Does your cat ignore you? My three cats are indoor only kitties—always have been and always will be. Because they are interested in the world outside the doors and windows, our family is very careful when entering and exiting our home. Even so, I was beside myself the other day when I could not locate our youngest in any of her regular hideouts (the tiptop of the cat tower, the suitcase under the bed, among my shoes in the closet). I even broke out the bag of cat treats and shook it vigorously. That usually brings her running, but this time it did not. Nearly in tears, I headed downstairs to ask my husband for help.
That’s when I found her. She was next to the television in the entertainment center. Fully awake and watching my every move as I searched the house, calling her name and shaking that treat bag. I suspect she thought it was amusing to ignore me. However, according to a recent study published in Animal Cognition, our cats actually pay attention to us—despite indications otherwise.
To come to this conclusion, researchers played recordings of strangers as well as the participating cats’ owners. While most of the cats did not respond to the voices with meows or other vocalizations, they did display “orienting” behavior—swiveling their ears or heads towards the source of the sound. At times, some of the cats also had dilated pupils, which other studies claim show mental reactions to emotional stimuli.
All of these reactions occurred more frequently when the cats heard the voices of their own owners, indicating their recognition of and interest in the sound.
Does your cat pay attention to you or appear to ignore you much of the time? Chime in with your opinion in the comments.