Cat Research Review

The following is from the magazine The Annals of Improbable Research.

Research about, for, and/or by cats
compiled by Tenzing A. Jones, AIR staff

An Enormous Gastro-Intestinal Hairball
“An Enormous Gastro-Intestinal Hairball” [article in French], F. Imani, J. Gillet, N. Benyahya and F. Sebti, Journal de Radiologie, d’Electrologie, et de Médecine Nucleaire, vol. 58, no. 2, February 1977, pp. 159-60.

Cats on Khat -- Gut
“Acute Fasciola Hepatica Infection Attributed to Chewing Khat,” A. Cats, P. Scholten, S.G. Meuwissen and E.J. Kuipers, Gut, vol. 47, no. 4, October 2000, pp. 584-5.

Cats on Watching TV
“The World From a Cat’s Perspective -- Statistics of Natural Videos,” Belinda Y. Betsch, Wolfgang Einhäuser, Konrad P. Körding and Peter König, Biological Cybernetics, vol. 90, no. 1, January 2004, pp.41-50. (Thanks to Barbara Webster for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, who are at the University of Zürich, Switzerland, explain that:

[W]e seek to learn about the natural visual environment and the world as seen by a cat. With a CCD camera attached to their heads, cats explore several outdoor environments and videos of natural stimuli are recorded from the animals’ perspective. The statistical analysis of these videos reveals several remarkable properties....

Tom Terrific
“Male Reproductive Success in the Domestic Cat (Felis catus L): A Case History,” D. Pontier and E. Natoli, Behavioural Processes, vol. 37, no. 1, 1996, pp. 85-88. (Thanks to John Bell for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, who are at the University of Lyon, France, and at the World Health Organization FAO Collaborating Center in Rome, explain their work:

Here we present data on the reproductive success of a male, which clearly show that monopolization of females by males is possible in this species.

Catnip 1
“Sensory and Instrumental Evaluation of Catnip (Nepeta cataria L.) Aroma,” R. Baranauskiene, R.P. Venskutonis and J.C. Demyttenaere, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 51, no. 13, June 2003, pp. 3840-8.

Catnip 2
“Catnip and the Alteration of Human Consciousness,” K.C. Osterhoudt, et al., Veterinary and Human Toxicology, vol. 39, no. 6, December 1997, pp. 373-5. The authors, who are at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, report that:

Uncertainty exists regarding the ability of catnip (Nepeta cataria) to affect human consciousness. We report a case of a toddler exhibiting central nervous system depression after consuming a large quantity of catnip. His obtundation was not attributable to another cause. We review the published literature describing the alleged psychoactive capabilities of catnip and present our case as further information for use in this ongoing controversy.

Catnip 3
“Behavioral Effects of Acute and Long-Term Administration of Catnip (Nepeta cataria) in Mice,” C.O. Massoco, et al., Veterinary and Human Toxicology, vol. 37, no. 6, December 1995, pp. 530-3. The authors, who are at Paulista University, Brazil, report that:

Acute exposure to catnip increased stereotyped behavior and susceptibility to seizures, did not interfere with haloperidol-induced catalepsy, and decreased sleeping time after sodium pentobarbital administration. ... An amphetamine-like effect of catnip was suggested to explain the acute effects, while dispositional and functional adaptative changes were considered involved with the long-term effects.

(Image credit: A.S. Kaswell)

Brushing the Cat
“The Effect of Toothbrushing on Periodontal Disease in Cats,” Kate E. Ingham, Cecilia Gorrel, Judith M. Blackburn and Wendy Farnsworth, Journal of Nutrition, vol. 132, supplement, June 2002, pp. 1740S-1741S. (Thanks to Julian Assange for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, who are at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, Leicestershire, U.K., explain that:

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of daily toothbrushing on the development of periodontal disease in cats. ... [I]t is very difficult to toothbrush cats’ teeth and therefore the toothbrushing may not have been effective enough to reduce the degree of gingivitis to
a low level.


This article is republished with permission from the September-October 2005 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!

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