When you call your cat and he or she doesn’t come, it’s not because your kitty didn’t know it was you calling. Recent research published in the July 2013 issue of Animal Cognition shows your cat may recognize your voice—and ignore you anyway.
Using 20 domestic cats, researchers investigated whether the clever kitties could identify their out-of-sight owner’s voice calling their name vs. a stranger’s summons using their appellation. While the coy cats failed to respond to anyone’s calls with communication behaviors, such as vocalization and tail movement, they did respond with the orienting behaviors of ear and head movement.
When tested serially with three strangers’ voices followed by the owner’s voice, the test cats strutted their stuff. Researchers reported 15 of the 20 cats showed a lower response magnitude to the third voice vs. the first. “These habituated cats showed a significant rebound in response to the subsequent presentation of their owners’ voices,” the study reports. “This result indicates that cats are able to use vocal cues alone to distinguish between humans.” Click here to read more.