Firstly, yes, I am still alive! Life just got very busy for a while there (I'm back to working again, yay!) and I just fell out of the habit of making any sort of regular updates.
That said...since I've been away so long I figured my first "hey I'm back" post had to be EPIC. And...well, while the video below is by far not the most epic example of what it depicts that I've every seen, it's the first-ever footage I've ever managed to secure of Cora making the Mousie Howl.
Basically, it's this sort of...repetitive MRRWOWOWOWOW! MRRWOWOWOWOW! MRRWOWOWOWOW! thing. My friend Amanda reminded me of it when we were on Skype chat recently and we (as in, the two humans) ended up cracking ourselves up ridiculously trying to imitate the noise. Her cat does it too sometimes and I've heard of a few others that do as well so it may not be THAT weird, but it's still rare to be able to capture it. Usually when Cora sees me looking at her mid-howl she drops the toy and looks at me like, "What? Nothing to see here..."
...anyhow, though, from an evolutionary standpoint I am *fairly* certain this noise is hunting-related, though in their cattish way, cats who employ it probably add their own individualized meaning and purpose to it. To me it comes across as being something like "CHECK OUT MY AWESOMENESS FOR I HAVE PROCURED A DINNER!" I could also plausibly see it being related to something mother cats would do when nearing the nest, so their kittens would know they were coming. And in some contexts it almost comes across as a (probably mild or even mocking) *threat*, e.g., "Keep it up and you're next!"
But of course, all that is just speculation. I fully expect Cora has other reasons for doing what she does that simply don't translate to human. It's just such an interesting, specific noise, though, that I'm sure it means *something*!
EDIT: Found another cat on Youtube making a similar noise...while playing with what appears to be a REAL dead mouse! Of course she's doing this on what appears to be her human's bed, too. :P