There is a new study out of the University of Japan that explains a lot to people who find cats, including their own, remarkably aloof and uninterested in them. The study suggestions that pet cats are capable of recognizing their owner’s voice but simply choose to ignore them. This, it is suggested, was the result of a long evolutionary history that selected such dismissive traits.
Researchers Atsuko Saito and Kazutaka Shinozuka observed cats in their homes in their interaction with owners and strangers. They found physical responses to their owner’s voice — greater responses to their owners than to strangers. They declined to move when called by strangers. Moreoever, “these results indicate that cats do not actively respond with communicative behavior to owners who are calling them from out of sight, even though they can distinguish their owners’ voices . . . This cat–owner relationship is in contrast to that with dogs.” In other words, dogs want to be with their owners, even when they cannot see them.
What is particularly interesting is that, unlike dogs, the researchers believe that cats (Felis silvestris, a species of wildcat) essentially domesticated themselves by seeing farms with grain and rats as a good deal. Accordingly, they were there on their own accord and on their own terms. “Historically speaking, cats, unlike dogs, have not been domesticated to obey humans’ orders.”
So there you have it. Now I am going to go play with my dog, Luna (who is in “the dog’s house” after, when we all went to play in the Turkey Bowl, jumped up on the counter and grabbed the beautiful floral centerpiece sent by my mother in Chicago and shredded it. That is an entirely different human/dog command issue).
38 thoughts on “The Truth About Cats and Dogs: Study Find Cats Recognize Owners’ Voices But Choose To Ignore Them”
“Prairie Rose, Do you remember “Socks” from the Clinton administration? Jimmy Carter’s daughter had a kitty also.”
Sorry, Lottakatz, the Clinton administration was back when I was not observing the political scene very much. And, I was a wee babe during the Carter administration. Glad to know First Felines are not as sparse as I had thought they were! 🙂
Study Find MEN Recognize Wives Voices But Choose To Ignore Them
Nope. It’s a work of fiction. However, the tiger – Richard Parker – is named for a character in “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket” by Edgar Allen Poe which was inspired by true events in Poe’s time. Shipwreck tales are nothing new. They’re good grist for the drama mill. What’s odd about that though is that Louis L’Amour really was shipwrecked in WWII on a desert island ala Tom Hanks in “Castaway” but refused to write about it or even talk about it. His reasoning was “no one wants to hear about that”.
haha i’ve always referred to her as the “princess”. she has “going outside” issues. absolutely will not go outside. she accidentally went through a hole in a screen the others go out of and got stuck outside. 4:30 in the morning and i thought a wolverine was trying to break in.
i may try getting her a special litter box.
Prairie Rose, Do you remember “Socks” from the Clinton administration? Jimmy Carter’s daughter had a kitty also.
“There have been 12 First-Kitties. The last one was a black American Shorthair which was George W Bush’s cat “India”. It died in office. :-(”
Sheesh, I do not recall the media ever acknowledging a First Kitty. Thanks for the info. I agree, poor kitty!
“The Obama’s want to get one but unfortunately due to daughter Malia’s allergies they won’t be getting one any time soon. Their dogs Sunny and Bo are hypoallergenic breeds. Sunny is a Portuguese Water dog.”
I think Sphinx are fairly hypoallergenic, but I just can’t imagine cuddling one. I like my kitties fluffy.
“BTW I bet your Calico is a female? Lucky guess? No…”
Yeah. I’m not so lucky as to have a once in a blue moon male (albeit sterile) calico. We’ve had polydactyls, though!
There have been 12 First-Kitties. The last one was a black American Shorthair which was George W Bush’s cat “India”. It died in office. 🙁
The Obama’s want to get one but unfortunately due to daughter Malia’s allergies they won’t be getting one any time soon. Their dogs Sunny and Bo are hypoallergenic breeds. Sunny is a Portuguese Water dog.
BTW I bet your Calico is a female? Lucky guess? No…
@Pete – Your “Queen” may have some stress issues. Females tend to spray urine everywhere when they are under heavy stress. It’s always best to get each cat their own litter box. You may even make a privacy screen out of an inverted cardboard box with a archway cut in the front. That also cuts down on the smell.
She is spreading litter offer her feces as a stealth-manuever. She is instinctively trying to cover up her scent under what she thinks is common dirt. But if she had her own private litter-box she would probably act differently.
Also they and hold down on the loud talking, shouting, playing the TV/radio too loud, loud arguments with family members, shouting at the cat, etc. All that can cause undue stress to a visiting cat. Try and make a high perch for them that they have to climb up to get to. Always have fresh water for them. Having their own feed bowl is a plus but not always mandatory.
@lottakatz – Yes the QUESTION mark tail always gets me. Then there’s the puffed out tail due to her seeing another cat outside. She turns into a psycho cat and targets bare feet. That tail communication is now loud and clear to us here. LOOK OUT psycho-cat on the lose! 😆
@Gene H. – Yes that’s the movie… but what’s your opinion on it being based on true incidents? I just can’t see a big predator in a small boat with other animals. Why wouldn’t the others go overboard to get away from it? They can swim until the sharks get them.
