Study Finds Cats Cries May Be More Than Noise

July 14, 2009

UK (ChattahBox) – A new University of Sussex study has found that cats may have the ability to manipulate humans in a much more direct way than expected.

Karen McComb said that she noticed the way her cat made an odd sound, a mix between a purr and a cry, whenever she wanted food. It led the researcher to wonder if perhaps that was a deliberate action.

According to her study, it is more than a cue, it is an evolutionary trigger that evokes a response in humans to care for the cat, in this case by giving it something to eat.

“We found that the crucial factor determining the urgency and pleasantness ratings that purrs received was an unusual high-frequency element—reminiscent of a cry or meow—embedded within the naturally low-pitched purr,” McComb was quoted in Science Daily.

“Human participants in our experiments judged purrs with high levels of this element to be particularly urgent and unpleasant.”

An interesting point, however, was that the cats would only use this cry around their owners, and refused to around anyone they did not know. McComb trained the owners to use recording equipment to capture the meows at home, in response

The study has been published in the July edition of Current Biology.


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