How to Set a Tomcat Mouse Trap [Mouse Trap Guide]

Rats and mice are some of the most common pest species you’re likely to encounter in your home. These rodents love to live close to humans.

They eat our food and they live in our homes. Even though we’ve been dealing with them for thousands of years, we still struggle to get rid of mice and rats.

There are a couple of different ways to deal with rats and mice, but the most popular and effective way is to kill the rodents with a mouse trap. Tomcat is one of the biggest mouse trap manufacturers in the US, and you’re probably looking for some tips setting and using your Tomcat mouse traps.

I’ll tell you everything you need to know about effectively setting and placing your Tomcat mouse traps to get rid of the mice from your home.

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Mouse Trap Location is King

The best mousetrap in the world isn’t going to catch a thing if you don’t know where to put it. When setting up Tomcat mouse traps, you want to put them as close to where the creatures are active as possible.

  • Look for the runways mice and rats use. Rats especially are creatures of habit. Once they’ve found an area they feel is safe, they’ll stick to it over and over again. Over time, as they journey from the nest to a food source and back again, they will leave traces of their presence. Their greasy fur often leaves dark rub marks along walls and around holes. Setting traps in these runways give you a much higher chance of catching something.
  • Keep an eye out for food sources. Ordinarily, these will be in your kitchen or pantry. Both rats and mice eat a wide range of foods and will eat just about anything humans will. Mice, in particular, prefer dry food such as cereal and grains. Both animals are also happy eating dog or cat food. They are both capable of chewing holes in bags of stored food to get at what’s inside. Set up traps close to a food source for the best results.
  • Look out for areas that show high rodent activity. This can give you a clue to where the animals are living. Look out for holes in baseboards and walls, especially around pipes. Often, this is what rats and mice use to move around the house. Mice don’t like to stray far from the nest. If possible, they’ll stay within five feet of the nest at all times. However, they will patrol their territory every day. Rats, on the other hand, can travel 150 feet from the nest every day.

Placing the Tomcat Mouse Trap

Once you’ve found areas with high rodent activity, it’s time to set up your traps. Both rats and mice like to travel along walls.

Not only does this help prevent them from getting lost, but it also makes them feel safer from attack by predators. That’s why you should always put traps against the wall.

Set the traps up with the trigger end facing the wall. That’s the most likely path the rodents will take, and makes your chances of catching them higher.

Also, don’t rely on just one trap. Set up multiple traps around 5 to 10 feet apart for the best chance of catching something. Mice are inquisitive about new objects and usually get caught quickly. If a trap hasn’t caught a mouse in four or five days, it might be a good idea to move it to a new location.

On the other hand, rats are wary of new objects, and it can take more than a week before they’ll approach something new.

Setting the Trap

Before you set any rodent trap, you need to bait it. Baits will help attract the rodents to the trap and keep them around long enough to activate it and be caught. Bait the trap before you set it to avoid the risk of catching your own fingers in the trap.

For bait, you can use almost any type of food. Like in the old cartoons, cheese can work well. However, you’ll probably have better results with peanut butter.

Not only is this highly attractive to rodents, but it’s also hard for them to remove from the trap, making it more likely they’ll get caught. If peanut allergies are an issue, you can also use chocolate syrup. Some people even use bacon or bacon grease to bait traps.

You can also use candy, syrup, or anything with a strong smell. If you really want to get creative, you could try different types of bait in different traps and see which the mice prefer.

Once you bait the trap, it’s time to set the Tomcat mouse trap. This has the potential for injury, so it’s important to be careful. As a general rule, always hold traps from the back, as far away from the trigger as you can get. That way, if the trap springs while you’re holding it, it won’t catch your fingers.

Different traps are set in different ways. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular and effective traps on the market.

How to Set a Tomcat Press N Set Mouse Trap

Tomcat Press ‘N Set Mouse Traps are activated by pressing down on the back of the trap. Pinch it between finger and thumb or press it down on the floor. Keep pressing until the trap clicks. Once the latch is activated, the trap will stay open until something sets off the trigger.

After the trap is set, if you need to deactivate it, the best method may be to use a stick, pencil, or knife to trigger the trap and let it snap shut.

Also, if the trap catches the mouse, you can dispose of the creature by picking up the entire trap, holding it over the garbage, and squeezing the back just as you did to set it. The jaws will release the mouse into a bin or other receptacle.

