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Vocal recognition of owners by domestic cats (Felis catus)

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Abstract

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.

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... The following protocol was adapted from the study of Saito and Shinozuka (2013) investigating cats' response to their owner's voice compared to a stranger's voice. In line with this study, we used the habituation-dishabituation paradigm, which allows experimenters to measure subjects' reactions during a one-time visit; therefore, no extensive training was required (Saito and Shinozuka 2013). ...
... The following protocol was adapted from the study of Saito and Shinozuka (2013) investigating cats' response to their owner's voice compared to a stranger's voice. In line with this study, we used the habituation-dishabituation paradigm, which allows experimenters to measure subjects' reactions during a one-time visit; therefore, no extensive training was required (Saito and Shinozuka 2013). Three identical vocal stimuli were presented serially, followed by a fourth distinct vocal stimulus and then a fifth one, that was the same as the first three ones. ...
... As all stimuli consisted of the cat's own name presented to each cat, phonological elements were identical between the owners' and strangers' calls. The purpose of this first experiment was to validate our methodological approach by comparing our results to those of Saito and Shinozuka's (2013) study, obtained in a habituation-dishabituation setting. Series-2 aimed at examining cats' responses to their owner uttering a sentence in CDS compared to their owner uttering a sentence in ADS. ...
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Article
In contemporary western cultures, most humans talk to their pet companions. Speech register addressed to companion animals shares common features with speech addressed to young children, which are distinct from the typical adult-directed speech (ADS). The way dogs respond to dog-directed speech (DDS) has raised scientists’ interest. In contrast, much less is known about how cats perceive and respond to cat-directed speech (CDS). The primary aim of this study was to evaluate whether cats are more responsive to CDS than ADS. Secondarily, we seek to examine if the cats’ responses to human vocal stimuli would differ when it was elicited by their owner or by a stranger. We performed playback experiments and tested a cohort of 16 companion cats in a habituation–dishabituation paradigm, which allows for the measurement of subjects’ reactions without extensive training. Here, we report new findings that cats can discriminate speech specifically addressed to them from speech addressed to adult humans, when sentences are uttered by their owners. When hearing sentences uttered by strangers, cats did not appear to discriminate between ADS and CDS. These findings bring a new dimension to the consideration of human–cat relationship, as they imply the development of a particular communication into human–cat dyads, that relies upon experience. We discuss these new findings in the light of recent literature investigating cats’ sociocognitive abilities and human–cat attachment. Our results highlight the importance of one-to-one relationships for cats, reinforcing recent literature regarding the ability for cats and humans to form strong bonds.
... Other studies have also shown that cats acquire social information from audition. They discriminate between their owner's voice and a stranger's [23], and they can recognize emotional sounds from other cats and humans, by matching vocalizations to facial expressions (Angry vs. Happy) [24]. In addition, they pass visible displacement tasks [25], confirming cats' ability to form mental representations of objects. ...
... This study adhered to the ethical guidelines of Kyoto University, and was approved by the Animal Experiments Committee of the Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University (No. [17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35]. Rating procedures adhered to the ethical guidelines of Kyoto University and Bukkyo There were slight differences across testing rooms depending on cats' familiar spaces (house or cat café). ...
... Ethical statement. This study adhered to the ethical guidelines of Kyoto University, and was approved by the Animal Experiments Committee of the Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University (No. [17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35]. Rating procedures adhered to the ethical guidelines of Kyoto University and Bukkyo University. ...
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Article
Many animals probably hold mental representations about the whereabouts of others; this is a form of socio-spatial cognition. We tested whether cats mentally map the spatial position of their owner or a familiar cat to the source of the owner’s or familiar cat’s vocalization. In Experiment 1, we placed one speaker outside a familiar room (speaker 1) and another (speaker 2) inside the room, as far as possible from speaker 1, then we left the subject alone in the room. In the habituation phase, the cat heard its owner’s voice calling its name five times from speaker 1. In the test phase, shortly after the 5 th habituation phase vocalization, one of the two speakers played either the owner’s voice or a stranger’s voice calling the cat’s name once. There were four test combinations of speaker location and sound: Same sound Same location , Same sound Diff location , Diff sound Same location , Diff sound Diff location . In line with our prediction, cats showed most surprise in the Same sound Diff location condition, where the owner suddenly seemed to be in a new place. This reaction disappeared when we used cat vocalizations (Experiment 2) or non-vocal sounds (Experiment 3) as the auditory stimuli. Our results suggest that cats have mental representations about their out-of-sight owner linked to hearing the owner’s voice, indicating a previously unidentified socio-spatial cognitive ability.
... Through the process of domestication, cats have adapted to the human social environment by establishing long-term social relationships with them , with a consequent bidirectional emotional sharing (Downey and Ellis 2008). However, only a few studies have investigated cat's cognitive abilities and social cognition, as well as its use of human communication (e.g. , Pisa and Agrillo 2009, Saito and Shinozuka 2013. ...
... Cats recognize humans individually, both via vocal communication (Saito and Shinozuka 2013), as well as visually during face-to-face interactions (Collard 1976, Casey andBradshaw 2008). In particular, cats orient their ears and head toward a known voice, distinguishing that of a stranger from their owner. ...
... In particular, cats orient their ears and head toward a known voice, distinguishing that of a stranger from their owner. They show these active behavioral responses only if the subject is "close at paw," i.e. not if the owner calls from outside a door (Saito and Shinozuka 2013). ...
... The recognition of individuals is central in social species. Faces and voices convey information about individual identity and represent the most relevant cues used by human and several nonhuman species for individual recognition [1][2][3][4][5]. Recent studies have reported that some animals have an efficient visual (cattle: [6]; sheep: [7]; horses: [8]; and dogs: [9]) and auditory recognition of their conspecifics (cats: [10]; dogs: [11,12]; cattle: [13]; pig: [14]; and horses: [15]). ...
... Several species of domestic mammals are also able to discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar humans (cats: [16]; pigs: [17]; cattle: [18]; and horses: [4]) and form a memory of specific persons that influence their reactions in subsequent interactions (pigs: [19]; and horses: [20,21]). Moreover, a growing body of literature has demonstrated that domestic species recognize human faces (dogs: [5]; sheep: [22,23]; horses: [24]) and voices (cats: [3]; horses: [20,21]; pig: [19,25]; and dogs: [26]). Animals not only identify conspecifics and humans through separate sensory modalities (e.g., cats: [3]; dogs: [5]; goats: [27]; sheep: [22,23]; cattle: [6]; and cheetahs: [28]) but they are also capable of integrating identity cues from multiple sensory modalities to recognize them (dogs: [26,29]; horses: [30,31]; goats: [32]; rhesus monkeys: [2,33]; crows: [34], and cats: [35]). ...
... Moreover, a growing body of literature has demonstrated that domestic species recognize human faces (dogs: [5]; sheep: [22,23]; horses: [24]) and voices (cats: [3]; horses: [20,21]; pig: [19,25]; and dogs: [26]). Animals not only identify conspecifics and humans through separate sensory modalities (e.g., cats: [3]; dogs: [5]; goats: [27]; sheep: [22,23]; cattle: [6]; and cheetahs: [28]) but they are also capable of integrating identity cues from multiple sensory modalities to recognize them (dogs: [26,29]; horses: [30,31]; goats: [32]; rhesus monkeys: [2,33]; crows: [34], and cats: [35]). This high-level cognitive ability demonstrates that animals form a multimodal internal representation of individuals that is independent of the sensory modality [36]. ...
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Article
Recent studies demonstrated that cats form social bonds with both conspecifics and humans. One of the key factors regulating social interactions is the transfer of emotions between the individuals. The present study aimed at investigating cats’ spontaneous ability to match acoustic and visual signals for the recognition of both conspecific and human emotions. Different conspecific (cat “purr” and “hiss”) and heterospecific (human “happiness” and “anger”) emotional stimuli were presented to the tested population using a cross-modal paradigm. Results showed that cats are able to cross-modally match pictures of emotional faces with their related vocalizations, particularly for emotions of high intensity. Overall, our findings demonstrate that cats have a general mental representation of the emotions of their social partners, both conspecifics and humans.
... In the present study, we investigated the ability of domestic cats to discriminate human verbal utterances. Cats are sensitive to differences in human voice characteristics 17 . Some owners insist that their cats can recognize their own names and words related to food. ...
... We conducted experiments in cats' homes, using a habituation-dishabituation method, as in our previous study 17 . In general, dogs' ability to recognize human utterances are tested using command and retrieval tasks 31,36 . ...
... In Experiments 1, 3, and 4, cats that habituated to general nouns with the same length and accent as their own names dishabituated to their own names. This was true both when their owner's voice was presented (Experiments 1 and 3) and when the unfamiliar person's voice was presented (Experiment 4), in spite of the fact that cats distinguish owners' voices from unfamiliar persons' voices 17 . These results show that cats can identify their own names from other words that consisted of the same number of mora but with different phonemes when they are uttered both by familiar person and by unfamiliar person. ...
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Article
Two of the most common nonhuman animals that interact with humans are domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis catus). In contrast to dogs, the ability of domestic cats to communicate with humans has not been explored thoroughly. We used a habituation-dishabituation method to investigate whether domestic cats could discriminate human utterances, which consisted of cats’ own names, general nouns, and other cohabiting cats’ names. Cats from ordinary households and from a ‘cat café’ participated in the experiments. Among cats from ordinary households, cats habituated to the serial presentation of four different general nouns or four names of cohabiting cats showed a significant rebound in response to the subsequent presentation of their own names; these cats discriminated their own names from general nouns even when unfamiliar persons uttered them. These results indicate that cats are able to discriminate their own names from other words. There was no difference in discrimination of their own names from general nouns between cats from the cat café and household cats, but café cats did not discriminate their own names from other cohabiting cats’ names. We conclude that cats can discriminate the content of human utterances based on phonemic differences.
... Domestication is thus not the only process by which the ability to use human cues can develop. To our knowledge, no study has ever tested the ability of wild felids to discriminate between different human voices, an ability found in their domestic cousins 28 . ...
... The first response of our tested individuals was visual attention, which is typical in studies involving playback experiments 28,35 . However, controversies are found in the available literature in the intensity of the response given to familiar vs unfamiliar stimuli. ...
... These capacities and modalities of responses are similar to those observed in domestic felids, i.e. domestic cats 28 . Indeed, cats in this study reacted mainly with visual attention (and not vocally) as did the cheetahs in our study. ...
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Article
Domestic species can make the distinction between several human sub-groups, especially between familiar and unfamiliar persons. The Domestication hypothesis assumes that such advanced cognitive skills were driven by domestication itself. However, such capacities have been shown in wild species as well, highlighting the potential role of early experience and proximity with humans. Nevertheless, few studies have been focusing on the use of acoustic cues in wild species and more comparative studies are necessary to better understand this ability. Cheetah is a vocal, semi-social species, often hand raised when captive, making it therefore a good candidate for studying the ability to perceive differences in human voices. In this study, we used playback experiments to investigate whether cheetahs are able to distinguish between the voices of their familiar caretakers and visitors. We found that cheetahs showed a higher visual attention, changed activity more often and faster when the voice was familiar than when it was unfamiliar. This study is the first evidence that wild felids are able to discriminate human voices and could support the idea that early experience and proximity to humans are at least as important as domestication when it comes to the ability to recognize humans.
