French café cats prefer strange scientists gesture and not make noise at them

“The cats approached de Mouzon the fastest when she used both vocal and visual cues to catcall them, compared to the control condition—a finding that wasn’t too unexpected. But the team was surprised by the fact that the cats responded quicker to the visual cues alone than they did to the vocal cues. De Mouzon points out that owners routinely love to adopt a ‘cat talk voice’ with their pets, so they figured that cafe cats would respond better to vocalizations. They now theorize that this preference might be different for cats interacting with human strangers than it would be for their owners. ‘It shows that it’s not the same thing. It’s not the same for a cat to communicate with their owner as it is to communicate with an unfamiliar human,’ she said. ‘It’s nice to have the results that you expect. But sometimes it’s also nice to have results that you don’t expect, because it makes you think and form new hypotheses that try to get at what’s really going on.’ Another intriguing finding was that the cats tended to wag their tails more often in the vocal cue scenario and the most in the control scenario, when they were being fully ignored. Dogs might wag their tails out of happiness, but it’s usually the opposite for cats—an indicator of stress or discomfort. The tail wagging is more evidence that cats are more comfortable with visual or combined cues from human strangers, de Mouzon says.”—”Scientists Might Have Found the Best Way to Catcall a Cat. French researchers found that cafe cats approached a human stranger the fastest when they used vocal and visual cues to get their attention.”

See “Multimodal Communication in the Human–Cat Relationship: A Pilot Study“—”Across all species, communication implies that an emitter sends signals to a receiver, through one or more channels. Cats can integrate visual and auditory signals sent by humans and modulate their behaviour according to the valence of the emotion perceived. However, the specific patterns and channels governing cat-to-human communication are poorly understood. This study addresses whether, in an extraspecific interaction, cats are sensitive to the communication channel used by their human interlocutor. We examined three types of interactions—vocal, visual, and bimodal—by coding video clips of 12 cats living in cat cafés. In a fourth (control) condition, the human interlocutor refrained from emitting any communication signal. We found that the modality of communication had a significant effect on the latency in the time taken for cats to approach the human experimenter. Cats interacted significantly faster to visual and bimodal communication compared to the “no communication” pattern, as well as to vocal communication. In addition, communication modality had a significant effect on tail-wagging behaviour. Cats displayed significantly more tail wagging when the experimenter engaged in no communication (control condition) compared to visual and bimodal communication modes, indicating that they were less comfortable in this control condition. Cats also displayed more tail wagging in response to vocal communication compared to the bimodal communication. Overall, our data suggest that cats display a marked preference for both visual and bimodal cues addressed by non-familiar humans compared to vocal cues only. Results arising from the present study may serve as a basis for practical recommendations to navigate the codes of human–cat interactions.”

Hermetic Library Omnium French Café Cats Prefer Strange Scientists Gesture and Not Make Noise at Them 11may2023