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Although the soliciting purr of a cat might not be as jolting as the morning alarm, it can still work wonders in prying cat owners from their sleep. And if it gets sufficiently annoying, it can drive them from the comfort of their beds to go fill kitty's food bowl. Scientists conducted a simple study and discovered that this particular kind of cat meow – embedding a high frequency cry with a low-frequency purr is designed to wake people up. This is very different from the plain old meow which is much more likely to get them ejected from the room.What did the study entail?
To study how cats expertly manipulate their owners, the researchers involved in the study recorded the purrs of 10 different cats. Some of the purrs were recorded when the cats actively solicited food and the others when they were not. The sounds were played to 50 different people at the same volume. All the participants in the study judged the pleading purrs as the more urgent ones compared to the normal ones. Following this, the researchers re-synthesized the purrs to exclude any trace of the hungry cry and played it back to the participants. This time around, almost all of them thought that the cries were not urgent.What do the results indicate?
These results seem to point to the fact that cats do a very good job of cashing in on our nurturing response to the cry of a baby. We're sure that there are many among you who have heard what sounds like the plaintive cry of a baby and went looking for the source of the sound only to discover that it is a cat crying for help. It helps to know that it is an evolutionary trait that they have developed over time to survive better.Jut like kids, domestic cats completely depend on their owners for survival. It is only natural that over time they understood that the sound of a baby's cry is something that almost every human being responds to. What is remarkable though is the fact that their vocal cords have evolved in such a way that they are able to mimic this sound with uncanny precision. This is not the case with dogs. While the soliciting whining of a dog does work on humans as well, it is not engineered with such calculating precision.Considering the fact that cats have specific frequencies at which they communicate specific things, there are many potential applications to this discovery. It can be used to train veterinarians, animal behaviorists and pet owners to decipher what cats are experiencing and attend to it better. This study has opened the doors to further research in that direction.