... Furthermore, they can recognize human emotions (e.g., happiness and anger) from human communicative cues (e.g., the vocal tone and facial expressions of people) [4,5] and the state of attention and interest in themselves from a person's gaze [6,7]. Previous studies have shown that cats increased ear and head movements upon hearing their owners' voices, rather than the voices of others [8]. It has been suggested that cats discriminate between their owners and others, and show attention and interest in their owners. ...
... Similarly, they engage in these behaviors with humans [58]. They can also identify the voices of their owners [8], suggesting that they are extremely sensitive to vocal stimuli. Thus, it is suggested that tactile and auditory interactions initiated by the owner are stimuli that can influence the physiological state of the cat. ...
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Article
Physiological samples are beneficial in assessing the health and welfare of cats. However, most studies have been conducted in specialized environments, such as shelters or laboratories, and have not focused on cats living in domestic settings. In addition, most studies have assessed physiological stress states in cats based on cortisol, and none have quantified positive indicators, such as oxytocin. Here, we collected urine samples from 49 domestic cats and quantified urinary cortisol, oxytocin, and creatinine using ELISA. To identify factors influencing hormone levels, owners responded to questionnaires regarding their housing environment, individual cat information, and the frequency of daily interactions with their cats. Using principal component analysis, principal component scores for daily interactions were extracted. These results showed that the frequency of tactile and auditory signal-based communication by owners was positively correlated with the mean concentration of oxytocin in the urine. Additionally, this communication was more frequent in younger cats or cats that had experienced a shorter length of cohabitation with the owner. However, no factors associated with urinary cortisol concentration were identified. Our study indicates that interactions and relationships with the owner influence the physiological status of cats and suggests that oxytocin is a valuable parameter for assessing their health and welfare.
... A growing body of research shows that some animals discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar human voices in domesticated (Adachi et al., 2007;Saito & Shinozuka, 2013), captive (Leroux et al., 2018;Sliwa et al., 2011;Wascher et al., 2012) and wild settings (Dutour et al., 2021). Horses, Equus caballus, have also been shown to discriminate between the voices of different familiar humans (Proops & Mccomb, 2012). ...
... First, whereas most previous research was conducted in controlled laboratory settings, wind conditions in the field vary from day to day (indicated by high variation associated with Date as a random term in our analyses) and playback sounds may have been attenuated by wind and other background noises. Second, we used a novel, long passage of text, whereas other studies have used between one and six words that the animals were already familiar and may have already formed associations with (Adachi et al., 2007;Dutour et al., 2021;Leroux et al., 2018;Proops & Mccomb, 2012;Saito & Shinozuka, 2013;Sliwa et al., 2011;Wascher et al., 2012). It is unclear whether the discrimination shown in these experiments would generalize to novel utterances by the same speaker (see Kriengwatana et al., 2015). ...
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Article
The ability to detect and respond to indicators of risk is vital for any animal and, for many species, humans represent a key threat. We investigated whether wild jackdaws, Corvus monedula, a species that thrives in anthropogenic environments but is regularly persecuted by people, associate human voices with differential degrees of risk and differ in their responses according to local levels of human disturbance. Playbacks showed that nesting females did not discriminate between the voices of familiar men who posed differing levels of threat, generalize to unfamiliar individuals with similar regional accents or discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar accents and voices. They were, however, considerably more wary towards male than female human voices, which may reflect the greater likelihood of negative experiences with men than women. Responses to playbacks also differed across fine-scale spatial locations: females nesting in areas of the colony with high levels of disturbance were less likely to leave the nest cup in response to playbacks and were more wary on their return to the nest than birds nesting in less disturbed areas. Nevertheless, levels of local disturbance did not influence reproductive success. Together these results indicate that, although vocal cues alone may not suffice for wild jackdaws to discriminate between individual humans or generalize across categories of people, sensitivity to cues of gender and local disturbance may help jackdaws to optimize their defensive behaviour and maintain breeding success. Further research into plastic responses towards indicators of human risk is vital to understand and mitigate the impacts of increasing urbanization on wildlife populations.
... Previous studies have indicated that non-human animals are not only able to discriminate among conspecifics, but also between familiar and unfamiliar conspecifics and heterospecifics, including humans (Belguermi et al., 2011;Candiotti et al., 2013;Kazial et al., 2008;Kriengwatana et al., 2015;Lampe & Andre, 2012;Lee et al., 2011;Levey et al., 2009;Marzluff et al., 2010;Mongillo et al., 2010). The ability to discriminate between humans on the basis of vocal recognition has been well studied not only in domestic species (cats: Saito & Shinozuka, 2013;dogs: Adachi et al., 2007;horses: Proops & McComb, 2012; and pigs: Tallet et al., 2016), but also in some wild species housed in captivity, including carrion crows (Corvus corone corone ;Wascher et al., 2012), rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta; Sliwa et al., 2011) and cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus; Leroux et al., 2018). These studies are, however, limited as they are based on captive animals. ...
... The behaviour of the focal individual was recorded 10 s before the commencement of the playback and 10 s after the playback (this time period has been used in previous studies on crows (Wascher et al., 2012) and cats (Saito & Shinozuka, 2013)). This allowed us to establish pre-playback behaviour and to assess the individual's ...
Article
The ability to recognize familiar and unfamiliar individuals is important as it plays a central role in many social interactions. Previous research has found that some animal species can discriminate among conspecifics, and recent findings indicate that some species are also able to discriminate among heterospecifics, including humans. The ability to discriminate between humans based on voice recognition has been thoroughly investigated in domestic species and in some wild species housed in captivity. However, human voice recognition remains largely untested in wild animals living in their natural environment. In the present study, we investigated whether wild Western Australian magpies can discriminate between the voices of familiar and unfamiliar humans using playback experiments. Magpies showed an increase in vigilance when exposed to playback of unfamiliar voices compared with familiar, suggesting that magpies perceive unfamiliar humans as a greater threat. These results provide the first evidence that birds in their natural environment have the capacity to discriminate between humans using vocal recognition. Given that humans can represent a threat for wild animals, this capacity to discriminate based on vocal familiarity may be beneficial.
... Research focused on the socio-cognitive capacity of domestic cats in the context of human-cat interaction has recently increased (Vitale Shreve and Udell 2015). Some evidence of successful vocal communication between cats and humans include, (1) the meowing of domestic cats is more pleasant than that of African wild cats to a human listener (Nicastro 2004), (2) cats emit specific solicitation purring to the owner at feeding (McComb et al. 2009), (3) cats are able to differentiate between an owner and a stranger's voice (Saito and Shinozuka 2013), and distinguish their name from similar sounding words , as well as to match a human face to the corresponding voice (Takagi et al. 2019). A succession of half-blinks followed by a prolonged eye narrowing or closure, also known as slow blink sequence, has been suggested to facilitate positive emotional communication between cats and humans (Humphrey et al. 2020). ...
... We also observed an interaction between the test type and the attentional state of the caregiver: when the caregiver was inattentive, cats showed less sequential behaviors, but only during the unsolvable condition. Our results challenge the popular notion that cats are independent and not people-oriented, and add to the emerging scientific literature that provides evidence that cats can form attachment bond with humans , have successful vocal communication with humans (McComb et al. 2009;Nicastro 2004;Saito and Shinozuka 2013;Saito et al. 2019;Takagi et al. 2019), can recognize attentional states in humans ( (Mertens and Turner, 1988;Ito et al. 2016;, and use human-directed cues (Miklósi et al. 2005;Kraus et al. 2014;Pongrácz et al. 2019). Our results suggest that cats are attuned to their socio-cognitive environment, address intentional behavior at humans to access resources out of their reach, and take into account the attentional availability of humans. ...
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Article
Research on social cognitive ability in domestic cats is limited. The current study investigated social referencing in cats when exposed to first, a solvable, and then, an unsolvable scenario (i.e., reachable and unreachable treats) in the presence of either an attentive or an inattentive caregiver. Cats expressed more gaze alternation ( P = 0.013), but less interaction with the caregiver ( P = 0.048) and approached the treat container less frequently ( P = 0.017) during the unsolvable test, compared to the solvable test. When in the presence of an attentive caregiver, cats initiated first gaze at the caregiver faster ( P = 0.001); gazed at the caregiver for longer ( P = 0.034); and approached the treat more frequently ( P = 0.040), compared to when the caregiver was inattentive. Significant interaction was observed between test and caregiver’s attentional state on the expression of sequential behavior, a type of showing behavior. Cats exhibited this behavior marginally more with attentive caregivers, compared to inattentive caregivers, but only during the unsolvable test. There was a decrease in sequential behavior during the unsolvable test, compared to solvable test, but this was only seen with inattentive caregivers ( P = 0.018). Our results suggest that gaze alternation is a behavior reliably indicating social referencing in cats and that cats’ social communication with humans is affected by the person’s availability for visual interaction.
... Actually, both dogs and cats show interspecies communicative skills [21][22][23][24] and manifest attachment behaviour towards their owner [25,26]. In addition to the olfactory sense, both dogs and cats use body postures, facial expressions and vocalizations to communicate [27][28][29]. ...
... The cat appears to be also fit for an interspecific social system. Cats distinguish the voice of family and non-family members [22,25] and can use human pointing to locate hidden food in a manner similar to the dog [23]. The cat has transferred some intraspecific behaviour, such as tail up, rubbing, kneading and purring, in the relationship towards humans [18]. ...
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Article
Although popular culture describes them as mortal enemies, more and more often, dogs and cats live under the same roof. Does this make them best friends? Can sharing the same social and physical environment make them similar? This study compares the approaches of dogs and cats living in the same household have towards humans and other pets as perceived by the owner. Questionnaires collected from 1270 people owning both dog(s) and cat(s) were analysed. Most dogs and cats living together are playful with familiar humans (76.2%) but dogs have a more sociable approach towards strangers and conspecifics than cats (P<0.001). Moreover, the percentage of dogs that have a playful relationship with the owner (84.0%) was higher than cats (49.2%; P<0.001). Dogs and cats living together eat in different places and show different mutual interactions: more dogs lick the cat (42.8%) and more cats ignore the dog (41.8%) than vice versa (P<0.001). However, most dogs and cats sleep at least occasionally (68.5%) and play together (62.4%; P<0.001). Although some body postures, such as the tail’s position, are interpreted differently by the two species, the greater proportions of dogs and cats show a relaxed response to several kinds of approaches of their roommate. Our questionnaire confirms the common beliefs about the sociability of the dog and the privacy of the cat, but this does not result in continuous internal struggles. Most cohabitations are peaceful. Moreover, it is true that they speak different languages, but they seem to understand each other well and interpret each other's approaches in the right way. Thus, aspiring owners should not blindly believe popular assumptions, but both knowledge and respect for species-specific pet behaviours are essential to establish a balance in the household.
