Dogs Have Owners, Cats Have Staff

Dogs Have Owners, Cats Have Staff

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A study from the University of Sussex has shown what every cat owner has always known; you don't control your cat, your cat controls you.

They found that most domestic cats have developed a special meow that humans find hard to ignore

Unlike the standard meowing that can annoy people, they also have a 'two-pitched' meow that the researchers describe as 'a purr mixed with a high-pitched cry,' that they use to get fed when they are being 'ignored'.

They use this around their owners, but are reluctant to use it around strangers.

Special Meow

"The embedding of a cry within a call that we normally associate with contentment is quite a subtle means of eliciting a response," said Karen McComb of the University of Sussex.

"Solicitation purring is probably more acceptable to humans than overt meowing, which is likely to get cats ejected from the bedroom."

The researchers believe that this special 'cry' - that they refer to as the 'manipulative meow' - is a way of taking advantage of our sensitivity to babies’ cries, as it is thought that we are neurologically 'hard wired' so that we can't ignore a baby's cry.

In fact other research has already shown similarities between the cries of babies and those of cats.

The research involved getting owners to record their cats 'cries' and playing them back to another group - as recorded and then with the embedded cries electronically removed in order to ascertain listener's responses.

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