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Cats Recognise Their Owners’ Voices But Never Evolved To Care



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Cats Recognise Their Owners’ Voices But Never Evolved To Care

Post by Neno on Sat 30 Nov 2013, 9:26 am

James Vincent ~ Cats Recognise Their Owners’ Voices But Never Evolved To Care, Says Study

TheIndependent  November 27 2013

Any cat owner will tell you that although they are sometimes kept as pets, felines are beholden to no one.

A new study from the University of Tokyo has confirmed this, showing that although pet cats are more than capable of recognising their owner’s voice they choose to ignore them – for reasons that are perhaps rooted in the evolutionary history of the animal.

Carried out by Atsuko Saito and Kazutaka Shinozuka, the study tested twenty housecats in their own homes; waiting until the owner was out of sight and then playing them recordings of three strangers calling their names, followed by their owner, followed by another stranger.

The researchers then analysed the cats’ responses to each call by measuring a number of factors including ear, tail and head movement, vocalization, eye dilation and ‘displacement’ – shifting their paws to move.

When hearing their names’ being called the cats displayed “orientating behaviour” (moving their heads and ears about to locate where the sound was coming from) and although they showed a greater response to their owner’s voices than strangers’, they declined to move when called by any of the volunteers.

“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,” write Saito and Shinozuka. “This cat–owner relationship is in contrast to that with dogs.”

The study, published by Springer in the Animal Cognition journal, suggests that the reason for cats’ unresponsive behaviour might be traced back to the early domestication of the species, contrasting this with the relationship of humans to dogs.

Recent genetic analysis has revealed that the common ancestor of the modern housecat was Felis silvestris, a species of wildcat that first came into contact with humans around 9,000 years ago. As early societies developed agriculture, these cats moved in to prey on the rodents that were attracted to stores of grain. In the words of the paper’s authors, they effectively “domesticated themselves”.

“Historically speaking, cats, unlike dogs, have not been domesticated to obey humans’ orders. Rather, they seem to take the initiative in human–cat interaction.” This is in contrast to the history of dogs and humans, where the former has been bred over thousands of years to respond to orders and commands. Cats, it seems, never needed to learn.

However, it’s unlikely that this will dismay cat owners (or indeed, be of any surprise) and the paper notes that although “dogs are perceived by their owners as being more affectionate than cats […] dog owners and cat owners do not differ significantly in their reported attachment level to their pets”.

The study concludes by observing that “the behavioural aspect of cats that cause their owners to become attached to them are still undetermined.”

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Re: Cats Recognise Their Owners’ Voices But Never Evolved To Care

Post by slj9999 on Sat 30 Nov 2013, 9:30 am

I'm a Dog lover myself.  Cats are a little scary to me. Seems like they are always giving the evil eye.

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Re: Cats Recognise Their Owners’ Voices But Never Evolved To Care

Post by fonz1951 on Sat 30 Nov 2013, 10:19 am

we have cats, 9 of them. they are indoor/outdoor cats, love them all, mainly because they are low maintenance, no litter boxes, etc. don't care for dogs because you have to take them out to use the bathroom. my wife says that if she ever has to help me use the bathroom i'm outta here, lol. but seriously, my cats do respond to my and my wife's voice and will come running every time. when we go out and return home they come running to our vehicle to meet us, it's so cool. then my biggest cat (tiny) who is one year old and weighs 17 pounds, is 4 1/2 feet long and is just a big baby. 3 weeks ago our neighbors pit bull attacked him, big mistake, the cat jumped on the pit bull's face and sent him packing, it was hilarious.

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Re: Cats Recognise Their Owners’ Voices But Never Evolved To Care

Post by weslin3 on Sat 30 Nov 2013, 11:33 am

Loved your comment Fonz.... I'm a lover of dogs & cats, well all animals... But feel the same way you do on how your cats respond to you, they all also do the same with us. Never underestimate the Cat... Lol

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Re: Cats Recognise Their Owners’ Voices But Never Evolved To Care

Post by ahill on Sat 07 Dec 2013, 12:42 am

I've had both cats and dogs as a kid.  

Dogs have masters but cats have staff. ...:D 


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