Cat’s don’t come when called!
But cat owners know that, don’t they? And still love their cats.
New research from the University of Japan has put cats to the test. Do they actually hear their owners? Do they recognise us? Do they ignore us?
Researchers played the sounds of strangers calling the cat’s name, then the owner, then strangers again. The cat’s behaviour was monitored, looking for body and facial movements and any noise, such as meows, that they make.
Cats did respond, even to strangers, moving their head and ears. They responded clearly to the sound of their owner’s voice. Comforting to owners 🙂 Ok, so there was no rushing to greet the owner, no communicative behaviour such as meowing or tail wagging but there was orienting behaviour – head and ear movement.
In an animal that has 32 muscles in each ear and who spends up to 80% of the day snoozing, this is not a surprising result. A conservative, yet effective, use of energy. I suspect that if the researchers played sounds of cat food tins being opened or biscuits tins being rattled, they might see a little more feline animation.
This does tell us that cats may be tuned in to the sounds of their owners. Perhaps we have not walked along the evolutionary pathway for a long enough time to expect cats to respond more to our dulcet tomes. Perhaps they never will. Most owners enjoy the independent streak of the domestic cat. and if they wanted a more effusive greeting, well they would get a dog!
Test your cat
Test your cat by calling their name. Watch how they respond. Let me know what your cat does.
Train your cat
Cats can be trained to come when called. Just shake their cat biscuits, or tap on their food dish, calling their name. Repeat this as often as possible and your cat will learn to come to you. Offer treats occasionally too and, at other times simply a pat, to strengthen the command. Here’s more on how to train your cat…