Scientists in Japan claim that cats can learn their name!

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Science does important research! Scientists in Japan now claim that cats can learn their name!

Japanese scientists played recordings of a cat’s owner saying four words with lengths and accents similar to its name before saying the feline’s actual name. The word hihu (Japanese for “skin”), for example, might proceed the name “Kari.” As the random words—all nouns—played, the cats became less and less interested. But as soon as they heard their name, most moved their ears and heads; a few even got up (above). The scientists saw similar responses when the cat’s name came after the names of other felines he lived with, or when a stranger spoke the words.

Any cat owner could have told these scientists this. More significant is the fact that cats in the wild normally do not use meowing as a communications tool. Only with humans do they meow, indicating that they learn that humans respond to sound, and they then adapt to use the knowledge to gain what they want from their human staff.



  • Lee S

    A crazy study… But at least it confirms us cat owners are not crazy…. And will add to the weight of evidence that cats HAVE evolved to be around us…. Just as dogs have…. But with more attitude :-)

  • Did they run a can opener?

  • jburn

    “their human staff” — Too funny!!

  • Keith

    Some clown in Washington DC will probably propose a multi-million dollar project to further study this matter.

  • Tim

    Dogs have family, cats have staff.

  • Jim Jakoubek

    Having been either around cats growing up and then owning them as an adult I can attest to the fact that cats
    do indeed not only know their names but can and do communicate with their owners or “servants” as they view

    Meowing is something that they do only with their mothers as I understand it and as such when they do it to their humans it is an indication that no matter how old they are, they still view the owner as the “mother cat”.

    They also growl, hiss and purr.

    I, for one am very attuned to this and even the body language the cat displays.

    I can tell instantly, when one of my cats shows any of these behaviors what they are telling me and what they
    want sometimes simply by the infection of said growl, hiss, purr or meow.

    And of course, when this happens, I do as I am told because if I do not, I will be nagged and nagged until I do.

    Indeed, dogs have owners as they are pack animals. Cats over time train their humans well……:):)

  • wayne

    “The Naming of Cats”
    T S Eliot

  • wayne

    Do Big Cats Purr?
    Big Cat Rescue Tampa, Florida

  • Daniel Kaczynski

    When I was was a kid we were dog-people. Cats were quite opaque to me and I
    didn’t like them.
    I am, Gawd help me, 63 years decrepit now, and I have had my sweet little cat friends
    with me for about ten years now. Observing them closely, it became obvious that they
    are far more intelligent and capable than people give them credit for, so I decided to try
    some fun experiments with them using food to reinforce learned behaviors. (Hey, I’ll
    do anything for free food myself!) It became obvious early on that they could recognize
    their names but I have also taught several cats to understand “CHOW!” (regular wet food,)
    “CRUNCHY…..SNACK!” (which means, of course, crunchy snack,) and their favorite treat which
    I serve to them warm: “GOAT….MILK!” Yes, they understand the difference. Sometimes, when
    I give my all gray cat Yoda his regular wet food ( “CHOW!” ) and he isn’t hungry he will just
    sniff the food, then look up at me and start meowing, or perhaps “whining” would be a better
    description. When I then give him warm goat milk he will instantly stick his head in the bowl
    and noisily lap it up. A lot of humans start whining too, when they don’t get their morning coffee.
    If Yodie is outside, and I need him to come in, I will say, “YODIE! Let’s get you some “GOAT…..MILK!”
    and he will come running.

  • Daniel Kaczynski

    I don’t agree that cats think of their people only as a food source. We all need sustenance
    but once that is taken care of I have found that cats are extremely affectionate. Yoda also just
    likes to hang out with me. Right now he in in the Sphinx position right in front of the keyboard.
    I am typing this with one hand. Yes, Mr. Z, Yoda likes your website, too!
    Next up: the teapot is on the stove for some hot water. A nice little cup of Darjeeling for me,
    and some warm GOAT…..MILK! for Yodie!

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