Is your cat tracking you?

Your cat can use your voice to mentally map where you are.

Do you ever get the feeling that your cat has a GPS tracking your location?  Research from Japan has found that your cat can mentally map your location by the sound of your voice.

Previously, research showed that cats do understand that an object still exists even if they can’t see it.  We didn’t know, though, how cats might use their other senses to track objects or people. 

So researchers from Kyoto University decided to test how cats used their sense of hearing.

To do this they ran an experiment to find out how cats responded when they heard recordings of their owner’s voice and a stranger’s voices in expected and unexpected places. 

The research found that cats weren’t surprised when their owner’s voice was played twice from the same place.  They also weren’t surprised when a stranger’s voice was played twice from the same place or once from two different places.

However, when the owner’s voice was played from first one place and then from a different place a few seconds later, the cats were surprised.

The researchers suggest that the cats mentally track their owner’s location using the owner’s voice and were surprised when the owner seemed to have moved from one place to another place.

So …  your cat’s mind is more complex than you thought. 

And they probably are tracking you!

You can read more about this fascinating research in the paper Socio-spatial cognition in cats: Mentally mapping owner’s location from voice

 

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