Monday, August 21, 2023

Moggies Meowing

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Behavior, Biological Evolution, Wildlife

Ed Hessler

Moggies meow and we often act as though we know what those meows mean and/or talk to them about what they want.

John Dankosky's segment on Science Friday, July 28, 2023 introduces the following podcast with questions that intrigue scientists and non-scientists. "Cats have formed bonds with humans for thousands of years. But what exactly is going on in our furry friends’ brains? What are they trying to tell us with their meows? And why did humans start keeping cats as pets anyway?" 

So to answer these questions (and more), Dankosky talked with Jonathan Losos, professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri about his new book, The Cat's Meow: How Cats Evolved from the Savanna to Your Sofa.
This line from the first chapter of the book summarizes one finding on what research about cats, all of them, household to their wild relatives, has revealed: "in many ways, a cat's a cat." (From Look Inside, Amazon link above.). A nice hint of what's ahead.

The podcast - 12 m 3 s - includes a transcript. For me this makes it the best of two worlds: listen and read, here at the same time, if you like.
Jonathan Losos has an entry in The Conversation for August 3, 2023, "Cats first finagled their way into human hearts and homes thousands of years ago - here's how." based, I assume on the book. It is worth reading and even has a few photographs. He closes with what is well known among cat owners or servants. Although cats are very trainable – they’re very food motivated – cats usually train us more than we train them. As the old saw goes, “Dogs have owners, cats have staff.” (italics mine)

The link above is long so here is a shorter one. It works in case the other fails.


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