NEW YORK (AP) -- This may not surprise many cat owners, but a new study says cats can respond to the sound of their own names. The researchers said it's the first experimental evidence that cats can distinguish between words people say.
To test for that, the Japanese researchers had animals listen to a list that included words or names of other cats and ended with the cat's own name. The crucial question was whether the cats reacted more to their own name than the words they'd heard previously. And on average, they did.
Scientists said it's because cats have learned to associate the sound of their name with rewards like food or play, or bad things like a trip to the vet. The study was Thursday released by the journal Scientific Reports.