We all know that our dogs understand every word we say, and hang on our every word, eager to please. On the other hand, we often say our cats are aloof, and maybe not as intelligent as dogs.
However, a study from the University of Tokyo, Japan, has shown that cats are perfectly capable of picking out their own name from other words. The scientists used 78 cats, from ordinary households and from a cat cafe.
The investigators recorded the cats’ names, along with other nouns. Both sets of words were spoken by the owners and also by the investigators (with whom the cats were unfamiliar). This stopped the cats picking up on body language cues.
The evidence showed that the cats were able to pick out their own names. It didn’t matter if the name was spoken by someone the cat knew or not. The cats from the cat cafe had a little more trouble, probably because in the cafe they were exposed to a lot more human conversation. This would make it more difficult for them to pick out their name from the background conversations.
So what’s the take home from this? Our cats know perfectly well when we are talking to them, and yes, they may often choose to ignore us and pretend otherwise. Maybe the cats really have got the upper hand and don’t have to please us in the same way as dogs – as the popular phrase goes: dogs have owners but cats have staff!
Does this mean they were more clever all along? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!