Our feline friends cannot be tamed. For they possess a fiercely independent streak that makes them masters of their own will. These furballs with feet wander everywhere casting (judgemental?) glances at you and turn on their ‘aww-worthy’ charm just when they are hungry. It may seem to many cat owners that their pets just love to ignore them. But a new study says that this may not be true. But like many cat-things, even this has a caveat.
A study has found that cats can not only recognise their master’s voice but also can differentiate between speech directed at them and speech directed at other human beings in the household.
So when you call your little munchkin of a fur-ball with a cute tum-tum (in that tone), the cat is actually listening.
The study has been published in the journal Animal Cognition.
In the study, behaviour of 16 cats was studied in experimental conditions. A number of voice recordings were played. Each set of recordings had three parts.
The first part was voice of the owner in a sweet, high-pitched tone. It was found that cats had keen reactions to this. They meowed back, stopped what they were doing and looked at the source of the voice and so on.
The second part was the owner repeating the same words but in a tone he/ she would use when talking normally to another human being. It was found that the cats had less pronounced reaction to this, just as if they knew the owner was not talking to them.
The third part was voice of a stranger repeating the same words. Cats did not have any reaction to this and appeared to ignore it.
This was first experiment to test how cats respond to cat-directed speech and human-directed speech.
So next time you want your cat to pay attention, be nice and call your twiddly-dum in a voice that goes with the ‘shweet’ words.
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