Cats. They pull at your heartstrings—and they know it. Recent studies suggest that cats convince you to take them in and care for them by manipulating their meows. In one such study published in the January issue of Current Biology, participants listened to recordings of cats purring. The recordings were taken at different solicitation stages, i.e., varying levels of intensity. For example, the first purr may be from a famished cat asking for food while the second purr would be from a barely hungry cat. All participants, even those without cat ownership experience, were able to distinguish between the levels of urgency.
These results suggest that cats manipulate their cries in order to motivate people into taking care of them. In fact, another recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, makes the case that cats domesticated themselves. Rather than people taking them in, the cats persuaded people to give them food and shelter.
Just like today's strays meow their way into your hearts, these ancient cats used their vocal powers to establish their place as royal felines to be waited on—by you! As you're coddling your cats—rightly so—take a tip from them: Remember, when trying to persuade others—clients, co-workers, your boss—it's not necessarily what you say, but how you say it.