Cats really can respond to their own names, study finds

Cats may not speak the same language as us but they definitely know to respond to their name, a new study has found.

Japanese researchers studied 78 domestic felines who lived in normal households or a cat café.

They found if somebody said four different words before saying the cat's name, the feline would react to their name.

More than half responded by moving their ears and heads, while fewer than 10 percent responded by making sounds, swishing their tails or moving their paws.

"There are so many studies about dogs' ability to communicate with humans. We think it is important to show cats' ability as well as dogs," head researcher Atsuko Saito told the Mail Online.

"[Such research] will help to make both cat and human welfare better."

The café cats responded to the names of the other cats they live with, as well as their own name. The researchers say that means it's more likely the cats are associating certain words with reward or punishment, rather recognising the name is theirs.

The study's results were published in journal Scientific Reports on April 4.