If ever you’ve sat around and thought that there is some strange thing happening with your cat, you could be a little more correct than you thought. You see, it’s come to the attention of medical scientists that there is a bit of a correlation between a parasite that is very common in cats, called toxoplasma gondii, and the way that other animals behave. Would you believe that these same researchers have found that this parasite allows cats to manipulate the behavior of other animals when they want to? What if we told you that it might do the same to you? Would you believe it? I might.
The study was done on cats and chimps, and the results are more than a little bit interesting. It seems that there is some sort of attraction to the parasite, and it causes these animals to change their behavior so that they can get closer to the cat, so that they can befriend the cat and so that they can be tricked into going near the cat. It was studied on chimps and leopards, and the chimps seemed to want to get closer to their most dangerous predators when they smelled the parasite. Talk about fatal attraction, right?
Here is where things get interesting; humans and chimps are more closely related than any other beings. Does this mean that this could have the same effect on us? Could we suddenly spot a dangerous animal in the wilderness and have the overwhelming desire to get as close as possible and just hope we don’t become an afternoon snack? We don’t know for certain, yet, but it’s caused researchers to want to learn more. It might make us want to do what our cats want us to do without us even knowing about it. It just goes to show that cats are manipulative and can control us – but that’s not new information.
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