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Study Shows That Cats React to the Sound of Their Own Name

Does your cat turn around, move their tail or twitch their ears when you call him or her? A new study suggests that cats respond to the sound of their name. 

Earlier this year, Atsuko Saito of Sophia University in Tokyo published the results of his research in the journal Scientific Reports.  He concluded that although cats don’t have a full understanding of the meaning of words, their name are associated with rewards like food or praise because they heard it often. 

According to Phys.org, the experiment consisted of 16 to 34 animals and each cat heard a recording of its owner’s voice or another person’s voice that slowly recited a list of four nouns or other cat’s names, followed by their own name. Sure enough when they heard their own name, the cats perked up!

How does your cat respond to his/her name?

Categories Cats

19 thoughts on “Study Shows That Cats React to the Sound of Their Own Name”

  1. Cats certainly do know their names–and many other words that are used often. I’ve never had a cat who did not respond to his or her name by either coming to me if in another room or turning to look at me if nearby. My cats have always known words or phrases like “time to eat,” “daddy’s home,” where’s (another kitty’s name,) “where’s your (favorite toy)” among others. People assume too much about the supposed limitations of teaching or training cats. Just like people or dogs, all cats are different with varied levels of concentration and recognition. In a quiet, serene atmosphere, cats are capable of learning common household names and phrases.

  2. My cats talk to me and I know what they want from their posture and sounds. Also, they know the names of the rest of my pack of 2 dogs and 2 cats. My Tux is 14 going on 15 now and still playing and a happy cat.

  3. I have a special cat toy with yellow feathers on the end of the stick that my 4 cats go crazy over when dangled above them or on the floor for them to catch or chase.

    But the most amazing thing is that when I either say “Play” or spell the word, “P L A Y”, my Siamese cat, Guinness knows of what I speak and goes to the drawer in which the play thing is. Once he touches that drawer, I pull out the play toy and we all play for a while.

    Sometimes Guinness even speaks to me as a Siamese does and he goes to the drawer and points to it. We all play then with it and have fun together.

    So, not only does Guinness know the word, but he can spell too!!!

  4. I call my cat Sweet Pea to come and finish eating her breakfast and she comes in from another room and finishes the contents of the bowl! Another cat, Miss PussyWillow Flufferpants meows ow when she wants to go out.

  5. Amen, sister Susan! Purrfectly said! I have never had a cat that did not respond to their name. I have had cats that do tricks, such as fetch. I have had and do have cats that are waiting at the door to greet me when they hear the car coming down the street…how do I know? I have been told that they jump down from wherever they are and run to the door and wait.

    • I believe it was Martha Stewart who said she was a dog person because a cat wouldn’t greet her at the door when she came home, we know differently. My kat learned to sit in 1 1/2 days and I’ve never had a dog who was able to accomplish that. He also learned how to walk on a leash and what it is for after the first walk and he never gets it wrapped around his legs! I’d better not accidentally rattle it if I don’t want to Walkie Walkie, which he knows the meaning of too. He is a house kat and is only able to out without me if he goes out in his carrier so when he want to go out he finds me in the house and tells me. When i acknowledge his request he dashes into it’s door and waits, then he tells me when he’s ready to come in. AND he is not OK being left alone for any more than part of a day. I don’t know when all these myths began or why they are still so prevalent.

  6. My sweet girl, Sophie does not only know her name, but if I say: “Sophie, Come!” she comes running from wherever she is in my home! Good Girl!

  7. I rescue and re home cats and kittens. I’ve had as many as 25 cats in my home. They all knew their name and the name of all the others. They all knew when I was calling them to get a special treat like catnip or fresh grass.

  8. Cats definitely know their names, whether they choose to answer to it, is another story. They understand a lot more than they are given credit for.

  9. Some cats are more ‘dog-like’ than others. We had a Himalayan cat who would fetch little toys thrown for him, for an hour! We had another who was a couch potato. We had cats who saw themselves in a mirror, others who didn’t have a clue. So maybe they do recognize their own names, though I thought they might respond to the tone of voice. Say, ‘Mr. Kibbles’ in a monotone, nothing – say ‘Mr. KIB-elllz’ and you might get a response.

  10. In my experience with cats, I got a response if I used the cat’s name or an occasional nickname. My interpretation is the cat was responding to the sound and tone of the voice rather than their name.

  11. Are you sure Atsuko Saito is a “he”? I once corresponded for several years with a Japanese girl/young woman (at that time) with the given name “Atsuko” who sent a letter to my local newspaper seeking a pen pal.

  12. Cats have been treated so long as ‘stupid.’ It’s the researchers (?) who write such articles that are stupid. Anyone who lives with a cat knows they recognize their names and a lot more than they are given credit.

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