Cat News
  • iconMany pet owners keen to have vegan pets
    A growing number of pet owners is interested in feeding their pets plant-based diets.
  • iconPeople who feed birds impact conservation
    Researchers analyzed how people who feed birds notice and respond to natural events at their feeders by collaborating with Project FeederWatch, a program that engages more than 25,000 people to observe and collect data on their backyard birds.
  • iconThe bigger the evolutionary jump, the more lethal cross-species diseases could be
    Some diseases which are fatal in one species can cause only mild discomfort in another -- but it's hard for scientists to predict how lethal a disease will be if it leaps across species. However, a new article indicates that the evolutionary relationship between infected hosts can predict the impact of diseases.
  • iconTiger geckos in Vietnam could be the next species sold into extinction
    While information about the conservation status of the tiger gecko species is largely missing, these Asian lizards are already particularly vulnerable to extinction. A study provides an overview of their domestic and international trade with a focus on species native to Vietnam. By providing further knowledge about the species abundance and threats for the Vietnamese Cat Ba tiger gecko, the research team urges for strict conservation measures.
  • iconPoll: Pets help older adults cope with health issues, get active and connect with others
    Pets help older adults cope with mental and physical health issues, according to a new national poll. But pets can also bring concerns, and some people may even put their animals' needs ahead of their own health, the poll finds. Three-quarters of pet owners aged 50 to 80 say their animals reduce their stress and give them a sense of purpose. But 18 percent also said having one puts a strain on their budget.
  • iconHello, kitty: Cats recognize their own names, according to new Japanese research
    Pet cats can recognize their own names if their names are used regularly by their owners, according to new results. Projects to understand simple social behaviors like name recognition in cats may give clues to how we humans became social. Both humans and cats have evolved through the process of self-domestication, where the population rewards certain traits that then become increasingly common in future generations.
  • iconFossils found in museum drawer in Kenya belong to gigantic carnivore
    Paleontologists have discovered a new species of meat-eating mammal larger than any big cat stalking the world today. Larger than a polar bear, with a skull as large as that of a rhinoceros and enormous piercing canine teeth, this massive carnivore would have been an intimidating part of the eastern African ecosystems occupied by early apes and monkeys.
  • iconDrug can reverse hyperactivity induced by parasitic infection
    When rodents get infected by Toxoplasma gondii, the single-celled brain parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, they become hyperactive risk-takers. Researchers show for the first time that it's possible to reverse that behavioral change.
  • iconHomemade cat food diets could be risky
    A new study finds most homemade cat food recipes are unlikely to provide cats all their essential nutrients.
  • iconLions vs. porcupines
    Lions can bring down wildebeests and giraffes, but when they try to hunt porcupines, the spiky rodents often come out on top. When lions attack porcupines (it's usually young male lions that make that mistake), the porcupine's spines can seriously injure the lion. These injuries can make it impossible for the lions to hunt normally, leading them to hunt livestock or even humans. This study is a deep dive into lion-porcupine interactions over the centuries.
  • iconThai dinosaur is a cousin of T. rex
    Scientists have identified two new dinosaur species. They analyzed fossil finds that were already discovered 30 years ago in Thailand. Both species are distant relatives of T. rex, but with a somewhat more primitive structure. They were efficient predators.
  • iconIn hot pursuit of dinosaurs: Tracking extinct species on ancient Earth via biogeography
    Identifying the movements of extinct species from millions of years ago can provide insights into ancient migration routes, interaction between species, and the movement of continents.
  • iconPotential new disease threats for wild snow leopards
    The first study to investigate disease threats to wild snow leopards has detected that exposure to infections may pose a threat to this highly vulnerable species, as well as local people and their livestock. Biologists detected antibodies in the blood of wild cats to important pathogens that can also infect humans and other species.
  • iconDiabetes can be detected in gut of cats
    Diabetes patients show reduced gut bacterial diversity, and now researchers have learned that the same is true of cats. The researchers behind the new study hope to be able to use cats as a model for future studies of the disease.
  • iconThe benefits of being different
    Six different color morphs of the elusive Asiatic golden cat have been discovered in Northeast India -- with the findings being hailed as 'an evolutionary puzzle' -- as the world's greatest number of different colored wild cat species in one area are reported.
  • iconBiological evolution inspires machine learning
    Evolution allows life to explore almost limitless diversity and complexity. Scientists hope to recreate such open-endedness in the laboratory or in computer simulations, but even sophisticated computational techniques like machine learning and artificial intelligence can't provide the open-ended tinkering associated with evolution. Here, common barriers to open-endedness in computation and biology were compared, to see how the two realms might inform each other, and ultimately enable machine learning to design and create open-ended evolvable systems.
