NPR

Cats Don't Fetch, But Know Their Names As Well As Dogs, Researchers Say

In the study by Japanese researchers, cats reacted to their own name. Researchers say it's the first evidence showing cats can understand spoken words.
A street kitten looks out from behind a panel of lights in Cyprus in 2018. Source: Hasan Jamali

Call a dog by his name, and his tail wags, he starts panting happily, and he showers you with love and affection.

Call a cat by his name, and... well, cats are a bit harder to read. Does the cat even know what his 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 to research on dogs. to participate in the experiments. But in a study published Thursday in the journal , the Japanese researchers devised a way to get results whether or not the cats cared to cooperate.

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