Research has shown this: Our cats are watching us


Have you seen any of these memes on Instagram from people who have cats, who look at them a little strangely, as if organizing a plan to conquer the world? Or as if conspiring against them?

Well, the truth is somewhere in the middle. And the answer was given by a very interesting research of Japanese scientists.

Cats seem to watch their owners as they move around the house and are even surprised if they show up from somewhere they are not expecting.
The research supports the idea that cats retain a mental “photo” of their owners, even when they cannot see them.

Cats are notoriously unexplored creatures. Although previous research has shown that cats will look in the right place if you hide their food and wait to see their owner’s face if they hear their voice, it was not clear how this ability translates into real life.

“It is (also) said that cats are not as interested in their owners as dogs, but we had doubts about that as well,” said Dr Saho Takagi of Kyoto University.

To investigate, Takagi and his colleagues recorded what happened when they locked 50 domestic cats in a room and repeatedly heard their owner shout their name, followed by the voice of a stranger.

Eight observers watched these recordings and rated each cat’s level of surprise based on the movements of their ears and head.

“This study shows that cats can mentally map their location based on the voice of their owner,” said Takagi, whose study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“(It suggests) that cats have the ability to visualize the invisible in their minds and can even understand much more than we think.”

Anita Kelsey, a feline behavior expert from the United Kingdom and author of Let’s Talk About Cats, reports:

“Cats have a close relationship with us and most of them feel safe with us so our human voice would be part of this bond or relationship. “When it comes to cats suffering from separation anxiety, I usually do not support the reproduction of the owner’s voice at home by a machine, as this can cause stress when the cat hears the voice but does not know where its human is.”

Surprisingly, the cats did not show the same surprise when their owners’ voices were replaced by cat meows or electronic sounds as part of the study. This is probably because adult cats do not tend to use their voice as their primary means of communication.

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