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Cats "Exploit" Humans By Purring

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the frequently-mistaken-for-a-meatloaf dept.

Power 503

An anonymous reader notes a BBC report on research recently published in the journal Current Biology, indicating that cats manipulate humans by adding a baby-like cry to their 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."

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hardware? (5, Funny)

Turiko (1259966) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688173)

was the one who tagged this on drugs? hardware? power?

Re:hardware? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688181)

Maybe the researchers used frozen cats?

Re:hardware? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688239)

No, hardware is one of the effects of pussies.

Re:hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688469)

"Gentlemen, thaw your pussies"?

Re:hardware? (1)

Arthurio (1392181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688187)

The poor kitty has already been slashdotted.

Evolution or Intelligent Design? (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688189)

Assuming that the cats are in fact intelligent creatures, it would make sense that they have learned this behavior. Feral cats do not exhibit this behavior, so it is most likely learned or self-developed.

However, it could also be that the constant exposure to humans and the direct selection of cats which humans like the most by the owners has led to a selection bias for cats with this behavior.

I find it hard to believe that this is somehow one of those hokey "100th monkey" behaviors, but I also find it extremely interesting that this behavior is widespread.

Self domesticated (4, Informative)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688211)

Don't forget that cats self-domesticated so the the evolution of this kind of behaviour would have been baised from the begining.

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (5, Interesting)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688221)

Well, as a cat owner I'm not surprised at all. My cat learned quite a few different sounds since I got her, initially it wasn't more than the common meow, but now she uses quite a few different purrs and grunts for different occasions. Like in the morning when feeding time takes too long it's almost like a dog growling in really short bursts, while when you get home it's a more like a high-pitch grunt or purr. I'm sure dogs have similar ways to show their feelings or try to communicate stuff. Cats know damn well what they can and can't do and what will happen when they act some way or another, so it's not a big step from different sounds for different events to learning that certain sounds seem to do trick.

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688257)

my dog gives me a series of ruffs and whistling sounds if i don't follow the rules in the morning. likes wise if i throw the ball into a place he doesn't want to go he'll come back ruffing to me to tell me i need to be the one to fix the situation. the more i talk to him the more he does it as well.

cats and dogs are smarter than we give them credit for, when they look at you, they are thinking about something it's not just a vacant look.

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688567)

The main difference between cats and dogs is dogs have owners and cats have staff.

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (1)

emanem (1356033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688625)

You're damn right! :-)

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688661)

Close, but not quite. Dogs have family, cats have staff.

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (4, Funny)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688743)

You haven't met my cat. Sure the humans are staff, but our dogs are part of her family. To the point of sleeping with a front paw over the chihuahua.

More disturbing was the time she went into heat and tried to convince my Jack Russell terrier to mate with her. I am ever so glad the dog didn't respond.

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (5, Funny)

codeButcher (223668) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688811)

cats and dogs are smarter than we give them credit for, when they look at you, they are thinking about something it's not just a vacant look.

I'm considering all these anecdotes, about cats and dogs actually being pretty smart, surfacing more and more. One didn't hear those kind of stories when I was little. So I'm wondering: perhaps it's all relative, and it's people who are getting dumber and dumber?

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688875)

when you (and I) were younger, pets were something you put in the back yard and fed once a day, now they are a part of our lives.

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688557)

"dog growling in really short bursts".
That is the one cats have found most effective agains humans.

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688613)

It's not like your cats learned new sounds to communicate with you. It just took some time for them to teach you all the finer nuances of cat language.

Have you heard about Pavlovs cats? [youtube.com]

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688677)

It's not like your cats learned new sounds to communicate with you. It just took them some time to teach the finer nuances of cat language to you.

Have you heard about Pavlov's cat experiments [youtube.com] ?

It's from cats, thus it's "evil design" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688255)

Geez, haven't you ever seen this [imdb.com] documentary?

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (4, Funny)

sqldr (838964) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688269)

You should hear the noise it makes when I mistake its arse for a pencil sharpener.

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688383)

I only heard you shouting that time...

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (5, Funny)

Stroot (223139) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688477)

Probably the same sound they make when you put them in the cat carrier: http://www.murphydog.com/cat-carrier.jpg [murphydog.com]

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688563)

You should hear the noise it makes when I mistake its arse for a pencil sharpener.

Maybe you need to get one of these. [amazon.com]

More likely micro-evolution (4, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688313)

Cats that make the most attractive noise get fed most. Have the most offspring. Eventually dominate. Given what we've done to dogs by selective breeding in just a thousand years or so, this is a simple and believable scenario. Selecting cats for their purr is no more extraordinary than, say, the difference we've created between a spaniel and a Mexican Hairless.