  • iconDangerous brain parasite 'orders in' for dinner
    Researchers have discovered how toxoplasma gondii, a single-celled parasite, maintains a steady supply of nutrients while replicating inside of its host cell: it calls for delivery.
  • iconParasitology: On filaments and fountains
    Microbiologists have shown that Toxoplasma gondii, the parasite that is responsible for toxoplasmosis, utilizes at least two modes of locomotion during its infection cycle.
  • iconPet tags link widely used flame retardant to hyperthyroidism in cats
    Feline hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine-related disease of older cats, and its prevalence has skyrocketed since the first case was diagnosed in 1979. At the same time, new household flame retardants were introduced, and recently, scientists have suspected a link. Now, researchers have associated hyperthyroidism with another class of flame retardants, using silicone pet tags similar to the popular wristbands that many people wear for charitable causes.
  • iconHouse mouse shapes Toxoplasma gondii distribution
    The humble house mouse has dramatically shaped parasitic Toxoplasma gondii populations in West Africa and around the world, according to new research. As different strains affect their hosts differently, the research provides insights into which populations are infecting humans and animals and suggests mechanisms for their intercontinental spread.
  • iconResearchers track how cats' weights change over time
    Researchers have accessed data on more than 19 million cats and have learned that most cats continue to put on weight as they age.
  • iconPredators' fear of humans ripples through wildlife communities, emboldening rodents
    Giving credence to the saying, 'While the cat's away, the mice will play,' a new study indicates that pumas and medium-sized carnivores lie low when they sense the presence of humans, which frees up the landscape for rodents to forage more brazenly.
  • iconTourist photographs are a cheap and effective way to survey wildlife
    Tourists on safari can provide wildlife monitoring data comparable to traditional surveying methods, suggests new research. The researchers analyzed 25,000 photographs from 26 tour groups to survey the population densities of five top predators (lions, leopards, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, and wild dogs) in northern Botswana, making it one of the first studies to use tourist photographic data for this purpose.
  • iconIntense look at La Brea Tar Pits explains why we have coyotes, not saber-toothed cats
    The most detailed study to date of ancient predators trapped in the La Brea Tar Pits is helping Americans understand why today we're dealing with coyotes dumping over garbage cans and not saber-toothed cats ripping our arms off.
  • iconHush, baby -- the dog is whimpering!
    We are all familiar with the sounds of a cat or dog vying for human attention, and for pet-owners, these sounds are particularly evocative. Dog sounds are especially sad to both cat and dog owners, who actually rate a whimpering dog as sounding as sad as a crying baby.
  • iconParasite needs chemical (lipid/nutrient) in cat intestines for sex
    Toxoplasma gondii is a microbial parasite that infects humans and but needs cats to complete its full life cycle. New research shows why: the sexual phase of the parasite's life cycle requires linoleic acid, a nutrient/lipid found at uniquely high levels in the felines, because cats lack a key enzyme for breaking it down.
  • 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.
  • iconWhat We Learned in Science News in 2019
    Developments in science that we’re still thinking about at year’s end.
  • iconHaving a Dog as a Child Is Tied to a Lower Risk of Schizophrenia as an Adult
    But, researchers found, there was no significant effect of exposure to cats.
  • icon6 Must-Haves When Flying With a Cat or Dog
    Traveling can be stressful enough without your favorite small creature.
  • iconHere’s How to Keep Your Cat Forever
    Should you have your dog spun into yarn? Yes.
  • iconWhat Happened to Choupette?
    Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, and rumored heir, has become a business unto herself.
  • 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.
  • icon‘Fear-Free’ Pets Make for Happier Pets, and Owners
    Fear-ridden dogs and cats at the hospital may get toys to distract them or a range of menu options.
  • 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.
  • iconDoes Your Pet Really Need Cat TV or a Dog Playlist?
    Streaming services like Amazon Prime and Spotify offer videos, playlists and narrated books to entertain dogs and cats. But who loves it more: The pets? Or their owners?
  • 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.
  • iconPets Are Just ‘Property,’ So Owners Can’t Do Much When Vets Harm Them
    Doctors who harm their patients face costly lawsuits and other serious consequences. There is much less accountability for veterinarians, as devastated pet owners in Oregon learned.
  • 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.
  • iconThe Dog Park Is Bad, Actually
    Dog parks may seem like great additions to the community, but they’re rife with problems — for you, and for your dog. Here’s what to know before you go.
  • iconJudge John Hodgman on Enjoying ‘Cats’ Sincerely
    Can a friend be compelled to admit that her love for the movie “Cats” is a sarcastic bit?