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Can a Cat Keep Track of Its Owner’s Location?

Updated May 16, 2024
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All cat lovers know that while they might technically own their felines, the truth is that ownership works both ways. But even the most ardent cat fancier might be surprised by recent research demonstrating that felines actually create mental maps of their owners when they are out of sight. Cats do this by linking voice signals to mental representations of their humans.

The findings come from a study led by Saho Takagi of the Department of Psychology at Kyoto University in Japan, in which researchers conducted experiments employing both cat owners' voices and those of strangers. "Results showed that cats were surprised when their owner appeared to be 'teleported' to a new, unexpected location, but they did not react in the same way when tested with non-social stimuli," the researchers summarized.

Purr-fect pets?

  • When a cat rubs against you, it's not just saying hello: It's also marking you as part of it's territory, or property.

  • Cats came to America in the mid-18th century aboard European ships that brought them for pest control.

  • Cats rarely "talk" to one another, instead reserving their meows for people.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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