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The protozoan Toxoplasma comes to maturity inside a cat and the cysts are expelled in cat feces. Any cat that lives part of the time outside may be infected. The parasite doesn’t hurt the cat, however. A rat or a mouse comes along and contacts the cat scat and the little protazoans climb aboard and migrate to the rodent’s brain but they do little damage there. The amazing thing, however, is the parasite directly manipulates their neurotransmitters (brain chemicals), especially dopamine, to cause the rat to love the smell of cats, especially their urine.
The rat hangs around in what it thinks is a wonderful place and, of course, is likely to make a nearby cat a fine meal. The parasite comes to maturity in the cat and is excreted. Is this alien mind control - how the cats beat the rats?
Professor Ralph Maughan University of Idaho 8 November 2011