Animal minds Intelligent Design

At Mind Matters News: Why cats can remember other cats’ names

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University of Kyoto scientists found that they can indeed remember, provided they live in the same household:

But cats recognize their names as signals, not as abstractions. They likely recognize other cats’ names as signals in the same way.

We humans recognize our names both as signals and as abstractions. You may see your name on a bill. That’s a signal: Pay this. But you may also see your name on an old photo. You know it’s about you but it’s not a signal that you should do anything. It’s an abstraction around your identity.

Cats are more intelligent than they have been given credit for in the past but they don’t do abstractions. To the extent that a cat recognizes his own name or another cat’s name, he interprets it as a signal that attention is being paid and that something may happen.

News, “Why cats can remember other cats’ names” at Mind Matters News (May 18, 2022)

Takehome: The researchers are unsure exactly how cats remember other cats’ names. But that may not be a great mystery if we keep in mind what is involved.


You may also wish to read: In what ways are cats intelligent? Cats have nearly twice as many neurons as dogs and a bigger and more complex cerebral cortex.

11 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: Why cats can remember other cats’ names

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    “attention is being paid and that something may happen.”

    Human: Here, Fluffy!

    Fluffy: Human wants me to do something. I need to trip him and break his arm.

    Human: Here, Felix!

    Fluffy: Human likes Felix more than me. I need to ambush and kill Felix.

  2. 2
    asauber says:

    So, our situation is a little more complex in that we use nicknames as well as kitties official names.

    Official: Daisy and Duke.

    Nicknames: Sissy and Bubs.

    They react to their names sometimes, but can opening sounds, vacuum or broom, litter box refreshment, an open window, freezer drawer, are sounds that will draw them almost every time.

    The motion of a bug will always get them to react, but that’s a another subject.

    Andrew

  3. 3
    Silver Asiatic says:

    They react to their names sometimes, but can opening sounds, vacuum or broom, litter box refreshment, an open window, freezer drawer, are sounds that will draw them almost every time.

    Maybe they know that the sound of their names doesn’t give a definite result. It could be a good thing or it could be something they don’t want. The can-opener however is foolproof.

  4. 4
    JHolo says:

    SA: The can-opener however is foolproof.

    Whenever I can’t find my cat I simply open the cupboard and shake the package of cat treats. He is at my feet in seconds.

  5. 5
    asauber says:

    Side Conversation: Daisy likes to lick and try to chew on daddy’s fingers frequently. Do “they” make safe cat chew treats/toys? Thanks for any input.

    Andrew

  6. 6
    JHolo says:

    Andrew: Daisy likes to lick and try to chew on daddy’s fingers frequently. Do “they” make safe cat chew treats/toys? Thanks for any input.

    Nothing that will stop her chewing on your fingers. But, might I make a prediction? Are you a butcher?

  7. 7
    asauber says:

    Jholo,

    I was just thinking of having a replacement chew handy for when I needed my fingers for other purposes. lol

    I’m not a butcher, but I have been working outside a lot lately. Maybe it’s dirt and salt she likes.

    Andrew

  8. 8
    JHolo says:

    Andrew, cats are like God. They are beyond the understanding of mere mortals.

  9. 9
    JHolo says:

    SA: The can-opener however is foolproof.
    Whenever I can’t find my cat I simply open the cupboard and shake the package of cat treats. He is at my feet in seconds.

  10. 10
    Seversky says:

    JHolo/8

    Andrew, cats are like God. They are beyond the understanding of mere mortals.

    Without question, and if I were to join a religion I would be quite happy to worship at the paws of the Great Ceiling Cat.

  11. 11
    asauber says:

    The cats were in some kind of mood this morning. They were chasing each other around the house and you could hear stuff hitting the floor (nothing breakable thank goodness), including cat body thuds. Both of them will take sudden time outs and lay at your feet with eyes half closing. Then in an instant, the chase is back on.

    They seriously are a joy to have around.

    Andrew

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