Does My Cat Know Her Name?

When you call Mittens, what happens? Does she come, or does she choose to ignore you? We’ve heard many people (non-cat owners) say that cats don’t know their names like dogs do. Several studies have proved that cat owners are right; of course, their kitty knows her name and she will, occasionally, when she feels like it, come when called.

Certainly, cats are different from dogs, but both know their names and know that you want them to come when you call them. Depending on her mood, that may or may not happen with your cat (and some pooches we know).

A study done in Japan found that cats know their names and recognize their person’s voice. Even when a stranger called the study cats by their name, they still responded. They turned their heads, or their ears twitched, and sometimes they even approached the stranger.

So if Mittens does know her name, why doesn’t she come running as Rover does when you call? Both you and your kitty will be happier if you stop comparing her to your dog. Love Mittens for who she is; a complex animal with her own decision-making agenda. Maybe she needs a snooze, perhaps she is bird watching from the window bed, or it is possible she just wants to keep you guessing! Sometimes Mittens feels like doing her own thing, and that is okay.

Researchers also found that cats respond better to certain vowel sounds, particularly a “long ee” sound. So, next time you get a kitten, you may want to consider names with that sound, like Fluffy, Zoe, Maxie, Charlie, or Ernie! Like dogs, cats also like high-pitched chit-chat and respond more readily to it.

Cats (like all of us) are still evolving. It wasn’t too long ago that most cats were outside pets, perhaps coming in only at night or in bad weather. But now that more of us live inside with our feline, Mittens is getting better at reading us and understanding what we want.

Never use your pet’s name and then punish them; that’s a good excuse for your buddy to start to ignore you. Give Mittens a reason to respond to her name – call her and offer her a tasty treat, and you’ll find that she will respond far more often. But don’t worry, she’s still a cat, and there will be days she ignores you.

The more we understand our best friends, the closer our relationships with them will be (and they may even come when called!).