Cats are More Attentive to their Human Companions than Previously Thought
Cats are known for their independence and aloofness, often being viewed as uncaring pets. However, a recent study published in PLOS One shows that this idea is far from accurate. The study, conducted by a team of scientists from Kyoto University, revealed that cats carefully monitor their owners when they are at home, in a way that was previously unknown. The researchers found that cats can use contextual cues within the house to determine where their owners are even if they are in a different room than usual.
Researchers recorded the voices of cat owners calling on their pet’s names, along with other sounds such as the voices of strangers, other cats, and various environmental sounds. The researchers then observed the cats’ reactions when they played these sounds. The data collected indicated that cats react better or are “more surprised” when presented with the voice of their owner. Such surprise is because the cats had already seen the owner leave the room, and thus hearing familiar voice makes no sense to them. However, the cats still react significantly to it, leading researchers to conclude that this means cats create mental maps of where their owners are at all times.
Furthermore, although the cats expressed surprise or confusion when presented with a new or unexpected location, they did not react similarly when presented with non-social stimuli like unfamiliar sounds or movements. This finding led the researchers to believe that cats have an invisible mental representation of their owners and create a map of their owner’s location from the voice. In simpler terms, cats possess predatory senses that allow them to locate their owners regardless of where they are in the house. Hence, the reason they always seem to find us so quickly.
So, while cats may appear to be aloof and independent, they indeed pay close attention to their owners and monitor them as much as their owners monitor them. Perhaps it is time to reform our views of the feline companionship we keep and appreciate our loyal and attentive pet felines for who they are.