agony of unrequited love. It may be what keeps us
devoted to the felines in our lives.
recent study confirms what cat owners have long known.
Our cats understand us when we talk to them, they just
donít give a fig about what we have to say.
study by two University of Tokyo researchers, published
by Springer in Animal Cognition journal, determined cats
recognize their ownersí voices from those of
strangers. Conducted by Atsuko Saito and Kazutaka
Shinozuka, the test included 20 domesticated cats from
14 homes that were tested in their own familiar places
so the stress of moving them to strange surroundings had
no role in the outcome of the tests. With the owners out
of the catsí line of vision, researchers played
recordings of three strangers calling the catsí names
followed by a call from the catís owner and then by
the call of another stranger.
charted the catsí reactions by measuring a number of
responses, including head movements, tail and ear
movements, eye dilation and vocalization or whether they
moved their paws.
strangers called their names, the cats had no reaction
to the voices whatsoever. When the cats heard their
names being called by their owners, they moved their
heads and ears to locate where the sound was coming
say it proves that while cats can distinguish their
ownersí voices, their responses are not communicative.
other words, he hears you just fine, he just doesnít
care what you want from him.
guess cat owners will just have to accept and appreciate
that they get even that much of a response from a
species that obviously believes we are on the planet to
do its bidding.
study suggests that the reason cats are so standoffish
might be traced back to their early domestication 10,000
years ago. Dogs are bred and have evolved "to
follow their ownerís orders, but cats have not
been," co-author of the study, Saito, told
Discovery News. They were not domesticated to work with
people as dogs were and consequently feel themselves our
originated in the Middle East from wild cats that killed
rodents and kept them out of farmersí grain stores.
appears that as soon as we welcomed them into our homes,
cats quickly began to train humans to their wills.
studies have shown dogs and horses have an advanced
ability to understand human social cognition. However,
the social cognition of the cats that share more than 45
million American homes with us have not been
investigated as much as that of dogs.
dogs that learned how to "read" humansí
every movement from body language to hand and eye
movement, cats pretty much evolved on their own.
face it. Felines view humans as big, clumsy cats and
treat us the same way they treat each other.
live to be served and adored.
is not to say they havenít developed a keen ability to
manipulate humans. How many cat owners have not
experienced the joy of a hungry cat waking us by
swatting our faces until they rouse us from sleep at 5
a.m.? And we respond as quickly to loud vocalizations of
their demands as we do to a crying baby who needs a
if you are thinking about adopting a cat, donít expect
them to swish their tails and come running like the
family dog when itís called.
cat gives its love begrudgingly and it must be well
earned. Get used to it.