The study found that these animals associate the names and faces of both familiar people and other cats, but we still don’t understand how cats develop this association within their living environments.
In recent years, scientists have shown that cats are in fact closely related to humans, and these complex creatures can communicate with us and even track our movements when we’re not around.
Even more surprisingly, cats can recognize their human names, which is often the case with dogs, and new research now shows that this could go beyond what we previously knew.
Cats silently listen to us
In a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists discovered that in addition to knowing cats’ names, it also appears that they may also recognize the names of other cats familiar to them. She may also know the names of the people who live with her in the same house.
It may seem a little strange to think that your cat might know your name, but because dogs can be trained to remember the names of hundreds of different things, it probably shouldn’t be too surprising for a cat to remember your name.
The most unusual thing, which the authors point out, is that these seemingly aloof creatures have been stealthily listening to us as we speak all this time.
Zoological researcher Saho Takagi, who is currently at Azabu University in Japan, said in a statement to the newspaper, “The Asahi Shimbun”, published on May 14, “We discovered an amazing thing … I want to know.” Real people. Cunning cats may not seem to listen to people’s conversations, but they do.”
How did the scientists find out?
In the experiments, Takagi and his fellow researchers studied cats living in multiple dwellings, both domestic cats living with other mates in a multi-cat home, or cats living in “cat cafes” in Japan, where visitors can interact with the many cats living in the establishment .
In the experiment, the researchers presented the cat they were looking at with a picture of another cat they were familiar with, either from the same house or a coffee shop (called a “typical cat”), with that cat’s picture displayed on a computer screen.
While the image is displayed on the computer screen, a recording of a person saying the name of the real, typical cat will appear out loud, this is called the “matched state” because the cat and his name are identical, or he will say a different name that does not apply to the picture of this cat and this is called the “mismatched state”.
What the team found was that domestic cats spent more time staring at a computer screen during the “mismatched condition”, possibly because they were perplexed or intrigued by a picture of a typical cat that you know didn’t match with its name.
However, the cats from the cat café did not show the same delay on the computer during the experiment, probably because they lived in dwellings with many other cats rather than just a few, and were probably less familiar with or familiar with the selected model cats and their name as well.
In their paper, the researchers wrote that only domestic cats expected a specific cat face when hearing a particular name, indicating that they matched the stimulated cat’s name to a specific face.
The research team believes that cats may learn these types of name and face relationships by observing human third-party interactions in the home. She has the same opportunity to learn the names of other cats socially.
How do cats recognize the names of people?
In another experiment, the researchers ran a similar test, but used humans as a stimulus rather than a typical cat. The cats were shown a picture of a person with whom they lived, in a multi-person home, while the person’s name was pronounced, or another name was said in the ‘mismatch’ case.
Again, the results showed that cats pay attention to the computer screen a little longer when there is a mismatch between the picture and the name, but this effect tends to be greater in households where more people live, and in households where the cat lives longer with the family .
The researchers explain that cats who live with more people have greater chances of hearing the names used than cats who live with fewer people, and that living with a family for a longer period increases this experience. In other words, the frequency and frequency of exposure to a stimulus may increase the likelihood of a name being associated with a face in domestic cats.
Cat Study Challenges
According to the report published on the Science Alert website, while the researchers claim that their study provides the first evidence that domestic cats link human sayings with their social environment, this study is still somewhat small, and it included only dozens of cats, So the results need to be replicated in future research. The team also acknowledges that “we still don’t know much about the specific mechanisms behind social learning in cats.”
And while the animals in the study seem to associate the names and faces of both familiar people and other cats, we still don’t understand how cats develop this association within their living environments. Part of that may simply be due to the difficulties of studying cats, which the study authors note, they write, “a cat only completed the first experiment before escaping from the room and climbing out of reach.”