have stayed for a few months and then gone their way. The exception is Shadow. Shadow visits my lanai every morning since about 2003. Dark gray shadow, once as wild as Storm is now, will come about a foot inside the patio door, but no further. He loves to rub up against my legs as I am filling the cat food bowls.

5. Be a Good Neighbor

My neighbors courteously ignore my cat pack. I suspect quite a few have cat packs of their own. I have friends who are not so lucky. If you are unfortunate enough to have feline hating neighbors, you will have to feed your cat pack on the sly. This means keeping cat dishes hidden from view and feeding your mousers in the middle of the night. One of the strongest objections people have to cats, is the horrendous odor of their urine. Male cats also spray this same repugnant scent Using a vinegar spray on smelly areas works wonders. My neighbors are just as important to me as my cat pack, so I am friendly and never complain about their pets.

Poll Update

My commenters have inspired me to ask - What sex is/was your most AWESOME mouser?

See results without voting

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Comments 9 comments

hush4444 profile image

hush4444 4 years ago from Hawaii

Feral cats make great mousers! We had a feral male who was completely anti-social, but he made short work of all the mice, as well as a few geckos. Now we have a very domesticated neutered male named Elvis who is far too lazy to catch anything but a cockroach. Great hub - voted up!


YogaKat profile image

YogaKat 4 years ago from Oahu Hawaii Author

Lol hush4444 . . . poor neutered Elvis. All my male cats are neutered and I have not seen them go after even a cockroach. Thanks for reading and commenting.


cloverleaffarm profile image

cloverleaffarm 4 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

We have 3 adult cats, and 4 kittens. The adults made quick meals of the mice in our barn. I am sure the 4 little ones will follow suit. If not, they can sit in the hay pile in the barn, watching the others have all the fun. All our cats are neutered...we just seem to be the drop off place for unwanted cats. Yes, my husband calls me the crazy old cat lady...lol.

Great hub, voted up!


YogaKat profile image

YogaKat 4 years ago from Oahu Hawaii Author

Thanks cloverleaffarm . . . every farm need a good mouser. How lucky you are to have 7! Lol . . . from one cat lady to another. Both your comment and hush 4444's comment led me to update this hub with a poll about whether a feline's sex determines it's mousing ability. Because only the females in my cat pack hunted, I assumed cat packs were similar to a lion's pride. I will update further depending on the poll's results.


Mary Jane Garner McMahon 4 years ago

I truly enjoyed reading your article and the pictures added warmth and an awareness of homelife in your community. Good job Makakilo Cat Lady....we need more like you in this world!


YogaKat profile image

YogaKat 4 years ago from Oahu Hawaii Author

Thanks for reading and commenting Mary Jane Garner McMahon :)


Ciel Clark profile image

Ciel Clark 4 years ago from USA

Hi YogaKat, I have always had a cat or two arrive at my house, even when living in other countries. some have just arrived on their own and some I've gotten from rescue centers. I've gotten all my cats spayed or neutered and they've all been outside cats.. I accidentally voted male as my best current mouser-- he is male, but should have pressed the neutered button! My present female cat follows him around outside --he hates it! She is not as sneaky as he is and gives warning to whatever it is he is hunting.

Thanks for being such a good cat lady and thanks for a good read.


stessily 4 years ago

YogaKat, Your concern for these fur angels is accompanied by admirably kind actions. Lovely photos. The images of Amber are charming; Amber clearly was (and still is through remembrance) a central spoke in the wheel of life in Makakilo.


YogaKat profile image

YogaKat 4 years ago from Oahu Hawaii Author

Thanks for your comment Stessily - I still miss my baby girl dog Amber. Ciel Clark, thanks for your comment as well us Cat Ladies gotta stick together!

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