According to research done at the University of Sussex, cats have the ability to modify their purrs in a way that makes them irresistible to humans, proving long held suspicions that cats are playing us for the fools that we are.
It's not all in your head. Cats actually do have the ability to exploit humans to their advantage using a special purr, a study done at the University of Sussex shows. According to the research, which culled data from cat owners reporting on their pets' purrs and their relative level of urgency or pleasantness, cats can use their vocal chords to hide a high-pitched cry within an otherwise regular purr.
That cry, according to previous research, is similar to the cry of a human baby - and there's a sound that nobody can ignore. According to the study, the more "urgent" purrs reported on by cat owners were more often than not laced with this cry, and that's not just a coincidence.
"We think that (they) learn to dramatically exaggerate it when it proves effective in generating a response from humans," Dr. Karen McComb said. "Obviously we don't know what's going on inside their minds. But they learn how to do this, and then they do it quite deliberately."
So your cat has been manipulating you for food, love and attention using a cry similar to one of the most insistent and undeniable sounds known to humankind. Those sneaky devils. I knew they were playing us all for saps this entire time. See, this is why I only have goldfish.