Cats do not meow randomly, nor do they growl or hiss because they have nothing better to do. Cat sounds have a purpose, and they can carry important messages. Cats use meows to get our attention, while other sounds are used to communicate with other cats. Purrs and trills are mainly used in intimate contexts, while growling, howling and hissing are used to warn or scare off an opponent.
Susanne Schötz is carrying out research at the Swedish University of Lund to break the cat code. A long-standing research programme with many sound recordings from feline participants is proving that cats do actually use vocal communication – with each other and with their human caretakers.
Understanding the vocal strategies used in human–cat communication will have profound implications for the understanding of how we communicate with our pets, and
has the potential to improve the relation between animals and humans within several fields, including animal therapy, veterinary medicine, and animal sheltering.
In this book, Susanne Schötz will introduce basic cat vocabulary, explain why there is so much variation, and provide a few simple methods to help us understand our cats better.
»You will be surprised what a cat sound, spoken by a human in the right voice quality, and with the right melody, can accomplish!«