Study Finds Even Though Cats Might Not Act Like It, They Know Their Names As Well As Dogs

Photo Credit: Pixabay

It’s common knowledge that cats and dogs respond very differently to their names. Dogs can be counted on to come running on command, while cats will frequently ignore you completely. But it turns out that cats do recognize and react to their names, according to new research.

Researchers in Japan conducted a series of experiments to study whether cats responded differently to their names as compared to other similar-sounding words.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

For each experiment, a person spoke four different “nouns with the same lengths and accents” as the cat’s actual name. These words habituated the cats to hearing words spoken. Then the person would say the cat’s name.

The researchers found that most cats clearly reacted to their own names. They did so whether the name came from their owner or an unfamiliar person. They also differentiated their names from other cats’ names.

“This is the first experimental evidence showing cats’ ability to understand human verbal utterances,” the researchers wrote.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The one exception was with cats who lived with others in a cat cafe, who did not distinguish their names from the names of other cats.

It’s unclear whether cats understand that their name represents their identity. They may instead associate the word with rewards like food or petting.

In any case, though, they definitely know their names — which means they just don’t feel the need to come running when you call it. Good to know!