If it seems like your precious kitty doesn’t even know who you are sometimes, you shouldn’t feel bad — turns out they know exactly who you are, and they’re just ignoring you. According to science, cats do indeed recognize their owners’ voices, but because of the ways cats were domesticated, they simply don’t care about it. Which sounds just about right given that, well… they’re cats.
In a study which was conducted at the University of Tokyo, researchers observed 20 cats in their homes for eight months to see if they responded to their owners’ voices. Unsurprisingly, they found that cats would only come when called approximately 10 percent of the time, but interestingly, they observed that cats did have a reaction to humans’ voices. When they heard a human calling, 50 to 70 percent of cats would simply turn their head, and although cats tended to have this reaction whether the human was their owner or a stranger, the reaction was noticeably much stronger when the human in question was their owner. Meaning your cat really does recognize your voice.
Cats simply just don’t care enough most of the time.
“Previous studies suggest that cats have evolved to behave like kittens (around their owners), and humans treat cats similar to the way that they treat babies,” co-author Kazutaka Shinozuka of the University of South Florida College of Medicine explained to Discover News. “To form such baby-parent like relationships, recognition of owners might be important for cats.”
But that also means cats don’t actually feel very compelled to listen to us, even though they know who we are and that we’re speaking to them.
So why aren’t cats more like dogs when it comes to listening to their adoring humans? It all goes back to the way both animals were once, (or twice), domesticated. Dogs were trained to obey their humans’ orders from the early days of the human-canine relationship. Consequently, they’ve evolved to naturally be more responsive to humans. Cats, on the other hand, were given free reign basically from the very start — after all, you don’t need to follow direct orders to be a mouse catcher, right? And so, over time, cats have mostly just evolved to be, for lack of a better term … self-centered.
So basically, yes indeed, your cat is a jerk and they are ignoring you but isn’t your fault; it’s just evolution.