Mr. Ivriniel was infected with Helicobactor pylori, the bacteria that causes ulcers. One of the things H. pylori does is create urease to neutralize stomach acid and make the stomach more hospitable to the bacteria. In the process, the urease breaks down into ammonia and CO2.

My husband’s infection was severe enough before his diagnosis that his body odour changed and I could smell ammonia on his skin, though I didn’t know what it was at the time. It was only after he had one round of antbiotics and the smell went away that I realized what it was. The smell returned shortly after the treatment was over and a breath test confirmed that he was still infected, so he went on a second round of antibiotics. Again the smell went away, though this time it has not come back. He has an appointment to get the breath test done soon to confirm it has cleared up.

So how does a cat come into this? Mr Ivriniel’s sister has a cat, who was a feral kitten. She is very cautious around people, but has always hated Mr Ivriniel. From their very first meeting, she has hissed at him whenever he comes close. One time she even walked past his jacket, sniffed it, and hissed. We wondered if she was smelling our cat, but she doesn’t react as violently towards me.

Advertisement

Anyways, we were over at his sister’s place on the weekend, and Mr I had contact with the cat for the first time since he finished the H. pylori treatment.. She treated him the same way she treats me: cautious, but not aggressive unless her space is invaded.

Anyways, I wonder if she could smell the ammonia on him before, and that’s what made her aggressive? Maybe to her he smelled like another cat had marked his territory on Mr. I?

I’ve heard of dogs being trained to detect cancer. Maybe they could train H. pylori sniffing cats?