A group of Swedish scientists wants to figure out whether cats in different parts of the country have varying meows. The researchers are studying cats and their owners in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, as well as in Lund, which is 300 miles (483 km) south and has a different dialect. The cats will hear differently accented humans from behind a screen door, and the scientists will study how the cats’ responses differ based on the accents.
“Maybe certain breeds will use certain melodies, or cats living in countries where human speech has certain melodic patterns will vocalize differently,” researcher Susanne Schötz told The Guardian. “If we can find that cats adopt these melodies, we may be able to help cat owners interpret these signals better.”
The group will also study how cats respond differently when humans talk to them in a singsong voice, as if talking to a baby, compared to a normal voice used to converse with adults.