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June 11, 2019 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Cats 'Farm' Bacteria in Their Butts (Live Science). Why do they do this? Cats use their anal glands to produce a stinky pheromone spray made up of many volatile chemicals (which they use to mark their territory with messages that tell others who they are and whether they're ready to mate). And it turns out they probably don't make most of those smelly chemicals themselves; they outsource a lot of the production to microbes that live in those glands, new research reveals. (bioRxiv) (PDF)

"We're testing the hypothesis that cats maintain these glands in part as incubators for bacteria that produce smells that are important to the cat for signaling," David Coil, a biologist at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) and co-author on the paper, told Live Science.

Related: 9 Things You Never Wanted to Know About Cat Anal Glands (Catster)
posted by not_the_water (14 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
they outsource a lot of the production

Cats are lazy assholes, you say?
posted by The otter lady at 7:36 PM on June 11 [34 favorites]


I have a stinky, stinky cat here who is looking pretty smug about this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:37 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


Don't go for second best, baby
Put your cat to the test
You know, you know you've got to
Make him express all his glands and maybe
Then you'll have poop on your hands
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:40 PM on June 11 [14 favorites]


Bad Kitty!
posted by mmoncur at 8:03 PM on June 11


INT. EVENING. COCKTAIL PARTY.

HOSTESS: โ€œSo, what do you do?โ€

SCIENTIST GUEST: โ€œOh, I research cats. We had a breakthrough recently that got published.โ€

HOSTESS: โ€œOooh, about what?โ€

SCIENTIST GUEST: โ€œWell! You know how cats have those anal glands that get inflamed? Turns out there is a very specific bacterial flora at work there.โ€

HOSTESS: โ€œ...Iโ€™d better go check on the meatballs!โ€
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:14 PM on June 11 [14 favorites]


Is that what the cat is trying to tell me when he stands with his butt pointed at me, looking over his shoulder? "Hey, check out my efficient microbial minions!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:53 PM on June 11 [9 favorites]


Everyone farms bacteria in their butts, no need to embarrass the cats.
posted by w0mbat at 10:22 PM on June 11 [7 favorites]


Cats have bacteria farms, others have bacteria cubes.
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:42 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]


"Old McTabby had a farm, Mee-i-eee-i-ow."
posted by zaixfeep at 12:08 AM on June 12 [9 favorites]


Oh great, now I'm going to think of this while Louise backs her dirt-star up in my grill.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 6:21 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


Catasstrophe!
posted by Oyรฉah at 9:58 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


Cats are weird, amirite?
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 10:37 AM on June 12


Is that what the cat is trying to tell me when he stands with his butt pointed at me, looking over his shoulder? "Hey, check out my efficient microbial minions!"

I used to say I was into making fermented foods because I enjoyed having millions of minions to do my bidding, but uhโ€ฆ I think I might be retiring that phrase now.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:21 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


The cat used in this proof-of-concept study was admitted to a veterinarian's office in Oakland. With the owner's consent, a technician massaged the cat's rear, extracted fluid from his anal glands, and shipped the prize 70 miles (113 kilometers) north to the lab.

The lab is the real hero. Good Doggo!
posted by srboisvert at 6:41 AM on June 13


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