New study: Your cat knows your name!

Updated: 22/06/2022 – 21:58

Good memory
New experiment reveals: Cats know the names of humans and their ilk

Photo: GettyImages / Kilito Chan

Cats associate our name with our face.

Either “Schnuffi”, “Mausi” or “Miezi” – we have the most creative nicknames for our cats, but they do not seem to hear any of them. Four-legged friends know exactly what they are called. And not only that: A new experiment from Japan has now shown that cats even know the names of their owners.

Humans and cats have lived together for many years. Even if there is still something missing in communication … The four-legged friends have studied very carefully the gestures and expressions of our face and understand much more about human communication than we thought. In the meantime, they can not only correctly interpret pointing gestures and eye gestures, but also understand the names of the people and animals of their roommates.

Research shows that our cats listen to us and know our names

A research team from the University of Azabu found amazing things in a new study. “We assume that cats do not pay attention to human conversations, but in reality they often eavesdrop on us,” explains Saho Takagi, the study’s lead author. So while the furry friends seemed to be sleeping soundly on the couch, they were secretly listening and listening to what we were saying. They also notice the names of us and other roommates over and over again. Researchers therefore assume that cats know the names of the people and the expatriates who live with them in the same household.

To test this, the troupe started an experiment with a total of 48 cats. Of these, 19 animals lived in a household with many cats or a family and 29 in five so-called cat cafes. Could four-legged friends really recognize the names of their owners and roommates?

The name memory experiment

During the experiment, the researchers presented the animals with a series of different photographs. Initially, they were presented with photographs of other cats living with them in the same household or in the same cafe. In the meantime, various names were read. The real name of the cat depicted was also hidden among the many fake names. The amazing discovery: the cats really knew the names of their animals’ roommates. Scientists could tell from the fact that the animals looked at the picture much more when it was given the wrong name.

In the second part of the experiment, the kittens were presented with photos of their human roommates. Similar behavior was observed. The cats were visibly upset when mom or dad said the wrong name for the photo. In another experiment, short recordings of the owners were used, for which, in addition to the real name, some incorrect names were given. As expected, the furry friends looked more at the screen and looked puzzled as soon as the name was incorrect.

The results show differences between cats

The result was clear: if an image or a record was combined with the wrong name, the animals looked at the photograph much more often than when the correct name was heard. Cats from households with other cats or families showed a strong response. This may be because their names are heard more often in everyday life. A smaller effect was observed in cats than in cats with cats. But how do cats learn our names? The research team assumes that it learns through interaction with humans.

Cats associate the name with our face

The article on the experiment was published in the journal Scientific Reports. He says the study provides evidence that cats remember a person’s name by associating it with their face. An amazing finding, because this behavior was not explicitly trained in animals. However, scientists admit that the experiment was only a small group of experiments, from which no one can draw conclusions for the general public. Further research is needed to document the results and to investigate the memory of cat names in more depth.

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