Scientists have finally cracked the code on how our furry feline friends create those soothing purrs that signal their approval.
It’s mind-blowing, but it turns out that there’s a fascinating connection between a cat’s purr and the “vocal fry” technique famously used by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry.
In this groundbreaking study, a new interpretation of “vocal fry” emerges, defining it as the lowest possible tone our voices can produce.
So, here’s the deal. Researchers always wondered how these little domestic cats could produce such deep, resonant purring.
Usually, only the big boys in the animal kingdom, like elephants, have the vocal cords for such sounds. Scientists used to think it involved some unique muscle action in the voice box, implying constant brain effort.
But hold onto your hats, because it’s way simpler than that. Dr. Christian Herbst and his team from the University of Vienna went full-on detective mode.
They examined the voice boxes of eight cats that had sadly succumbed to terminal illnesses, with the owners’ consent, of course.
In their investigation, they gently stimulated the vocal cords and introduced moist air, leading to an astonishing revelation: the cats’ vocal cords started purring autonomously, without requiring continuous brain engagement.
The true revelation lay in the discovery of fibrous tissue within these vocal cords. Herbst breaks it down for us, saying:
“This may explain how such a small animal, weighing only a few kilograms, can regularly produce sounds at those incredibly low frequencies (20-30 Hz, or cycles a second) – far below even the lowest bass sounds produced by human voices.”
However, the astonishment doesn’t end there – similar structures were found in the voice boxes of mighty wild cats like lions and tigers. Mind-blowing, right?
Next time you hear your feline companion purring away, remember this fascinating connection.
They may just be the Kardashians of the feline world, effortlessly creating those mesmerizing low-frequency sounds. So there you have it, your own cat might just be your next Kardashian to keep up with.