Cats are smart animals with great memories to boot. However, cats have been said to be the most ignorant of their owner’s voices compared to other pets.
They will know that it’s you actually calling and talking to them but they may decide to brush you off and pretend not to hear you.
There have been studies done on other animals like dogs, parrots, and dolphins that showed that they understand human voices. But what about cats?
Can your cat understand it when you call out to them? Can they hear the name but just choose to ignore you?
Well, let’s look into it a little deeper.
Does my cat recognize their name?
Your cat can recognize their name even when it’s used together with other words. You can easily see this by watching out for their reactions when you call them. Cat reactions are not as outright as dogs’ who may bark excitedly, wag their tails happily, or run immediately towards you.
Cats will mostly react in small subtle ways that you may not notice if you aren’t keen enough. Reactions include moving their ears and turning their heads. Sometimes they can also wag their tails. Cats will not always react and they may remain aloof and unmoved when called too.
How can I know if my cat can recognize their name
Someone once said that dogs think that their owners are gods while cats think they are gods. This is very true when you observe the behavior of these two animals.
If you were to call out your cat’s name and your dog’s name at the same time, your dog would react excitedly while your cat will most likely pretend they didn’t even hear you.
Sometimes they can react but their reactions are hardly noticeable if you don’t know what to look for or if you are not keenly observing them.
To know if your cat can recognize it, first call out the name. If they don’t come to you, which is rare unless they are hungry, then watch out for:
- Turning their head in your direction – if they were sleeping, they may even turn it with their eyes still closed or very slightly open.
- Moving their ears – they may lift them upwards or twitch them subtly.
- Wagging their tails – this could be done only once and you can easily miss it.
Led by Professor Atsuko Saito of Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, researchers decided to conduct a scientific study on cats that was published in Scientific Reports. The study was on the responses of cats to being called.
Dr. Atsuko decided to conduct the study after noticing that though cats have been known to respond when called out, no scientific study had been carried out to back up that fact. It was conducted on 78 cafe cats and household cats.
Voices with four words that sounded almost similar to their names were played out for them. The voices belonged to both their owners and strangers so that the cats wouldn’t only be reacting to their owners’ sounds.
After listening to the words, the actual names were called out and reactions were noted. Reactions included them turning their heads and moving their ears.
Although this may be taken as proof that cats can tell apart their names, it has also been pointed out that it doesn’t mean that the feline friends do understand that the names are used to identify them.
Cats could simply associate names with what comes after they are called like treats, cuddles, and disciplinary actions.
How to train your cat their name
Cats are intelligent pets although they may be unpredictable at times. They do have good memories that can remember names and things associated with them.
This is why cats can tell when they’ll get a reward or they’ll be disciplined for bad behavior when their owners call out to them.
Although not keen on instructions and eager to learn like dogs, cats can be able to learn their names and begin responding to them. It’s better if you begin training them from an early age.
However, if you adopted an older cat it’s still okay. You can begin training them whenever they’ve settled into their new home.
Choose a name
First, you will need to choose a name for them. You can look everywhere for inspiration from band names to popular cat characters.
Make it something short, sweet, and most importantly fitting for your adorable feline.
Now that you have the perfect name for your pet, it’s time to begin using it. Whether you settled for Candy or Garvin, use the name when you are calling your pet over.
They may not recognize it at first but if you begin using it before feeding them or before handing them a treat, they will learn fast.
You can give them some cooked tuna which cats really like. They will be able to learn that if you call out the name, you are about to offer something good and will begin hurrying in your direction whenever you call.
Associate the name with good things
It’s good to make sure that you associate your pet’s name with good things. Although treats are perfect, let it not only be treats or food.
Call their name just before playtime or before cuddles. They will respond better to it if they associate it with good things.
Do not use it right before disciplining them when they are only starting to learn it. This will make them view it negatively and not even be enthusiastic about it because a displeasing outcome is associated with it.
As we have seen, cats can recognize the name you give them. The only problem is if they will decide to respond to it or not.
It’s not easy for cats to come running to you when you call them like obedient little pets but it can still happen especially if they are hungry. Their most common reactions will be moving their ears, turning their heads, and wagging their tails.