A recently conducted research by two Japanese researchers found out that cats do not really take notice of their owners. Testing the reactions of cats to their owners, the two researchers from the University of Tokyo showed that although pet cats recognize their owners’ voices, they choose to ignore them.
Twenty house cats were used in the study by Atsuko Saito and Kazutaka Shinozuka. Recordings of their owners’ voices were played with the owner out of sight. Strangers’ voices were also played and the cats were observed for their behavioral response to the voices.
The results noted were that the cats recognized the owner’s voice and showed reactions that included ear and tail movement, head movement, dilation of the eyes and vocalization. Others showed displacement such as shifting their paws. The behavior seen in some cats of orientating was to identify where the sound was coming from but none cared to investigate how the owner was faring.
This apparent disinterest in the welfare of the owner has been linked to evolutionary history and the evolution of cats. The ancestors of cats domesticated themselves when man started growing food. Stored grains attracted rodents and the cats came in to prey on the rodents, thereby establishing a ‘working’ mutually beneficial relationship with man. This is unlike dogs that were domesticated by man in an effort to get an animal that would help him in some areas such as hunting and security. This means that cats have not evolved to obey human commands in contrast to dogs that will readily learn and follow instructions.
This may not come as a surprise to any cat owners. They will readily tell you that cats are beholden to no one, they are just ignorant. The bonding levels between a pet owner and their pet however remains similar despite the species of pet and researchers say that the behavioral aspect of felines that makes their owners attached to them is yet to be determined.
So there you have it, next time you call your cat and it just gives you the famous blank stare, remember you did not domesticate it, it domesticated itself.