Study Finds Cats are Control Freaks

We'll meow all day if that's the way you want to play it!Annoying. That’s the most appropriate word I can think of to describe the sound my feline sister Moose makes when she deems it time to be fed…or let out…or let in…or whatever else she wants.

I know what you’re thinking. She’s a cat, of course annoying is the first thing that comes to mind.

But you see, I’ve spent years with her, providing advice on how to fit in and to be more like, you know, a dog. I’ve told her the benefits of being a loving, respectful and quiet member of the family all to no avail.

I suspect the problem is she’s not doing what I say, but rather what I do. I guess that’s partly why she’s the only cat I really respect, outside of Sylvester, and the reason we get along so well. The fact that half of my diet is now coming directly from her ass has nothing to do with my admiration for her, but I’ll admit, it doesn’t hurt her case.

Anyway, it turns out there’s a reason for her, and all cats to make annoying sounds. It’s the old squeaky wheel gets the grease story. has the details of a study showing cats have a method to their madness.

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.

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 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.”

As I was posting this entry a recurring thought kept going round and round in my head, “If a cat purr-cry’s in the forest, can anybody hear it?”


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