... Similar to dogs (see Miklosi 2015 for review), cats are attentive to human attentional states (Ito et al. 2016), discriminate human emotions (Galvan and Vonk 2016), and show signs of distress during involuntary separation from their owners (Schwartz 2002). Moreover, cats can discriminate their owner's voice from a stranger's voice (Saito and Shinozuka 2013) and they show increased interaction with their owner after a long separation (Eriksson et al. 2017). Interestingly, it has recently been reported that cats' living environment influences their relationships with humans. ...
... Creative with previous findings that cats can discriminate between their owner's and a stranger's voice (Saito and Shinozuka 2013), and prefer the owner to a stranger in the ASSP (Potter and Mills 2015). Following the petting action, cats were released at the start of the exploration phase. ...
Article
Jealousy is a second-order emotion, its main function being to protect a valued relationship from a rival. A basic form of jealousy has been described in human infants, and its presence in non-human animals has recently been investigated in domestic dogs. The current study assessed whether a primitive form of jealousy can be observed in domestic cats tested using similar procedures to those used with infants and dogs. Fifty-two cats were recruited from either Japanese households or cat cafés. The cats’ behaviors were recorded while they saw their owner petting a “social” object (i.e. potential rival: a realistic-looking soft-toy cat) and a non-social object (furry cushion). As jealousy should be expressed in the context of a valued relationship, cat behaviors were also recorded when an unknown experimenter petted the same two objects. Results indicated that cats -- especially household pets -- reacted more intensely toward the soft-toy cat previously petted by their owner. However, cats did not respond differentially toward the two human actors. The absence of other behaviors indicative of jealousy reported in infants and dogs precludes drawing firm conclusions about the existence of jealousy in domestic cats. We consider the existence of some cognitive bases for jealousy to emerge in cats, and the potential effect of cats’ living environment on the nature of their attachment to their owner. More ecologically valid procedures are required for further study of these issues.
... Open and closed gradually [5,7,12,15,29,30,31,36,41,49] Moan Long, often slowly frequency-modulated vowel sounds or "o" or "u" When something is desired + [8] (continued to the next page) P r o v i s i o n a l P r o v i s i o n a l (filter) [7]. However, in the case of the cat, researchers have defined behaviors considered "voiceless" (chatter, hiss, and spits) as vocalization [8,9]. ...
... The same goes for the vocal repertoire as some changes can be noticed when comparing the domestic cat and the forest cat [48]. The cat has evolved to communicate effectively with humans, by using specific vocalizations and by being able to distinguish between individual human vocalizations and human attention [6,42,49]. Instead of creating new vocalization types, it is more probable that the cat has modified the function of some of its vocalizations to communicate adequately with humans [12]. Thus, vocalization as yowling or meowing can be used by the cat in order to express food or attention seeking, illness, stress, loneliness, aging, or need to breed [6]. ...
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Article
Cat vocalizes to communicate with another and express their internal states. The vocal repertoire of the cat is wide and up to 21 different vocalizations have been described in the literatures. But it is more than probable that the repertoire contains more types of vocalizations. An ethogram was created in this paper describing the actual known vocalisations of the domestic cat based on an auditory classification. However, the audiogram allows also a visual classification which can increase the accuracy of vocalization differentiation. The classification can be risky as it is sometimes unclear if different types of vocalizations are produced in different environments or if a unique type of vocalization is used with variation in the acoustic parameters. As an example, isolation calls produced by kittens differ depending on the context. The environment has an important impact on the vocal behaviour and thus feral cats and pet cats vocalize differently. Pet cats are thus able to create an efficient communication with humans thanks to the flexibility of vocalisation behaviours. This review allowed us to create a simple model of the cat vocal repertory.
... Using the already discovered peculiarities of the dog-human relationship as a template, researchers recently focused on different aspects of the human-directed interactions and cognitive capacities of cats. For example there is compelling evidence that cats may show attachment-equivalent ties with their owner (Edwards et al., 2007): cats follow visual cues given by humans (pointing with arm: Miklósi et al., 2005; cueing with gazing: Pongrácz et al., 2018), and they can also recognize auditory stimuli of their owner (Saito and Shinozuka, 2013). What is probably even more important, from the aspect of a safe and satisfying co-existence with cats kept as pets, are the elements of socialization with humans that were also studied (Karsh and Turner, 1988;Reisner et al., 1994), providing knowledge about both the role of genetic (i.e. ...
... The imitation of cat vocalizations occurs mostly during play sessions with the cat. It was found earlier that cats often use vocalizations during cat-human interactions, and additionally they can also recognize their owners' voice from sound recordings (Saito and Shinozuka, 2013). Compared to dog-human interactions, it is a rather specific habit of cat owners that they imitate the vocalizations of their petsby our best knowledge no similar indications were reported in the case of dog owners. ...
Article
Although domestic cats are among the most common companion animals, we still know very little about the details of the cat-human relationship. With a questionnaire, we asked 157 Hungarian cat owners about their pet's behavior, cognitive abilities and social interactions. We analyzed the responses with PCA resulting in 11 traits. The effect of cats’ and owners’ demographic variables on the main components was further analyzed with GLM. The results showed strong similarity to the surveys performed with companion dogs, but we also found features that were mainly cat-specific. We found that women considered their cats to be more communicative and empathetic, than men did (p = 0.000). The higher education owners also considered their cat as being more communicative and empathetic (p = 0.000). We also found that owners use pointing signals more often if the cat is their only pet (p = 0.000), and otherwise they do not give verbal commands often to the cat (P = 0.001). Young owners imitated cat vocalization more often (p = 0.006); while emotional matching of the cat was more commonly reported by elderly owners (p = 0.001). The more an owner initiated playing with his/her cat, the imitation of cat vocalizations was also more common in his/her case (p = 0.001). Owners think that their cat shows stronger emotional matching if otherwise they experience human-like communicative capacity from the cat (p = 0.000). Owners use more pointing signals in the case of those cats that show attention-eliciting signals in more than one modality (p = 0.000). Owners who react to the meows of unfamiliar cats, initiated interactions more often with their own cats (p = 0.000). Owners also think that cats vocalize in every possible context, and this result was not affected significantly by any of the independent factors. Our results show that owners considered their cat as a family member, and they attributed well developed socio-cognitive skills to them. Because cats have an important role as a companion animal, it would be worthy to study cat behavior with similar thoroughness as with dogs. Our questionnaire may provide a good starting point for the empirical research of cat-human communication. The deeper understanding of cats’ socio-cognitive abilities may also help to improve cat welfare.
... Although nearly all of the thirty-seven felid species are solitary as adults, tending to form strong territorial connections as opposed to bonds with conspecifics, freeranging domestic cats have been known to form colonies within which they display preferences toward particular associates (Bradshaw;Izawa & Doi, 1993;Macdonald, Yamaguchi, & Kerby, 2000). Further, just as domesticated dogs have shown a sensitivity to human communicative cues (Udell et al., 2010), domesticated cats have demonstrated similar abilities, in regards to following human pointing gestures (Miklosi et al., 2005), distinguishing between human voices (Saito & Shinozuka, 2013), engaging in social referencing in uncertain situations (Merola et al., 2015;Merola et al., 2012a;Merola et al., 2012b), and distinguishing between emotional states in their owners (Galvan & Vonk, 2016). Most relevant to the current study, domestic cats have been shown to learn via observation with observer cats learning more quickly to avoid an aversive stimulus than cats trained using shaping procedures (John, Chesler, Bartlett & Victor, 1968). ...
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Article
Although felids in general tend to be relatively asocial, domestic cats live closely with humans and other domestic species and thus, might be expected to respond to cues indicating, for example, the reputation of others. Furthermore, recent research with other less social species suggests that social learning is not unique to group-housed animals. Therefore, here we tested seven cat dyads with one cat interacting directly with unfamiliar humans, and another indirectly observing the interactions, to determine whether they would learn the ‘friendly’ and ‘aggressive’ reputations of the unfamiliar humans. Cats did not show a tendency to interact less, or more cautiously, with aggressive experimenters based on contact duration and latency to approach. Cats that observed the interactions indirectly spent more time near both experimenters and approached more quickly on test trials compared to cats that directly interacted with the experimenters, but this may have been due to spending more time crated between trials. We hesitate to conclude that cats are incapable of inferring reputation based on this small sample. It is possible that cats would behave more discriminately if tested in familiar environments.
... For example, wild animals may discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar human voices Dutour et al., 2021). Yet, the majority of research on animals' perception of human auditory cues to assess human risk has been conducted on captive and domesticated animals (Adachi et al., 2007;Lampe and Andre, 2012;Proops and McComb, 2012;Wascher et al., 2012;Saito and Shinozuka, 2013;Ratcliffe et al., 2014;Leroux et al., 2018), while little is known about wild urban-living animals. ...
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Article
Rapid population growth and the urbanization of modern environments are markedly increasing human-wildlife conflict. Wild animals in urban landscapes can benefit from exploiting human resources, but are also exposed to increased risk of human-caused injury, which should favor the ability to perceive and respond to human cues. Although it is well known that domesticated animals use human cues that may indicate threats, less is known about wild animals living in urban environments. Herring gulls (Larus argentatus) in urban landscapes have adapted kleptoparasitic behaviors to obtain human food, often resulting in negative interactions with humans. Here we quantified both the behavioral and physiological responses of free-living urban herring gulls to human shouting. We presented urban gulls with a fake human food item and played back recordings of either a man shouting, a natural stressor (i.e., conspecific alarm call), or a neutral stimulus (i.e., robin song). We recorded behavioral responses and used non-invasive infrared thermography to measure eye-region surface temperature changes associated with the avian physiological stress response. We found that gulls exposed to shouting and to conspecific alarm calls showed similar changes in behavior (indicating high levels of vigilance) and eye-region surface temperature (indicating physiological stress). Both responses were significantly stronger than the responses to robin song. Additionally, the behavioral and physiological responses were positively correlated across individuals. Our results demonstrate that urban-dwelling gulls respond to human shouting and conspecific alarm calls in a similar way, and suggest that infrared thermography is a viable technique to monitor stress responses in free-living birds.
... Many kinds of research on discrimination ability of animals on human individuals used domesticated animals as study subjects, such as the domestic cat (Felis catus; using acoustic cues; Saito and Shinozuka, 2013), the dog (Canis familiaris; using visual cues and acoustic cues; Adachi et al., 2007), the pig (Sus scrofa domesticus; using visual signals and olfactory signals; Koba and Tanida, 2001), the cattle (Bos taurus; using individual humans as cues; Taylor and Davis, 1998), and the lamb (Ovis aries; using individual humans as cues; Boivin et al., 1997). As a result, some argue that artificial selection occurring during domestication could be an evolutionary force influencing animals' ability to discriminate among human individuals (Topál et al., 2005). ...
