Many cat parents spend a lot of energy in choosing the right namesake for their new pet a decision that will last a lifetime in the end. For some, the name of their cat comes to them right after meeting their furry pal However, for other people it may require a couple of days or even a couple of hours for ideas on Pinterest for the ideal name. Does your cat understand the name they have chosen? Do they recognize when they hear your voice? The research suggests that they could be, in both cases.

Your Cat Knows Your Voice

When it is to talk to their human cats tend to be more subtle than dogs rushing in to be petted and hug immediately after you step into the door. However, they may know through your voice and your voice, that you were the one that walked through the door in the first place, as per a study that was published by the journal Animal Cognition.

Researchers looked into whether cats could tell if they were speaking to their owner or a stranger who was uttering their name. To test this theory, researchers played three voices that uttered the name of the cat as well as their owner’s voice. The owner was completely out of view during the test and the cats’ responses to the voice recordings were recorded and classified.

The cat’s response to voices using orienting behaviors (they moved their heads and/or ears) but not with a communicative response (they voiced or moved their tails). However, researchers speculated that the cats showed an atypical response when their owner called their name. This suggests that they could recognize the voice of their owner versus strangers. They might never be able to have “talked” back (displayed communicative behavior) However, they did display signs that they recognized that it was the person who spoke to them.

Hey, That’s My Name!

Cats can also hear their owners’ voices however, do they recognize what their name is? Researchers conducted a second study, which was published in Scientific Reports in order to test whether cats could differentiate their names from similar words. It was also determined if it mattered when it was their owner or someone else saying the words, and whether their response was different if they were in a household with multiple cats or not.

Again, they discovered that the majority of cats displayed an inward-looking response to their name instead of a more communicative response. They observed that cats react differently to their names in contrast to when their owner spoke four common nouns similar in length and pronunciation to their names. The behavior response they displayed to their name was evident regardless of whether the owner or stranger spoke. It was also unimportant if they came from an all-cat or a multi-cat household they were still able to recognize their names. The only instance when things weren’t as obvious was when the names of the other cats that resided alongside the cat being tested were mentioned in addition to the cat’s name (for cats who live with more than four cats).

They concluded in order for cats to respond to their name being mentioned the name has to be meaningful to them. It is likely that they connect their name to good things (e.g. cuddles, food, or time with friends) as well as possibly negative things (e.g. trips to the vet clinic, bath time) as pets’ parents use their names when these positive or negative events occur. The name of their pet is likely to be the name that is said directly to their cat most often.

Who’s My Favwat Fluffy Wuffy?

The two studies previously mentioned have shown that there are intelligent cats that are aware of their names. However, does this mean that you’re talking to your owner all the time, in case they are able to hear their name? Are they able to tell when their owner is talking directly to them, and not to a human family member? It’s apparent that the tone you use can give your cat an indication of whether you’re speaking with them.

A different study that was released in Animal Cognition looked at the possibility that cats could detect whether they are being spoken to by their owners or are directed towards the cat or not. In other words are your cat aware that you’re talking to them, or to a person? The research was based on the idea that pet owners tend to speak with their animals in the same manner as how they speak to children (i.e. babies talk). The researchers classified the way pet parents spoke to their pets to be “cat-directed speech” and to adults in the form of “adult-directed speech.” The researchers sought to determine whether cats actually react better to cat-directed language (child-like dialogues) and also if the cat responds differently to whether they were with their owners or a stranger talking to them in that manner.

They discovered that cats responded to their owner’s speech differently when they spoke cat-directed language vs. speech that is used to address adults. However, the cats did not differentiate between the two kinds of speech when speaking to a stranger and the cats only did so when it was spoken by their owners. This study shows that there’s a unique connection between cats and their owners and that humans as well as cats develop their own language.


If your cat might not come running each when you call them (or sometimes not even at all) They probably heard your voice. Check their ears and heads Do they look a bit agitated when you call them or speak to them with the same sound? The subtle movements maybe your cat’s way of telling you, “Yes, I hear you” -even if they opt to not pay attention!


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