Monday, 18 November, 2019

Does your cat know its name? Here's how to find out

Cats can recognise their own names, say scientists Do Cats Know Their Names? Yes, Say Scientists
Deanna Wagner | 05 April, 2019, 12:56

Dr. Atsuko Saito, co-author of the study at the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Human Sciences at Sophia University in Japan told Newsweek: "Many cat owners know that cats understand their own names".

Researchers in Japan made a decision to test how well cats are able to distinguish the meanings of words that sound similar to each other.

Tibbles and Tiger might not let you know it, but they appear to recognise when their name is being called, research into human-cat relationships has claimed. The crucial question was whether they'd respond more to their name.

In four experiments with 16 to 34 animals, each cat heard a recording that slowly recited a list of four nouns or other cat's names, followed by the cat's own name. What we do know is that domesticated cats are more vocal than wild cats, and that their behavior is influenced by their owners' moods and facial expressions. Many cat owners have seen this, of course, but there had been no research documenting it until now. "The recognition about their name is different from ours", Saito said.

Call a dog by his name, and his tail wags, he starts panting happily, and he showers you with love and affection.

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The authors argued cats can likely pick up on their names because doing so could lead them to rewards like food or playtime. But in a study published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, the Japanese researchers devised a way to get results whether or not the cats cared to cooperate.

The scientists made a decision to investigate how well domestic cats can tell the difference between different human words. Trained cats may understand words like "sit" or "jump", but it could be because humans are using additional cues, such as hand gestures. "We think it is important to show cats' ability".

The study found one minor exception to cats recognizing their name: cats who lived with others in a cat cafe. Even if your cat doesn't greet you with the same ardor as a dog, he loves you just the same. But in nine of the cats there was a subsequent uptick in their movement when their name was mentioned, suggesting they had pricked up their ears.

The researchers said previous studies had shown that other animals, including dogs, dolphins and parrots could show some understanding of human vocalisations, but it was unclear whether felines could too.