All over the world, it is commonly thought that mice love to eat cheese. They’re even advertisements about mice eating cheese for cheese products.

However, this is false, and you should not feed your mouse too much dairy. Consuming any amount of cheese could lead to intestinal distress and extreme discomfort. 

Can pet mice eat cheese?

The overwhelming consensus by people is that mice love cheese. There are many cartoons and jokes in media around the world about mice hoarding and consuming cheese. However, this is not true.

Mice don’t particularly love cheese more, and there are other foods that they enjoy more. But not only do they not care for it too much, but it is also bad for them to eat.

Because of the stereotype, many scientists and have created tests where they try to gauge a mouse’s care for cheese. These scientists usually place other similar fatty foods next to the cheese sample like nuts. Fruit is also an alternative that is available in these tests. Fruits are a popular food for mice. Within the vast majority of experiments, when there were other alternatives available, the mice did not consume the cheese. They altogether avoided it and dined on the peanuts, grapes, bananas, chicken, or any other available food.

Why do people think mice can eat cheese?

The myth that mice love to eat cheese is a popular concept in our society for two reasons.

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The first reason humans believe mice love cheese is that in the olden times, cheese would be stored in cupboards and pantries. There was no electricity back then and, therefore, no refrigeration, so the vast majority of our foods were stored in dry, dark places away from insects. Because houses were not made like they are now, which is tightly sealed and with exact tools, there were often small spaces between doors and shelves that allowed mice to wiggle into a pantry cupboard and eat whatever they found, which was cheese. They may not like cheese very much, but they will eat whatever they can if they’re hungry.

The second reason is that mice are scavengers, and they can process meat in the diet. Because food is often scarce in cities, they have to be able to eat whatever they can. And they have to be able to smell it to find it. Old cheese has a powerful smell, so a mouse can easily detect where it is. This is one of the reasons why mice eat pizza in New York. They would prefer to eat fruits and greens instead of cheese. Still, their adaptability and omnivore diet is among the reasons they have survived alongside humanity since civilization began.

pet mouse cheese

Why is cheese bad for mice?

Like many other animals and even humans around the world, mice are lactose intolerant. They cannot process a cow’s milk within their bodies. Their bodies can only digest mouse milk, which they consume from their mothers when they are children. 

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Mice also dislike the smell of cheese. It has a very pungent and strong smell that can overwhelm a mouse’s ability to detect scents. The only time they will actively seek out and eat cheese is if they are starving, and there’s nothing else they can find to eat.

What happens if they eat cheese?

The first thing that will happen if a mouse consumes cheese is they will experience intestinal distress. Like a human with lactose intolerance, they will develop nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and become dehydrated because they are releasing fluids from their bodies.

There is one other symptom that mice can experience if they eat cheese. In many rodents, including rats and hamsters, cheese is an irritant, and if they eat it, your mice will develop extremely itchy skin. Because they are so irritated by the feel of their own itching skin, they will scratch all over their body to an excessive amount. They can even cause themselves to scab and bleed. 

Can they eat another type of dairy?

Mice can eat a little bit of dairy, but it depends on its type. The dairy that mice cannot eat is the foods that have lactobacilli, which is the protein that causes lactose intolerance. Because of the way some dairy products are created, few do not have any ingredients that cause lactose intolerance. Heavy whipping cream is one of those products because as doesn’t have any lactobacilli in it. If you add whipping cream to a little bit of water, you can make a refreshing cold treat for your mouse on a hot day.

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Mice are also able to consume butter and lactose-free milk. However, as a precaution, you should not give your mouth too many dairy products in a week. Space out their dairy consumption and add many types of fibrous foods like vegetables and carbohydrates in between servings. If you do see that your mouse is developing diarrhea or vomiting, stop all dairy and never feed it to them again.

What are some snack alternatives to cheese?

Cheese has both fat and protein, so you can provide your mouse with seeds and certain types of nuts. Mice love to eat peanut butter, hazelnuts, almonds, and cashews. These foods are clergy dense and full of energy, so only serve them a small portion.

As we stated above, mice absolutely love to eat fruit. The fruit is full of sugar and is also calorically dense. However, it has little to no protein. Eating too much fruit for a long time can cause insulin problems. So always feed them a small portion of fruit and feed it to them at most twice a week. You can feed your mouse any of these fruits: apples, bananas, pears, melons, plums, grapes, and strawberries.


  • it is a myth that mice like cheese
  • If a mouse eats cheese, they will get sick
  • mice can eat some butter, cream, and non-lactose milk
  • cheese used to be stored in shelves, where mice have easy access to it
  • mice would rather eat fruits or nuts than cheese
  • If a mouse eats cheese, they can experience vomiting and diarrhea
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Hi! I'm Anna and I´m a certified cynologist (KAU, ACW). Expert, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel "Salvador Dali" and breedless friend called Fenya. "I can't imagine my life without dogs and I totally support the idea #AdoptDontShop".