A cat to naturally deter rats and mice is common sense. As with everything else, you just have to be smart about it and make sure you mitigate the risk.
- Supporter in 2019
I know we did have one mouse (at work) that backed into it, and that got pretty ugly, but otherwise they seem to do the job. I have used the catch-and-release type, too.
- Supporter in 2019
We never had rats in our neighborhood until someone new to our area called animal control on our feral cats. A few of us were trying to regulate the population through TNR (trap, neuter, return) but this new person was impatient and just annoyed with the cats in general so she complained. They caught almost all of our cats and the ones who weren't caught ran away after they saw what happened to the others. I freed a few of them. I took one of them in (she ended up not being feral, just an abandoned pet) It's crazy how the whole thing got unbalanced. Now everyone has rats.
I'm not saying I would EVER put a cat outside to deal with rats, that's just how it always was. These cats had been here for generations and they weren't pets, they were wild. I don't believe in "indoor/outdoor" cats. It's far too dangerous. They should only be outside if supervised on a cat harness or in a catio. I'm sure my (pet) cats are the reason we don't have rats in the house. Their presence is enough.
I would trust all of my cats and my dog with my guinea pigs. I trusted them all with my rabbits, rats, mice... They're friends. Most of the cats prefer the company of the pigs to that of the other cats' or the dog. Our rabbit was free-roam and he'd go up to the cats and groom them. I think it's how well you know your pets, at least to some extent. The claw thing is the scariest part of the friendship between the pigs and cats. The one cat who does play "tag" with my piggies never uses her claws. She was raised with a declawed cat and learned to play tap without claws. She kinda punches instead of clawing. I really don't worry about her and the other cats would rather nap next to the pigs than play with them.
I do agree that certain animals will always be a threat. I should explain that "how well you know your pets" to me not only means knowing their personality but also understanding them as a cat/dog/guinea pig. How their instincts work, behavior, biology, etc. The same way we understand guinea pigs and use some instinctive behaviors to our advantage (like with "kitchens") and also accept that we can't change some (certain pigs never get ok with being picked up, but it's not that they don't enjoy lap time, it's just instinct to run from something swooping down trying to get you) I know my cats have the potential to hurt the pigs even if they don't mean to.
I have 4 cats. Penguin & Tao were raised with mice and rats so I really didn't worry about them. It took Blackie and Spanky a long time to earn my trust with my pigs, since they were outside prior to me adopting them. Spanky is terrified of the pigs (fine with me!) Blackie just wants to watch them or lay with them. I wouldn't leave my pigs out all day where the cats could get them if I wasn't there, you know? Actually, I would leave Penguin or Tao with them but not the other cats.
My dogs have never been a problem at all, but again that's just my experience with my particular dogs. One was a chihuahua, so she was small and not a hunting dog. The other two were mixed. Terrier mix and Beagle mix. They both could have those hunting instincts but they didn't. My dogs were also older when I started adopting small pets. Age is another factor to think about.