Science now has data on something that cat owners knew all along -especially if you make an effort to use your cat's name a lot. A team led by Dr. Atsuko Saito of Sophia University in Japan studied cats' reactions to a string of words that included their names, all spoken in the same intonation. Cats do recognize their names, even when spoken by someone they don't know. It was also made apparent that this information is more important to humans than to cats.
But while a cat might pick up on its owner’s coos, the research adds to previous evidence that felines were seemingly reluctant to make much effort in return. Research by the team has already shown that while cats could tell apart their owner’s voice from a stranger’s, they often paid little heed.
Saito added that the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, sheds light on the human-cat relationship. “Cats understand human cues better than many people think,” she said, although she added that did not mean they would respond as their owners might hope.