If your cat is ignoring you and you tell yourself it’s because the kitty doesn’t know when she’s being spoken to, I have some bad news. It just might be wrong with you.

A new study out of France shows your cat does probably knows when you are talking to her. He found that kittens respond differently when their companions speak to them directly than when they hear the voices of strangers or even their owner’s voice addressing another person.

Charlotte de Mouzon, an animal behavior and cognition researcher at the University of Paris Nanterre, led a team that worked with 16 cats to learn how they responded to pre-recorded clips of their companions and strangers speaking in both “cat tones” and more human tones. . human conversational tones.

The cats seemed to be able to tell the difference between owners speaking in feline tones and the chatter of ordinary people. They also did not seem to respond to strangers in a significant way, regardless of whether they spoke in a tone different from that directed at other people.

The study is published this week in the journal Animal Cognition, and while the findings are based on a small sample, it adds to the growing body of evidence that cats, who may seem aloof, can identify and bond with their owners.

However, there is reason to take heart if your kitty is reserved. The authors acknowledge that the sample size of the study may not be large enough to represent all cats.

In addition, the research builds on previous research into animal responses to the different tones that many people use when talking to animals and babies or anything else that we wouldn’t expect to respond in the same language.

This can mean that if you speak to your cat in the same tone as another person, she may not know that she is being addressed.

But the researchers believe the study supports recent research that debunks the perception of cats as less loyal and loving than, for example, dogs.

“Indeed, cats, which not so long ago were thought of as independent and ungrateful creatures, are actually very capable of creating and fostering human attachments,” the paper concludes. “Our results highlight the importance of individual relationships for cats.”

Please share these findings with any cats in your life, and make sure you set the right tone.

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