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A Partnership Like No Other: Cats Farm Bacteria in their Butts

Here's a new interesting fact about our favourite feline companions today: cats farm bacteria in their butts.

Live Science reports :

Cats use their anal glands to produce a stinky pheromone spray made up of many volatile chemicals. And it turns out they probably don't make most of those smelly chemicals themselves; they outsource a lot of the production to microbes that live in those glands, new research reveals.

A secretion extracted from a Bengal cat contained 127 compounds, 67 bacteria produced in culture, and 52 identified microbes. Live Science further elaborates:

"So, it's reasonable to believe the microbes are making the volatile compounds" used in communication, Jonathan Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at UC Davis and co-author on the study, told Live Science.
The partnership makes sense for both parties: the feline host is able to outsource complex biochemical synthesis by offering the microbes a warm, moist, nutrient-rich home. And it's not all that surprising; other mammals also host microbes that can produce the volatile chemicals used in communication.

What do you think about this new information concerning our feline companions? Via Metafilter

Image credit: Andre Karwath/wikimedia commons

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