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Article
To avoid risks, organisms must recognize threatening heterospecies from non-threatening ones via acoustic cues from a distance. With land-use change, humans have encroached considerably into natural areas. Therefore, it is beneficial to animals to use acoustic cues to discriminate between different levels of threats posed by humans. Our study aims at testing this discriminatory ability in Asian elephants ( Elephas maximus ), animals that have been for long history subjected to human interaction. We tested whether eighteen semi-captive elephants could discriminate between voices of their own mahouts (i.e., who take care of the elephants exclusively) and of other mahouts (unfamiliar individuals). The results showed that elephants responded successfully to the commands from their own mahouts, with an average response rate as high as 78.8%. The more years the mahouts had been as their caretakers, the more the elephant showed active responses toward the commands. Female elephants responded to the commands more frequently and faster than males. Also younger elephants responded more frequently and faster than older elephants. We argue that Asian elephants can discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar humans by acoustic cues alone. Proximity with humans may be a factor, as fundamental as domestication, for animals to develop heterospecies discriminatory ability.
... While cats can effectively communicate to people, they also can respond accordingly to the verbal and nonverbal communicatory signals we send to them. To begin with, cats use vocal cues to distinguish between the voices of their guardians and the voices of strangers (Saito & Shinozuka, 2013). And despite being commonly characterized as socially aloof, cats are sensitive to human mood and vocalizations (Vitale Shreve et al. 2017). ...
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Article
Those who claim to be committed to the moral equality of animals don’t always act as if they think all animals are equal. For instance, many animal liberationists spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year on food, toys, and medical care for their companion animals. Surely, more animals would be helped if the money spent on companion animals were donated to farmed animal protection organizations. Moreover, many animal liberationists feed their companion animals the flesh of farmed animals, and some let their cats roam outdoors, foreseeing that they will kill wildlife. Maybe these companion-animal loving animal liberationists are moral hypocrites. Or maybe their behavior is justified. I defend the latter claim. By developing an ethic that emphasizes the moral significance of life-meaning and recognizes the important role that companion animals play in giving meaning to human lives, I argue that there are stringent side-constraints that apply to companion animals, but not to other animals. Consequently, it isn’t hypocritical to prioritize companion animals over other animals. We can have (and value) our carnivorous companions and be animal liberationists too.
... Moreover, there is now compelling evidence that cats may display distinct attachment styles towards human caregivers (Edwards et al. 2007;Vitale et al. 2019; but see Potter and Mills 2015) and may develop complex idiosyncratic and time-structured interactions (Wedl et al. 2011). Cats follow visual cues given by humans (pointing with arm: Miklósi et al. 2005; cueing with gazing: Pongrácz et al. 2019), are able to reproduce actions demonstrated by a human model (Fugazza et al. 2020) and they can also recognize auditory stimuli of their owner (Saito and Shinozuka 2013). Cats have shown a unique pattern of response to human cues (Pongrácz and Onofer 2020) and to employ a variety of human-directed behaviours, including attention-seeking vocalisations (e.g. ...
Chapter
Companion animals are purposely included in various therapeutic/activity programmes also known as Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI). These are receiving growing attention in the fields of nursing, medicine and psychotherapy because of their potential to complement classic therapeutical approaches and to foster health and wellbeing in the general population. Based on current knowledge in the field, this chapter examines the potential for domesticated animals, such as dogs, for providing emotional and physical opportunities to enrich the lives of many frail subjects. Overall an ever increasing research effort has been put forward to search for the mechanisms that lie behind the human-animal bond, such as animal cuteness, as well as to provide standardised methodologies for a cautious and effective use of AAI, taking into account animal welfare. The impact of this knowledge on different disciplines will be briefly described, also considering the concept of “one-health” and how this applies to reciprocal interactions, such as those between human and non-human animals.KeywordsAnimal-assisted interventionsPet animalsDogCatOne-health
... Domestic cats are a largely solitary species and are frequently presented in popular culture as having the hallmarks of psychopathy: selfishness, callousness, and manipulativeness (Saito & Shinozuka, 2013;Shreve & Udell, 2015). Despite this presentation, traits related to psychopathy are yet to be studied in cats. ...
Article
We operationalised the triarchic model of psychopathy (boldness, meanness, and disinhibition) in domestic cats using a cat triarchic (CAT-Tri) questionnaire. In study 1 (n = 549), we identified candidate items for CAT-Tri scales using thematically analysed cat owner questionnaire responses. In study 2 (n = 1463), owners completed a questionnaire battery; the preliminary CAT-Tri questionnaire, Feline Five, and Cat-Owner Relationship Subscales. In study 3 (n = 30), associations between feline daily activity and Cat-Tri scales were investigated. A five-factor cat triarchic plus (CAT-Tri+) solution emerged: boldness, disinhibition, meanness, pet-unfriendliness, and human-unfriendliness. Disinhibition and pet-unfriendliness predicted a higher quality cat-owner relationship; meanness and boldness predicted a lower quality relationship. Findings provide insight into the structure of triarchic psychopathy in cats.
... Cats are also sensitive to human vocalizations. Cats distinguish between the voices of their owners and strangers (Saito and Shinozuka, 2013). Cats participating in a habituationdishabituation test showed a decreasing response when strangers' voices continued and increasing head and ear movements when hearing their owner's voice. ...
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Book
Whilst humans undisputedly shape and transform most of earth's habitats, the number of animals (domestic and wild) living on this planet far outnumbers that of humans. Inevitably, humans have to interact with animals under a variety of circumstances, such as during conservation efforts, wildlife and zoo management, livestock husbandry, and pet keeping. Next to the question of how humans deal with these interactions and conflicts, it is crucial to understand the animal's point of view: How do animals perceive and differentiate between humans? How do they generalize their behavior towards humans? And how does knowledge about humans spread socially? In this Research Topic, we aim to collect original empirical work and review articles to get a more comprehensive and diverse picture on how humans are part of the sensory and cognitive world of non-human animals. We strongly invite contributions that pinpoint shortcomings and limitations in interpreting the available research findings, that provide new cross-disciplinary frameworks (e.g. links between conservation biology and comparative psychology, or human-animal interactions at zoos and animal welfare) and that discuss the applied implementation of these findings (e.g. for conservation attempts or livestock husbandry management).
... After being trained to always choose a familiar picture over a novel one, horses and sheep could spontaneously recognize a picture of their handler (Knolle et al. 2017;Lansade et al. 2020a). Regarding auditory cues, cats were shown to distinguish their owner's voice from that of a stranger's in a habituation-dishabituation protocol (Saito and Shinozuka 2013). ...
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Article
In the past 20 years, research focusing on interspecific sociocognitive abilities of animals toward humans has been growing, allowing a better understanding of the interactions between humans and animals. This review focuses on five sociocognitive abilities of domestic mammals in relation to humans as follows: discriminating and recognizing individual humans; perceiving human emotions; interpreting our attentional states and goals; using referential communication (perceiving human signals or sending signals to humans); and engaging in social learning with humans (e.g., local enhancement, demonstration and social referencing). We focused on different species of domestic mammals for which literature on the subject is available, namely, cats, cattle, dogs, ferrets, goats, horses, pigs, and sheep. The results show that some species have remarkable abilities to recognize us or to detect and interpret the emotions or signals sent by humans. For example, sheep and horses can recognize the face of their keeper in photographs, dogs can react to our smells of fear, and pigs can follow our pointing gestures. Nevertheless, the studies are unequally distributed across species: there are many studies in animals that live closely with humans, such as dogs, but little is known about livestock animals, such as cattle and pigs. However, on the basis of existing data, no obvious links have emerged between the cognitive abilities of animals toward humans and their ecological characteristics or the history and reasons for their domestication. This review encourages continuing and expanding this type of research to more abilities and species.
... good handling) are, in turn, faster to approach people in subsequent interactions, suggesting an improvement in welfare (Gonyou et al., 1986;Gouveia and Hurst, 2013). It is also likely to impact upon the human-animal bond (Saito and Shinozuka, 2013), as it allows snakes to learn about their handlers or owners. As such, the associated benefits of positive human-animal interactions are not only for the animals themselves, but also for the human caregivers (e.g. ...
Article
Environmental enrichment has been found to significantly influence the cognitive abilities of a variety of mammalian and avian species, with effects ranging from positive to negative, however, these effects have been little studied in reptiles. This is problematic given their increasing popularity as pets and the wide variation in their care. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine how exposure to environmental enrichment affected discrimination between familiar and unfamiliar humans in a popular species of pet reptile, the corn snake. Snakes (n = 11) were individually housed for four weeks in either an enriched or standard environment before we tested their discrimination between familiar and unfamiliar odours of humans (familiar handler vs. unfamiliar stranger). The snakes were then swapped into the other housing treatment (either enriched to standard, or standard to enriched) for a further four weeks before being tested again. In the discrimination tests, the snakes were simultaneously presented with the odours of a familiar and unfamiliar human within a test arena, and the time spent in close proximity to either stimulus was recorded. We found that after being housed in the enriched enclosures the snakes spent significantly more time investigating the unfamiliar human odour, suggesting successful discrimination of the handlers, and an attraction to novelty. In contrast, snakes housed in the standard enclosures did not discriminate between the two odours despite exploring the stimuli for the same overall amount of time. Therefore, this study demonstrates that corn snakes can recognize the odour of familiar humans; however, this was only observed in the enriched group, suggesting that the absence of environmental enrichment may interfere with discrimination in this task. We recommended that enclosures incorporate enrichment in order to promote good welfare.
... As reviewed above, in studies of discriminating human emotions, both domestic cats (Galvan & Vonk, 2016) and dogs (Merola et al., 2014) appear to respond differentially to familiar and unfamiliar humans. Cats have also been shown to respond more to their owner's versus a stranger's voice (Saito & Shinozuka, 2013), and to generally respond differently to familiar versus unfamiliar humans (Collard 1967;Casey & Bradshaw, 2008;Edwards, Heiblum, Tejeda, & Galindo, 2007). Jordan and Burghardt (1986) showed that the behavior of black bears shows habituation over time to the presence of familiar humans. ...
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Article
Although categorization abilities may serve as the foundation for most other complex cognitive processes, this topic has been grossly understudied in the order Carnivora. However, there are a growing number of studies examining the abilities of bears, felines, and canines to discriminate among stimuli that could represent conceptual categories. These studies are few in number compared to the extensive work conducted on non-human primates, but, thus far, results suggest that carnivores show comparable abilities to, for example; form natural categories, discriminate quantities, recognize cues of human emotion, and to discriminate kin. There is little existing work exploring concepts of sameness and relational reasoning in carnivores, and work on social concepts, such as representations of mental states, exist only in canines. Future studies are necessary to better understand the mechanisms underlying carnivores’ categorization abilities and conceptual representations. Furthermore, future work should focus on differences in conceptual ability as a function of social lifestyle and dietary preferences within carnivores. Such studies will be helpful in understanding the evolutionary pressures responsible for conceptual processes in a variety of species, including humans.
... Cats are also sensitive to human vocalizations. Cats distinguish between the voices of their owners and strangers (Saito and Shinozuka, 2013). Cats participating in a habituationdishabituation test showed a decreasing response when strangers' voices continued and increasing head and ear movements when hearing their owner's voice. ...
