Call a dog by its name, and its tail wags, it starts panting happily, and it showers you with love and affection. Call a cat by its name and … well, cats are a bit harder to read. Does the cat even know what its name is?
So researchers in Japan set out to answer the question: Can a cat understand the difference between its name and any other random word that sounds like it?
Research on cats is slim compared with research on dogs. That may be because cats can’t be bothered to participate in the experiments. But in a study published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, Japanese researchers devised a way to get results whether or not the cats cared to cooperate.Researchers conducted a series of experiments in which a person would speak four different words and then say the cat’s name. According to the study, the words chosen were “nouns with the same length and accents as their own names.” If the cat acted differently when it heard its name, the scientists would know that the cat could distinguish its own name from other words.
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