Matthew May, a recent Indiana University graduate and Carmel resident, just had a paper accepted for publication by the university.
His study found the chemicals released in cats’ scent rubbings elicits a defensive response in rats. The rats in the experiment were reluctant to travel toward food that was near the scent, even when hungry. While these scent rubbings are used by cats to communicate territory and ownership to each other, this study shows prey species will “eavesdrop” on the scent markings to identify areas predators frequent.
May is working on isolating the compound that elicits the response in rats in order to develop an environmentally-friendly rat repellent.