A few weeks ago I came across an article on Indy 100 that was talking about why we tend to wake up just before our alarm clocks go off.
It was reporting an article from 2013 about circadian rhythm, basically your internal body clock. It cycles between alertness and sleepiness and can be set in to a routine with enough training. I didn’t think that was anything new. Nor did I think that it was groundbreaking to say that if you’re really tired you might sleep through your alarm.
The thing that actually made me think about the article is the thing that normally wakes me up just before my alarm has four legs and black and white fur. Safe to say that Moo’s circadian rhythm is better than mine. He was fast asleep at the bottom of the bed the other day when I woke up around 5am. I checked the time and he noticed I was awake, so I gave him a tickle behind the ear and told him that there was still time to sleep.
He didn’t heed my words. He proceeded to sit by my head and purr until I gave him breakfast. Well, at least until I shut him in the other end of the house under the pretence of getting him his breakfast. For that, I’m posting a picture of him in a compromising position.
To understand just how cats vocally manipulate owners, including herself, McComb [the researcher] and her team set up a series of experiments. First they recorded the purrs of 10 cats; some were recorded when a cat was actively soliciting food and others in a non-solicitation setting. Fifty people then listened to the sounds at the same volume. Individuals judged pleading purrs as more urgent and less pleasant than normal purrs. When the researchers played the purrs re-synthesized to exclude the hungry cries, leaving all else the same, the volunteers perceived the purrs as far less urgent.
Apparently this might be because my evil and manipulative four legged friend is cashing in on human’s naturally nurturing response to a baby’s cry, with which cat’s cries share a similar frequency.
Again, I’m not entirely sure that fits with Moo. For a start, he doesn’t wake me up when I ask him too, he knocks spare change off my furniture and he grumbles a miaow.
I think he’s just being a knob.