Kyaka researchers discover cats’ names and faces

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Kyaka researchers discover cats’ names and faces

A group of scientists from Kyoto University and other institutions have discovered the names and faces of the feline friends they live with. The team, which published its findings in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports, believes that the discovery could prove cats' linguistic cognition.

The team focused on a behavior common to humans and animals - staring at a thing or event longer due to surprise when the unexpected happens - and testing of 48 cats in groups of three or more in regular households and at cat cafes 19 felines at regular homes and 29 at cat cafes. The researchers had a cat listen to one of its cat's names and immediately after it was shown pictures of the name's owner and other cats on a laptop monitor. As a result, household cats tended to stare at the monitor longer when the name was called and the picture on the monitor didn't match. Cat cafe felines, on the other hand, showed no significant difference in their reactions. The team believes that cat cafe animals have fewer opportunities to call their individual names because there are many cats kept at such cafes and that this factor has an effect on how they react to the experiment.

Studies have shown that dogs remember the names of their toys. Similar studies on cats, however, had not advanced as felines exhibit greater differences in expressions of their emotion and behavior from one animal to another.

Saho Takagi, a research fellow at Azabu University in Kanagawa Prefecture who took on this research when she was studying at Kyoto University, said of the significance of the findings, It's been believed that cats are indifferent to things that don't benefit them, but they've learned that they pay attention to communication between their human and feline roommates. I want to learn how cats learn the names and faces of other cats.