They may be aloof, and generally act as if they live on a higher level of existence than us mere humans. However, cats are more prevalent than we might sometimes think.
Scientists have shown that cats are effective in interacting deeply with humans. These complex creatures can and will communicate with us, and they even track our movements when we''re not there.
Cats may even recognize their own names, and this is why we mostly associate dogs, according to new research. This feline feat goes much more than we imagined.
Scientists discovered in a recent study that cats resemble the ones they''ve learned previously, and that they may also know the names of people who live in the same household.
It may sound a little strange to think that your cat might know your name, but dogs can be trained to remember the names of dozens of different things, thus it shouldn''t be that surprising.
Perhaps the weirdest part is discovering that these aloof, seemingly disengaged creatures have been surreptitiously listening to us all this time.
"What we discovered is astounding," said animal science researcher Saho Takagi, who lives in Azabu, Japan.
"I want people to know the truth." Felines do not appear to listen to people''s conversations, but they do so in real life."
Takagi and colleagues simulated cats who lived in multi-cat dwellings, whether domestic cats who lived with other felines in a multi-cat household, or cats who lived in''cat cafes'' in Japan, where visitors may meet with the many cats who reside there.
The researchers would present a cat with an image of a familiar cat from the same household/cafe (appellated the "model cat") showing the cat''s photo on a computer screen.
While the image was displayed, a recording of the owner''s voice would indicate the name of the model cat aloud (appell the "congruent condition"); or a different name (appell the "incongruent condition."
During the extreme condition, cats from domestic households spent longer staring at the computer screen, perhaps because they were confused or confused about the character and the gender.
Despite the fact that cats from the cat cafe didn''t show the same delay at the computer during the experiment, maybe because they lived in houses with a variety of other cats (not only a few), and were perhaps less familiar with the chosen model cat (and its name).
"Only household cats anticipated a specific cat face upon hearing the cat''s name, suggesting that they matched the stimulus cat''s name and the particular individual," the researchers write in their paper.
"Upon hearing a cat''s name, the subjects assumed the appropriate face."
Cats may be able to develop these kinds of name-face relationships by observering third-party interactions at home, and it''s possible that cats living in cat cafes surrounded by potentially dozens of cats, without knowing a stream of human strangers entering the cafe don''t have the same opportunity to socially learn other cats.
In another experiment, the researchers conducted a similar research, but resorted to humans as a stimulus in place of the model cat. Cats were shown an image of a person they lived with (in a multi-person house), and at the same time the person''s name was spoken, or another name was said in the depreciation.
When there was a mismatch between the image and the name, cats again tended to look to the computer screen, but this effect was common in households with more people living in them, particularly in households where the cat had lived with the family for longer.
"Our view is that cats living with more people have more opportunities to hear names being used than cats living with less people, and that living with a family for a longer time increases this experience."
"In other words, the frequency and the number of exposure to the stimuli might increase the likelihood of the name-face association," says the author.
While the researchers argue that their study reveals "the first evidence that domestic cats link human utterances and their social referents through daily experiences," this is still a fairly minor study all told, with only dozens of cats, thus the results should be replicated in future research.
To this end, the company acknowledges that we still don''t know much about the fundamentals of social learning in cats.
While the animals in the study appeared to associate names and faces (soliciting individuals and other cats), we still don''t understand in a definitive sense how they develop that connection in their own living environments.
Part of this is simply related to the difficulties of studying cats, which the authors should appropriately observe.
"They write that one cat completed only the first trial before fleeing from the room and climbing out of reach."
Scientific Reports also disclose the findings.