Is My Cat Ignoring Me?

March 12, 2014 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

A recent study says yes! Cats hear and recognize their owner’s voice but oftentimes choose to ignore it, say researchers from the University of Tokyo. The research team observed cats in their home for a period of eight months. In addition, they played voices of the owner and of strangers to the felines and documented their reactions.

Over half of the cats turned their head when they heard the sound and 30 percent move their ears. These are considered orienting behavior and are typical reactions for hearing any sound. However, only 10 percent meowed or moved their tails, types of communicative behavior, when called. The cats responded similarly to the voices of both strangers and their owners but did have a “more intense” reaction to their owner’s voice.

But why do our cats give us the cold shoulder? The authors suggest it could be linked to the evolution of the feline and the way they have interacted with humans over the years saying that cats basically “domesticated themselves.”

Source: Saito A, Shinozuka K. Vocal recognition of owners by domestic cats (Felis catus). Animal Cognition, 2013 July; 16 (4): 685-690.

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