Re:More likely micro-evolution (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688431)

Erh... the flaw in your theory is that the cats that are closest to human (i.e. cats living in apartments), thus also the best fed ones, are also the ones that are most likely not able to produce any offspring...

Re:More likely micro-evolution (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688467)

Erh... the flaw in your theory is that the cats that are closest to human (i.e. cats living in apartments), thus also the best fed ones, are also the ones that are most likely not able to produce any offspring...

I don't know in what world you live, but those cats create offspring like rabbits! Where I live there are so many cats going outside each day and night, enough opportunity to do whatever needs to be done.

Re:More likely micro-evolution (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688585)

Dunno where you live, but where I do people routinely have their toms' cores removed, so to speak. With them they tend to be a wee bit hard on the olfactory senses.

And female cats in heat can be quite a bit of a handful too, so this is 'taken care of' as well...

Re:More likely micro-evolution (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688555)

Erh... the flaw in your theory is that the cats that are closest to human (i.e. cats living in apartments), thus also the best fed ones, are also the ones that are most likely not able to produce any offspring...

The trend of spay/neutering your cat is a relatively recent trend. Now, you may have a good point that this evolutionary tactic may very well start to reverse, since the cats that now use the tactic are not reproducing while cats in the wild that find no need for this tactic begin to lose it.

Re:More likely micro-evolution (3, Funny)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688669)

The other thing to keep in mind is that dogs endear themselves with pack behaviour, something cats don't quite take to.

Dogs are extremely engaging, attentive and loyal and that's pretty much all they had to do to ensure their survival alongside humanity.

Cats, lacking this instinct, had to evolve to be cute as well or face getting eaten. Therefore the most personable, adorable and lovely cats had a much better chance of survival.

I guess that goes quite a way to explaining why cats are much elegant appearing and nicer to touch than dogs. Imagine an animal that looked like a dog and behaved like a cat. We'd eat that fucker to extinction as a service to the world.

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (5, Informative)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688349)

Natural selection or artificial selection is what you should have titled that.

Intelligent design is a term used for a fairly specific type of religious sophistry.

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688685)

But since humans are part of nature, artificial selection is natural too. So that makes the title "Natural selection or natural selection?"

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (2, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688391)

All I learn from this is that cats that are more insistent (extrovert, cute, lucky to have that purr characteristic), get more food and shelter, and thus a higher chance of survival.

It's like the introvert in the IT closet who won't ask for a pay rise. Yeah, you're stuck eating ramen then, aren't you. GO AND PURR AT YOUR MANAGER. Unless your manager is Catbert...

Re:Evolution or Intelligent Design? (0, Offtopic)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688439)

DON'T LISTEN TO THAT GUY!

Last time I did that I went from my manager's office walking funny. You don't want the details.

no moar pussy for you willy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688193)

imagine you willy being smacked until it bleeds

j.delanoy

Re:no moar pussy for you willy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688217)

I don't have a willy you insensitive clod!

I probably shouldn't have kids... (4, Interesting)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688199)

I seem to be 95% immune to my cats when they pull tricks like that. My cats know damn well that I'll feed them before going to bed. It can happen anywhere between coming home and right before actually going to bed.

My cats are persistent, make no mistake, and my wife can be very annoyed with them, but I usually wait until I happen to feel like feeding them. So if their mewling is comparable to a baby's cry I shudder to think what kind of dad I'd make ;).

I should mention, though, that they have dry food available at any time so it's not like they're hungry when I feed them. It is actually a very interesting way to learn to not give in to annoying behaviour.

Re:I probably shouldn't have kids... (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688401)

It is actually a very interesting way to learn to not give in to annoying behaviour.

This alone tells me that you'll be one of the few parents that raise good kids.

Re:I probably shouldn't have kids... (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688475)

I'm hoping so, but only time and actually raising one or two will tell :).

Re:I probably shouldn't have kids... (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688721)

A-FREAKIN-MEN to that.

Re:I probably shouldn't have kids... (4, Insightful)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688749)

Just don't feed the kids once a day out of a food bowl and you're good to go.

Re:I probably shouldn't have kids... (4, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688753)

Yeah, just remember not to take photos of your kids in amusing positions and photo-shop "OH HAI" onto them, and you'll have made a good start.

Re:I probably shouldn't have kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688837)

Kun I haz my bottl now PLEEZE???

Re:I probably shouldn't have kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688835)

It is actually a very interesting way to learn to not give in to annoying behaviour.

