By Editorial Staff
Distant, wary, and above all lonely, this is how the cat is often described, unlike the dog, considered man’s best friend. However, a new study carried out in Japan and relayed by the site Science Alert comes to undermine this received idea.
Indeed, cats living in houses would be able to recognize their first names and those of other felines. They would even be able to recognize the first names of people living in the same household.
In order to reach these conclusions, the researchers showed a cat several images: that of a random cat, and that of a cat living with him or familiar to him. These images were displayed on a screen while the name, correct or incorrect, of the cat shown was spoken aloud.
Result: the cat looked at the screen longer when the photo and the spoken name did not match, certainly intrigued and surprised at the error. As the scientists write, “on hearing a cat’s name, the subject expected to see its picture.”
On the other hand, cats living in “Cat cafes” – where you can have a drink surrounded by cats – in the company of a higher number of felines, did not show any particular reaction. The structures being larger, and the cats more numerous, there is in fact less chance that the same first names are pronounced, and therefore that they are retained.
For scientists there is no doubt: cats listen to our conversations, even if they do not seem to pay attention. However, they admit that few studies have been done on these animals, and that how they work remains a mystery.