I’ve always found in the older house/rural setting cats plural are worth their weight in gold. They alert you to unseen critters so you can take longer term measures and of course just get down to business for anything daft enough to show themselves. At our previous house we’d never realised how many rats had previously been in the neighbourhood until we found a pile of uneaten snouts….
Have you tried the plug in rodent deterrents? I’ve had one in my garage for years (0.6Watts usage in case you were wondering), although I understand they work better on new visitors, than established ones, as established ones will learn to live with the screech they make
Have used several in the house, they work well. If you can hear the hi-frequency they produce then it is time to replace the units. Have an adjustable one for the garden that is solar powered, motion activated and frequency adjustable that definitely deters the skunks but not the squirrels and chipmunks so much.
Probably the best mousers I have had (next to the Sharpes Hawk) were the Cairn Terriers. They worked as a pair and were absolutely deadly with respect to mice through to ground hogs. Clean and quick kills, no playing with the prey like cats tend to do.
If not a cat (or a hawk) then you could use a terrier. Louby-lou here is a champion mouser and ratter. She once jumped out of the car as I pulled up outside the house and shot into the bushes. There was a bit of kerfuffle, a nasty squealing noise, and she emerged with a huge rat in her mouth…
Once mice have found a way into your house they will find places to live that a cat could never hope to squeeze into, even if they can hear the mice. These tend to be places like lofts, the void under your floorboards, or gaps in walls. These are also the places where cables and pipes are installed, and these can be damaged with potentially catastrophic consequences.
One of our cats is a hunter, and she does help keep the population down, but there are always more. Her brother is too lazy, and sometimes watches mice, fascinated, but never tries to hunt them.
Being an old hippie, I’m on the side of your lazy cat. Mice fascinate me too and I’ve no problems having a few of them in the house as they don’t really do much harm.
If I had an infestation then I might have to do something about it but I’ve never understood the human desire to kill every single thing that moves.
Sure, until they chew the insulation off your power cables and the resulting short burns your house down. They also like to chew plastic water pipes with obviously bad consequences. These are the worst cases, of course - there are plenty of other things they can damage and some unpleasant hygiene issues.
Best kept outdoors wherever possible.
Some years ago I managed to catch a few with the hoover, and then extricated them from the hoover bag and took them some miles away for release (they were dusty but otherwise fine). I think I’m slower or these blighters are faster these days.
It would be nice to live in harmony with these creatures but it’s pretty impossible when they get into food cupboards, make a mess or damage other things.
Terriers would be great fun, but at least for the next few years I don’t think there’ll be someone at home every day which would probably be unfair on a dog unless we used a ‘sitting/walkies’ service. A cat is probably more practical currently as it will at least fend for itself/can be left to its own devices if we’re out. That said a dog would get us all out walking a bit more than we currently tend to do.