What’s New in Cat Country?
Toxoplasmosis: the cat lover’s disease
You love your cat unconditionally. You find him so cute when he rolls up into a ball on your bed, you never get tired of looking at him. And I am not even talking about how his seductive mewing gets to you when he begs for food! Like me, you think that this is the most beautiful relationship in the world. Don’t be fooled! According to recent research, you’ve fallen under the grip of the cat or, more precisely, under the grip of a parasite found in your pet’s digestive system: Toxoplasma gondii.
If we believe what science tells us, this parasite, which is present in humans and warm-blooded mammals, is only able to reproduce in the cat family. In the course if its evolution, this microcellular organism is thought to have developed a capacity to change its host’s behaviour to make the host attracted… to the smell of feline urine! To support their theory, scientists cite the example of mice and chimpanzees, which are attracted by parasitized feline urine, thus becoming easy prey. Considering the fact that at a certain point in our history, we too were prey for some big cats, researchers think that the parasite might have adapted to our organism. I don’t know about you, but I am happy to be under the spell of my pet companion and this information does not in the least affect my love for him. On second thought, I better go fill his bowl with food in case his old predator instincts kick in…
Shady cat identity
After more than ten years of intense research, French scientists might have identified a new cat species in Corsica. The cat-fox, so nicknamed because of its tail, has highly developed canines and measures 90 cm. According to some experts, it may be a cross between the domestic cat and a wild cat found in the region. However, fur from fur-sample collecting traps spread throughout their habitat has shown that their DNA is identical to that of African cats… As if this weren’t complex enough as it is, wildlife officers in charge of capturing cats have told the media that their main predator is a bird! Cat-foxes are crazy!
When winter’s away, the cats will play
According to Pet Shelters Across America, the largest rescue network for abandoned animals in the Hemisphere, the feline population has been growing exponentially due to… global warming! The organization believes that the late arrival of winter has extended cats’ breeding season, making them active year-round. I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, but the solution to countering this phenomenon is fairly simple and effective: be responsible and sterilize your pet at an early age.