Cats Recognize the Names of Feline Friends Who Live in the Same Household, Study Finds

A study conducted by Kyoto University found that pet cats may have the ability to recognize the names of felines that live with them

kitten friends
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Cats can remember each other's names when living in the same household, according to a new study.

The research, conducted by Kyoto University and published in Scientific Reports, found cats could identify other felines by their names and faces.

The scientists showed pet cats living in homes and felines living in "cat cafés" photos of cats they resided with to determine their reactions. The cats were then played an audio recording of their owners, or a researcher, calling out a name — either the name of the familiar cat in the photo or a fake name.

Researchers discovered that pet cats spent more time looking at the image when the audio incorrectly identified a familiar cat than when the correct name was said. The study's authors concluded this behavior may have occurred due to the cat expecting the correct name and being confused when it is not stated.

Additionally, the study found that cats who have lived with a family for a more extended time were more likely to stare at a photo of a misidentified cat for longer. However, cats who lived in cafés did not exhibit the same behavior.

"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," the authors wrote.

Scientists believe the number of cats in a home may play a role in the felines' ability to recall 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 shared.

The study's authors are still unsure how cats can remember the names of other felines in their households.

"It is still an open question how cats learn the other cats' names and faces," the scientists wrote.

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