Cat News
  • iconWhat's killing sea otters? Parasite strain from cats
    Many wild southern sea otters in California are infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, yet the infection is fatal for only a fraction of sea otters, which has long puzzled the scientific community. A new study identifies the parasite's specific strains that are killing southern sea otters, tracing them back to a bobcat and feral domestic cats from nearby watersheds.
  • iconPrehistoric puma feces reveals oldest parasite DNA ever recorded
    The oldest parasite DNA ever recorded has been found in the ancient, desiccated feces of a puma.
  • iconIsotopes in feces show where secretive jaguars hunt
    To track secretive jaguars in the forested mountains of Belize, biologists turned to geology and feces analysis. Researchers discovered that jaguar scat reveals where the big cats were hunting in the mountains of Belize. It's a powerful technique for wildlife conservation.
  • iconFurry friends ease depression, loneliness after spousal loss
    Researchers have found the companionship of a pet after the loss of a spouse can help reduce feelings of depression and loneliness in older adults.
  • iconFeeding pets raw food is not considered by pet owners as a significant source of infections
    An extensive international survey indicates that pet owners do not consider raw food to considerably increase infection risk in their household. In the survey, targeted at pet owners, raw food was reliably determined to be a contaminant only in three households.
  • iconParasitology: Mother cells as organelle donors
    Microbiologists have discovered a recycling process in the eukaryotic parasite Toxoplasma gondii that plays a vital role in the organism's unusual mode of reproduction.
  • iconMicrobes make chemicals for scent marking in a cat
    Domestic cats, like many other mammals, use smelly secretions from anal sacs to mark territory and communicate with other animals. A new study shows that many odiferous compounds from a male cat are actually made not by the cat, but by a community of bacteria living in the anal sacs.
  • iconCats are securely bonded to their people, too
    Cats have a reputation for being aloof and independent. But a study of the way domestic cats respond to their caregivers suggests that their socio-cognitive abilities and the depth of their human attachments have been underestimated. The findings show that, much like children and dogs, pet cats form secure and insecure bonds with their human caretakers.
  • iconWhat wolves' broken teeth reveal about their lives
    An evolutionary biologist has spent more than three decades studying the skulls of many species of large carnivores -- including wolves, lions and tigers -- that lived from 50,000 years ago to the present. She reports today the answer to a puzzling question.
  • iconThe dark giraffe, the new dark horse
    Darker male giraffes have been found to be more solitary and less social than their lighter-colored counterparts, according to new research. A long-term study revealed that the color of male giraffes' spots more strongly relates to their patterns of social association, rather than their age, as previously thought.
  • iconImmune response against Toxocara roundworms helps explain disease
    Neurotoxocarosis (NT) occurs in humans when larvae of the Toxocara roundworm migrate into the central nervous system. That infection is accompanied by a complex molecular signaling cascade, including changes to anti-inflammatory lipid molecules, researchers now report.
  • iconHow nasty Toxoplasma parasite damages the human eye
    An international study used human retinal cells to demonstrate how the Toxoplasma parasite creates a characteristic eye lesion that can help doctors diagnose the infection.
  • iconWhole genome sequencing could help save pumas from inbreeding
    The first complete genetic sequences of individual mountain lions point the way to better conservation strategies for saving threatened populations of the wild animals.
  • iconUnderstanding local attitudes to snow leopards vital for their ongoing protection
    Local people in the Nepal Himalayas value snow leopards as much for the potential personal benefits they gain from the animals' conservation as they do for the intrinsic value of this charismatic species.
  • iconLarger than life: Augmented ants
    The first app of its kind allows users to interact with biodiversity research through augmented reality.
  • iconWatch out for 'feather duvet lung' caution doctors
    Watch out for 'feather duvet lung' doctors have warned after treating a middle aged man with severe lung inflammation that developed soon after he bought feather-filled bedding.
  • iconA decade after the predators have gone, Galapagos Island finches are still being spooked
    On some of the Galapagos Islands where human-introduced predators of Darwin's finches were eradicated over a decade ago, the finches are still acting as though they are in danger, according to research.
  • iconCats' faces hard to read, except for 'cat whisperers'
    Women and those with veterinary experience were better at recognizing cats' expressions -- even those who reported no strong attachment to cats. The study involved more than 6,300 people from 85 countries. Most participants found the test challenging. Their average score was 12 out of 20 -- somewhat above chance. But 13 percent of participants performed well, correctly scoring 15 or better -- a group informally called 'the cat whisperers.'
  • iconProtected habitats near US borders
    The clustering of protected habitats in the Americas near international borders makes many iconic, wide-ranging animals physically dependent on good relations between neighboring countries and wildlife-friendly borders.
  • iconEarly-life exposure to dogs may lessen risk of developing schizophrenia
    Ever since humans domesticated the dog, the faithful, obedient and protective animal has provided its owner with companionship and emotional well-being. Now, a study suggests that being around 'man's best friend' from an early age may have a health benefit as well -- lessening the chance of developing schizophrenia as an adult.
