A study found that house cats used a specific type of meow to get what they wanted.
Cats use their ability to meow to make their master or mistress understand that they need them, and in particular to feed them. And to achieve their ends, these felines would adapt their purrs accordingly. In July 2009, the results of a study on the manipulation of human beings via a specific type of meow were published in Current Biology.
Study on cat meows: solicitations less pleasant to hear
As part of this work, led by Professor Karen McComb, ten cats were recorded at the level of their meows. In a first case, these were issued to obtain food, and in a second, without any particular solicitation. After listening to its sounds at the same volume, fifty people felt that the prompting purrs were less pleasant and more indicative of urgency than the others.
Cats living domestically would bring their cries closer to those of a baby
According to the author of the study, cats would be able to manipulate their master or mistress by emitting cries similar to those of a baby. We are talking about overt manipulation here because this behavior has only been observed in cats living in contact with at least one human being. CA Tony Buffington, a professor of veterinary medicine who was not involved in this work, explains that domestic cats, like human babies, are “completely dependent on us for their survival”. And to add: “Whenever an animal finds itself in this situation, it will scrutinize the people taking care of it to see if they are responding to the signals it sends. Whatever works, they’ll do – whether it’s changing a purr or doing a figure eight between their master’s feet.”