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Article
Dogs ( Canis familiaris ) and cats ( Felis silvestris catus ) have been domesticated through different processes. Dogs were the first domesticated animals, cooperating with humans by hunting and guarding. In contrast, cats were domesticated as predators of rodents and lived near human habitations when humans began to settle and farm. Although the domestication of dogs followed a different path from that of cats, and they have ancestors of a different nature, both have been broadly integrated into—and profoundly impacted—human society. The coexistence between dogs/cats and humans is based on non-verbal communication. This review focuses on “gaze,” which is an important signal for humans and describes the communicative function of dogs’ and cats’ eye-gaze behavior with humans. We discuss how the function of the gaze goes beyond communication to mutual emotional connection, namely “bond” formation. Finally, we present a research approach to multimodal interactions between dogs/cats and humans that participate in communication and bond formation.
... Although cats have not been clearly selected for different work tasks, as in the case of dogs (Coppinger and Schneider 1995;Gácsi et al., 2009), the need for a smooth coexistence with humans as companions could be a strong enough selective pressure on some of the socio-cognitive capacities of cats to become analogous to the ones seen in dogs. Indeed, researchers found that cats show similar performance to dogs in various tasks, for example in two-way object choice tasks, they follow proximal and distal pointing signals (Miklósi et al. 2005;human gazing, Pongrácz et al. 2019); they rely on their owner's reaction when encountering unfamiliar objects (Merola et al. 2015); and they can recognize their owners' voice (Saito and Shinozuka 2013;Takagi et al. 2019); as well as their own name . However, thus far, the only paper where the effect of human ostensive signals on cats was tested, showed a minimal effect only-the performance of cats in a gaze-following test was not affected by the presence or absence of ostensive signals, only the speed of establishing eye contact with the subject was enhanced by the ostensive cues (Pongrácz et al. 2019). ...
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Article
It is an intriguing question whether cats’ social understanding capacity, including the sensitivity to ostensive signals (resulting in fast preferential learning of behavioural choices demonstrated by humans), would be comparable to that in dogs. In a series of A-not-B error tests, we investigated whether the ostensive or non-ostensive manner of human communication and the familiarity of the human demonstrator would affect the search error pattern in companion cats. Cats’ performance showed an almost completely different distribution of perseverative erring than earlier was shown in dogs and human infants. Cats demonstrated perseverative errors both during ostensive and non-ostensive cueing by the owner and also during non-ostensive cueing by the experimenter. However, unlike prior studies with dogs, they avoided perseverative errors during the experimenter ostensive cueing condition. We assume that the reliance on human ostensive signals may serve different purpose in companion dogs and cats—meanwhile in dogs, human ostension could support fast rule learning, in cats, it may have only a circumstantial attention-eliciting effect. Our results highlight the need of conducting further throughout experiments on the social cognition of cats, based on their own right beside the traditional cat–dog comparative approach.
... Cats recognize their owners' voices distinguishing them from other human voices (Saito and Shinozuka, 2013) and react to unfamiliar and familiar humans differently (Casey and Bradshaw, 2008). Some research reports that there is a great variability among cats showing preferences and/or attachment to owner (Podberscek et al., 1991;Potter and Mills, 2015;Vitale and Udell, 2019). ...
Article
Today, cats are one of the most widespread and beloved companion animals: they share their life with people and are perceived as social partners by their owner. The knowledge and understanding of cat-human communication and of the behavior exhibited in response to different emotions is essential to improve the management of housed cats. The aim of this study is to analyze and compare the behavior of cats in three different situations that can occur in house cats’ lives. Ten Maine Coon cats, four males and six females, ranging in age from one to 13 years, belonging to a single private owner and managed under the same conditions, were exposed randomly to three different contexts for five minutes (Waiting for food, Isolation in unknown environment and Brushing). All the situations were video-recorded and subsequently analyzed. The behaviors oriented to environment, oriented to food bowl, locomotion, active interactions, yawning, lip licking & swallowing and salivation mainly characterized Waiting for food, while Isolation appears principally characterized by behaviors like hiding, scratching, worried positions and exploration. Withdrawal, passive interactions, aggressive behaviors, facial discomfort and purring characterized Brushing. Vocalizations were significantly more frequent during Isolation and Brushing than during Waiting for food, but it is possible that the characteristics of the vocalizations in these two situations are different. Our principal finding is that cats showed different behavioral patterns in the three situations and, in particular, their behavior during Brushing was very different than in the two other situations. It can be hypothesized that these different behavioral responses are due to the different emotional states elicited by each of the three challenging and potentially stressful situations. Further investigation is being carried out in order to better understand cats’ behaviors and emotions to improve cats’ management in the household.
... We also show that dogs can spontaneously discriminate between unfamiliar human 257 voices, even when the words spoken are not meaningful to the dogs, on the basis of very 258 limited exposure to just four words. This builds on previous results for familiar voice 259 recognition by both dogs [13] and cats [29,30]. Further investigations could establish which 260 aspects of the human voice are most important for the dogs' perception of speaker identity, 261 ...
Article
Domesticated animals have been shown to recognize basic phonemic information from human speech sounds and to recognize familiar speakers from their voices. However, whether animals can spontaneously identify words across unfamiliar speakers (speaker normalization) or spontaneously discriminate between unfamiliar speakers across words remains to be investigated. Here, we assessed these abilities in domestic dogs using the habituation–dishabituation paradigm. We found that while dogs habituated to the presentation of a series of different short words from the same unfamiliar speaker, they significantly dishabituated to the presentation of a novel word from a new speaker of the same gender. This suggests that dogs spontaneously categorized the initial speaker across different words. Conversely, dogs who habituated to the same short word produced by different speakers of the same gender significantly dishabituated to a novel word, suggesting that they had spontaneously categorized the word across different speakers. Our results indicate that the ability to spontaneously recognize both the same phonemes across different speakers, and cues to identity across speech utterances from unfamiliar speakers, is present in domestic dogs and thus not a uniquely human trait.
... Both cats and dogs reportedly remembered events that occurred many months ago. Dogs can recall memories from weeks ago (Demant et al., 2011), but as far as we are aware, the longest delay observed in cats has been minutes (Okujava et al., 2005;Takagi et al., 2017), although see Saito and Shinozuka (2013) for an example of long-term recognition in cats. Furthermore, the retention periods we were able to observe necessarily were limited to the duration in which participants had owned their pet. ...
Article
The case for episodic memory in non-human animals has been intensely debated. Although a variety of paradigms have shown elements of episodic memory in non-human animals, research has focused on rodents, birds and primates, using standardized experimental designs, limiting the types of events that can be investigated. Using a novel survey methodology to address memories in everyday life, we conducted two studies asking a total of 375 dog and cat owners if their pet had ever remembered an event, and if so, to report on their pet’s memory of the event. In both studies, cats and dogs were reported to remember a variety of events, with only 20% of owners reporting that their pet had never remembered an event. The reported events were often temporally specific and were remembered when commonalities (particularly location) occurred between the current environment and the remembered event, analogous to retrieval of involuntary memories in humans.
... (Bradshaw, Casey, & Brown, 2012;Turner & Bateson, 2000). Cats seem to be able to identify their owners' voices and also their own names (Saito & Shinozuka, 2013;Saito, Shinozuka, Ito, & Hasegawa, 2019). However, despite several recent studies on how cats and humans perceive emotional and contextual cues in each other's voices, it remains unclear to what extent cats and humans can identify biological codes and paralinguistic information (e.g. ...
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Conference Paper
This pilot study is an attempt to explore how fundamental frequency (f0) as an acoustic correlate to paralinguistic information and biological codes are employed in interspecific vocal communication. Measures of f0 in human (Homo sapiens) and domestic cat (Felis catus) intra-and interspecific communication were compared. Results showed higher mean f0 in interspecific than intraspe-cific utterances for both species, while all cat-directed utterances had higher f0 range and standard deviation (sd).
... They respond to human pointing cues (Miklósi et al. 2005) and gaze cues (Pongrácz et al. 2018), discriminate human emotional expressions (Galvan and Vonk 2016) and human attentional states (Ito et al. 2016), and refer to human facial expressions in the presence of a mildly frightening object (Merola et al. 2015). Saito and Shinozuka (2013), using a habituation-dishabituation procedure, reported that cats discriminated their owner's voice from a stranger's voice. However, it is unknown whether they predict their owner's face after hearing the owner's voice, as expected if integration of the relevant audio-visual information occurs. ...
Article
We examined whether cats have a cross-modal representation of humans, using a cross-modal expectancy violation paradigm originally used with dogs by Adachi et al. (Anim Cogn 10:17–21, 2007). We compared cats living in houses and in cat cafés to assess the potential effect of postnatal experience. Cats were presented with the face of either their owner or a stranger on a laptop monitor after playing back the voice of one of two people calling the subject’s name. In half of the trials the voice and face were of the same person (congruent condition) whereas in the other half of trials the stimuli did not match (incongruent condition). The café cats paid attention to the monitor longer in incongruent than congruent conditions, showing an expectancy violation. By contrast, house cats showed no similar tendency. These results show that at least café cats can predict their owner’s face upon hearing the owner’s voice, suggesting possession of cross-modal representation of at least one human. There may be a minimal kind or amount of postnatal experiences that lead to formation of a cross-modal representation of a specific person.
... Contrary to the above mentioned reservations, we now have evidence that even adult domestic cats show pro-social intraspecific behaviors, such as allorubbing or licking (Macdonald, Yamaguchi, & Kerby, 2000). Furthermore, there is a small number of papers that identify certain socio-cognitive abilities which also exist in the domain of cat-human interactions, such as the recognition of the owner's voice (Saito & Shinozuka, 2013); using the owner's expressions as social reference (Merola, Lazzaroni, Marshall-Pescini, & Prato-Previde, 2015); recognition of a human's attentional state (Ito, Watanabe, Takagi, Arahori, & Saito, 2016) and following visual signals (pointing with arm) in a two-way choice situation (Miklósi, Pongrácz, Lakatos, Topál, & Csányi, 2005). The literature on cats' interspecific social capacity is still very narrow compared to similar research on dogs (for review see Miklósi & Topál, 2013), and there are indications that show cat-human communication might be less-developed than similar domains of human-dog interactions (weak emotion recognition by cats: Galvan & Vonk, 2016; humans do not attribute distinct meaning to cat vocalizations: Nicastro & Owren, 2003). ...
