In recent years, scientists have been proving that cats do indeed connect deeply with animals. HumanContrary to what many people believe. These complex creatures are able to communicate with us and can even track our movements when we’re not around.
Even more surprising is that they can recognize their own names (an ability with which we are mostly associated with dogs) Now, new perspectives suggest that this feline’s potential is much greater than what we can imagine.
A new study, conducted by Japanese researchers and published in the journal scientific reportexplains that, in addition to knowing their own names, cats also remember and recognize the names of other cats they are familiar with and those they live with.
To some people, this may sound a bit strange, but if dogs can be trained to remember the names of hundreds of different things, perhaps this ability shouldn’t be so surprising in cats.
“What we found is surprising,” animal science researcher Saho Takagi of Azabu University in Japan said in an interview with the website Asahi Shimbun. “I want people to know the truth. Cats not only listen to people’s conversations, they actually pay attention.”
Takagi and his team analyzed cats that lived in homes with other cats and those who lived in ‘cat cafes’. Japan and other Asian countries that act as shelters for these animals, where visitors can interact with them.
In tests, researchers showed animals an image on a computer screen of a familiar cat from the same house/cafe (called a “model cat”). While the image was displayed, the model in the recording of the owner’s voice would say the cat’s name aloud (known as “congruent position”) or a different name (“incongruent position”).
Shelter cats have a hard time matching names
What the team found was that the household pets spent more time looking at the computer screen during the inconsolable condition, probably because they were suspicious or concerned about the mismatch of the model cat’s image and name.
However, the same behavior was not detected in shelter animals, probably because they lived in homes with many other cats (just a few), and as a result were less familiar with the chosen model cat and its name.
“Only domestic cats guessed a specific cat’s face by hearing the cat’s name, suggesting that those stimuli corresponded to the cat’s name and the specific individual,” the researchers write in their paper. “Hearing the name of the cat, the subjects expected the same face.”
according to this science alertThe team believes that these critters learn this kind of name association by watching third-party interactions at home, and it is possible that the animals living in cat cafes – possibly surrounded by dozens of kittens , as well as the stream of unknown humans entering the establishment – don’t have equal opportunities to learn each other’s names socially.
In another experiment, researchers performed a similar test, but used humans as stimuli instead of a model cat. The cats were exposed to the image of the person they lived with (in a house with several residents), and at the same time that person’s name was spoken (or any other name in an incompatible situation).
Again, when there was a mismatch between the image and the name, the cats tended to stare at the computer screen for a little longer, but this effect was greater in homes with more people and in homes where the cat lived in the family. long.
“Our interpretation is that cats living with more people have more opportunities to hear names than cats living with fewer people, and living with a family enhances this experience,” the researchers said. “In other words, the frequency and number of exposures to stimuli may be more likely to cause name associations.”
It is worth noting that, although the researchers claim that their research “provides the first evidence that domestic cats associate human expressions and their social contexts with everyday experiences”, this is still a very small study, with only A sample of a few dozen is included. people. cats, so their results need confirmation in future investigations.
Although the animals in the study linked names and faces (both to familiar people and other cats), it is still not possible to understand in any definite sense how they develop this association in their environment. Part of this is explained only by the difficulties of studying cats reported by scientists. “One cat only completed the first test before fleeing the room and becoming unreachable.”
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