Recent studies claim — cats can recognize their names
Many pet owners are confident that they can talk with their cat, dog or even fish and get a response. And a new study proves that cats really have the ability to recognize their names.
A group of researchers from Japan, led by Dr. Atsuko Saito from Sofia University, conducted an extended study and the result described in their scientific report confirms the correctness of those who believed that cats are attentive to human speech and have a high level of understanding. Cats also distinguish subtleties in changes in intonation and other characteristics of a human voice.
Researchers conducted an analysis of the behavior of 78 cats that live in homes with their owners or in «cat cafes». Scientists tested the widespread theory that cats distinguish between certain individual words of human speech. In particular, scientists identified the names of animals and those words that are related to food.
The study was conducted as follows: each cat listened to a voice recording (it could be the owner of the animal or one of the researchers), the recording contained four different words, followed by the name of the cat. If a pronounced reaction could be noticed on any word - sound, movement with ears, etc. - scientists recorded the response. Most
cats reacted in approximately the same way - the initial interest in the unusual process was replaced by its loss, and in the end, when the cat heard its name, it expressed an active reaction.
However, according to Dr. Kristyn Vitale of Oregon State University, this result indicates the ability of cats to recognize the order of sounds but hardly proves the ability to understand the meaning of words. Cats do not attach special significance to the words, even their own name, they do not connect a sense of self with their name.
Most likely, for cats, the sound of their name does not mean themselves, but the approach of a specific event, for example, the owner’s arrival home or the time for dinner.
An interesting feature of cats living in «cat cafes» was discovered. They can confuse their names and the names of other cats living in the same place. Perhaps this is because cats associate all names with certain rewards or punishments that usually happen to them at the same time.