Cats Are Farmers.....Sort Of


Let’s deal with cats for a minute. They are weirdos. I know this firsthand and if you have act, you know it too. They zoom around the house like maniacs for no reason and then immediately fall asleep for three hours. They climb on every available surface and perch there with a disapproving gaze. They take your hair bands and put them all under the fridge. Etc. etc. etc.

Well, there’s another thing that cats do that is as fascinating as it is gross.

Cats are farmers. Of bacteria. In their butts!

This unusual crop is related to a common phenomenon in the animal world: chemical signaling.

When a dog piddles on a fire hydrant, that’s chemical signaling.

When a skunk sprays you, that’s chemical signaling

Rabbit secrete a clear fluid from their chins to mark territory. Chemical signaling!!

So, with cats, chemical signaling is used to mark territory and to communicate mating conditions. But cats have no way of making the odorous components without some help. That’s where butt farming of bacteria comes in.

To be clear, this study involved a single Bengal cat, and is not peer reviewed. The researchers took a sample of (PUT DOWN ANY FOOD YOU ARE EATING RIGHT NOW) the fluid from the cat’s anal gland and analyzed it. The analysis concluded that over half of the active compounds were being produced by microbes living the gland, rather than by the cat’s indigenous capabilities.

It’s a win-win here. The microbes get a nice warm place to live and the cat gets to basically outsource the synthesis of important chemicals.

You may now return to your meal.


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