Skip to main content

Study confirms cats recognize the names of their fellow felines

two cats sitting together
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s now believed that our cute kitties have the ability to remember the names and faces of the feline friends that they live with.

The study, which was conducted by Kyoto University in Japan and published in Scientific Reports, involved showing pet cats pictures of the felines that they live with and those they have never met before in cat cafés.

The cats would then listen to either an audio recording of their owners or one of the researchers saying the name of a familiar or fake feline.

At each stage the cat’s reactions were monitored and recorded. Researchers were able to determine that these pet cats spent a longer period of time looking at the pictures of their feline friends when the incorrect name was called out.

This suggested that the animal’s became confused when the correct name was not said - something that they had expected since they were already familiar with the other feline.

two bengal kittens on sofa

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Another of their findings showed that family cats would stare at pictures of unfamiliar cats for much longer - perhaps trying to figure out who they were and if they knew them.

Café cats on the other hand did not demonstrate the same behaviors as the pet felines.

"Whereas house cats probably learn by observing the reaction of the specific cat whose name was called, café cats are more likely to hear different names called by different guests, making such learning more difficult," explained the study’s authors.

According to the researchers, it could be possible that the number of cats found living together in one home could affect the animal’s ability to remember names.

"The number of cats living together might have an influence, as more cats probably means fewer opportunities to learn specific cat name-identity relationships," the researchers explained as part of their study.

Chloe is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, who has more than ten years’ experience in creating animal-focussed content. From National Geographic to Animal Planet, Chloe’s passion for creating fact-filled features all about wildlife and the environment is evident. But it’s not just wild animals that Chloe’s fascinated by. Having written more than 75 articles for PetsRadar - and having her very own four-legged friend by her side - it’s no wonder that her love of dogs (and, of course, cats) has grown exponentially.  

Her website, www.chloemaywrites.com, and social media pages - @ChloeMayWrites on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter - showcase her knowledge through daily facts and trivia tidbits. For example, did you know that snails have teeth?!