Cats coax their owners into giving them what they want with a special purr that blends their normal soft, low sound with a high-pitched element that is hard to ignore, British researchers said.
The high-frequency part is similar to a cry or a meow, and cats incorporate this into their normal, contended purr to put humans under their spell and exploit the nurturing instincts of people for their own needs — usually to get fed, according to scientists.
Lead author Dr Karen McComb of Sussex University in southern England said she initiated the study after being repeatedly woken up in the mornings by her own cat, Pepo.
“I wondered why this purring sounded so annoying and was so difficult to ignore. Talking with other cat owners, I found that some of them — including co-author Anna Taylor — also had cats that showed similar behavior,” she said.
McComb and her team tested human responses to different purring types, including “solicitation” purrs — which included the high-frequency element and were made by hungry cats — against “non-solicitation” or normal purrs.
“When humans were played purrs recorded while cats were actively seeking food at equal volume to purrs recorded in non-solicitation contexts, even those with no experience of cats judged the solicitation purrs to be more urgent and less pleasant,” she said.
When the team re-synthesised the purrs to remove the embedded cry, the urgency ratings decreased significantly.
McComb concluded that the cats were using the special purr to make their views known without risking irritating humans with an overt meow.
However, this solution appears only to work in cats living one-on-one with their owners — cats in large households usually have to meow to be heard.(AFP)
Three adopted Japanese shibas — eight-year-old male Hero, three-year-old female Wish and the latest addition to the family in 2017, a male named Tiger — are the main protagonists of a Facebook page created by their owner, called Hero&Wish, which has over 5,000 followers. Tiger was originally a stray, although it is unclear what caused him to be homeless. Fortunately, he tramped onto a school campus in southern Taiwan. While classes were underway, the forlorn sound of feeble footsteps reverberated in the corridor outside. A teacher went out to investigate and discovered Tiger, with an astonishing trail of bloody paw prints
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A : I just got off the phone to my boss. She asked me to self-quarantine for 14 days. Well, I guess we’ll be holed up in this apartment for the next two weeks. B : First things first. We had better go to the supermarket and stock up on food. A : But we can’t go outside. B : I know a supermarket that provides home delivery on orders over NT$2,000. Problem solved! A : 我剛剛跟老闆通過電話。她要我居家隔離十四天。唉，我想我們接下來的兩個星期都要躲在這個公寓裡面了。 B : 事情有輕重緩急，我們最好先去超市囤積食物。 A : 但是我們不能出門耶。 B : 我知道一間超市會提供送貨到家的服務，只要購物超過新台幣兩千元以上就行。問題解決了！ English 英文: Chinese 中文: