Cats can hear their owners calling and understand their names, but actively choose to ignore them when being called.
There are a number of stock questions people tend to ask one another when on a first date. One of those stock questions is whether your date is a dog person or a cat person. For some reason, many of us tend to believe whether a person prefers dogs to cats or vice versa tells us everything we need to know about that person's personality.
Even though that is a fairly ridiculous conclusion to jump to, it's no secret than keeping a cat as a pet is very different from having a dog. Dogs are a lot more dependent, while cats don't tend to become quite as attached to their owners. Honestly, if you have or have had a cat, you'll know that feeling of your pet seemingly not caring whether you exist or not.
Sometimes it can even feel as if your cat doesn't even know you exist. Well trust us, they do, and new research might actually make you feel worse about that. A study published in Scientific Reports revealed that cats can hear us, and can even understand their names, and are simply choosing to ignore us. The study showed that cats can even distinguish their own name from the names of other cats they live with.
The research was undertaken at the University of Tokyo and believe it or not, was not conducted with the aim of making cat owners feel bad. Researchers wanted to know if cats understand and respond to some human words in the same ways that apes, dogs, and dolphins have been proven to do. Turns out they do understand, but only interact with us when they choose to do so rather than when we prompt them to like a dog.
The good news is that it is nothing personal. Whereas humans domesticated dogs on purpose over the course of centuries, cats domesticated themselves. That means they never grew accustomed to human commands, nor did they need to hear them in order to become our companions. Cats are simply more solitary, independent animals, and we should just appreciate that they want to be around us at all.