Vocal recognition of owners by domestic cats (Felis catus)

ArticleinAnimal Cognition 16(4) · March 2013with1,044 Reads
DOI: 10.1007/s10071-013-0620-4 · Source: PubMed
Domestic cats have had a 10,000-year history of cohabitation with humans and seem to have the ability to communicate with humans. However, this has not been widely examined. We studied 20 domestic cats to investigate whether they could recognize their owners by using voices that called out the subjects' names, with a habituation-dishabituation method. While the owner was out of the cat's sight, we played three different strangers' voices serially, followed by the owner's voice. We recorded the cat's reactions to the voices and categorized them into six behavioral categories. In addition, ten naive raters rated the cats' response magnitudes. The cats responded to human voices not by communicative behavior (vocalization and tail movement), but by orienting behavior (ear movement and head movement). This tendency did not change even when they were called by their owners. Of the 20 cats, 15 demonstrated a lower response magnitude to the third voice than to the first voice. These habituated cats showed a significant rebound in response to the subsequent presentation of their owners' voices. This result indicates that cats are able to use vocal cues alone to distinguish between humans.
    • "The recording indicated that the cats displayed orienting behavior but not communicative-they did not meow. Several tests were conducted, however, they all indicated that the cats did not respond more to their owners voice, than to the other recorded voices (Saito & Shinozuka, 2013). Further studies may be conducted in the future to test if there are differences between cat reactions to live voices and recorded voices. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This thesis investigates the differences between prisons with and without Prison Animal Programs (PAP). PAPs have shown potential as alternative rehabilitation though there have yet to be systematic examinations of their effectiveness. Based on data from the State of Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC), a total of six prisons were selected-two prisons were selected from security levels 2, 3 and 4, one with a PAP and one without a PAP, for comparison over a ten month period. Three hypotheses were tested using an independent-samples t-test analysis to see if disciplinary problems, staffing levels, and bed capacity differs between prisons with PAPs versus those without PAPs. A fourth hypothesis was tested using Pearson's product moment correlation, to determine if there is a positive correlation between bed availability and custody staff when controlling for security level. The results of the t-test analysis indicate there is a trend, in regards to the beds and correction officers, between those prisons with PAPs and those without. The Pearson's correlation indicates that there is a correlation when controlling for security level. The information found in this thesis may be useful to help criminal justice professionals seeking data for future PAP programs. The implication of this thesis is that PAP programs have a positive effect on the prisons where they are in use. Future studies may be conducted to track recidivism rates of prisoners where PAP programs are active. Tracking recidivism rates will provide the data necessary to measure the success of the program, as well as give administrators the ability to determine if a program is ineffective. Future researchers have many opportunities to expand and connect the importance of this alternative type of rehabilitation to the health of society as a whole.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2016 · Animal Cognition
    • "By contrast, little research has been done on cats (Felis catus), another companion animal with a long history of domestication (Driscoll et al., 2007; Hu et al., 2014). Like dogs, cats show several human-like cognitive skills, including social referencing (Merola et al., 2015), following human pointing (Kraus et al., 2014), and vocal recognition (Saito and Shinozuka, 2013). To reveal genetic influences on cat behavior could further reveal the effects of domestication on social behavior as a result of genetic change. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polymorphisms of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) have been hypothesized to correlate with social behavior in humans and other mammals. We examined the relationships between owner-assessed personality and OXTR polymorphisms in cats, which have long history of domestication by humans. We analyzed the exon1 region of OXTR in 94 DNA samples (57 males and 37 females) and found 3 single nucleotide polymorphisms. We focused on the G738A polymorphism. Questionnaires containing 30 questions with 6-point scales were completed by the cats' owners. Factor analysis for the scores identified 4 factors, which we named "Openness," "Friendliness," "Roughness," and "Neuroticism." A generalized linear mixed model analysis revealed that cats with the A allele in the single nucleotide polymorphism G738A showed significantly higher roughness scores than cats without the A allele. After dividing cats into 4 sex × neutering groups, only neutered females showed the significant difference between the A allele carriers and non-A allele carriers in roughness scores. Age also affected personality: younger cats showed much higher openness scores, whereas older cats showed higher roughness scores. This study shows that genetic variation in cats may be linked to their personality traits, a finding that may be useful from the viewpoint of companion animal welfare; for example, to match potential good owners and cats using genetic information.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015
    • "While this body of research suggests that domestic cats have developed a range of mechanisms that facilitate their interaction with humans (Rieger and Turner 1999; Turner and Rieger 2001; Schwartz 2002; Miklósi et al. 2005; Edwards et al. 2007; McComb et al. 2009; Saito and Shinozuka 2013; Merola et al. 2015), popular articles have often presented current cat cognition research with a negative spin. For example, one popular article stated cats are ''selfish'' and ''unfeeling'' citing Saito and Shinozuka (2013) to support the idea cats ''can hear you calling their name, but just don't really care'' because they do not approach people in the same manner as dogs when called (Stromberg 2014). Another presented the McComb et al. (2009) research as cats ''manipulating'' their owners (Young 2009). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) has shared an intertwined existence with humans for thousands of years, living on our city streets and in our homes. Yet, little scientific research has focused on the cognition of the domestic cat, especially in comparison with human's other companion, the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris). This review surveys the current status of several areas of cat cognition research including perception, object permanence, memory, physical causality, quantity and time discrimination, cats' sensitivity to human cues, vocal recognition and communication, attachment bonds, personality, and cognitive health. Although interest in cat cognition is growing, we still have a long way to go until we have an inclusive body of research on the subject. Therefore, this review also identifies areas where future research must be conducted. In addition to the scientific value of future work in this area, future research on cat cognition could have an important influence on the management and welfare of pet and free-roaming cats, leading to improved human-cat interactions.
    Article · Jul 2015
Show more

Supplementary resources