Two cats relaxing

Cats know each other's names, study shows

Cats who live together end up learning each other’s names, researchers have found.

The study in Japan included 48 cats that lived with at least two other feline friends. The team focused on a behaviour common to humans and animals — staring at something for longer due to surprise or confusion when the unexpected happens.

The researchers from Kyoto University monitored the responses from the cats after showing them a photo of one of the other cats they lived with, and playing a recording of their owner saying that cat’s name or a completely unrelated name.

Two cats

Results showed that the cats spent a longer period of time staring at the photo when the name of the cat did not match the pictured animal. And the longer that cats had known one another, the longer they looked at photos associated with the incorrect name of the cat.

The study also indicated that it’s possible cats get to know the names of their human family members.

Discussing the possible motive cats have for remembering names, the researchers said that one explanation has to do with competition. For example, a cat might receive food when the owner calls her name but not when she calls another cat’s name.

A report on the findings published in the journal Nature noted that one cat “completed only the first trial before escaping from the room and climbing out of reach”.

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