But why was that a big issue anyway?
Cats fare poorly overall in this either/or thinking. They are usually relegated to being “less intelligent than dogs.” Hence the researchers’ surprise that cats can learn their names. But if the cat can recognize and react to the household car pulling up the drive, a specific footstep on the stairs, or a can opener at work, why couldn’t he recognize his name when it is shouted?
Many misconceptions about cats stem from the all-or-nothing naturalist hierarchy:
“Cats are notorious for their indifference to humans: Almost any owner will testify to how readily these animals ignore us when we call them. But according to a study published Thursday in Scientific Reports, domestic cats do recognize their own names—even if they walk away when they hear them. Jim Daley, “Cats Recognize Their Own Names—even If They Choose to Ignore Them” at Scientific American”
Is the cat supposed to know that he should do something about the fact that a human is talking?
He pays attention once he understands that a given sound, usually pitched higher, means something for him in particular. He can have no other point of reference to human speech. – Denyse O’Leary, “Study: Cats do recognize their names” at Mind Matters
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