Article
Companion cats often occupy the same anthropogenic niche as dogs in human families. Still, cat cognition remains an underrepresented research subject in ethology. Our goal was to examine whether two components that are crucial in dog-human communicative interactions (sensitivity to ostensive signals; gaze following) are also present in cats. In a two-object choice task, we used dynamic and momentary gazing in ostensive and non-ostensive communicative situations. We tested 41 cats at their owner's home. Cats on the group level achieved a 70% overall success rate, showing that they are capable of following human gaze as a referential cue. Cats' success rate was unaffected both by the type of gazing and the presence/absence of ostensive communication, showing that the subjects followed readily even the more difficult momentary cues. We found a trend (p = 0.085), showing that young cats (max. 1 year old) may achieve higher success rate than adult animals. Ostension had a significant effect on the latency of eye contact, which was the shortest when the experimenter called the cat's attention with ostensive signals (p = 0.006). Our results are the first that prove cats' ability to follow human gaze, which is considered to be one of the more difficult visual referential signals given during human-animal interactions. Although ostension did not affect the success rate of cats, we found ostensive human signals to be a more effective attention elicitor compared to non-ostensive vocalizations. Our study therefore provided the first insight to the existence of sensitivity to human ostension in another non-human species besides dogs. These results emphasize the possible relevance of the domestication process and responsiveness to socialization in the development of human-compatible socio-cognitive skills even in such animals as the cat, where the ancestor was not a highly social species.
... Cats can also identify a familiar human voice, as shown using a habituation-discrimination test. When played a sequence of voices from unfamiliar speakers followed by the voice of a familiar speaker, cats showed a stronger response to the familiar voice after habituating to the sound of unfamiliar voices (Saito and Shinozuka, 2013). In these examples, the capacity for animals to recognize individual humans from their voices is likely to represent a generalization of their conspecific individual voice recognition mechanisms, as we know that female cats recognize their kittens from their calls and horses can distinguish between familiar conspecifics from their whinnies. ...
... Both dogs and cats have been shown to discriminate between the voices of different humans (e.g., Coutellier, 2006;Saito & Shinozuka, 2013), but we have not found any quantitative estimates of the number of humans who can be recognized, or the robustness of the discriminations. Recognition of individual conspecifics by voice appears to have been relatively neglected in dogs, though it has been demonstrated in some other carnivorans, including the spotted hyena (Holekamp et al., 1999), the domestic kitten (Szenczi, Bánszegi, Urrutia, Faragó, & Hudson, 2016), the Asian short-clawed otter (Lemasson, Mikus, Blois-Heulin, & Lode, 2013), the dwarf mongoose (Sharpe, Hill, & Cherry, 2013), and pinnipeds (e.g., Pitcher, Harcourt, & Charrier, 2010;Van Parijs & Clark, 2006). ...
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The great increase in the study of dog cognition in the current century has yielded insights into canine cognition in a variety of domains. In this review, we seek to place our enhanced understanding of canine cognition into context. We argue that in order to assess dog cognition, we need to regard dogs from three different perspectives: phylogenetically, as carnivoran and specifically a canid; ecologically, as social, cursorial hunters; and anthropogenically, as a domestic animal. A principled understanding of canine cognition should therefore involve comparing dogs’ cognition with that of other carnivorans, other social hunters, and other domestic animals. This paper contrasts dog cognition with what is known about cognition in species that fit into these three categories, with a particular emphasis on wolves, cats, spotted hyenas, chimpanzees, dolphins, horses, and pigeons. We cover sensory cognition, physical cognition, spatial cognition, social cognition, and self-awareness. Although the comparisons are incomplete, because of the limited range of studies of some of the other relevant species, we conclude that dog cognition is influenced by the membership of all three of these groups, and taking all three groups into account, dog cognition does not look exceptional.
... demonstrated in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris: Berns, Brooks, & Spivak, 2015), human vocal cues in domestic cats (Felis catus: Saito & Shinozuka, 2013), and human faces in domestic dogs and sheep (Canis familiaris: Mongillo, Scandurra, Kramer, & Marinelli, 2017; Ovis aries: Peirce, Liegh, daCosta, & Kendrick, 2001). Audio-visual cross modal recognition of humans has been demonstrated in squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus, Adachi & Fujita, 2007). ...
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Across all species, a dyadic interaction entails that an emitter sends signals to a receiver through one or more channels. The receiver decodes the signals and reacts accordingly, potentially turning into an emitter himself. Like dogs and horses, cats can integrate visual and auditory signals sent by humans and modulate their behaviour according to the valence of the emotion perceived. However, the specific patterns and channels governing cat-to-human communication are poorly understood. This study addresses whether, in an extraspecific interaction, cats adapt their communication channel to those used by their human interlocutor. We examined three types of interactions: vocal, visual and bimodal (visual plus vocal), through coding video clips of 12 cats living in cat cafés. There was a significant effect of the modality of communication on the latency for cats to approach the human experimenter. Cats interacted significantly faster in the visual and bimodal compared to the “no communication” pattern as well as to the vocal condition. There was a significant effect of communication modality on the tail wagging behaviour. Cats significantly displayed more tail wagging when the experimenter engaged no communication compared to the visual and bimodal conditions. Cats also displayed more tail wagging in the vocal compared to the bimodal condition. Taken together, these results suggest that cats display a marked preference for both visual and bimodal cues addressed by non-familiar humans, over vocal cues only. Our data bring further evidence for the emergence of human-compatible socio-cognitive skills in cats, that favour their adaptation to a human driven niche.
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Vocalization may transmit information from the emitting animal, including information about his or her emotional state. This study aimed to compare the vocal and behavioral responses of domestic cats during an aversive and a pleasant situation. A total of 74 cats (29 males and 45 females) in the city of Curitiba, Southern Brazil, participated in the study; 68 (26 males and 42 females) were divided into two treatments: an aversive situation (AS), which was a car transport event where the cat was in a crate, or a pleasant situation (PS), where the cat was were offered a snack. The other animals (three males and three females) participated in both situations. Behavioral signals and individual vocalizations were registered through video recordings and further evaluated in each scenario. Cats in the PS had a higher fundamental frequency of vocalizations (10.1%), a lower range of pitches (tessitura) (33.9%) and twice the rate of head movement rates as compared to AS. For call duration there was significant interaction between treatment and sex. Additionally, there were differences in vocal parameters and behavioral signals due to sex, age and coat color. Females and kittens have higher fundamental frequencies may be due to anatomical characteristics. Solid-colored coated cats presented higher fundamental frequency than other coat colors. Overall, vocal parameters and behavioral signals seem useful indicators for studying the emotions of cats in different situations. Further studies are warranted to understand the subtleties of cat vocalization across sex, age and coat color.
Chapter
Cats are unique amongst domestic species in that they have evolved from a solitary ancestral species to become one of the most beloved household pets today. Interestingly the cat's physical appearance and sensory systems remain almost identical to their wild counterparts. Recognition of the perceptual parameters allows us to better understand how the domestic cat responds to environment and communicates with social partners. Sociality is unequivocally the aspect of feline life most affected by the domestication process. Cats can display a wide range of social behaviors, and evidence indicates that early exposure to a variety of social and environmental stimuli is the most important postnatal factor for a well‐adjusted life in a domestic setting and resiliency to basic stressors. By gaining an understanding of feline natural behavior, communication, learning, and cognition, shelter staff can provide cats with an ideal environment, change unwanted behaviors, and improve the welfare of our cats.
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Humans communicate with each other through language, which enables us talk about things beyond time and space. Do non-human animals learn to associate human speech with specific objects in everyday life? We examined whether cats matched familiar cats’ names and faces (Exp.1) and human family members’ names and faces (Exp.2). Cats were presented with a photo of the familiar cat’s face on a laptop monitor after hearing the same cat’s name or another cat’s name called by the subject cat’s owner (Exp.1) or an experimenter (Exp.2). Half of the trials were in a congruent condition where the name and face matched, and half were in an incongruent (mismatch) condition. Results of Exp.1 showed that household cats paid attention to the monitor for longer in the incongruent condition, suggesting an expectancy violation effect; however, café cats did not. In Exp.2, cats living in larger human families were found to look at the monitor for increasingly longer durations in the incongruent condition. Furthermore, this tendency was stronger among cats that had lived with their human family for a longer time, although we could not rule out an effect of age. This study provides evidence that cats link a companion's name and corresponding face without explicit training.
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Background research Phytotherapy, using olfactory enrichment, is often overlooked as a method of environmental enrichment for domestic cats. The most common example of olfactory enrichment to elicit a calming response, uses Valerian Root, which is researched to also cause an apparent euphoric response in cats. It is important that enrichment is considered to allow the cats to exhibit natural behaviours which can reduce stress and destructive behaviours. Thus, this article will explore the effectiveness of Pet Remedy’s Calming spray and the behaviours cat’s exhibit. Methodology Furthering the existing research which was initially undertaken, Pet Remedy’s Calming Spray was tested on 44 domestic cats to observe their responses. All cats were blindly offered exposure to Pet Remedy and a control sample at random. The number of interactions were recorded onto behavioural ethograms. All cats had 30 minutes to acclimatise to the researcher and had at least a four-hour washout period between both exposures. Results The statistical analysis of data gathered was computed using IBM SPSS Statistics 25 in form of; a Freidman’s test, Wilcoxon Signed-Rank Tests, Descriptive Statistics and Spearman’s rank-order tests. The mean number of interactions amongst Pet Remedy and the control sample were computed to find that Pet Remedy’s Calming spray had a mean number of interactions of 18.09. Conclusions This study suggests that olfactory enrichment using Pet Remedy’s Calming Spray corresponds an effective means to induce a calming response.
Article
Research into cat behavior has gained more attention in recent years. As one of the world’s most popular companion animals, work in this field has potential to have wide-reaching benefits. Cats living in shelters are posed with distinct welfare concerns. Shelter cat welfare can be increased through use of environmental enrichment to promote natural behaviors. This review focuses on relevant literature published to date on shelter cat enrichment. Several key areas of research were identified. These included sensory enrichment, feeding enrichment, physical enrichment, social enrichment, and assessments to determine cat preference for enrichment stimuli. Existing studies have examined the efficacy of enrichment to promote species-specific behaviors and to reduce stress in shelter cats. Studies have also explored housing conditions for shelter cats such as cage size, communal housing, or the general quality of the environment. Applications of this information are discussed in order to promote natural cat behavior and find ways to increase the welfare of shelter cats. A review of the literature highlights the importance of supplying novel items in shelter environments, providing a rotation of individually preferred items, the use of human social interaction as a way to increase interactive behaviors in shelter cats, and the importance of considering potentially aversive impacts of enrichment under certain situations.
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Previous research has shown that human adults can easily discriminate 2 individual zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) by their signature songs, struggle to discriminate 2 individual rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) by their calls, and are unable to discriminate 2 individual dogs (Canis familiaris) by their barks. The purpose of the present experiment was to examine whether acoustic discrimination of individual nonprimate heterospecifics is limited to species producing stereotyped signature songs or whether it is possible with the vocalizations of other species as well. This was tested here with the calls of individual large-billed crows (Corvus macrorhynchos) and the meows of individual domestic cats (Felis catus) using a forced-choice same-different paradigm. Results show a high discrimination accuracy without prior training, although the scores obtained here for both species were lower than those in the zebra finch discrimination task. Discrimination accuracy of cat voices decreased when mean pitch was equalized between individuals but was still possible without this cue. The removal of formant frequencies did not influence the discrimination, and there was no significant performance improvement across trials. These experiments suggest that individual acoustic discrimination is possible not only with species producing signature songs but also with unlearned vocalizations of both birds and nonhuman mammals.
