Domestic cats, like many other mammals, use smelly secretions from anal sacs to mark territory and communicate with other animals. A new study from the Genome Center at the University of California, Davis, 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. The work is published Sept. 13 in PLOS ONE.
“Cats use a lot of volatile chemicals for signaling, and they probably don’t make them all,” said David Coil, project scientist at the Genome Center and an author on the paper.
The experiment grew out of the KittyBiome Project started at the Genome Center by Holly Ganz, a postdoctoral researcher working with Coil and Jonathan Eisen, professor of evolution and ecology in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences.
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