Ever wondered if your cat knows his name? You’re not alone. We at PetGuard have also wondered this. So, we looked into it …

Dr. Atsuko Saito, A cat parent and behavioral scientist at Sophia University in Tokyo, Dr. Atsuko Saito, conducted a study to find out whether or not cats actually do recognize their names when called.

The study involved 16-34 cats throughout four sessions, along with a series of human voice recordings. Each cat heard a recording of his own person’s voice and another of a stranger’s. This was done to ensure the cat would be responding to the words being spoken, and not just the familiar sound of his person’s voice.

Each recording featured three words that were similar to the individual cat’s name, with the fourth word being the actual name. When the four words were played, every cat’s responses were observed and recorded.

Initially, a majority of the cats responded to the first word, until they realized there was a second and a third. Most lost interest by the third word, until they heard the familiar fourth one – their name! Then they responded with a variety of behaviors, including tail swishing, ear pivoting, head turning and even vocal murmuring. And, it didn’t matter whether their names were spoken by their persons or by strangers.

Cats learn to identify their names by the manner in which their parent speaks to them. This includes the use of body language, tone of voice and even eye contact – which are all important factors in the learning process. It requires patience, repetition and routine, as cats learn from experience. Desired responses, such as coming when called, are encouraged by using repeated phrases in day-to-day life.

So, now you know. Your cat does know his name … but whether he comes when called is an entirely different animal.


Source: Animal Wellness Magazine