I don’t actually have any parasite-related research to mention yet. I’m staring a graduate program at UC Davis in September 2013 though. So I’ll have some stuff to post eventually, just not yet. In the meantime,
Everyone knows that cats have their own secret bars.
They are hidden all throughout the world.
Whenever your cat is missing. It is not hiding in the closet. It is not wandering outside contributing to the death of billions of animals each year. It is in one of these bars, planning how best to kill you.
So, now that you know. Picture a cat in a bar, smoking a cigar. That last part is pivotal.
A rat wanders in, and heads toward the cat. Which would seem a suicidal decision.
The cat stares at the rat. The rat saunters up.
Cigar forgotten on the counter, the cat swallows the remains of the rat.
Except now the parasite that was controlling the rat is inside the cat, it’s final host. This is Toxoplasma gondii at work.
There has been a lot of research on this topic. Here is one review article you can obtain for free: Gondii behavior manipulation review. And here’s the citation:
Webster, J.P., The effect of Toxoplasma gondii on animal behavior: playing cat and mouse. Schizophr Bull, 2007. 33(3): p. 752-6.