Will this finally settle the war of which pet is better: dog or cat? Previously, cats have been defended for their sheer indifference and sketchy ability to respond to name-calling on the basis that they may not recognise the owner's voice.
However, a study by Japanese researchers from the University of Tokyo conducted an experiment which was published in Animal Cognition around vocal recognition may disprove that.
Atsuko Saito and Kazutaka Shinozuka took a sample size of 20 cats - 19 were indoor cats and one was an outdoor cat partying it up at a college campus.
They then recorded the owners calling the cat's name. They then got three other people of the same gender as the owner to say the cat's name and then, without the presence of the owner, the cat was played all four recordings.
The researchers then evaluated the cats responses looking at ear, head, and tail movements. They also looked at the type of response for instance if the tail twitched or lashed.
What they found was that the cats didn't react strongly to the stranger's call, and did react strongly to their owner's voice. However, the reactions, reported Jezebel.com, were "more "where's the voice coming from" kind than the "I should respond to that" kind".
The reason for dogs being more responsive to humans may, the article ventures, be because dogs have been domesticated for 15,000 years while cats have only been domesticated for 9,000 years. However, the study found that despite cats being indifferent bastards, that doesn't mean their owners love them any less.
The Independent quoted the scientific paper as noting although “dogs are perceived by their owners as being more affectionate than cats […] dog owners and cat owners do not differ significantly in their reported attachment level to their pets”.