Study Proves Cats Do Actually Recognize Their Own Names, So They’re Definitely Ignoring You

published Apr 7, 2019
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How often are you talking to your cat and they seem to be completely ignoring you? You say every variation of their name, from their actual name to the many nicknames you have for them, but still no luck. You know that your dog understands and responds to their name, but does your cat actually know their own name? You probably thought they did not understand, based on their actions, but cats do know their name.

According to the Huffington Post, a study conducted by Atsuko Saito of Sophia University in Tokyo proves that cats do recognize their own names. Now, unlike dogs, cats don’t typically associate words with meanings. It would seem that cats know that when they hear their own name, they are going to get a reward or treat.

The study suggested that while cats might understand their name because it is often followed by getting food or play time, that doesn’t necessarily mean they know it as their own identity. Cats often hear their name the most out of any words, as owners tend to speak to their pets. That makes sense, as when you call your cat for food, treats, or water, you obviously say their name. Now, you also say your cat’s name often if you’re telling them to get down off the counter, to stop eating a piece of plastic, and the many other mischievous things cats like to get up to during the day.

The study was done in four experiments, using 16 to 34 animals to gather results. The researchers would play a recording of the cat’s owner’s voice, or another person’s voice, where the person slowly said four nouns or other cat names, then finished by saying the cat’s name. It was noted that many cats reacted when the recordings first began but eventually lost interest as the words continued. Their reactions were marked by whether the cats moved their heads, ears, or tails when the words were first spoken. Finally, when the cat heard their own name at the end, on average, most cats perked up again when they heard that word.

Now that we know our cats do have the ability to understand, or at least know, their own name, what does that mean when they totally ignore us? There can be a few reasons as to why your pet might ignore you, according to co-founder of GetYourPet, Angela Marcus. For starters, your cat might be comfortable where they are and has no interest in moving. Cats also do not partake in things that don’t intrigue them, so if you’re doing something you cat deems boring, they will ignore you.