Bites at Animal Planet

5 Dec

Study Shows Cats Understand Their Owners…But They Don't Care

Just keep talking to your cat. He's listening…sort of. (Photo Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Do you ever pour your heart out to your cat? The good news is that your cat is in fact listening and understands what you’re saying. The bad news is that he doesn’t care.

A study conducted at the University of Tokyo and published in the journal Animal Cognition came to that conclusion by studying 20 cats for 8 months, according to a report by Paw Nation. During that time, each cat listened to audio recordings of 4 people—3 strangers and its owner—calling his or her name. After observing the cats and their physical responses, researchers discovered that 15 of the cats had an increased response to the owner’s voice, according to the study abstract.

In essence, your cat listens and knows who you are, but that’s where the interest ends. Here’s what Paw Nation quoted from the study:

"These results indicate that cats do not actively respond with communicative behavior to owners who are calling them from out of sight, even though they can distinguish their owners' voices," Atsuko Saito and Kazutaka Shinozuka wrote in the study.


How can we figure out our cats? Check out tips on how to solve cat behavior problems and consult our healthy cats guide on You can also get tips from our resident Cat Daddy Jackson Galaxy in his Words of Wisdom video series.

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