This alone tells me that you'll be one of the few parents that raise good kids.

Deeming any creatures (baby or pet) only way of communicating it's necessity for food an "annoying behaviour" suggests he will more than likely make an appalling parent ever.

Re:I probably shouldn't have kids... (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688849)

Your attention span obviously does not cover more than two or three lines of text, eyh? ;)

Re:I probably shouldn't have kids... (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688503)

So if their mewling is comparable to a baby's cry I shudder to think what kind of dad I'd make ;).

I wouldn't worry. Most all women who have had more than one or two children know how and when to ignore a crying baby.

I've had just about any animal you could think of as a pet, but I've learned over the years that barring any individual's fascination with cats (and the requisite personality traits required for membership in a cult or a successful career as a waiter), dogs make far better pets. Hell, even for the mythical coder case (where someone expects a low-maintenance pet), there a countless breeds of dogs that will happily sleep at your feet or otherwise leave you undisturbed for hours at a time. The difference, of course, having a dog might inspire you to venture outside for a walk after an over-long session.

A purring cat is like a crying baby? You could say the same of any animal that we eat for food, or is otherwise a pest. Baby rats, for example, make cute high pitched noises and are no less pink. Few would have any problem killing them or their entire family.

Re:I probably shouldn't have kids... (2, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688713)

>dogs make far better pets. [...]that will happily sleep at your feet or otherwise leave you undisturbed for hours at a time That is just YOUR opinion, though. I think cats make far better pets. They, too, will leave me undisturbed for hours at a time and yet happily sleep in my lap. They are interesting, soft, beautiful, loving, playful, relatively easy to care for, trainable (not as much as a dog, though), flealess (indoor), generally quiet, have a long lifespan, and self-grooming.

Re:I probably shouldn't have kids... (4, Funny)

pilsner.urquell (734632) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688815)

The more you know about cats, the more you know about women. Simply put when they want attention, they want it NOW.

Huh??? (0, Troll)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688215)

I have never in my whole life experienced a purr that had ANY recognizable component of "baby cry" in it. Further, purring does not prompt me to do anything for the cat... with the cats I have known, it has always been a sign that they were already content.

Re:Huh??? (5, Informative)

Nomaxxx (1136289) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688265)

I have never in my whole life experienced a purr that had ANY recognizable component of "baby cry" in it.

It's not said that it sounds like a baby cry but only that it's on the same frequency.

Re:Huh??? (0, Flamebait)

Inda (580031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688479)

I would love to hear a cat cry. Maybe I'm flushing it down wrong?

Cats: why do people love them so much?

They shit on my garden. They shit on the food I intend serving my family. Their buried shit, when covered in dirt, looks just like a dry lump of clay or a big stone - if I pick one up again, with my finger, by mistake...

The kill the birds in my garden. Little birds, big bird, young and old, they do not care. They kill for pleasure, not for food. They are evil.

They dug up the squash I had growing on an old compost heap. Why? Why not sleep somewhere else?

They put dirty footprint on my car. You wouldn't catch any other animal doing that.

I've heard that Lilies and its pollen can poisonous to cats. Maybe this'll keep them away... for good.

Re:Huh??? (1)

Nomaxxx (1136289) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688525)

Agree.

Re:Huh??? (0, Flamebait)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688645)

People: why do people love them so much?

I really feel sad for you if the stuff going on in your life is really so insignificant that you start getting aggrevated about cats littering in your garden, killing the occasional bird and getting paw prints on your beloved car. You do realize that garden soil is full of dead bugs and excrements, composted plants, and that you will get your hands dirty when gardening anyway? That birds also get killed by hitting cars, trains or airplanes or simply by falling out of the nest, and that parking your car under the wrong tree also makes it dirty?

The moment you start getting sincerly bothered and aggrevated about trivialities like that, that you start hating cats for it, is the moment you should figure out something is missing in your life. You'd better not have any kids if you feel that way, they can be extremely annoying at times as well.

Re:Huh??? (2, Informative)

Kligat (1244968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688273)

From another report from LiveScience [livescience.com] , I gather that it would be most recognizable to you as being called just a "baby cry," but with a subtle sound the same as cats make when purring mixed in, rather than as purring with a crying sound, but the language is utterly ambiguous and it seems hard to distinguish when they mean meowing, purring, or whatever.

Re:Huh??? (2, Interesting)

Neil (7455) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688543)

The BBC report that I heard on the radio this morning didn't suggest that the "soliciting purr" sounded recognizably like a baby's cry - but if you stick a recording of it through a spectrum analyzer you find that it has some of the same frequency components as a baby cry embedded in it. So the sound puts humans on edge and plays on their subconscious in such a way that they want to satisfy the cat and make it stop.

