The cat is out of the bag.
At least it is, thanks to a new report in the British Journal of Veterinary Research (BJVR).
The study of more than 10,000 cats from around the world found that the cats’ brains were more active and less prone to seizures than previous studies had suggested.
Researchers said they were able to see a difference in the way the cats responded to various sounds, which included sounds of cats licking their paws and the sounds of the door opening and closing.
“It’s very surprising, we were not expecting it to be this strong,” said Dr Rebecca Smith, from the University of Bristol.
“In a previous study we looked at different sounds, and the difference in brain activity between cats was a little bit more striking, but it was just a few days before we actually published the results.”
“We were surprised to see that there was no difference between the cats that were exposed to different sounds and the cats exposed to a regular cat’s alarm tone.”
The study found that, while there were no differences between the two groups of cats, there were differences in the amount of time that each cat spent awake.
“We found that in the cats, it was much more of a sleep phase than a wake phase,” Dr Smith said.
“The animals were in a state of hypnogogia.”
There was no change in the animals’ cognitive ability, there was only a reduction in activity, and it was only seen when the cats were in the middle of the night.
“But when they were in REM sleep they were actually in a higher alert state, so we think that’s what the cat was trying to avoid.”
The findings of this study could help doctors make predictions about what kind of cat could benefit from different kinds of treatments.
Dr Smith said she hoped that by understanding the brain changes that are triggered by different types of sound, and how to treat them, more cats would benefit from better treatment options.
“You need to understand that different sounds have different triggers and triggers have different effects on the brain,” she said.
The study was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Wellcome Trust.