The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Cats Purr Differently Than Previously Thought: New Study Reveals Surprising Results

A new study involving Swiss researchers has revealed that cats purr differently than previously thought. The study suggests that a tissue cushion in the cats' vocal cords could explain how the small animals are able to produce such low tones. The observed mechanism of sound production is remarkably similar to the human snoring voice, according to a statement from the University of Vienna on Wednesday. This is a special technique used by singers to produce deep, rattling tones. The team of researchers from the University of Vienna, the Swiss Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (Fibl) and Palacký University Olomouc in the Czech Republic studied the removed larynges of cats that had passed away due to incurable diseases. Researchers previously assumed that cats purr through a special mechanism: by rhythmically relaxing and contracting muscles in the larynx. However, according to a statement from the University of Vienna, this would require a constant neuronal input and the corresponding control by the brain. The data from the laboratory experiment shows that the larynx of the domestic cat is able to produce deep tones with purring frequencies without any neural input or cyclic muscle contractions. The results of the study provide a clear indication that the current understanding of cat purring is incomplete and further research is needed, according to the University of Vienna.

©Keystone/SDA

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