Cats Manipulate Humans By Purring

Posted By Ben Goulding, 14 July, 2009 | permalink

Cat. Image: radio weblogsYour cat is hungry and begins purring loudly to attract your attention so that you will feed it. This is the standard way cats communicate with their owners isn’t it? Well, no. Cats are far more clever than that.

Researchers at the University of Sussex, UK, have found that unlike an ordinary purr, cats use a ’soliciting’ purr to demand food that is able to overpower their owner, but at the same time appeal to their nurturing instincts.

The sound incorporates a ‘cry’, with a similar frequency to that of a baby’s.

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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