New Study Reveals How Cats Distinguish Between ‘Cat Talk’ and ‘Human Talk’

Most people change their tone at least a little when talking to a cat or other animal. Now research has coined the term “cat-led speech” for the equivalent of a baby talking to a cat. A new study has analyzed how well cats can distinguish between cat-directed speech and normal speech to other human adults.

Source: ThePrint/YouTube

Previous studies have shown that humans addressing babies in infant-directed speech or “baby talk” can help develop language skills and bonding between parent and child. A new study published in the journal Animal Cognition investigated whether there are similar effects to talking to cats through cat-directed speech.

The researchers took 19 indoor cats to participate in the study, all of which were pets of resident veterinary students. To avoid stressing the cats in an unfamiliar environment, the researchers conducted the experiments in the cats’ homes.

The researchers recorded humans speaking to their pets in both cat-directed and adult-directed speech. They also recorded 16 strangers calling the cat’s name. They then replayed the chat speeches and compared their behavioral responses to each of the different scenarios.

After statistical analysis of the behavioral responses, the researchers concluded that the cats could indeed distinguish the two types of speech from their human, but not from a stranger. They discovered that cats can distinguish on some level that their special cat-led speech is right for them.

According to the researchers, their findings are just “additional evidence to encourage humans to view cats as sensitive and communicative individuals”, and they highlight “the importance of one-to-one relationships for indoor companion cats”.

We encourage anyone considering having a pet to not adopt instead of shop. Read more resources about adopting animals on One Green Planet, including 7 reasons to adopt your next best furry friend, 5 reasons why everyone should adopt a petand These heartwarming before and after photos of adopted rescue animals will make your day! Lily tips for adopting animals and what to consider before adopting a pet. We recommend using these apps to find shelter dogs near you!

Related content:

Simple ways to help the planet:

  • Eat less meat: To download food monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store to help you reduce your environmental footprint, save animals, and get healthy. You can also purchase a paper or electronic copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
  • Reduce your fast mode footprint: Take the lead by mobilizing against fast fashion pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like small rescue that raise awareness of important issues through zero-waste recycled clothing designed to be returned and remade again and again.
  • Support independent media: Public funding gives us a greater chance of continuing to provide you with high quality content. Please consider support us by making a donation!
  • Sign a petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals and the planet.
  • Stay informed: Keep up to date with the latest news and important stories about animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
  • Do what you can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse things, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, wash cold, get rid of fossil fuels, save water, buy wisely, donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, save energy, compost, and don’t forget the microplastics and microbeads lurking in household products and routine personal care!