Every cat owner has experienced the aloofness that seems to come naturally to any and all house cats. If you've spotted Fluffy walking through the room and called her name, only to see your finicky feline pause momentarily before moving on, you've probably wondered why she is ignoring you. After all, you love her unconditionally and take care of her every need. However, new research has shown that cat owners aren't actually being ignored by their pets – the cats are just listening very intently.
In the study, cats were exposed to recordings of strangers calling their names followed by a recording of their owners' voices doing the same. With each unfamiliar voice, the cats would respond less and less until finally they heard the sound of their owners, causing them to become alert and focused. The researchers found that cats are very capable of recognizing the voices and will often give subtle clues that they heard their owners, such as turning their head, flicking their ears or dilating their pupils. These may all seem like minimal responses, but pupil dilation is directly related to mental stimuli and emotional responses.
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