18 thoughts on “Caturday felid: when will I be loved?

  1. Goes to show that cats don’t act purely on instinct.

    I wonder if that cat would hunt other rats while being nice to this one.

  2. The rat should be tested for toxoplasmosis, probably positive.
    On the other hand the cat suffers from severe adaptation to human industry.

    That’s a “so cute” relationship.

    1. I was thinking the exact same thing about toxoplasmosis.

      It also makes me wonder about the rates of human infection amongst cat owners v cat haters….


      1. In France ~80% of the population is seropositive for T gondii (hope you are impressed), but it’s probably related to correctly cooked or raw meat consumption, not pets.

        1. I wasn’t thinking so much of the causes as the effects.

          If humans with toxoplasmosis are more likely to seek contact with cats…well…it at least raises some interesting questions…

          …such as, of course, “What can we do to increase the rate of infection?”


          1. I’m pretty sure such studies have been done. I recall hearing about them some years back.

            In the press, so I may of course be wrong.

          2. OTOH–some slightly disquieting work has apparently been done, as I read about recently in The Economist:

            Another interesting correlation has, though, been discovered by Jaroslav Flegr of Charles University in Prague. Dr Flegr has studied several aspects of the Toxoplasma question. In one case he looked at the infection rate of people involved in road accidents. Both drivers and pedestrians who had been in accidents were almost three times more likely to be infected than comparable individuals who had not been. Similar results have been found in Turkey, by Kor Yereli of Celal Bayar University, in Manisa. And Dr Flegr has found other abnormalities in infected people. These included reduced reaction times and shorter attention spans—both of which might help to explain the accident statistics—and a reduction in “novelty-seeking”.

            See: http://www.economist.com/node/16271339

            All of these suggested effects are obviously bad for the individuals involved, but some researchers go further and propose that entire societies are being altered by Toxoplasma. In 2006 Kevin Lafferty of the University of California, Santa Barbara, published a paper noting a correlation between levels of neuroticism established by national surveys in various countries and the level of Toxoplasma infection recorded in pregnant women (a group who are tested routinely). The places he looked at ranged from phlegmatic Britain, with a neuroticism score of -0.8 and a Toxoplasma infection rate of 6.6%, to hot-blooded France, which scored 1.8 and had an infection rate of 45%. Cross-Channel prejudices, then, may have an unexpected origin.

            To repeat, correlation is not causation, and a lot more work would need to be done to prove the point. But it is just possible that a parasite’s desire to get eaten by a cat is shaping the cultures of the world.


  3. I wondwered how could that be – rats usualy have an innate fear of cats and even cats’smell. Taxoplasmosis sounds like a good explanation.
    Even so, so cute…

  4. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I got banner ads for exterminators in both videos. Bad placement. (You’re advertising what business? Killing those delightful creatures?)

  5. A perfect dramatization of my recent efforts to regain commenting privileges on richarddawkins.net.

    (Except for the happy ending, of course.)


  6. I think it is W.H. Hudson who has somewhere an account of a friendship between a cat and a tame rat (not a white one)that ended in tears. The rat got pregnant (no, it wasn’t the cat who was responsible – she was anyway female), and realised that the perfect material for her ratlings’ nest would be the cat’s fur, and so she would pursue the cat all over the place and pull out its fur. This was of course painful, and finally the cat got fed up and enraged and turned on the rat with all claws out. The rat fled shrieking away and was never seen again. Had Aesop known the story, I am sure he would have come up with a good moral…

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