French researchers discovered that using audio and visual cues helped cafe cats approach a stranger faster. The team found that cats in a cat cage responded most quickly to the human when a foreign human used both verbal and visual cues to attract the cats' attention. Cats also looked more nervous when one completely ignored them.
Researchers led by Charlotte de Mouzon from the Laboratory of Comparative Ethology and Cognition at the University of Paris Nanterre conducted the research. De Mouzon has been researching cat-human interactions for several years.
For example, he and his team published a report in October last year showing that domestic cats can recognize when their owners are talking directly to them and can easily distinguish their owner's voice from that of a stranger.
Much of De Mouzon's research requires focusing on a particular aspect of cat-human communication, such as vocal cues, and then exploring that aspect. Although testing a hypothesis becomes simpler with this level of specificity, communication between any two species does not usually occur in this way. In human-to-human conversations, we communicate our ideas through a variety of body language and vocal cues in addition to our hands and faces.
His latest study, published Wednesday in the journal Animals, aimed to better understand how cats respond to our various communication styles.
Which is more important to them when we communicate with them? Which comes first, audio or visual cues? De Mouzon told Gizmodo that our research began with this question.
Twelve cats living in a cat cage were used as subjects. Experimenter De Mouzon first accustomed the cats to his presence. He then subjected them to various scenarios.
After cats entered a room, De Mouzon interacted with them in one of four ways: He called out to them but didn't make any gestures, such as extending his hand; he moved but made no sound; it made a noise and moved towards them; and it did nothing in the fourth condition, the control condition.
Contrary to the control condition, when de Mouzon used both audio and visual cues to summon the cats, the cats approached him the fastest. The team was surprised that cats responded faster to visual cues alone than to audible stimuli.
According to De Mouzon, owners thought cafe cats might respond better to vocalizations because they often like to use "cat talk sound" with their pets. Now they think this trend may change when cats interact with people different from their owners.
This shows that they are not the same. The expert claimed that a cat communicating with its owner is different from a cat communicating with an unknown person. “It's good to get the results you hope for. But getting unexpected results can also be helpful because it forces you to think of new theories and understand what's really going on.
Another noteworthy discovery is that cats tend to wag their tails more when they receive audible cues, and most often when they are completely ignored in the control scenario. While cats often wag their tails as a sign of stress or discomfort, dogs do the opposite.
Tail wagging is further proof that cats are more comfortable with visual or mixed cues from people they don't know, according to De Mouzon. And given the irony of the situation, they may feel even more anxious when ignored. He notes that people who previously played with cats now completely ignore them and are placed in a room where the cats can interact with them.
Similar to humans, cats can feel uncomfortable when they are unable to quickly determine the intentions of those in the room.
De Mouzon plans to continue investigating the intricacies of cat-human communication. De Mouzon and her colleagues are currently working on a study examining how cat owners respond to visual and verbal cues from their cats. He plans to repeat this study with them to confirm his theories about the various communication patterns of house cats.
Another important finding from this study is that the French have developed their own unique way of attracting the attention of cats. Described in De Mouzon's article as "a kind of 'pff pff' sound," the sound mark is reportedly frequently used by the French to refer to cats. He made this gesture over Zoom, and it sounded like a "kiss" to the reporter's ears. More importantly, it was quite different from the "pspsps" sound English speakers often make when trying to lure a cat.
It may never be known exactly where these cat sounds come from. In any case, this is yet another indication that the bond and relationship between cats and humans is just as complex as any other.
Source: Gizmodo – Ed Cara
Compiled by: Hasan Ongan
Günceleme: 08/05/2023 21:56