Mews and Nips: Study Finds Cats Do Pay Attention to Humans


Cats have a reputation for ignoring their guardians, but a recent study found that cats do actually pay attention to their owners, distinguishing them from all other people. NBC News reported that the study, which will be published in the July issue of Animal Cognition, is one of the few to examine the cat/human social dynamic from the feline’s perspective. Cats may not do what we tell them to, but they usually adore their human caretakers. Co-author Atsuko Saito of The University of Tokyo explained to Discovery News that dogs have evolved, and are bred, “to follow their owner’s orders, but cats have not been. So sometimes cats appear aloof, but they have special relationships with their owners.” For more on the study, visit NBC News Science.


Did you know that cats can serve as seeing eye service animals? When Robert Sollars of Mesa, Arizona went blind in 2003, Sollars’ cat, Admiral K’reme, became his seeing-eye cat, helping his owner adjust to his new life. Halo Purely For Pets reports on their blog that Admiral established himself as Sollars’ “Guardian Kitty,” guiding him around the house and helping him navigate. The Admiral would watch and anticipate where Sollars was headed “just like a good wide receiver would,” Sollars chuckles. Then, the cat would run to the anticipated spot and meow until Sollars found his way. Read the full story on Halo’s website.

If you missed any of the stories featured on The Conscious Cat this week, here’s a recap: On Monday, we explained non-recognition aggression in cats, on Tuesday, we told you how your cat could become a video star, on Wednesday, we provided important information on emergency preparedness for your cat, and on Friday, we reviewed The Cat’s Cradle, the latest in the Dixie Hemingway cat sitter series. And don’t forget to enter our giveaways for a $75 shopping spree from Entirely Pets, and an autographed copy of The Cat’s Cradle.

Today’s video comes to us from our friends at Glogirly. Appropriately titled “Air Waffles,” it shows the crazy orange kitten’s antics off to purr-fection!


Have a great weekend!

Photo sources: photo of cat from NBC News Science website, photo of Admiral from Halo website

18 Comments on Mews and Nips: Study Finds Cats Do Pay Attention to Humans

  1. Renee'
    November 26, 2016 at 11:44 pm (4 years ago)

    Of course they do My Tigger follows me around the house like a little puppy – even to the bathroom. If I made mistake of closing the door (thank heavens I live alone), he puts his paws under it and feels the floor looking for me, then starts this pitiful cry until i let him in. He also watches TV with me in bed at night, and when I leave during the day to run errands, I always turn on his favorite channel, Animal Planet. He loves Big Cat Diary, but goes nuts if I can find a rerun of Meercat Manor (I still cry when I think of Flower and her bravery to save her children). Yes, cats see, think and even catspeak. I can tell by the sound of his meow, the curl of his tail, and the way he walks whether he wants food, his water bowl is empty, or his box needs to be cleaned, or if he wants to be brushed. If he wants attention and I am at my desk, he will stand up next to the chair and paw (ever so gently) at my arm until I acknowledge him, stop, and give him attention. They all have their own cattitude, but they are all loveable.

    January 28, 2015 at 5:47 pm (6 years ago)


  3. Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey
    July 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm (7 years ago)

    Of course cats can pay attention, but it is nice to see some positive science to back it up! I also love how they indicate that cats adore their owners. Something else us cat lovers already knew, but it is nice to see it in print like that!

  4. Glogirly and Katie
    July 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh My Cod!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing Air Waffles!!!
    He’s proof positive that cats pay attention to their humans.
    AND to the other cat(s)!!!


    • Ingrid
      July 14, 2013 at 9:04 am (7 years ago)

      My pleasure – it’s such a great video!

  5. Tania Sumner
    July 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm (7 years ago)

    I think any cat owner knows this already, it’s funny that they had to do a study to figure it out. Just talk to a cat owner and they could answer the question for you.

  6. Marci DeLisle
    July 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm (7 years ago)

    Definitely not news to me. 2 yrs ago I had to have surgery and when I came home from the hospital I was still pretty wobbly due to the pain meds. Well, my Pearl decided while I was in the main part of the house it was her responsibility to get up and accompany me anytime I got up to go the kitchen or the bathroom. She literally stayed right by my side like a dog heeling. And when I went to the bedroom she’s “hand me off” to MaiLing (one of my bedroom kitties) who slept touching me so she’d know if I moved. If I got up to go to the bathroom she did exactly what Pearl did. Stayed right next to my leg. She’d stay in the bathroom until I was done then walk me back to the bed. I always knew my kitties and I had a very special relationship but until I had surgery I had no idea how these two little girls would become my little helpers.

    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm (7 years ago)

      Thank you for sharing your experience with your two “kitty nurses,” Marci. I love hearing stories of cats being so tuned in to their humans that they even help them heal.

  7. Nancy
    July 13, 2013 at 10:20 am (7 years ago)

    Definitely not news to me. A pet psychic I consulted years ago about a lost cat, and continued consulting for several years because she told me things that made my jaw drop, described exactly where my lost cat was according to my cat (I just misinterpreted what she said but later it made perfect sense when someone told me they’d seen her), told me the cats noticed I often made spaghetti, liked my jewelry and told her exactly where it was, and told me when my cat Dudley was feeling ill (it was later diagnosed as cancer). I firmly believe there’s more in those little heads that has to do with the relationship to us than we know!

    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2013 at 11:48 am (7 years ago)

      I agree, Nancy – there’s more going on in cats’ minds than we realize.

  8. Debi
    July 13, 2013 at 10:11 am (7 years ago)

    That has been completely obvious to me for all the years I have had the pleasure of the company of cats.

    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2013 at 11:47 am (7 years ago)

      I think it’s been obvious to all of us, Debi!

  9. Niki
    July 13, 2013 at 10:00 am (7 years ago)

    I know my cat pays attention to me. It’s like kids, They hear what they want to hear. I read to my cat and I know he hears.
    I know it’s nitpicking, and many people don’t know this fact, but I HATE the term “seeing eye” when referring to service dogs, and in this case, cats. There really is a Seeing Eye Foundation who got the guide dog program started over a century ago, but now there are many programs like that one, such as Guide Dogs for the Blind, and Leader Dogs and so many, many more. The proper term for them is “dog guides” or in this case “cat guide.” But I think that is so cool that a cat could lead his owner! Go Admiral!

  10. Nadia
    July 13, 2013 at 9:04 am (7 years ago)

    Of course they pay attention. Even the most aloof cats, know when we need them emotionally .

  11. toni
    July 13, 2013 at 7:41 am (7 years ago)

    I can’t believe they had to do a “study” to determine this.
    I could have told them the answer =^..^=

    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2013 at 11:46 am (7 years ago)

      We all could have told them, Toni – but I still think it’s cool that they were able to “prove” it.

  12. Caren Gittleman
    July 13, 2013 at 7:12 am (7 years ago)

    “cats paying attention to their humans” is NOT news to me 🙂
    Both of mine ALWAYS did (and one still does)


    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2013 at 11:45 am (7 years ago)

      I don’t think it’s news to any of us, Caren!


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