Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A soliciting purr

It turns out that cats have two different purrs-- the contented one and a more urgent one that has a stronger level of a certain high-frequency sound. This study found that cats use the "soliciting purr" when they want to be fed.
Recordings and a video of the purring here.

I'm not surprised; my cat does have a different purr when she wants something.

Incidentally this reminds me of when I was a Gong Frosh in college, charged with protecting the mallet that the Lloyd House President used to beat the our gong every night at dinner. Somebody stole the mallet and left a list of demands to be fulfilled for its return, and one requirement was that Sandip (the other Gong Frosh) and I had to follow the House President around for a while. Whenever he greeted anybody, Sandip had to bark and I had to purr. It wasn't easy.

Later I discovered that my own roommate had been in on the mallet-stealing plot. It's been thirteen years, but I haven't forgotten. Oh, no. I have not forgotten.


Warren said...

What a weird college life you had.


My cat definitely uses his little tricks to get what he wants out of me. What the scientists in the study could also factor in, if they liked, is the way that the human really likes being manipulated. In other words, it's why we bought the cat in the first place. These interactions (begging, soliciting, followed by us giving something) are, I believe, a way for those of us who live alone, and single, to achieve some of the deep seated social needs we have. To be part of a community, to provide for another living thing, and to give and receive some simple kind of affection that says "I notice you, you mean something to me, and I mean something to you".

Thus, the phenomenon of the single women, and men, and their cats.

I'd be curious to know if it is more common for introverts to own cats, and for extroverts to own dogs.

Most of my introvert friends are also Cat People. I am an introvert, and generally not much into dogs.


Rachel Ann said...

WOW. THAT is quite a story.