A Name, a Face

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Domesticated cats can remember the names of other cats living with them, CTV reported.

In a new study, Japanese scientists focused on felines living in multi-cat dwellings, as well as those in Japan’s famous cat cafes.

They tested the animal’s memory through a series of audio-visual experiments: Cats would see photos of other felines they resided with and hear an audio recording of the owner – or a researcher – calling that animal’s name. The audio would either say the name of the familiar cat or one that was a stranger.

The team observed that cats from households would take their time to look at the picture when the audio used a different name, compared to when the correct name was used.

That suggested that the animal was trying to understand why the name and the image didn’t match.

Researchers then conducted a similar experiment using the images and names of their human owners. The house pets again stared at the images longer when a different name was used.

This wasn’t the case with cats living in the cafes.

“Our interpretation is that cats living with more people have more opportunities to hear names being used than cats living with fewer people and that living with a family for a longer time increases this experience,” the authors explained.

They added that more research is needed to better understand how cats learned to associate names with people or animals familiar to them.

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