Bad hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688241)

I assume I have bad hardware as I never respond to any kind of cat purring, or wait, maybe I have dog version of hardware.

Anyway now I think I might have been exploited by puppy eyes like in the movies.

So... (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688251)

are cats poised to take over the world? Or is the exploitation thing only limited to catfood?

Re:So... (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688275)

The cats will take over the world AND divert it's resources to providing cat food?

Re:So... (4, Funny)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688327)

Soylent Green Cat Food is PEOPLE!!!!!!!

Re:So... (3, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688339)

I have a friend who is breeding cats for opposable thumbs and larger brains.

Forget Skynet.

We're done for.

--
BMO

Re:So... (3, Funny)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688437)

Dare I ask, breeding with other cats, or with humans? The last thing we need is a human-cat hybrid. They'd probably make the purrfect advisary.

Re:So... (4, Funny)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688509)

I doubt it. If you did that, you'd wind up with an animal with an amazing sense of smell but also a tendency to get distracted by expensive suits.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688785)

I thought they already had a breed like this... I think the scientific name is women.

Re:So... (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688861)

Like this? [youtube.com]

Re:So... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688653)

Or more likely a retarded furry.

Re:So... (1)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688675)

Dare I ask, breeding with other cats, or with humans? The last thing we need is a human-cat hybrid. They'd probably make the purrfect advisary.

Catwoman!

Re:So... (2, Funny)

nick79au (791048) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688773)

If Red Dwarf has taught me anything it is that human-cat hybrids can be defeated by a full length mirror and a rack of horrible suits

Re:So... (1)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688443)

are cats poised to take over the world?

No they won't, deep down they're just pussies...

Cats: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688253)

You have no chance to survive make your time

old news (2, Interesting)

loki_tiwaz (982852) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688259)

i noticed years ago my cat used to put on this special voice that seemed to elicit some kind of unconscious reaction in me. second time around at cat owning the little wench has tried it once or twice but i'm immune to it, the first cat overdid it and it stopped working for him.

when i first read this article i thought it was talking about the 'chirping' that cats do when they are extra happy purring, or maybe something a female cat a friend of mine has does a lot, these quiet, semi-pur semi-miao chirpy noises.

cats are more intelligent than many of their owners, and the fact that the cats are able to manipulate their owners just proves it. my cat doesn't manipulate me though. i eventually see through her little ploys. except the one that makes me like having her around of course.

Re:old news (2, Interesting)

loki_tiwaz (982852) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688305)

i thought i should clarify about the 'special voice' i refer to, it's not that brrraaao sound, although a neighbour's cat i noticed doing that, and it resembles the call female cats do when they are on heat, which can often closely resemble a baby crying, it's a sound that's more akin to the sound of a bell being struck, a very rich resonant sound. that's the only cat miao wanting attention that i've ever found compelling, the other kind of miao is just cute and doesn't seem demanding at all.

Re:old news (4, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688459)

My cat just has an annoying meow sound she makes when she wants attention. It's not cute or nice, it just grates on the nerves. She was very late in learning to meow when she wants things, so I think that has a lot to do with it. (I had another cat that took care of her and did all the asking, so she never had to. After he died, she had to learn to take care of herself and she was already like 5 years old.)

There's no doubt she learns, though... But sometimes she 'learns' things that are wrong. For instance, for some reason she thinks that I'll fill up the water bowl more often if she drops food in it. She's wrong, but she's done it for years now. There's always exactly 1 piece, no matter how far from the food bowl it is.

Re:old news (1)

loki_tiwaz (982852) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688641)

lol... yeah it's probably the exact same trick, it's not like scratching nails on a blackboard but it has a similar quality that affects your nerves.

maybe your cat is asking for real food? like, chunks of meat she can tear at?

hidden effect (2, Informative)

dwarfenhoschi (1494927) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688263)

You know i think its more a subtle effect...not some mind controlling thing ^^ I mean, pretty much everyone thinks that cats are cute...right ?

Gn=4a (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688283)

to download the Of a 5olid dose

Difficult to ignore? (0, Troll)

Fotograf (1515543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688291)

Me actually it would make more angry. No food kitty...

!hardware and !power, I'd say :)) (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688301)

n/t ^)

Huh? (1)

Haiyadragon (770036) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688317)

What, in the name of Zeus's butt-hole, does this have to do with hardware?

science, artificialselection, hardware, power, story
hardly, no, no, no, a bad one

Re:Huh? (1)

Turiko (1259966) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688373)

i know, i said the same in my first post up high in this list. The one who tagged this is either stupid or took drugs.