If you don’t want to deal with that, you can also just throw the entire trap away, but that could quickly get expensive.

How to Set a Tomcat Kill and Contain or Spin Trap

If you don’t want to deal with seeing dead mice, both Tomcat Kill and Contain and Tomcat Spin Traps can help. These completely enclosed traps capture mice inside where no one will be able to see them. Once a mouse has been caught, you simply throw the entire trap away.

To set the spin trap, all you need to do is pull out the entryway and put some bait in the bait cup. For the Kill and Contain trap, you push down the switch on the side to set the trap. To deactivate it again, you simply push the switch back up.

How to Set a Wooden Tomcat Mouse Trap

Wooden mousetraps may look old-fashioned, but they’ve been around so long for a reason. Tomcat wooden mouse traps are cheap and effective, and remain widely used in the pest control industry for that reason.

These traps are some of the trickiest to set. Make sure you’re holding the trap at the back to keep your fingers well clear of the spring-loaded arm. You may need to remove a tiny staple from the wooden board to free the trigger arm.

Then you’ll need to pull back the arm one hundred and eighty degrees and lay the trigger arm on top of it. Hook the trigger arm into the back of the yellow plastic trigger. You can adjust the sensitivity of the trigger by setting the trigger arm onto the right side for more sensitivity and on the left side for less sensitivity.

Generally, unless you have a lot of vibration in your house that might set off the traps accidentally, it’s better to use the more sensitive setting. You may have to tilt the plastic yellow trigger back slightly as you hook the trigger arm underneath it, which requires a little manual dexterity.

When choosing a wooden trap, make sure you buy one with an extended trigger. You may still find some old-school wooden traps that have a smaller metal trigger, but these are less sensitive and are less likely to catch a mouse that uses them. The traps linked above have an extended trigger.

Once you set a wooden mousetrap, place it carefully down on the floor. These traps can be reused once they’ve caught a mouse. They are very cheap though, so many people just throw the trap away and use a new one after a kill.

If you do want to reuse them, you’ll need to lift the arm yourself to release the dead mouse. Make sure to wear gloves while doing this.

Once these traps have been set, you can deactivate them by picking them up, pressing down on the arm with your thumb, and unhooking the trigger arm from the trigger. Then you can release the spring-loaded arm while holding it pointed away from you to make the trap harmless. It may be quicker and easier, however, to use a stick or pencil to activate the trap.

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Dealing with a Caught Mouse

All of the traps listed are designed to kill mice immediately. This is more humane than using traps that catch them alive, since mice can often die a slow death inside. These traps kill mice before they know what hit them.

Once you’ve caught a mouse, you’ll need to do something with it. You can drop the mouse into a plastic shopping bag or cardboard box and dispose of them in an outside garbage bin. Make sure you check the regulations around rodent disposal in your local area, though. Some jurisdictions won’t accept mice and rats inside bins. In those cases, you may have to bring them to a special disposal center or even bury them yourself.

Any time you’re handling rodents, make sure you use disposable latex gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterward. Mice and rats can carry diseases that may still be active even after the rodents are dead. You may also need to clean the trap itself if you decide to reuse it.

Ordinary soap and water will get rid of any residue from the mice you caught, but remember that mice and rats have a keen sense of smell, and a strong smell of soap may put them off the bait. If you need to wash your traps, rinse them thoroughly and let them dry out for several days before putting them back into use.

Although it sometimes happens, it’s quite rare to have just a single mouse in a house. Once you’ve caught your first mouse, don’t celebrate too much. There’s probably more where that one came from.

Keep trapping, and make sure the bait you use stays fresh. If any peanut butter, chocolate, or other bait turns hard on the trap, remove it and replace it with fresh stuff.

If you’re still seeing signs of mouse activity but aren’t catching any in your traps, move the traps to a new location. Try to get the traps as close as you can to where the mice may be nesting. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to get caught.

Persistence is the key to rodent trapping. Keep trapping until you’re not catching mice anymore and are no longer seeing any signs of them. How long this takes depends on the food sources in your house and the population of the mice. It could be anywhere from a few days to several weeks before you’ve caught all of them.

Keep trapping and experimenting with different placement and different baits, and you should be able to clear your house of mice without having to reach for the poison.


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