Another Myth About Cats Busted
In an experiment that initially only involved rats, lead researcher Michael Parsons from Fordham University noticed a sudden increase of stray cats entering the building where the experiment was being conducted, most likely attracted by the smell of potential prey. When the cats wouldn't go away, researchers adapted.
Over the course of 79 days, scientists found that there were just 20 stalking attempts, three attempted kills and two actual kills. However, researchers did realize that for every new cat that appeared, a rat was 1.19 times more likely to seek shelter.
“People see fewer rats and assume it's because the cats have killed them, whereas it's actually due to the rats changing their behavior,” said Parsons.
The scientists came to the conclusion that the cats seemed to understand that rats could be a danger to them. Not only could a bite from a diseased rat potentially kill them, rats are bigger in size than mice or birds, making them harder targets who are more willing to put up a fight.