Animals have a whole range of possibilities to recognize and communicate within their species as well as with other species. They use primarily scent, but also body language and sounds. But what does it look like in a purr-man relationship? How do our pets recognize not only us but also other people? Is there any limited number of people they can remember at all? Which sense is most important for these animals to identify individual individuals of our species? It certainly looks a bit different than in the human world, where sight plays the most important role. Although kittens have this sense much more sensitive and better than we – their owners – is only one of the ways of cognition and not the most important one. In the animal world, smell, hearing, and often also touch count. For many years scientists have been studying the relationships and ways of establishing reactions between our species and have come to interesting conclusions.
Do cats recognize our faces?
There is no simple answer to this question, but the one closest to the truth is – not exactly. American scientists have done a lot of research and concluded that our purring pets are more or less half successful in recognizing their owner’s face. It is worth mentioning that the tests were carried out by showing the animals photographs of their carers’ faces in order to limit the possibility of using more than one sense to identify them. The effect? The recognition on the level of a little more than fifty percent. Surprising and interesting is the fact that the recognition on the photos of the muzzle of their cat’s friends reached ninety percent, which shows that these animals are able to use the sight perfectly to recognize a particular individual. So why is the result much weaker in the case of people? According to scientists, it results from the history of cat domestication and building relationships with it. While dogs, already domesticated, mainly served our ancestors and worked with us, cats were running their own business, that is, catching mice. This kind of cooperation did not require building a close relationship, and the cats did not feel the need to recognize, for example, our moods by the expression of the face. Does it mean that the cat does not recognize his guardian? Of course, he recognizes, but he prefers other ways of identification than looking at the face picture itself.
Do cats recognize our voice?
The cats definitely recognize our voice, as proved by scientists from many countries, including Japan. The latter carried out tests which made it clear that cats perfectly distinguish between voices of strangers (to which they usually do not want to react at all) and those of their family members. Many owners will probably express their doubts now because sometimes they call out their favourite and do not see any reaction from his side. The truth is that a cat hears us as much as possible, but simply ignores the cry because he has more interesting things to do or is not at all in the mood to enter into any relationship at the moment. All we have to do is to respect the cat’s individuality. What about understanding human speech? Research has shown that the majority of home pets learn our language and after a few years are able to recognize even several hundred words and phrases. This is really a lot! However, for cats, it is often not the word itself that matters, but the intonation with which it is spoken. Throughout their lives, they also learn how to fit a given word into context, so their communicative skills are still growing. So we can talk confidently with our pets, maybe even get an answer, although of course in cat language. Some furries are real chatterboxes, such as Siamese cats.
Do cats recognize our smell?
Yes, cats recognize our smell. Reading various messages through smell is the most popular method of communication among pets and cats are no exception, although their smell is weaker than in dogs, for example. Sniffing helps to gather information not only about a particular person but also about the whole environment. That’s why kittens are initially so confused and scared when they come to our house – all smell strange and strange. Giving the kitty a hand to sniff is also the first stage of taming the pet, as well as making friends with a new-found favourite. Animals are great lovers of natural smells (including those which are stench for us), all the cosmetics and home chemistry that will leave their scent on us makes the start to wrinkle the nose, curve or move away from us. For them, we smell not only us, but also our surroundings, our clothes, furniture, or toys. Hence, personal items often fall prey to pets – they have a soothing effect, help to cope with the longing when we go to work and provide a sense of security.
Do cats recognize our touch?
The truth is that when it comes to getting so close to the cat that we can touch it, our cat definitely already knows who he is dealing with, so it is hard for him not to recognize our touch. However, our body language as such has no secrets from it. The way we move, our gestures, even our facial expressions – all this is for the pet to recognize. He also knows how we stroke him, carry him on our hands, cuddle, and even serve food. The cat also learns our daily routine easily and quickly. They function with us under one roof, find the meal times, hours of our work, distinguish weekends from weekdays. The best proof? When it comes to changing the time from summer to winter, the pet is annoyed and wakes us up an hour earlier, asking for food, although you do not know anything about the watch. Mruczek adjusts his biological rhythm to our daily schedule. If we decide to change the routine, the pet will experience it hard and will be dissatisfied, he will also feel lost. For him, we are one of our rhythm of the day and nothing should change. The mutters do not like changes. Proof? After a visit to the hairdresser’s, which will strongly change our appearance, the pet can greet us invaded and distrustful. At first, we seem to him as a stranger. This is an argument for the fact that our appearance is not completely indifferent to him and he is easily able to observe large changes.
Is there a limit to the number of people a cat can recognize? Formally, there is no such limit. Everything depends on the regularity of contacts. We can also not recognize our friend from elementary school, who we have not seen for years. They have a similar attitude to their eyes, and they perceive the passage of time a little differently, so if they don’t watch someone for a very long time, they may treat him/her as a stranger later.