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Study Finds Cats Can Hear Us, They Just Don't Care

A new study from the University of Tokyo revealed that cats are more than capable of recognizing their owner's voice, they just make the conscious decision to ignore them. Ouch. It's believed that somewhere across their evolution, cats never felt the need to develop a responsive relationship. They didn't seem to be domesticated in the same way as dogs, which is why cats tend to be the ones to initiate human-cat interactions.

The study took information from twenty house cats in their own homes, waiting until the owner was out of sight before playing recordings of strangers calling their names. This was then followed by a recording of their owner and then another stranger. Researchers noted that the cat's body language (moving their heads to find the sound, paw placement, tail movement, etc) when their owner's voice was played was far more responsive than the strangers'. This implies that the cats can distinguish the voice of someone familiar, but just decline to engage.

Not that this comes as a shock to any cat owner ever. Cats are notorious for being dismissive, unless it 3am and they decide now is a good time to puke. Their behavior is in stark contrast to dogs, who have been bred and domesticated over time to learn to respond to commands and calls. Whereas cats do as they please, when they please, as often as they please.

The study ends off by observing that there is still no concrete evidence as to what behaviors draw cat owners to become attached to them. I guess it's kind of like how when we were little we were told that if another kid was mean to us, it meant they liked us. It's probably rooted deep down somewhere that our cat's disdain for us just comes from a place of love. Regardless, it doesn't matter. Nothing will keep me from these faces.

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