Schnaider, M. A., Heidemann, M. S., Silva, A. H. P. et al. 2022. Cat vocalization in aversive and pleasant situations. Journal of Veterinary Behavior 55-56, 71-78.
Vocalization may transmit information from the emitting animal, including information about his or her emotional state. This study aimed to compare the vocal and the behavioral responses of domestic cats during an aversive and a pleasant situation. A total of 74 cats (29 males and 45 females) in the city of Curitiba, Southern Brazil, participated in the study; 68 (26 males and 42 females) were divided into 2 treatments: an aversive situation (AS), which was a car transport event where the cat was in a crate, or a pleasant situation (PS), where the cat was offered a snack. The other animals (3 males and 3 females) participated in both situations. Behavioral signals and individual vocalizations were registered through video recordings and further evaluated in each scenario. Cats in the PS had a higher fundamental frequency of vocalizations (10.1%), a lower range of pitches (tessitura) (33.9%) and twice the rate of head movement rates as compared to AS. For call duration there was significant interaction between treatment and sex. Additionally, there were differences in the vocal parameters and the behavioral signals due to sex, age, and coat color. Females and kittens have higher fundamental frequencies may be due to anatomical characteristics. Solid-colored coated cats presented higher fundamental frequency than other coat colors. Overall, vocal parameters and behavioral signals seem useful indicators for studying the emotions of cats in different situations. Further studies are warranted to understand the subtleties of cat vocalization across sex, age, and coat color.