Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wrapped around her little paw

Lewis upsidedown

When Lewis and Ebony were about 7 months old, I moved into my first apartment, and established a routine. I'd get home from work around 6pm, pet them and then feed them. Ebony would jump on the bed and roll around on her back. I would exclaim how cute she was and rub her tummy and give her attention. I noticed that she started to do that anytime she wanted something - not just at dinnertime. I guess she figured out how to get on my good side.

So when I saw this article last night, I wasn't surprised at all. An excerpt from "Cats 'exploit' humans by purring":

Cat owners may have suspected as much, but it seems our feline friends have found a way to manipulate us humans.

Researchers at the University of Sussex have discovered that cats use a "soliciting purr" to overpower their owners and garner attention and food.

Unlike regular purring, this sound incorporates a "cry", with a similar frequency to a human baby's.

The team said cats have "tapped into" a human bias - producing a sound that humans find very difficult to ignore.

According to the study, this is something kitties do on purpose to manipulate their owners.

Dr McComb said that the cry occurs at a low level in cats' normal purring. "But we think that (they) learn to dramatically exaggerate it when it proves effective in generating a response from humans."

She added that the trait seemed to most often develop in cats that have a one-on-one relationship with their owners.

"Obviously we don't know what's going on inside their minds," said Dr McComb. "But they learn how to do this, and then they do it quite deliberately."

It makes me laugh. My cats have me wrapped around their little paws; I'll admit it. But, I am a pretty strict owner who doesn't feed them early because of little purrs. So I guess their purrs don't COMPLETELY work on me. :-)

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