The cat is not such a haughty and independent animal as it seems. A French scientific study published in Animal Cognition reveals that felines understand us and are interested in us… but only if we talk to them like babies.
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To reach this conclusion, these ethologists from the University of Paris-Nanterre locked 16 cat owners with their pets in a specially equipped room. In this room there were toys for cats, scratching posts, hiding places, small circuits in height. The experiment took place at the Maisons-Alfort veterinary school with students from the school and their cats.
These researchers first recorded the voices of humans with a normal tone, the one used when talking to another adult. Then with a somewhat silly tone, the one you use when talking to your cat. Then they made the cats listen to the different types of sentences pronounced by their owners and by strangers.
Cats react amazingly. Their interest wanes when their owner speaks to them in a classical voice. But when their human starts talking stupidly to them, they change their attitude. Either they prick up their ears, or they stop grooming, others turn to their owner or go to him.
More amazing: it only works with the owner of the cat. Unlike dogs who react to anyone who talks to them like babies. Probably because they are used to meeting more humans than cats during their walks.
This study teaches us that it is in our best interest to talk to our cat like a baby, even if we do not always assume to look stupid. Because having a good relationship with your pet is essential. One of the authors of this study, Charlotte de Mouzon, believes that this is a matter of animal welfare and our well-being. The cat is a companion, it is part of the family and it is to be encouraged because these little balls of fur do us a lot of good. This too is proven by scientific studies.