Hungry cats trick owners with baby cry mimicry
Cat owners will know the feeling. Your pet is purring loudly, demanding to be fed, and isn’t going to give up until it gets what it wants. What most doting owners won’t realise is that the cat is using an acoustic ruse.
According to Karen McComb of the University of Sussex, UK, domestic cats hide a plaintive cry within their purrs that both irritates owners and appeals to their nurturing instincts.
The team recorded the purrs of 10 different cats when they were soliciting food, and when they were purring in a different context. Fifty people who were asked to rate the purrs on how pleasant and urgent they sounded consistently rated the “solicitation purrs” as more urgent and less pleasant. Cat owners were especially good at distinguishing between the two kinds of purring.
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