How Long Do Cats Play With Mice Before Killing Them?

Cats have a way of understanding what makes them tick.

They’re playful and adventurous and like to have fun. When they’re playing, their response time is often faster than ours.

Which means you could wait a long time before your cat kills one of your mice. So, how long do cats play with mice before killing them?

Cats often play with mice before killing them. They’ll chase the mouse around and pouncing on it.

They’ll also rub it against their legs and mouths. However, most cats won’t play with a mouse for more than 10 minutes.

After that, they get bored and move on to other things. Cats also only play with mice if there’s food involved.

They won’t play with a mouse just because they’re bored or lonely.

How Long Do Cats Play With Mice Before Killing Them?

Cats play with their mice before killing them.

However, cats play with their mice in different ways. Cats are social animals, so they like to play with their mice together.

Often, a cat will chase a mouse around the cage before killing it. Sometimes, a cat will catch a mouse and hold it in its mouth before killing it.

Other times, a cat will bite its mouse’s tail before killing it. Finally, a cat will repeatedly attack its mouse before killing it.

There’s no set time for cats to play with their mice before killing them. It depends on the cat’s personality.

However, it’s common for cats to play with their mice for 15-20 minutes before killing them.

Factors To Consider When Cats Play With Mice Before Killing Them

Cat’s Interest in the Mouse

Cats are known to spend a significant amount of their time playing with their food before they eat it.

This is especially true with rodents such as rats and hamsters. Thus, it’s normal for your cat to want to play with its mouse before you kill it.

You should consider how much your cat likes the mouse before deciding to kill it or not. If your cat is very interested in the mouse, then it may want to play with it for longer before you kill it.

In this case, you should give the cat a chance to play with the mouse first before killing it.

Cat’s Hunger Levels

A hungry cat will want to eat its prey as soon as possible so it won’t get distracted from eating it.

It will eventually lose interest in its prey when it gets full so it might kill the prey soonest possible time after catching the prey.

A hungry cat will also tend to play with its food longer before it eats them than an sated one will do.

For example, a hungry cat will tend to hold a rat in its mouth and chew on it for several minutes before swallowing it while a sated cat might swallow the rat right away without chewing on it first.

When hunting mice, this behaviour makes cats appear lazy as they might spend more time holding the mice in their jaws than actually killing them.

Time Spent on Mouse Hunting

A cat’s energy levels will be high when they’re searching for their prey while they’ll be low when they’re eating them.

If your cat is very active when it hunts for its food, then it will probably want to hunt for a long time until it catches its meal.

In such a case, you should let your cat catch its meal first before killing the rodent.

On the other hand, if your cat is very active when it’s eating its meal, then it will probably want to kill the rodent as soon as possible so that it doesn’t waste energy on catching it.

Running around attempting to catch a mouse is exhausting and a cat’s hunting instinct will kick in whenever they’re hungry or tired.

This implies it may not want to hunt for a while after a meal and will probably eat quickly instead of chasing the mouse around the garden for 10 minutes.

This is a natural inclination of cats since in the wild, they would kill and eat their prey and then rest for an hour or two before going on a hunt again.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Eat Mice Heads?


Some cats are known to play with their rodents for a long time before they kill them while some will just kill them immediately upon catching them.

Most times, it depends on the cat’s personality and how much it wants to eat the rodent in the first place.

You can decide to kill or not to kill your mouse based on these factors.

However, this is dependent on the mouse’s behavior as well.

When it comes to anything in life, some cats are more stubborn than others while some are more flexible in their natures.

If your pet is a more stubborn type, then it probably won’t listen to you even if you give it a reason why it should kill the rodent right away.

In such cases, you’re better off not trying to persuade your pet to change its mind because it will only end up ignoring you and not listening to your advice at all.