  • iconJewel beetles' sparkle helps them hide in plain sight
    Bright colors are often considered an evolutionary tradeoff in the animal kingdom. Yes, a male peacock's colorful feathers may help it attract a mate, but they also make it more likely to be seen by a predator. Jewel beetles and their iridescent wing cases may be an exception to the rule, researchers report. They found that the insects' bright colors can act as a form of camouflage.
  • iconGene hunting: The power of precision medicine
    Humans and animals are made up of trillions of cells, and each cell contains DNA specific to that individual. Therefore, identifying DNA that causes genetic disorders gives researchers and clinicians a better understanding of how to treat inherited diseases and possibly prevent the diseases from being passed down to future generations.
  • iconHow and when spines changed in mammalian evolution
    Researchers compared modern and ancient animals to explore how mammalian vertebrae have evolved into sophisticated physical structures that can carry out multiple functions. The comparison between complex spine of cats, the more uniform spine of lizard, and CT scans of synapsid fossils showed that the evolution of functions (e.g. bending, twisting) is driven by both selective pressures/behavior and the evolution of independent sections of the spine. The findings shed light on how mammals evolved.
  • iconFecal excretion of PFAS by pets
    Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are used in a wide range of consumer products, from pizza boxes to carpets to non-stick cookware. Therefore, it's not surprising that these water- and stain-repelling substances are ubiquitous in the environment. Now, researchers report that cats and dogs excrete some PFAS in their feces at levels that suggest exposures above the minimum risk level, which could also have implications for the pets' owners.
  • iconImproving assessments of an endangered lion population in India
    An alternative method for monitoring endangered lions in India could improve estimates of their abundance and help inform conservation policy and management decisions.
  • iconCamera trap study captures Sumatran tigers, clouded leopards, other rare beasts
    Scientists deployed motion-sensitive camera traps across a 50-square-mile swath of Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in southern Sumatra and, over the course of eight years, recorded the haunts and habits of dozens of species, including the Sumatran tiger and other rare and endangered wildlife. Their observations offer insight into how abundant these species are and show how smaller creatures avoid being eaten by tigers and other carnivores.
  • iconAre cats the 'canary in the coal mine' for wildfire effects on human health?
    Cats who suffered burns and smoke inhalation in recent California wildfires also had a high incidence of heart problems, according to a new study.
  • iconCat food mystery foils diet study
    How a study aimed at assessing the wildlife impacts of domestic cats was foiled by the mysterious ingredients of cat food.
  • iconKeeping cats indoors could blunt adverse effects to wildlife
    A new study shows that hunting by house cats can have big effects on local animal populations because they kill more prey, in a given area, than similar-sized wild predators. This effect is mostly concentrated relatively close to a pet cat's home, since most of their movement was a 100-meter radius of their homes, usually encompassing a few of their neighborhood's yards on either side.
  • iconUnraveling the puzzle of Madagascar's forest cats
    Biologists have long wondered where Madagascar's mysterious wild cats came from. Now, new genetic evidence delivers an answer.
  • icon'Fatal attraction': Small carnivores drawn to kill sites, then ambushed by larger kin
    Researchers have discovered that large predators play a key yet unexpected role in keeping smaller predators and deer in check. Their 'fatal attraction' theory finds that smaller predators are drawn to the kill sites of large predators by the promise of leftover scraps, but the scavengers may be killed themselves if their larger kin return for seconds.
  • iconSea otters, opossums and the surprising ways pathogens move from land to sea
    A parasite known only to be hosted in North America by the Virginia opossum is infecting sea otters along the West Coast. A new study elucidates the sometimes surprising and complex pathways infectious pathogens can move from land to sea to sea otter.
  • iconWhere lions roam: West African big cats show no preference between national parks, hunting zones
    West African lions are a critically endangered subpopulation, with an estimated 400 remaining and strong evidence of ongoing declines.
  • iconPreservation of testicular cells to save endangered feline species
    A research team has developed a method to isolate and cryopreserve testicular cells. This will allow the safekeeping and biobanking of gametes and other cells of the male reproductive tract of threatened or endangered feline species.
  • iconScientists show how parasitic infection causes seizures, psychiatric illness for some
    Neuroscientists describe how the common Toxoplasma gondii parasite prompts the loss of inhibitory signaling in the brain by altering the behavior of nearby cells called microglia.
  • iconCanada lynx disappearing from Washington state
    Canada lynx are losing ground in Washington state, even as federal officials are taking steps to remove the species' threatened status under the Endangered Species Act. A massive monitoring study has found the big cat on only about 20% of its potential habitat in the state.
  • iconQuestionnaire survey identifies potential separation-related problems in cats
    The first questionnaire survey to identify possible separation-related problems in cats found 13.5 percent of all sampled cats displayed potential issues during their owner's absence, according to a new study.
