Science Says Your Cat Might Have An Accent
The Debrief: Do cats, just like humans, have accents? Can there be such a thing as a Geordie or Scouse feline?
Swedish scientist Susanne Schötz who researches into phonetics at Lund University has suggested that the way cats communicate depends on where they live. Schötz, when speaking to the National Geographic said that ‘when a cat says “meow”, it’s normally addressed to a human being’.
The researches recorded cats across Sweden to determine whether the ‘meow’ in Stockholm sounds the same as one south to the city. Her belief is that if the cat and the owner are together for a long time, their communication changes to become more compatible, thus creating their own ‘pidgin language’.
The tests they carry out will see if cats respond differently to certain melodies and human voices, she expanded that ‘maybe certain breeds will use certain melodies’.
Basically, if the cats adopt certain melodies better than others, then that will help cat owners to interpret these signals better. Schötz is a cat lover, owning three of our feline friends herself, so maybe her vested interest has driven this research? This isn’t the first study into cats and their vocals, Mildred Moelk found that there are 16 sounds made in cat-human interactions. Nicholas Nicastro also found that cats know how to get want they want through vocalisation.
The idea that our cats communicate with us in a specific way depending on our accents is not only very intelligent of them, but also pretty cute. What’s better than a distinctive human accent? A cat with an accent, of course!
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