In a new study, researchers found that pets cats can recognize their own names.
This is the first study showing cats’ ability to understand human voices.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Tokyo.
Previous research has shown that other animals, such as apes, dolphins, parrots, and dogs can understand some words spoken by humans.
Different from social mammals like dolphins, dogs, and apes, cats are not so social and interact with humans when they want.
Therefore, it is interesting to see if cats can understand human voices too.
In the current study, the team focused on simple social behaviors like name recognition in cats.
To test if a cat recognized its name, the researchers tested the name against other similar-sounding nouns.
For example, in an experiment, a cat named Kari would also hear recordings of the words hifu (skin) and shuto (capital city).
The researchers played recordings of their own voices and the cat’s owner’s voice saying five words.
The first four words were the similar-sounding nouns and the final word was the cat’s name.
The team predicted that if cats could respond to their name, they would ignore recordings of other words but moved their ears or heads when they heard their name.
The results showed that the cats were much more likely to show strong responses to their own names while having weaker responses to other similar-sounding nouns.
In addition, the researchers suggest that some cats that did not respond to its name may still be able to recognize its name.
This may be because these cats had low motivation to interact with humans at the time of the experiment.
The team suggests that if cat owners want to increase their communication with their cat, they should interact with their cat when the cat shows that she wants to interact with owners.
The leader of the study is Professor Toshikazu Hasegawa from the University of Tokyo.
The study is published in Scientific Reports.
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