Chapter
Cats, along with dogs, are one of the most popular companion animals for humans. Across the world, increasing numbers of cats are being kept as pets. Despite their familiarity, cats’ cognition has long been shrouded in mystery, mainly because cats were considered largely unsuitable for psychological studies in laboratory settings. The “Cats Team” in Kazuo Fujita’s lab has developed several innovative and useful methods for studying cat cognition. In this chapter, I review findings from some of the team’s studies of cat cognition, including physical inference, use human social cues, incidental memory, cross-modal integration, jealousy, and third-party social evaluation. I also briefly describe some ongoing work on the relation between genes and personality, and suggest directions in which behavioral and cognitive studies of cats might go.
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The ability to recognize conspecifics by their acoustic signals is of crucial importance to social animals, especially where visibility is limited, because it allows for discrimination between familiar and unfamiliar individuals and facilitates associations with and the avoidance of particular conspecifics. Animals may also benefit from an ability to recognize and use the information coded into the auditory signals of other species. Companion species such as dogs, cats, and horses are able to discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar human voices; however, whether this ability is widespread across vertebrates is still unknown. Using playback experiments, we tested whether western gorillas living at Zoo Atlanta were able to discriminate between the voices of subgroups of people: i.e., unfamiliar individuals, familiar individuals with whom the gorillas had positive interactions, and familiar individuals with whom they had negative interactions. Gorillas responded significantly more often (longer gazing duration, higher gazing frequency, shorter latency, and larger number of distress behaviors) to the voices of unfamiliar and familiar-negative individuals than to those of familiar-positive individuals, indicating that they recognized the voices of subgroup of people based on familiarity and possibly the nature of the relationship with them. Future studies should determine whether this is also the case in the wild, where interspecific associations with humans are less intense than they are in captive settings.
Chapter
Social agents, whose primary role is to communicate with people, are becoming increasingly prevalent. Given this, dogs, being one of the most popular companions, may become jealous owing to the resulting triad relationship or their fear of agents. To aid future investigations for the design of a communication agent that can build a good relationship with both dog owners and dogs at home, we herein conducted two pilot tests to explore the types of words dog owners use in front of their dogs to determine whether a positive owner attitude toward the agents would affect how the dogs behaved with these communication agents. Furthermore, we determined whether the owners’ words and dogs’ behavior were affected by the agents’ physical forms (primitive, smaller/bigger humanoid, and dog-shaped). Through an analysis of video recordings of the behaviors of 29 dog owners and 34 dogs, the following suggestions are put forth: i) Tests involving dogs that have to confront unfamiliar speaking agents in an unfamiliar environment should occur in the presence of the dog owners, as conducted in previous studies, to evaluate the dogs’ behavior in the presence of the agents. ii) Dog owners’ descriptions of the agents differ on the basis of the agents’ physical forms. For example, owners not only mentioned the agents’ physical attributes, but also used adjectives such as “cool.” Furthermore, the owners engaged in more intelligent conversations with more complex agents. iii) Dog-shaped agents can garner attention from dogs.
Article
Humans evaluate others based on interactions between third parties, even when those interactions are of no direct relevance to the observer. Such social evaluation is not limited to humans. We previously showed that dogs avoided a person who behaved negatively to their owner (Chijiiwa et al., 2015). Here, we explored whether domestic cats, another common companion animal, similarly evaluate humans based on third-party interactions. We used the same procedure that we used with dogs: cats watched as their owner first tried unsuccessfully to open a transparent container to take out an object, and then requested help from a person sitting nearby. In the Helper condition, this second person (helper) helped the owner to open the container, whereas in the Non-Helper condition the actor refused to help, turning away instead. A third, passive (neutral) person sat on the other side of the owner in both conditions. After the interaction, the actor and the neutral person each offered a piece of food to the cat, and we recorded which person the cat took food from. Cats completed four trials and showed neither a preference for the helper nor avoidance of the non-helper. We consider that cats might not possess the same social evaluation abilities as dogs, at least in this situation, because unlike the latter, they have not been selected to cooperate with humans. However, further work on cats’ social evaluation capacities needs to consider ecological validity, notably with regard to the species’ sociality.
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Dogs and cats are sensitive to human social signals such as pointing, gazing and facial expressions. Previous studies have demonstrated that dogs show over-reliance on human actions in the presence of conflicting physical cues. However, it is still unclear whether this tendency is specific to dogs, or shared with other domesticated animals. Here, we compared the behavior of dogs and cats in a two-choice task after they saw a person taking and pretending to eat food from a baited container. After one experimenter showed the dogs (Experiment 1) or cats (Experiment 2) two opaque containers, each containing a piece of the food, another (the demonstrator) removed food from one container and ate it (Eating condition), or simply picked up the food and returned it to the container (Showing condition). We recorded which container the subjects approached first after the demonstration. Both dogs and cats were less likely to choose the container associated with the human in the Eating than the Showing condition, although choice for this container was above chance in both conditions. In Experiment 3, we confirmed that dogs and cats naturally chose a baited over an empty container. These results suggest that both species’ reasoning abilities might be influenced by a bias for prioritizing specific human actions. Although dogs and cats have different domestication histories, their social awareness of humans appears similar, possibly because they both share their environment with humans.
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Brain lateralization is a phenomenon widely reported in the animal kingdom and sensory laterality has been shown to be an indicator of the appraisal of the stimulus valence by an individual. This can prove a useful tool to investigate how animals perceive intra- or hetero-specific signals. The human-animal relationship provides an interesting framework for testing the impact of the valence of interactions on emotional memories. In the present study, we tested whether horses could associate individual human voices with past positive or negative experiences. Both behavioural and electroencephalographic measures allowed examining laterality patterns in addition to the behavioural reactions. The results show that horses reacted to voices associated with past positive experiences with increased attention/arousal (gamma oscillations in the right hemisphere) and indicators of a positive emotional state (left hemisphere activation and ears held forward), and to those associated with past negative experiences with negative affective states (right hemisphere activation and ears held backwards). The responses were further influenced by the animals’ management conditions (e.g. box or pasture). Overall, these results, associating brain and behaviour analysis, clearly demonstrate that horses’ representation of human voices is modulated by the valence of prior horse-human interactions.
Article
Two experiments were conducted to assess the influence of human attentional state, population, and human familiarity on domestic cat sociability. Sociability behaviors included duration of time in proximity and contact with the human and the frequency of meow vocalizations. Human attentional state influenced cat behavior, with cats spending significantly more time in proximity with the attentive human in both the pet (U(22) = 389, Z = -2.72, P = 0.007) and shelter groups (F(44) = 15.34, P = 0.0003). Cat population influenced sociability and shelter cats spent more time in proximity with the inattentive unfamiliar human as compared to pet cats (U(44) = 91, Z = 3.8, P = 0.0001) Additionally compared to pet cats, more individuals in the shelter cat group meowed at least once during the unfamiliar human inattentive phase (Fisher's exact test, P = 0.02). Human familiarity did not significantly influence pet cat sociability behaviors. Overall, a wide range of sociability scores was seen, indicating individual variation is an important consideration in cat social behavior. Future research in this area will predict conditions under which strong cat-human bonds form and establish a more comprehensive scientific understanding of cat behavior.
Article
Vocal communication is of major social importance in pigs. Their auditory sensitivity goes beyond the intraspecific level; studies have shown that domestic pigs are sensitive to and can learn to recognise human voices. The question of which prosodic features (intonation, accentuation, rhythm) of human speech may matter to this recognition, however, remains open. A total of 42 piglets were allocated to three experimental groups. Each piglet was submitted to three choice tests, during which different pairs of sounds were broadcast. Each group was first offered a choice between an unmodified (neutral) human voice and a background noise, in order to verify the attractiveness of human voice. We found that piglets could distinguish human voice; they gazed more rapidly (P < 0.05) and for longer (P < 0.05) in the direction of the human voice than in the direction of the background noise. Group 1 was then submitted to artificially modified voices: low vs high-pitched, and then slow vs rapid rhythm. Group 2 was submitted to artificially modified voices with a combination of these features: rapid and high-pitched vs slow and low-pitched, and then slow and high-pitched vs rapid and low-pitched. Group 3 was submitted to naturally recorded voices coding for different emotions (happiness vs anger) and then different intonations (interrogation vs command). We found that piglets approached the loudspeaker broadcasting the rapid rhythm (6 s (2–32)) more rapidly than the loudspeaker broadcasting the slow rhythm (33 s (15–70); p < 0.05). They also spent more time near the loudspeaker broadcasting the “high-pitched and slow” voice (86 s (52–110)) than near the one broadcasting the “low-pitched and rapid” voice (29 s (9–73); W = 86, P < 0.05). In sum, the sensitivity of piglets for human prosody was moderate but not inexistent. Our results suggest that piglets base their responses to human voice on a combination of prosodic features.
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Since the observations of O. Pfungst the use of human-provided cues by animals has been well-known in the behavioural sciences ("Clever Hans effect"). It has recently been shown that rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) are unable to use the direction of gazing by the experimenter as a cue for finding food, although after some training they learned to respond to pointing by hand. Direction of gaze is used by chimpanzees, however. Dogs (Canis familiaris) are believed to be sensitive to human gestural communication but their ability has never been formally tested. In three experiments we examined whether dogs can respond to cues given by humans. We found that dogs are able to utilize pointing, bowing, nodding, head-turning and glancing gestures of humans as cues for finding hidden food. Dogs were also able to generalize from one person (owner) to another familiar person (experimenter) in using the same gestures as cues. Baseline trials were run to test the possibility that odour cues alone could be responsible for the dogs' performance. During training individual performance showed limited variability, probably because some dogs already "knew" some of the cues from their earlier experiences with humans. We suggest that the phenomenon of dogs responding to cues given by humans is better analysed as a case of interspecific communication than in terms of discrimination learning.
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The social behaviour of many species of non-human primates suggests a capacity for both individual and kin recognition. In these species, the ability to signal and perceive identity at a distance may be an important adaptation facilitating intra-group social communication. Variation in vocalizations is hypothesized to provide a basis for this ability. Playback experiments were conducted to test for vocal recognition of contact calls between adult female rhesus macaques,Macaca mulatta. Single-trial playbacks of the contact call of either a matrilineal relative or a familiar, non-relative group member were used to test for discrimination of kin from non-kin. Females responded significantly faster and longer to the contact calls of matrilineal relatives. A habituation–discrimination paradigm was then used to test for individual recognition. Females habituated to successive presentations of different exemplars of the contact calls of one matrilineal relative, then showed a significant rebound in response to the subsequent presentation of a contact call from a second matrilineal relative. These results indicate an ability for vocal recognition of both individuals and kin. Females' responses to playbacks suggested the additional possibility for categorical recognition of matrilineal kinship, or its correlates.
