Study reveals how many words cats could understand

Does your cat understand you when you talk to him? Scientists have begun a study to try to find out what type of words cats recognize and how their brains analyze human language. According to the results published by the website AnimalPath.org, cats would understand between twenty and forty words, up to fifty for some of them. But that would be more about distinctions and associations of words to different things, rather than a real understanding of human language.

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A perception that can be compared to that of small children

According to the results of the study, the reception and understanding of words in cats would be comparable to what happens in small children. The words that are used most often, preferably short, are the ones they will recognize most easily. Through their handlers’ body language and tone of voice, they can associate spoken words with something or situations they know well, such as food, playtime or pets. Thus, they would be able to analyze compliments or endearing words as such. Finally, the words often used to give them an order are easily recognizable to them.

But cats are also able to easily recognize their name. A study conducted by a specialist in cat behavior found that cats have a particular reaction to being called by their name. In this situation, they usually respond with a meow or head, tail and ear movements.

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Cats aware of human speech

However, the study points out that cats do not have the cognitive abilities necessary to actually interpret human language. They would understand the words spoken by humans in the same way that humans analyze the reasons for their animal’s meow or its bodily behavior such as wagging its tail.

If you have the impression that your cat is not receptive when you speak to him, note that the results of scientific studies show that they are able to recognize their master’s voice and are aware of human speech, but that they respond more easily to a calm, soft voice. They would also pay attention to facial expressions and body language. Recently, for example, a study had shown that cats were aware of blinking.

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