5 Humane Critter Catchers

For those of us without vigilant kitties, fall and winter are the times when mice escape the cold by making themselves at home ... in our homes. While hosting four-legged, tailed houseguests isn’t exactly dangerous, it's certainly annoying and quite unsettling: the poop, the chewed-up food packaging, the fact that you scream (or at least I do) every time one scurries across the floor. Too bad we can’t just round ‘em up and ship them off to a Boca Raton for rodents for the winter.

In my own apartment, mice sightings are mercifully scarce thanks to a colony of feral cats that live behind my building. Last winter, however, I did briefly host an unwelcome chocolate-loving lodger who eventually disappeared on his own (maybe my guttural shrieks scared him off?) but has left me wondering, what if he comes back?

Since I do kind of like the little guys (when not in my apartment) I’ve been thinking of easy, cruelty-free ways to trap and release any mice that may decide to move in over the coming months. However effective, sending them the way of a rodent guillotine of glue trap isn’t for everyone, particularly animal lovers and the easily grossed out. Here are a few ways to send ‘em packing that don’t rodent slaughter.

Humane "Smart" Mouse Trap @ Amazon.com ($12.68)

A bit pricey for a mousetrap, yes, but judging from the user reviews and the PETA seal of approval, this temporary holding cell for mice gets a cruelty-free gold star. Just put bait inside the "house" and when a mouse saunters in for a snack, the door snaps shut behind it. Can be cleaned and reused over and over again.

Tip-Trap Live Capture Mouse Trap @ Greenfeet.com ($2.99)

Although not as spacious as the above mousetrap, the Tip-Trap is cheap, effective, and cruelty-free. It uses a trapdoor-type of entryway to quarantine mice, shrews, and voles. Reusable.

Victor Tin Cat Mouse Trap @ Ace ($18.49)

The Tin Cat from Victor is ideal for folks dealing with roving mouse house parties since this super-sized, humane device can trap up to 30 vermin at once.

Victor PetChaser Sonic Rodent Repellent @ Home Depot ($15.99/2 pack)

Here's the thing with most trap-and-release mouse traps: you have to feed the critters and then handle them. If you're like me, you may not want to do either of those things. This is where the Victor PetChaser — the Yoko Ono of mouse control — comes in handy. It's a plug-in device that uses noise that's inaudible to humans but drives mice nutty, keeping them out of your home.

Humane Mouse Trap @ Clean Air Gardening ($12.99)

Want to incorporate recycling into your mouse catching? Attach a regular plastic bottle (even 2 liters will work!) to this clever mousetrap that looks like a giant piece of cheese. After a mouse wanders through the cheese "entranceway" and into the bottle, an access gate activates, trapping the critter in the bottle. To free the mouse, simple take the device outdoors and rotate it upside down to release it.

If unwavering in your "if a rodent enters my house, the punishment is death" stance, perhaps consider these respectful and stylish ways to send vermin visitors to the rodent afterlife.