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The possible relationship between companion animal behavior and owner attachment levels has received surprisingly little attention in the literature on human-companion animal interactions, despite its relevance to our understanding of the potential benefits of pet ownership, and the problems associated with pet loss, or the premature abandonment and disposal of companion animals. The present study describes a preliminary investigation of this topic involving a questionnaire survey of 37 dog owners and 47 cat owners exactly 1 year after they acquired pets from animal shelters. The results demonstrate a number of highly significant differences in owners' assessments of the behavior of dogs and cats, particularly with respect to playfulness (Mann-Whitney U Test, P = 0.125), confidence (P < 0.001), affection (P = 0.002), excitability (P = 0.018), activity (P = 0.002), friendliness to strangers (P < 0.001), intelligence (P = 0.02), and owner-directed aggression (P = 0.002). However, few differences were noted between dog and cat owners in terms of their perceptions of what constitutes ‘ideal’ pet behavior. The findings also suggest that dog owners who report weaker attachments for their pets are consistently less satisfied with most aspects of their dogs' behavior compared with those who report stronger attachments. Weakly attached cat owners are significantly more dissatisfied with the levels of affection shown by their pets (P = 0.0186), but in other respects they are far less consistent than dog owners.
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Recent evidence indicates that dogs’ sociocognitive abilities and behaviour in a test situation are shaped by both genetic factors and life experiences. We used the ‘unsolvable task’ paradigm to investigate the effect of breed and age/experience on the use of human-directed gazing behaviour. Following a genetic classification based on recent genome analyses, dogs were allocated to three breed groups, namely Primitive, Hunting/Herding and Molossoid. Furthermore, we tested dogs at 2 months, 4.5 months and as adults. The test consisted of three solvable trials in which dogs could obtain food by manipulating a plastic container followed by an unsolvable trial in which obtaining the food became impossible. The dogs’ behaviour towards the apparatus and the people present was analysed. At 2 months no breed group differences emerged and although human-directed gazing behaviour was observed in approximately half of the pups, it occurred for brief periods, suggesting that the aptitude to use human-directed gazing as a request for obtaining help probably develops at a later date when dogs have had more experience with human communication. Breed group differences, however, did emerge strongly in adult dogs and, although less pronounced, also in 4.5-month-old subjects, with dogs in the Hunting/Herding group showing significantly more human-directed gazing behaviour than dogs in the other two breed groups. These results suggest that, although the domestication process may have shaped the dog’s human-directed communicative abilities, the later selection for specific types of work might also have had a significant impact on their emergence.
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It has recently been shown that some non-human animals can cross-modally recognize members of their own taxon. What is unclear is just how plastic this recognition system can be. In this study, we investigate whether an animal, the domestic horse, is capable of spontaneous cross-modal recognition of individuals from a morphologically very different species. We also provide the first insights into how cross-modal identity information is processed by examining whether there are hemispheric biases in this important social skill. In our preferential looking paradigm, subjects were presented with two people and playbacks of their voices to determine whether they were able to match the voice with the person. When presented with familiar handlers subjects could match the specific familiar person with the correct familiar voice. Horses were significantly better at performing the matching task when the congruent person was standing on their right, indicating marked hemispheric specialization (left hemisphere bias) in this ability. These results are the first to demonstrate that cross-modal recognition in animals can extend to individuals from phylogenetically very distant species. They also indicate that processes governed by the left hemisphere are central to the cross-modal matching of visual and auditory information from familiar individuals in a naturalistic setting.
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Artificial selection is the selection of advantageous natural variation for human ends and is the mechanism by which most domestic species evolved. Most domesticates have their origin in one of a few historic centers of domestication as farm animals. Two notable exceptions are cats and dogs. Wolf domestication was initiated late in the Mesolithic when humans were nomadic hunter-gatherers. Those wolves less afraid of humans scavenged nomadic hunting camps and over time developed utility, initially as guards warning of approaching animals or other nomadic bands and soon thereafter as hunters, an attribute tuned by artificial selection. The first domestic cats had limited utility and initiated their domestication among the earliest agricultural Neolithic settlements in the Near East. Wildcat domestication occurred through a self-selective process in which behavioral reproductive isolation evolved as a correlated character of assortative mating coupled to habitat choice for urban environments. Eurasian wildcats initiated domestication and their evolution to companion animals was initially a process of natural, rather than artificial, selection over time driven during their sympatry with forbear wildcats.
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Dogs have a unique ability to understand visual cues from humans. We investigated whether dogs can discriminate between human facial expressions. Photographs of human faces were used to test nine pet dogs in two-choice discrimination tasks. The training phases involved each dog learning to discriminate between a set of photographs of their owner's smiling and blank face. Of the nine dogs, five fulfilled these criteria and were selected for test sessions. In the test phase, 10 sets of photographs of the owner's smiling and blank face, which had previously not been seen by the dog, were presented. The dogs selected the owner's smiling face significantly more often than expected by chance. In subsequent tests, 10 sets of smiling and blank face photographs of 20 persons unfamiliar to the dogs were presented (10 males and 10 females). There was no statistical difference between the accuracy in the case of the owners and that in the case of unfamiliar persons with the same gender as the owner. However, the accuracy was significantly lower in the case of unfamiliar persons of the opposite gender to that of the owner, than with the owners themselves. These results suggest that dogs can learn to discriminate human smiling faces from blank faces by looking at photographs. Although it remains unclear whether dogs have human-like systems for visual processing of human facial expressions, the ability to learn to discriminate human facial expressions may have helped dogs adapt to human society.
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Despite widespread interest in inter-specific communication, few studies have examined the abilities of companion animals to communicate with humans in what has become their natural environment — the human home [1 • Nicastro N. • Owren M.J. Classification of domestic cat (Felis catus) vocalisations by naive and experienced human listeners.J. Comp. Psychol. 2003; 117: 44-52 • Crossref • PubMed • Scopus (61) • Google Scholar , 2 • Pongracz P. • Molnar C. • Miklosi A. Acoustic parameters of dog barks carry emotional information for humans.Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 2006; 100: 228-240 • Abstract • Full Text • Full Text PDF • Scopus (92) • Google Scholar ]. Here we report how domestic cats make subtle use of one of their most characteristic vocalisations — purring — to solicit food from their human hosts, apparently exploiting sensory biases that humans have for providing care. When humans were played purrs recorded while cats were actively seeking food at equal amplitude to purrs recorded in non-solicitation contexts, even individuals with no experience of owning cats judged the ‘solicitation’ purrs to be more urgent and less pleasant. Embedded within the naturally low-pitched purr, we found a high frequency voiced component, reminiscent of a cry or meow, that was crucial in determining urgency and pleasantness ratings. Moreover, when we re-synthesised solicitation purrs to remove only the voiced component, paired presentations revealed that these purrs were perceived as being significantly less urgent. We discuss how the structure of solicitation purrs may be exploiting an inherent mammalian sensitivity to acoustic cues relevant in the context of nurturing offspring.
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Mitochondrial DNA control region sequences were analyzed from 162 wolves at 27 localities worldwide and from 140 domestic dogs representing 67 breeds. Sequences from both dogs and wolves showed considerable diversity and supported the hypothesis that wolves were the ancestors of dogs. Most dog sequences belonged to a divergent monophyletic clade sharing no sequences with wolves. The sequence divergence within this clade suggested that dogs originated more than 100,000 years before the present. Associations of dog haplotypes with other wolf lineages indicated episodes of admixture between wolves and dogs. Repeated genetic exchange between dog and wolf populations may have been an important source of variation for artificial selection.
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Fifty-one owner-dog pairs were observed in a modified version of M. D. S. Ainsworth's (1969) Strange Situation Test. The results demonstrate that adult dogs (Canis familiaris) show patterns of attachment behavior toward the owner. Although there was considerable variability in dogs' attachment behavior to humans, the authors did not find any effect of gender, age, living conditions, or breed on most of the behavioral variables. The human-dog relationship was described by means of a factor analysis in a 3-dimensional factor space: Anxiety, Acceptance, and Attachment. A cluster analysis revealed 5 substantially different classes of dogs, and dogs could be categorized along the secure-insecure attached dimensions of Ainsworth's original test. A dog's relationship to humans is analogous to child-parent and chimpanzee-human attachment behavior because the observed behavioral phenomena and the classification are similar to those described in mother-infant interactions.
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On the basis of a study by D. J. Povinelli, D. T. Bierschwale, and C. G. Cech (1999), the performance of family dogs (Canis familiaris) was examined in a 2-way food choice task in which 4 types of directional cues were given by the experimenter: pointing and gazing, head-nodding ("at target"), head turning above the correct container ("above target"), and glancing only ("eyes only"). The results showed that the performance of the dogs resembled more closely that of the children in D. J. Povinelli et al.'s study, in contrast to the chimpanzees' performance in the same study. It seems that dogs, like children, interpret the test situation as being a form of communication. The hypothesis is that this similarity is attributable to the social experience and acquired social routines in dogs because they spend more time in close contact with humans than apes do, and as a result dogs are probably more experienced in the recognition of human gestures.
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In a series of 3 experiments, dogs (Canis familiaris) were presented with variations of the human pointing gesture: gestures with reversed direction of movement, cross-pointing, and different arm extensions. Dogs performed at above chance level if they could see the hand (and index finger) protruding from the human body contour. If these minimum requirements were not accessible, dogs still could rely on the body position of the signaler. The direction of movement of the pointing arm did not influence the performance. In summary, these observations suggest that dogs are able to rely on relatively novel gestural forms of the human communicative pointing gesture and that they are able to comprehend to some extent the referential nature of human pointing.
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Dogs are more skillful than great apes at a number of tasks in which they must read human communicative signals indicating the location of hidden food. In this study, we found that wolves who were raised by humans do not show these same skills, whereas domestic dog puppies only a few weeks old, even those that have had little human contact, do show these skills. These findings suggest that during the process of domestication, dogs have been selected for a set of social-cognitive abilities that enable them to communicate with humans in unique ways.
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The origin of the domestic dog from wolves has been established, but the number of founding events, as well as where and when these occurred, is not known. To address these questions, we examined the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence variation among 654 domestic dogs representing all major dog populations worldwide. Although our data indicate several maternal origins from wolf, >95% of all sequences belonged to three phylogenetic groups universally represented at similar frequencies, suggesting a common origin from a single gene pool for all dog populations. A larger genetic variation in East Asia than in other regions and the pattern of phylogeographic variation suggest an East Asian origin for the domestic dog, ∼15,000 years ago.
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Twelve domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) were given a series of trials in which they were forbidden to take a piece of visible food. In some trials, the human continued to look at the dog throughout the trial (control condition), whereas in others, the human (a) left the room, (b) turned her back, (c) engaged in a distracting activity, or (d) closed her eyes. Dogs behaved in clearly different ways in most of the conditions in which the human did not watch them compared with the control condition, in which she did. In particular, when the human looked at them, dogs retrieved less food, approached it in a more indirect way, and sat (as opposed to laid down) more often than in the other conditions. Results are discussed in terms of domestic dogs' social-cognitive skills and their unique evolutionary and ontogenetic histories.
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