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New research reveals felines know their names and more attuned to us than we thought

Cats showed a meaningful response to their own names, even from strangers, or after hearing similar-sounding nouns, or the names of other cats living in the home.

CARRIE ARNOLD: ‘In a new study in the journal Scientific Reports, the psychologist at Tokyo’s Sophia University showed that they do know their names—even when called by a stranger. Cats are Saito’s favorite animal, and after studying primate cognition in graduate school, she set her research sights on the oft-misunderstood pets. “I love cats. They’re so cute and so selfish. When they want to be touched, they’ll come by me, but when they want to be left alone, they’ll just leave,” she says, laughing.

Her past experiments have revealed cats can interpret human gestures to find hidden food, recognize their owner’s voice, and beg for food from a person who looks at them and calls their name — all of which suggested that felines know their names. Saito and colleagues tested this hypothesis by observing a total of 78 house-cats and felines living in cat cafés in Japan…

In a series of four different experiments, the team discovered cats showed a meaningful response to their own names — even after hearing four similar-sounding nouns or the names of other cats living in the home or the cat café. (Read how to properly train your cat.) The cats showed interest not only when their owners called their names, but even when strangers did…

Even though the cats’ responses weren’t as enthusiastic as those of dogs, Saito notes that canines are literally born to respond to their names. For centuries, people have selectively bred dogs to be obedient and responsive. Cats, on the other hand, pretty much domesticated themselves when wildcats followed mice and rats into agricultural settlements. Not only that, but domestic dogs have a 20,000-year head-start over cats’. SOURCE…

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