by Victoria Gill
Cat v mouse: it is probably the most famous predator-prey pairing, enshrined in idioms and a well-known cartoon.
And cats, it turns out, even have chemical warfare in their anti-mouse arsenal – contained in their urine.
Researchers found that when very young mice were exposed to a chemical in cat urine, they were less likely to avoid the scent of cats later in life.
The findings were presented at the Society for Experimental Biology’s annual meeting in Prague.
The researchers, from the AN Severtov Institute of Ecology and Evolution in Moscow, had previously found that the compound – aptly named felinine – causes pregnant mice to abort.
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