London, Sept 25 : Just like the way cartoon characters, Tom and Jerry, were well aware of each other's presence, in reality too, rats can come to know of local felines through their smell, according to a new study.
The study led by Iain McGregor from the University of Sydney, Australia have found that though rodents stop reacting to the smell of a cat repeatedly exposed, they have an unique ability to sniff out new cats and become extra vigilant.
During the study, the researchers dissected the rats' brain and analysed the chemical response. They found that the part of brain that responds to cat pheromones became less active the more familiar they became with each cat.
But when they were exposed to the smell of a new cat they became more active, thereby making it evident that the rodents reacted differently to the smells of individual cats
McGregor said that being able to recognise individual predators would have real benefits for wild rodents.
"Know thine enemy in order to survive," New Scientist quoted him, as saying.