  • iconConservation research on lynx
    Scientists have discovered that selected anti-oxidative enzymes, especially the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD2), may play an important role to maintain the unusual longevity of the corpus luteum in lynxes. It is highly likely that SOD2 not only detoxifies the reactive oxygen radicals in the cells, but also inhibits programmed cell death.
  • iconStress in parents of children with autism: Pets may help
    While current events have increased stress for all families, parents of children with autism report higher levels of stress on average than parents of typically developing kids. Feeling overwhelmed and overburdened by various responsibilities, some parents turn to pets as a source of comfort and support.
  • iconCommissioner Resigns After He Threw a Cat During Zoom Meeting
    “OK, first, I’d like to introduce my cat,” said a planning commissioner in Vallejo, Calif., lifting it close to the camera and then, with two hands, tossing it off screen.
  • iconPug in North Carolina Tests Positive for Coronavirus, Researchers Say
    A team at Duke University detected the virus in the dog this month.
  • iconThousands of miles of planned Asian roads threaten the heart of tiger habitat
    Nearly 15,000 miles of new Asian roads will be built in tiger habitat by mid-century, deepening the big cat's extinction risk and highlighting the need for bold new conservation measures now, according to a new study.
  • iconMy Co-Anchor Is Pawing at the Door: Back to You in the Studio
    As TV meteorologists and reporters work from home, pets have become a part of their reports — often by accident, and always to delightful effect.
  • iconCoronavirus structure clue to high infection rate
    Researchers studying the structure of the virus that causes COVID-19 have found a unique feature that could explain why it is so transmissible between people.
  • iconA Guide for First-Time Pet Owners During the Pandemic
    How to care for your new cat or dog during and after lockdown.
  • iconHow a mint became catnip
    Catmint -- or catnip -- is well-known for its intoxicating effect on cats. The odor responsible for the cats' strange behavior is nepetalactone, a volatile iridoid. Researchers have now found that the ability to produce iridoids had already been lost in ancestors of catmint. Hence, nepetalactone biosynthesis is the result of 'repeated evolution.' However, nepetalactone differs considerably from other iridoids with regards to its chemical structure and properties, and most likely its ecological functions.
  • iconCats Can Transmit the Coronavirus to Each Other, but They Probably Won’t Get Sick From It
    The six cats in a laboratory experiment cleared the virus from their bodies on their own. And there are no reports of humans contracting the virus from cats.
  • iconStudy confirms cats can become infected with and may transmit COVID-19 to other cats
    Scientists report that in the laboratory, cats can readily become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and may be able to pass the virus to other cats.
  • iconPine martens like to have neighbors -- but not too near
    Pine martens need neighbors but like to keep their distance, according to new research.
  • iconHefty Barriers to Entry
    Tracy Gray and Jeff Chen make excellent bouncers for their Saturday puzzle.
  • iconWhy cats have more lives than dogs when it comes to snakebite
    Cats are twice as likely to survive a venomous snakebite than dogs, and the reasons behind this strange phenomenon have just been revealed. The research team compared the effects of snake venoms on the blood clotting agents in dogs and cats, hoping to help save the lives of our furry friends.
  • iconYou Thought Your Cat Was Fancy?
    She wanted a cat that looked like a tiger. Meet the toyger.
  • iconOn the hunt for megafauna in North America
    Research has found that pre-historic climate change does not explain the extinction of megafauna in North America at the end of the last Ice Age.
  • iconJudge John Hodgman on Pronouncing Names With an Accent
    My partner wants to connect our cats to their Rhode Island roots. Should I pronounce their names without an R sound?
  • iconHow Toxoplasma parasites glide so swiftly
    If you're a cat owner, you might have heard of Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan that sometimes infects humans through contact with contaminated feces in litter boxes. Although harmless to most people, T. gondii can cause serious illness or death in immunocompromised individuals or fetuses of infected pregnant women. Now, researchers have studied how the microorganism glides so swiftly through mammalian tissues during an infection.
  • iconAfrican lion counts miss the mark, but new method shows promise
    The current technique used for counting lion populations for research and conservation efforts doesn't add up, according to a researcher. He has been investigating new methods of photographing and reviewing data to count lions.
  • iconThe Pets Left Behind by Covid-19
    The pandemic’s human toll in New York has been well documented. But what about the dogs and cats of those who become seriously ill?
  • iconIn Fight to Ban Dog Meat, China’s Activists Find an Ally: The Coronavirus
    A fast-growing network of activists sees the pandemic as an opportunity to push legislation that bans the consumption of dog and cat meats.
  • iconBizarre saber-tooth predator from South America was no saber-tooth cat
    A new study has shown that not all saber-tooths were fearsome predators.
  • iconCare for cats? So did people along the Silk Road more than 1,000 years ago
    Common domestic cats, as we know them today, might have accompanied Kazakh pastoralists as pets more than 1,000 years ago. This is indicated by new analyses done on an almost complete cat skeleton found during an excavation along the former Silk Road in southern Kazakhstan. An international research team has reconstructed the cat's life, revealing astonishing insights into the relationship between humans and pets at the time.