Male cats often like to spray to mark their territory. Yet this distinctive scent doesn’t come from the cat alone. Instead, scientists have learned that bacteria inside the cat’s anus is responsible for creating this distinctive spray.

Now that scientists have pinpointed the origin of cat spray, they have more questions. If these scents are made by bacteria, why do cats smell different to each other? How do cats acquire this scent-creating bacteria and do they change over life? Understanding how microbes influence their scent could have wide implications for understanding scent communication in animals.

To learn more about the scientific basis for cat spray, click here.