Cats Know You’re Talking to Them But Couldn’t Care Less

A new study confirms cats can recognize their owner's voice, but almost never respond.

  • Share
  • Read Later
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

You talkin' to me?

Ever notice that all of a sudden, just around dinner time, it turns out that your cat actually does have the ability to come when you call? A new study out of the University of Tokyo confirms what you suspected all along: like sullen teenagers, cats have selective hearing.

The study looked at how cats responded to hearing the voice of their owners compared to the voices of strangers, and determined that cats can in fact recognize their owner’s calls. But unlike dogs, they simply don’t care to respond. Only 10% of cats involved in the study flicked their tails or meowed in response to their owner’s voice.

Cats: just like your ex-boyfriend.

10 comments
eagle11772
eagle11772

I have 4 cats including a physically handicapped cat.  They respond to my voice and certain words, clearly demonstrating what they know certain words mean  (such as their names, and  "eat" and "no".)

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

All of my past cats and current one can distinguish my footsteps vs. neighbors, delivery folks, etc. for door greetings, etc. Name recognition, too.

PKUSA
PKUSA

We had a siamese/mix cat that knew not only our voices but also her name.  If you said something such as "X was so cute yesterday", even in light conversation, she could hear it from 3 rooms away and come running. 

goldengrain
goldengrain

I think this cat trait can vary by breed.  My Orientals always responded to my voice.  I think Siamese and their offshoots may be more likely than generic cats to do this. 

victoria123
victoria123

It's funny my cats always meow and come running when I call them however, the same can't be said for my dog  she only comes when she feels like it.


wennenefer
wennenefer

It all depends upon the upbringing.

ShamsAci
ShamsAci

AMAZING & INTERESTING AWARENESS WELFARE (A&IAW):  


Cats Know You’re Talking to Them But Couldn’t Care Less


-Comment - Concern - Opinion - Say = Reflection:


Its really amusing to know the latest scientific research study that cants can perceive what their owners talk about them as that I myself  realize too most often.


A.R.Shams's Reflection 


catbyte08
catbyte08

LOL. I didn't need a study to know that, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

hivemaster
hivemaster

@catbyte08 LOL.  The whole Internet Owl thing was over like eight years ago.