Cats May Ignore You, But They Do Know Their Names

Posted by Christy Caplan
Cat Study

Cats clearly took over YouTube videos a long time ago! I'm a "dog person" but there are so many things I love about cats. They "talk" to you when they're hungry or hangry. What about when we talk to them? Do they know their names? Honestly, cats are often misunderstood in the pet world. It's time we learned more about our feline friends and if they at the very least understand their owner's voice.

A new study in Scientific Reports tells us that cats are able to discriminate their own names from other words.

"We conclude that cats can discriminate the content of human utterances based on phonemic differences."

There were a series of experiments performed. Of the 78 cats they "spoke" to, some were in a cat cafe where they lived and the other cats were in households.

During these experiments, the pet owners and researchers said the animals' names, as well as nouns with a similar length and rhythm, and the names of other cats. explains,

"If a cat meowed or moved its ears or head, the researchers noted this down as the cat recognizing its name. To make sure the cat wasn't just reacting to any utterances, the team repeatedly said words until the cats stopped responding, and then said their names and watched for a reaction."

Cat Study

What's really interesting about the study is that the cats in the cafe were unable to differentiate between their own names and those of their roommates. The conclusion is that so many humans are giving them rewards and they're hearing the names of all the other animals all day so this proved difficult for them.

Yet it seems to make perfect sense that cat owners already knew their cats could understand their own names but it's nice to have some proof backing this theory up!

If you think your cat is ignoring you when you're asking them to come into the kitchen for dinner, they are.

Cats absolutely can differentiate the sound of their name from other sounds! Get the cat food out and do your own experiment at home! Don't annoy your cat by saying your cats name a hundred times but call her in the kitchen and see if it takes one or two attempts to get her attention! You should certainly see a head movement. This new research is very telling as we know cats are independent, to begin with, but now we know they may ignore us when they don't want to be bothered.

Many thanks to these wonderful Japanese researchers and we'd like more of these studies, please! The communication skills and behavior of domestic cats can often be a mystery!

Cool staff note: Cats and humans have lived together for around 9,500 years! It's crazy we're just starting to learn more about their communication skills!

Do you think your cat understands what you're saying or at least knows their name when called? Leave a comment below!

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Cats May Ignore You, But They Do Know Their Names