Re:Huh? (0)

chub_mackerel (911522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688417)

Y hrdware?

Cuz humenz iz hrdware, not software.

Kitteh jus purrz an humanz go getz cheezburger [icanhascheezburger.com] .

Re:Huh? (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688433)

Trolling has moved to story tags apparently...

I for one welcome ... (0, Redundant)

Phantasmagoria (1595) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688347)

I for one welcome our new cat overlords!

Re:I for one welcome ... (4, Insightful)

Calydor (739835) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688385)

New?

The cats were worshiped as gods in ancient Egypt. They never STOPPED being our overlords.

Re:I for one welcome ... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688421)

At least they're cute and fluffy, compared to the average politician I'd call that a step in the right direction.

This explains (5, Funny)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688435)

everything [xkcd.com] .

Re:This explains everything (3, Funny)

ozbird (127571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688637)

Never get a cat. [geekculture.com]

Cats are evil (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688499)

When a dog looks at you it thinks "What can I do for you master"
When a cat looks at you it thinks "If I had hands I could open my own cans, and you'd be dead"

Hard to ignore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688519)

It's not really hard to ignore. It's just that when they purr they know and you know that you'll feel like a jerk if you don't pet them/feed them/whatever. So you choose to do what they want every time.

Which... doesn't sound all that different from being hard to ignore in text. My point is, it's more us playing into their hands than them exploiting us. We choose to submit to their will, cause, well... kitty. If you don't do what they want you feel bad and they keep on purring to annoy and remind you that you feel bad and should feel bad. If you placate them, they shut up, you feel good, and you get to pet a kitteh. That way, everyone's happy. ...maybe they do exploit us.

Cats are stupid as sheep. (-1, Flamebait)

RationalRoot (746945) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688535)

I despise cats, I can't imagine why you cannot buy Cat Poison in the Hardware right next to Rat Poison. Yet my mother in laws cat still tries to brush up to me for food. I have never fed it, I simply push it away (Gently, my mother in law seems to be fond of it) but after many years of being pushed away it still tries. It has the learning power of a sheep.

Definitely not evolution - adaptation, maybe (2, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688545)

Just like some birds have learned to mimic the ring tones of mobile phones (and normal phones, too). There's no evolutionary pressure here, it's just that cats do have some (small - very small) glimmer of intelligence and learn that making certain noises will get them what they want. Babies also do this, so we're not talking about anything that's particularly difficult. Dogs are also known to respond to their names - though to to all the other chatter that their owners seem to think they'll understand.

In fact, pretty much any animal - even my goldfish, can be conditioned to respond to a food stimulus - they know what precedes them being fed and act accordingly.

The only surprising thing about this is that the cats haven't got their owners better trained in all this time.

In other news... (4, Insightful)

BigMeanBear (102490) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688547)

Stuff with brains can learn.

My faith in /. is restored (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688603)

Over 50 replies and nobody resorted to LOLcats and the associated mangling of the English language.

Re:My faith in /. is restored (3, Funny)

gaderael (1081429) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688715)

Sorry [ucomparehealthcare.com] to ruin it for you.

Cat purrrs that sound like babies (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688703)

I visit a area of Korea about 3-4 times a month that has a very high feral cat population. These cats here make almost a perfect immiation of a baby's cry. I don't mean it's on the same frequency or anything, but it actually sounds like it. More than once I was fooled into thinking it was an actual baby.

I asked a few of the older locals and they told me they always sounded like it, while the newer locals tell me they still get suprised at night (they sometimes lurk the apartments).

Re:Cat purrrs that sound like babies (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688847)

Baby goats sound the same.

Yet we don't think of them as cute and cuddly. What I think we have with cats is just a case of parallel development - it may be that all animals (incl. human ones) who have the same basic vocal chords and hearing range, will make the same sort of sounds. That cat owners anthropomorphise (sp?) this might tell you about some inner needs they have, or something about their personalities - though quite what that would be, I haven't a clue.

anyway, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688767)

it's still better than "cats exploit humans by taking their credit card and buying cat food online".

Re:anyway, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688867)

...which, by the way, would make for a more appropriate post to slashdot.

Doesn't suprise me. (2, Insightful)

unforkable (956731) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688885)

Doesn't suprise me. I had a cat that had recognizable sounds when being with his kitten or when asking us for food. You can even swear it tries to spell my name. I'm pretty sure they will dominate the world one day.

What is the intercourse sound? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28688905)

What, you don't pork your cats?

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