Mice/I rescued a mouse rescued from my cat
QUESTION: I live in Austria but can't speak German so I can't get help here or from a German speaking site. About three hours ago I rescued a mouse from my cat. To me every life of an animal, no matter how small or common is valuable. The mouse looked dead. I picked it up in a scarf and while still in my hand and wrapped, rested it on my chest for an hour or two. Very slowly it came back to life and I have put it in my (ventillated) laundry container, next to the heater which is now in my study. I put torn up newspaper in there. It has water and food in tiny glass jar lids. It has already eaten one little peice of the rye bread with honey on it and two pine nuts. It is cold in Austria (minus 12 - 15 degrees at night). I am worried if I release it tonight - it is dark in an hour - that without it's home, which I don't know where it is, it will freeze.
It appears to have no puncture wounds from my cat. Is there anything further I can do to help it and where and when should I release it? Susan
ANSWER: Dear Susan,
Well you do love critters.... :) I thought I was the only one who would try to revive a sick wild mouse on my chest!
Poor little thing, though. I wish I could give you a reassuring answer about its survival, but a mouse with any handicap at all will have a tougher time surviving. On the off chance it is actually not wounded, so long as it was an outdoor mouse and not from your house, it only needs a day or two rest and can go back out. But if there is any injury, internal or a broken bone, it is in trouble; and if there is any small puncture wound it may become infected from the cat saliva, which is toxic even to humans. It would die within two days.
I would wait until it makes it clear that it wants to leave (spends its time trying to escape). Until then, let it rest and recover. If it never starts trying to escape, it wants to be a pet.
Best of luck and good health to the little tyke. By the way, the Germans are great about mice, though I am not sure about wild ones. I don't know about Austrians though.
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QUESTION: Thank you so much for your help. I am still worried about releasing it into minus 10 degrees. My cat caught the mouse outside so I hope it is an outside mouse. My cat gets quite a few, always from outside. I release them straight away but I thought this one was dead and it was in such deep shock I knew it would probably die if I released it straight away. I have checked it a few times and it is trying to escspe although it let me put it back in the laundry basket. I am really worried about the temperature - it is minus 10 degrees outside. Is this too cold to release it into? When I do release it how can I help it to survive - perhaps putting some food where I release it - can I put a makeshift nest for it where I release it also? I don't want a mouse - not with a pet cat and besides I abhore animls in cages. I just want to do everything to help it survive and live a happy mouse life.
I have a feeling you don't want to build the complex mouse release shelter that I could give you the link to, so I won't. :)
My recommendation is to take a little box and put the current bedding in it; and put lots of mouse seed (bird seed, oats, whatever you have for the mouse) in it. Then find a nice place where there are places to hide. Leave the mousie in the box. A week later you can return and pick up the now empty box.
But you should keep the mouse under observation for 2-3 days to make sure it didn't get a fatal infection. No point in putting a sick mouse out. It would not be able to stay warm.
I hate releasing mice in the winter. I actually took a huge clear plastic bin (labeled it 'Mouse-Mo") and made it a happy playground and home for mice. The mice in our apartment are tiny and can get out of almost any trap, but I managed to catch a number of them. This was a very tall bin with slick walls and was impossible to escape from. So one day, I saw a tiny little hole at the top and the mice were.. back in the apartment. I gave up, and when we have mice I just leave them be. They get very friendly, and I have handled them twice by accident when I thought I was getting one of my little dwarf rats!
So this isn't a very reassuring answer, because I don't release in the winter. Still, the cardboard box with a little bedding in it should provide shelter if the mouse decides to stay there.
I wish the little critter the best of luck.