On Monday, oddly relatable video of two lynxes screaming at each other surfaced on multiple websites. In the rare footage, which has now gone viral, the kitties’ caterwauling sounds incredibly human and chock full of malaise.
“I think the most bizarre thing of it is the audio, the sounds they made,” Edward Trist, who captured video of the encounter along with his girlfriend Nicole Lewis, tells Global News Canada. “I’ve heard similar sounds, but just the action of the head-butting … it just really caught me off guard.”
What’s even more unexpected than the lynx’s banshee-like screech is its teeny-tiny meow. It sounds like a toddler’s impersonation of house cat’s mewing.
It doesn’t sound real, right? Here’s another video video — please note the purring:
Though lynxes aren’t housecats, they still have the ability to meow and purr, which bigger cats don’t. Why some cats meow and others can’t is still the subject of much scientific debate — some believe the cat’s size influences the depth of its call, while others say the cat’s habitat is related to the pitch. The Canadian Lynx is certainly one example of a forest-dwelling kitty with a high-pitched meow.
“High-frequency sounds can more easily become disrupted by the vegetation found in forests while low-frequency sounds travel less well in open spaces where they can be disrupted by air turbulence,” Smithsonian’s Sarah Zielinski reports. “Why cat calls seem to have evolved in such a contrary way will have to be the subject of further study.”
While the lynx can meow and purr and make viral videos, it cannot roar. The only cats that can roar are the “great cats” — lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards. All cats are great, these kitties are just especially large.
The great cats’ ability to roar comes from a special ligament in their throats. Clearly, the lynx does not have the right stuff to roar, but it does make its own special noise that sounds like a drunk person at karaoke who insisted on singing Total Eclipse of the Heart, much to everyone’s dismay.
Keep up the great work, lynxes. You’re doing amazing.