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By Chris Macias on December 3, 2019

The work might be a little stinky, but someone has to do it.

A team of researchers from UC Davis are learning more about the chemical language of cats through their anal secretions. These kinds of secretions act as complex calling cards for cats, ones that communicate the animal’s reproductive state and other signifying markers.

The study from UC Davis’ Genome Center, which was published in the scientific journal PLOS One, found that these compounds aren’t made by the cat, but by bacteria living in the anal sacs.

This research could lead to other discoveries about how animals communicate through scent, and which compounds in particular send the strongest signals among cats.

Read more about this research and what it means for the animal kingdom.