Cats Are Smart... But Independent
My human and I have a great relationship. She recognizes the importance of learning my
behavior and respecting my space and my choices. For example, when I’m soundly slumbering
in my bed, my human doesn’t try to play with me. She notices my behavioral patterns: when I
like to eat, when I like to play, when I want to sleep, and when I would prefer to be left alone.
I’ve also noticed when my human wants to get my attention: she calls “Faye!” in her sweet
voice. When I was a kitten, every time my human said my name she gave me a treat, a gentle
scratch behind my ears, or a soft word of praise. I became familiar with the sound of my
human’s voice and the common words she said to me when we were together. I don’t always
respond when other people say the same words to me.
I also come running when I hear my human shake my bag of kibble or open the can of wet food. I’ve learned to recognize some familiar sounds. Sometimes, when my human calls my name, I’m busy doing something else and I don’t want to come to her. My human has no hard feelings because she knows that I am an independent creature. Our relationship is one of mutual understanding and respect.
A new study reported by Scientific American finds that cats react when their owners speak their names. The cats in the study moved their ears, heads or tails, or meowed when they heard their names. Researchers think that cats learn to respond to certain human speech based on rewards based training. This study suggests that cats recognize words and therefore can learn and be trained. Even though cats ultimately may choose to ignore their humans.
Reader's Digest details how to train a cat to do 5 useful things.