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Cats recognise owners' voices but choose to turn deaf ears

ANI  |  London 

Japanese scientists have discovered that cats can make out their owner's voice when they are being called, but prefer to ignore it as they never evolved to care.

For research purposes, scientists tested 20 pet cats in their homes and asked the owners to get out of the cat's sight, the Independent reported.

Then the cats were played recordings of three strangers calling them, then a recording of their owner, followed by another stranger.

During the process, researchers analysed the feline's responses, while looking for ears, tail or head movement, meowing, eye dilation or movement such as shifting their paws toward the sound.

The findings showed that cats did try to decipher where the sound was coming from even when called by strangers by moving their head and ears, but they responded more clearly when they heard their owner.

However, they were not motivated enough to get up and move toward the voice, researchers found.

The study suggests that the reason for cats' unresponsive behaviour might be the fact that historically speaking, cats, unlike dogs have not been domesticated to obey humans' orders.

The study is published in Animal Cognition.

First Published: Thu, November 28 2013. 12:51 IST