Cats can recognize their owners’ voices.
Source: Original photo by Mary Swift/ iStock
Next Fact

Cats can recognize their owners’ voices.

While dogs are often touted as man’s best friend, cats can be so aloof that they seem like little more than a passing acquaintance. However, there is more going on between felines and their human owners than a cat’s sometimes steely exterior may suggest. In October 2022, researchers from France published results from an experiment examining the relationship cats have with their owners’ voices. In the study, cats responded more positively to a familiar human voice (swishing tails, pivoting ears, pausing grooming) than when they heard the voice of a stranger. 

Cats have more bones than humans.
Ready to Reveal?
Confirm your email to reveal the answer

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Incorrect.
It's a Fact
Humans have 206 bones, but the average cat has 244. A majority of these extra bones are found in a feline’s long tail and backbone. Where humans have up to 34 vertebrae, cats have some 53 vertebrae, giving them additional flexibility and twisting ability.

This builds on previous research from 2013 that found a similar connection between a familiar voice and its effects on a cat — though none of the felines in that study even bothered to get up in response to the voices they recognized. Unlike dogs, cats were never domesticated to follow a human’s orders, and instead were the product of a more symbiotic relationship, as the rise of agriculture also gave rise to rodents and other pests for cats to hunt.

The French researchers also studied how owners spoke with their pets; specifically, if they used cat-directed speech — aka baby talk — which is known to positively impact both babies and canines. (In fact, babies learn words more quickly when listening to baby talk.) Owners’ voices were recorded asking questions such as “do you want to play?” and “do you want a treat?” using both cat-directed speech and human-to-human conversational speech. Like dogs and babies, cats reacted more positively to cat-directed speech than to an owner’s normal speaking voice.

Make Every Day More Interesting
Receive Facts Directly In Your Inbox. Daily.

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Numbers Don’t Lie
Age of Creme Puff, the oldest known domestic cat to ever live (recorded in 2004)
38
Year of the earliest known human voice recording, using a phonautograph
1860
Possible number of different sounds a cat can make
21
Sound (in decibels) of the world’s loudest human voice, 30 decibels louder than a jackhammer
129
The oldest fossilized evidence of a pet cat comes from _______.
The oldest fossilized evidence of a pet cat comes from Cyprus.
Ready to Reveal?
Confirm your email to reveal the answer

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Think Twice
There’s a scientific reason why you hate listening to your own voice.

Hearing a recording of your voice can be an unpleasant experience, as the sound isn’t usually what you expect. To put it simply, hearing works by something called “air conduction,” in which sound waves travel to our ears’ cochleas, which in turn stimulate nerve axons that send signals to the brain — but that’s not what happens when we speak. While some air conduction occurs when we hear ourselves talking, most sound is translated through “bone conduction,” particularly our skull bones. This blend of both air and bone conduction gives our voice a deeper, richer low end, which explains why most people perceive their voices as higher pitched when listening to a recording.

Article image
You might also like
6 Under-rat-ed Facts About Rats
Despite their reputation as disease-riddled pests, rats are some of the most intelligent and adaptable creatures on the planet.