Why can dogs learn their names and cats cannot?
One of the main training techniques every dog owner tries to master is recall, getting your dog to come back to you when you call them by name. Dogs easily learn their names and respond to it – whether they come back to you or not is a different story.
But what about cats? They are notoriously aloof and resistant to training – can cats learn their name and learn to respond to it like dogs?
I found some research conducted at the University of Tokyo that shows while cats do respond with slightly more reaction to their owner’s voice than a strangers, they don’t feel compelled to move upon hearing their voice.
The research team theorized the lack of reaction stems from the evolution of cats and the fact they domesticated themselves to humans. Dogs learned from humans and learned to respond to their voice, their commands, etc. But cats did not, they take the initiative in the human-cat relationship and they didn’t really need humans for survivial in the same way dogs did so they never developed the need to respond.
That’s not to say that cats CAN’T learn their names, they can, they just don’t feel any need to respond to you when you call them!
If you want to teach them, the WikiHow article listed below has some good advice.
Cats recognise their owners’ voices but never evolved to care, says study
Cats Know You’re Talking to Them But Couldn’t Care Less
How to Teach a Cat to Recognize Its Name