Quite understandably mice are known to be scared by cat odour - if can you smell animal that will make a light meal out of you then it is best to make yourself scarce! However cat odour also seems to act like an aphrodisiac too according to a new study. Apparently the smell makes male mice more macho, helping lure in females.
Unsurprisingly, past studies had found that cat odour typically causes mice to panic or flee. But also it could help male mice lure in females. Chinese researchers exposed mice to cat pee for eight weeks. Unexpectedly, it lead to cowering mice, instead, researchers found it led to aggressive males. These were more than twice as likely fight with other mice than rodents exposed to rabbit urine for the same amount of time. And such combative males smelled delectable to females. When presented with male pee, females that were in heat spent more time exposed to rabbit urine
Before, it was generally believed that the presence of predators always had a negative effect on their prey, "but our findings show that presence of low or moderate predation may be positive to prey," said researcher Jian-Xu Zhang, a pheromone researcher at the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Female mice like aggressive males, and rodents constantly exposed to cat pee may seem like strong males that can survive the constant threat of predators, the researchers suggested. These findings could help improve life for animals in captivity, Zhang said. Zoos could enrich the environments of animals with just a whiff of their predators to stimulate them.
Hmm make of this what you will....