How do our cats recognize us (if they do!)? Most likely, they use multiple cues – our appearance, our scent, our mannerisms, and likely, our voices. Some scientists recently examined whether cats can recognize us by one cue alone – the sound of our voices calling their names (Saito & Shinozuka, 2013).
While this study came out in July of 2013, it was recently picked up by Reddit, and so it’s back in the headlines!!! The study has generated A LOT of attention, and some misleading (or just ridiculous) headlines, such as:
- TIME magazine: Cats Know You’re Talking to Them But Couldn’t Care Less
- iScience: Research Shows Cats Are Rude; Can Recognize Their Owners Voice But Choose Not To Respond. Cat owners love them anyway.
- Huffington Post: Your Cat Really Doesn't Care What You Have To Say, Study Shows
- The Daily Mail: Your cat is only PRETENDING to ignore you: How cats can understand their owners' voices but play dumb as a form of survival
- Hartz Pet News: Cats showcase facial and voice recognition of their owners
- Animal Health Foundation: Study: Cats may not be as aloof as they seem
- Jezebel: Asshole Cats Acknowledge Your Existence in Imperceptible Ways
Note that most of these headlines play into the stereotype of cats as aloof, independent and well, just jerky (something I think most cat owners would argue is not exactly…errr…accurate). And then one headline actually has the opposite interpretation – cats aren’t that aloof after all! So what exactly did the researchers do and find? Do you agree with their conclusions? Or those of the media? ...continue reading