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Study Shows Your Cat Might Actually Be Able To Link Your Face To Your Name

You might’ve always suspected that your cat has been able to learn and remember the names of the humans in their family.

Now a new study involving members of Kyoto University, Azabu University, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science confirms what many feline fanatics have long since been convinced of: Cats can indeed match names to faces.

So the next time your cat responds to the name of a loved one, you’re not wrong for believing they know exactly what the name means. The science says you’re right!

An Experiment With Cats & Faces

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The study involved trying to work out whether cats can manage to learn the names of both the humans and the other household pets in their world.

The first stage of the methodology involved showing a mix of 48 felines from households and cat cafes photographs of other kitties that they were familiar with and then reading out loud a mix of real and false names for the cats.

The second stage repeated the process with 26 kitties being shown photographs of humans they live with.

So What Were The Results?

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In both sets of cats that were studied, the savvy felines often seemed to recognize the correct names.

This was determined by the fact that when the cats were given false names, they would tend to stare at the photograph for a much longer period of time. Researchers say this reaction indicated a state of confusion.

Additional factors that affected the results include the length of time a cat has lived with the humans who adopted them and the number of other humans in the household.

It turns out that the more humans a cat lives with, the more likely they are to remember everyone’s names. Researchers suspect this is because larger households offer more opportunities cats to hear humans address other humans by name.

Cats Can ‘Talk’ To Us, Too

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The study suggests that cats can learn how we communicate certain things like names. But we humans can also learn how to understand the way cats “talk” to us.

Here are a few of the ways cats express themselves:

  • Affection: A cat will often express this through head butting you and licking you. They may also rub against nearby objects. Their tail might pop straight up as they walk toward you, or they may groom themselves while looking at you.
  • Boredom: Bored cats may start grooming constantly, keep their tails low, pace, sigh, or vocalize to you.
  • Over stimulation: Cats may bite or scratch when overstimulated. Warning signs include their tail swishing back and forth, ears twitching forward and back, vocalizing, or turning their head toward your hand.
  • Relaxation: Relaxed cats just seem to melt into whatever surface they’re on. They roll onto their backs. Or they pose like a “J” with their head sideways and upturned, the rest of their body lengthened and still. Eyes can convey relaxation, too, in slow blinks, normal-sized pupils, and soft gazes.

You can learn more about how your cat communicates with their body language here!

Are you convinced that your cat can definitely recognize you by name? Do they know the names of any other people or pets? Let us know in the comments below!


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