Study: Your Cat Hears You, She Just Doesn't Care What You're Saying

Posted by Katherine Ripley
Nick Savchenko/Flickr

Research confirms that cats just don't care.

Cat owners are familiar with how aloof, stubborn, and downright disrespectful cats can be. No matter how many times you tell them to get off the counter, you find them up there again. They're such contradictory animals. They cuddle up to you and want your love, but when you want them to listen, they ignore you.

Why do cats ignore humans? Do they have a hearing problem?

A research team at the University of Tokyo did a study to figure out the answer to that question: Your cat can hear you, she just really doesn't care what you have to say.

The research team observed domesticated cats in their homes, and tested their responses to several voices. When the cat's owner was out of sight, the researchers played a recording of five different people calling the cat, one of whom was the owner.

What they found was that the majority of the cats made some sort of movement, either turning their heads, moving their ears, or shifting their paws (very few meowed), when they heard a human calling. Most cats also had a more intense response to their owner's voice than to a stranger's voice.

This led the researchers to conclude that cats do hear their name being called, and do know their owner's voice. But unlike dogs, cats show no interest in coming when their called, or obeying any other command, really.

[thelittleone417/Flickr]
thelittleone417/Flickr

This is because domestic cats did not evolve to feel the need to respond to human orders, like dogs did. Cats effectively domesticated themselves when the agricultural revolution began. Cats started living with humans in order to prey on the rodents that were attracted to all the grain that humans were storing.

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Study: Your Cat Hears You, She Just Doesn't Care What You're Saying