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Old 07-13-2009, 03:02 PM  
gblowfish gblowfish is offline
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Kitty Controls You...

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Cats Do Control Humans, Study Finds

If you've ever wondered who's in control, you or your cat, a new study points to the obvious. It's your cat.

Household cats exercise this control with a certain type of urgent-sounding, high-pitched meow, according to the findings.

This meow is actually a purr mixed with a high-pitched cry. While people usually think of cat purring as a sign of happiness, some cats make this purr-cry sound when they want to be fed. The study showed that humans find these mixed calls annoying and difficult to ignore.

"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."

They know us.

Previous research has shown similarities between cat cries and human infant cries.

McComb suggests that the purr-cry may subtly take advantage of humans' sensitivity to cries they associate with nurturing offspring. Also, including the cry within the purr could make the sound "less harmonic and thus more difficult to habituate to," she said.

McComb got the idea for the study from her experience with her own cat, who would consistently wake her up in the mornings with a very insistent purr. After speaking with other cat owners, she learned that some of their cats also made the same type of call. As a scientist who studies vocal communication in mammals, she decided to investigate the manipulative meow.

Tough to test

Setting up the experiments wasn't easy. While the felines used purr-cries around their familiar owners, they were not eager to make the same cries in front of strangers. So McComb and her team trained cat owners to record their pets' cries - capturing the sounds made by cats when they were seeking food and when they were not. In all, the team collected recordings from 10 different cats.

The researchers then played the cries back for 50 human participants, not all of whom owned cats. They found that humans, even if they had never had a cat themselves, judged the purrs recorded while cats were actively seeking food - the purrs with an embedded, high-pitched cry - as more urgent and less pleasant than those made in other contexts.

When the team re-synthesised the recorded purrs to remove the embedded cry, leaving all else unchanged, the human subjects' urgency ratings for those calls decreased significantly.

McComb said she thinks this cry occurs at a low level in cats' normal purring, "but we think that cats learn to dramatically exaggerate it when it proves effective in generating a response from humans." In fact, not all cats use this form of purring at all, she said, noting that it seems to most often develop in cats that have a one-on-one relationship with their owners rather than those living in large households, where their purrs might be overlooked.

The results were published in the July 14 issue of the journal Current Biology.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:05 PM   #2
L.A. Chieffan L.A. Chieffan is offline
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:05 PM   #3
CoMoChief CoMoChief is offline
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:12 PM   #4
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:27 PM   #5
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that sack of kittens i put in a bag and dropped in the river sure didn't have much control
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:28 PM   #6
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This is soooo not what I was thinking. But yes, kitty does control me.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:29 PM   #7
Sofa King Sofa King is offline
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:30 PM   #8
JD10367 JD10367 is offline
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Someone actually got paid to research that? "Animals make noise when they want something." Wow. News flash, LOL.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:51 PM   #9
scooter scooter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gblowfish View Post
McComb and her team trained cat owners to record their pets' cries - capturing the sounds made by cats when they were seeking food and when they were not. In all, the team collected recordings from 10 different cats.
Shopkeeper:
What cat detector van?

Customer:
The cat detector van from the Ministry of Housinge.

Shopkeeper:
Housinge?

Customer:
It was spelt like that on the van. I'm very observant!. I never seen so many bleeding aerials. The man said that their equipment could pinpoint a purr at four hundred yards! And Eric, being such a happy cat, was a piece of cake.

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Old 07-13-2009, 03:53 PM   #10
SDChiefs SDChiefs is offline
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This is not news. We have know for a long time that pussy controls man.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:54 PM   #11
Iowanian Iowanian is offline
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Pussy has been controling many of my actions since I was about 14.....


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Old 07-13-2009, 03:55 PM   #12
DMAC DMAC is offline
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that sack of kittens i put in a bag and dropped in the river sure didn't have much control
I'm sure someone rescued them. An ungulating sack of high pitched kittens always gets rescued. Hence the control.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:00 PM   #13
Frazod Frazod is offline
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I see our usual sociopaths have chimed in.

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Old 07-13-2009, 05:11 PM   #14
Rain Man Rain Man is offline
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:12 PM   #15
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