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Dogs Aren't the Only Animals That Bark

And cats control us with their purrs - The only reason we notice that dogs bark is because domestic dogs vocalize in this way much more than birds, deer, monkeys and other wild animals that use barks. The reason is related to their 10,000-year history of hanging around human food refuse dumps.

Dogs would have experienced a serious disadvantage if they had run a mile away every time a human or other animal approached. Evolutionary biologist Kathryn Lord says, "In evolutionary terms, dogs self-selected the behavior of sticking around, overcoming their fear and being rewarded by getting to eat that meal before some other dog got it. The scared ones die while those less scared stay, eat, survive and reproduce. So they inherit the tendency." And they barked in order to keep other dogs from getting to their food. These days, well-fed dogs bark to protect their territory.

You cat controls your actions with regard to him by varying the types of sounds he uses. While we usually think of cats as either purring or meowing, with purring indicating contentment, studies show that the sounds that cats make are much more varied than this. Often they will combine the two founds, especially when they want to be fed.

LiveScience.com quotes cat expert Karen McComb as saying, "The embedding of a cry within a call that we normally associate with contentment is quite a subtle means of eliciting a response. Solicitation purring is probably more acceptable to humans than overt meowing, which is likely to get cats ejected from the bedroom." In other words, cats are as sneaky as humans (but we already knew this)!

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