The conversations of life

It’s official: cats can hear us – they just don’t care, new research says


Cats can pick out their own name in a string of words, according to a new study from Japan’s Sophia University.

The researchers played a voice recording of four different words to a (very cute) feline focus group, followed by their name, keeping all words at the same pitch and pace.

Then they noted the cats’ responses through video recordings and tried the same experiment different speaking patterns.

In very cat-like fashion, the four-legged study participants rarely did more than twitch an ear or move their heads or tails slightly – but it was clear from the researchers’ testing of how much each cat responded, they could tell their names apart in the sentence.

The bad news? Although cats can pick up on calls from their owners, most paid little attention either way.

Given I can barely get a glance in my direction from my cat most of the time, that’s not too surprising.

Perhaps Winston Churchill said it best: “Dogs look up to you. Cats look down on you.”

With a background in nursing, Annie has spent over 20 years working in the health industry, including the coordination of medical support for international TV productions and major stadium events, plus education campaigns with a number of national health organisations. In recent years, she has also taken time out of the workforce to be a full-time carer, giving her first-hand experience of the challenges and rewards of this role.

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