Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Monday, 13 July 2009 17:11 UK

How your cat's purr manipulates you

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Cats have a vocal way of manipulating their owners into doing their bidding, according to a study.

Karen McComb, a researcher from the University of Sussex, was inspired by her own cat, Pepo, who continually woke her up in the mornings with an "insistent and rather annoying" purr that reliably motivated her to get up and feed him.

Unlike regular, low frequency purring, further study revealed that this "solicitation purr" contained an embedded sound with a similar frequency to a baby's cry; a sound that humans have an inherent bias to respond to.

She and her colleagues played recordings of these purrs to human volunteers, who found them to be "more urgent and harder to ignore" than regular purring.

Footage courtesy of Karen McComb, University of Sussex

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