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

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.