Maybe cats do recognize their own names

cat
Image: Pixabay

Dogs are amazing at recognizing their own names, but scientists are less certain about whether cats have this ability. New research from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan offers new experimental data showing that some cats really can discern their names. The new research, published today in Scientific Advances, doesn’t mean cats understand the human conception of a name, but it does show that at least some cats can distinguish their names from other words.

In a series of experiments, [lead author Atsuko] Saito observed 78 cats in Japanese households and at a cat café—a themed coffee shop in which multiple cats live in a shared environment.

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Once the cat’s name was spoken, the researchers looked for five specific behavioral responses: ear moving, head moving, tail moving, vocalizing, and changing locations.

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“It actually proves that cats can understand associations with words that indicate their names, and can distinguish them from other words, [said Carlo Siracusa, an associate professor of clinical animal behavior and welfare at the University of Pennsylvania who wasn’t affiliated with the new study.] [B]ut it’s still an open question as to whether cats actually understand the concept “name.”

Read full, original post: Scientists Talked to Cats to Figure Out If They Know Their Own Names

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