Yesterday, I told you about how we cats sometimes love to talk. Today, I am going to write about what we are doing when the opposite thing occurs. Sometimes, you humans think we are ignoring you. Even a diabetic cat like me who needs special attention does this.
Some humans think this means we cats do not care about our humans. This is not true, and a recent study that will be published in the July issue of Animal Cognition shows why.
One of the co-authors of the study said that “sometimes cats appear aloof, but they have special relationships with their owners.” I do not like that term owner. He is my human, not my owner. But I do have a very special relationship with my human.
The other co-author of the study said that cats have evolved to act like kittens around humans, and you humans treat use like you would a baby. Because of this, he added, “recognition of owners might be important for cats.”
To test this theory, the researchers played recordings of a cat’s human or strangers over speakers, which the cats could not see. To make sure my fellow felines were not in a stressful state, they did this at the cat’s home.
When my fellow felines heard the voices, we didn’t respond with by meowing or lifting our tails. Our responses were much more subtle. We displayed what’s called orienting behavior. We turned our ears and our heads to the sound of the voice. And sometimes, our pupils dilated, which is a sign of powerful emotions such as excitement.
All of these responses happened more frequently when we heard our human’s voice. The difference was even more pronounced when we had gotten used to a stranger’s voice. So we pay attention to our humans, but other humans we learn to ignore!
I started writing to educate you humans about what it is like to be a diabetic cat, but I have found that there are so many other interesting stories out there about us felines that I need to share. I hope you enjoyed this one.