Russian scientists at the A. N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution have determined that mice that are exposed to cat urine in infancy do not avoid the smell later in life, and therefore get eaten by their feline predators, EurekAlert reports.

“Because the young mice (less than two weeks old) are being fed milk while being exposed to the odor, they experience positive reinforcement,” says Dr. Vera Voznessenskaya, one of the study’s lead researchers and a possible mad scientist. “So they don’t escape the cats when exposed to cat odor later on.”

The researchers also found that the mice still have physiological, hormonal responses to the smell of cat pee that put them on high alert, proving that mice are wired to avoid cats but can be trained to not care.

It’s unclear what exactly the point of this study was supposed to be, other than to breed some mice that were easier for the scientists’ cats to kill. What can we learn about human behavior from these Russian mouse murderers?

(Photo: Ken Stein)