Cats Control Rats … With Parasites

Posted on April 4, 2007  Comments (2)

Cats Control Rats … With Parasites

What, then, could attract rats to cat pee? None other than toxoplasma gondii, a parasite carried by cats. If a rat is infected by t. gondii, cat urine doesn’t seem so bad anymore; it’s even kind of attractive. Even more impressively, Stanford University researchers have found that the rats otherwise behave normally, with all their usual fears intact. The response is so specific that cats and t. gondii seem almost like a single organism — which, in a sense, they are.

Related: Bizarre Human Brain Parasite Precisely Alters FearVirus may be eating your brain

2 Responses to “Cats Control Rats … With Parasites”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Parasite Rex
    August 5th, 2008 @ 9:52 am

    One of the amazing things with repeated examples in the book were parasites that seemed to have extremely complicated life cycles (that don’t seem like a great strategy to prosper but obviously work). Where they grow in one life form (an insect or mammal or whatever) but must leave that life form for some other specific life form for the next stage in life (they cannot have descendants without doing so). Seems like a crazy way to evolve but it happens over and over again…

  2. Curious Cat Science Blog: Cats Prevent Heart Attacks
    March 28th, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

    I suppose some people don’t know how great cats are 🙂 Here is news of a study showing that those with cats are less likely to have heart attacks…

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