Like many cat owners, I expect others to rescue mice from the jaws of their cat. I expect them to catch a mouse as it runs around the living room and hides behind curtains or under furniture. Is that what you do? Perhaps not. I certainly do if I’m able to. Perhaps my cat has already killed the mouth and eaten it but if he hasn’t and I am awake I will catch that mouse. I will take that mouse outside through the back garden and through the back gate into an area behind the garden which is covered in vegetation where I release the mouse. When I do this I reflect on whether my cat will detect my rescued mouse, re-attack it and kill it. Am I wasting my time?
My research indicates that I am not wasting my time because mice have a good homing instinct and are good navigators. However, the information on the Internet is really about how to stop mice coming back into the home. My argument is this: the mice live in a nest some distance from my home. My cat knows where it is and he waits outside that nest to catch mice as they exit it. When I put a rescued mouse back outside I do so in the expectation and hope that it will return to its nest.
I cannot find pure and hard confirmation that this will happen which I find surprising because I am not alone in this behaviour. Or am I? Whatever, I’m hopeful based on the information that I have which is that mice can find their way back home. A caveat is the fact that it may depend upon the species of the mouse concerned. The sort of mice that I’m catching and saving from destruction by my cat may not be as good at navigation as field mice for instance.
My conclusion, however, is that it is worth putting a rescued mouse away from your home even if your cat is liable to go on a hunt not too long afterwards. I would welcome the input of people with a better knowledge of mice behaviour than me.