Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh
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When you call, does your cat respond?

Does your cat really recognize your voice?  Does it care?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Cognitive scientists at the University of Tokyo were testing whether cats recognize their owners’ voices.  They worked with twenty cats and owners, at their homes.

They first recorded owners calling their cats.  Later, they recorded three strangers calling each cat's name.  Each tried to call exactly as the owner did, matching pitch and style.  If the owner used kitty's full name?  Here, Cleopatra!  If owners used a nickname?  Here, Cleo! 

Then, back at home, the researchers played the recordings to the cats while their owners were out of sight. 

They observed kitties' responses.  Ear, head, and tail movements.  Pupil dilation.  Meows.  Any motion.  Plus response magnitude  For example tail twitch versus tail lash.

Result?  Cats reacted more strongly to their owners’ voice.  But get up?  Find the voice?  Do anything other than ignore?  Who are we kidding?  They’re cats.

The researchers say cats, unlike dogs, adopted US.  And they haven’t been trained for millenia, to obey.  So?  Ignoring comes naturally.

Or they’re just exhausted from ruling the Internet with their funny funny antics.

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The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.