Did you see that news story about the Cougar that got the zoo lady recently? The 911 tapes were chilling. I had a “peaceful” run in with a wild cougar once but I was scared silly the whole time. It was in the Southern New England woods back in the late 80’s on the side of a mountain cliff I was illegally trying to climb (got caught too at the summit by the park warden). It never bothered me once. It just walked by in front of me by 30-40′ and went into the high under growth. It lasted a full 30 minutes. I froze the entire time. The park warden was highly skeptical as he thought they didn’t exist in Connecticut. But they do. Has been in news recently too.
Gene: “…they are very different from dogs…”
Cats are little aliens. And they have an agenda.
SOTB re cat communication, cats also communicate to each other with their tail position and movements. We had a kitty born without a tail and the better half always thought that within our pod of kitties (all gone now, sigh) he was probably ‘disabled’ and didn’t get to participate in the catculture fully. There is a ear and as you speculate, an eye language too.
I love calicoes and always have at least one around. The White House needs a First Feline for a change.
We had a cat who could open doors. He shocked a few people by opening the bathroom door on them.
Once upon a Thanksgiving, quite a long time ago, as my family and I passed around a plateful of dark and white turkey meat, bowls of mashed potatoes, and boats of gravy, we heard a crash from the kitchen. Our calico had knocked the carving knife and fork to the floor and was helping herself to her own turkey dinner. When we rushed in she tried to make off with a hunk but ended up sending the rest of the bird to the floor. Thankfully, most of the meat had already been plated, so we weren’t out any good turkey leftovers!
My sister’s cat is great at sliding open the screen patio door, let’s herself out, and let’s in the varmints she then proceeds to massacre, it’s a blood bath. She only leaves the feet, eats the rest. Nice kitty.
My dog and I have trained each other so that we get along great. I give him a treat after he comes back in after doing his business outside. He trained me to give him a treat before he goes out. I still have to give him one when he comes in. He always waits for permission before jumping on the furniture or in the car.
I had several cats and always felt grateful that they allowed me to live in their house.
i’ll have to check about that. he does seem to scratch more than any other animal i’ve got.
You old cat shaver you. 😀 Sparta might have allergies. I have a cat who was doing the same thing, just not quite so bad. He’d pull out silver dollar size patches down his flanks and on his belly. I took him to the vet and said it was a skin/respiratory allergy. They prescribed something called AC/2 to spray him with and it helps a lot. They said it was basically liquid Benedryl for cats. He hates being sprayed with it, but he’s always grateful afterwards. Works like a charm, but it is noticeably a seasonal thing for him.
1, November 29, 2013 at 4:16 pm
Cats will use a litter box without training.
that’s what i thought until i agreed to keep my daughters cats for her. one, the female, “chunk” craps beside the litterbox. never in it. when she pees she backs up against the side and most of it goes outside the box, but then she kicks a bunch of litter out to make a real mess.
the other is a neurotic male who is missing his right rear paw (birth accident) she calls him “sparta”, i call him “yard”. he will answer to his name, when she calls him.
he decided a couple of months ago to pull out all of the fur on his body, except for the three fingers width along his back that he apparently couldn’t reach. picture a three legged cat with a mohawk.
at first my daughter accused me of shaving the cat until she saw him pulling his fur out.
he has stopped doing that, at least. the neighbors were beginning to talk.
“The Life of Pi” is based on a novel of the same name.
Oh I forgot to point out how the USAG John Ashcroft hated Calico (aka Tortoise-Shell) cats. Try Googling his alleged belief in crazy things about Calicoes. No wonder the Bush II Administration was so screwed up.
“Or a product of natural selection, but enough about that.”
Yes indeed… 😉
My favorite big cat is the Leopard. I like how it tries to outsmart Lions knowing they are not good tree-climbers. They take their catch-of-the-day up high into a tree and just sit there looking back at them smugly saying: “What?”
In India Elephant drivers will wear a rear-faced mask to outsmart the Bengal Tigers. They seem to never attack humans if they are looking at them. So the mask looks like its looking backwards at them. And Tigers DO like water! I’ve seen it. Also the Lake Van Cat (small white domestic) in eastern Turkey and southern Armenia LIKES to swim in the lake! Go figure…
I know you like movies like me. But do you believe any of that story about the ship-wrecked boy with some animals and a Tiger? The Tiger ate all the animals then turned it’s attention to the boy. Was supposed to be based on a true-story I think.
Next time you get a chance watch your cat’s eye throughout the day and be amazed. Iris color changes and pupil shape-reconfiguration. And there is another eye-lid in there most of us know nothing about. Ancient Ninja warriors claimed to be able to figure out the time of day with a cat’s eye changes. It appears to follow the time of day or something.
And no one has been able to pinpoint definitely where the purr actually comes from. Many good speculations though but still pretty much a mystery. Oh and watch the tail for another non-verbal communication.
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