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Cats 'exploit' humans by purring

By jim Published: July 13, 2009

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.

Dr Karen McComb, the lead author of the study that was published in the journal Current Biology, said the research was inspired by her own cat, Pepo.

"He would wake me up in the morning with this insistent purr that was really rather annoying," Dr McComb told BBC News.

"After a little bit of investigation, I discovered that there are other cat owners who are similarly bombarded early in the morning."

While meowing might get a cat expelled from the bedroom, Dr McComb said that this pestering purr often convinced beleaguered pet lovers to get up and fill their cat's bowl.

[Continue for full story and related video...]

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