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Can a Cat Keep Track of Its Owner’s Location?

Cats, with their keen senses and strong territorial instincts, often seem attuned to their owner's whereabouts. They may not map out locations like humans, but they're adept at picking up cues. Intrigued by how your feline friend may know where you are? Discover the fascinating ways cats may keep tabs on their humans. What clues do you think they use? Continue reading to find out.

All cat lovers know that while they might technically own their felines, the truth is that ownership works both ways. But even the most ardent cat fancier might be surprised by recent research demonstrating that felines actually create mental maps of their owners when they are out of sight. Cats do this by linking voice signals to mental representations of their humans.

The findings come from a study led by Saho Takagi of the Department of Psychology at Kyoto University in Japan, in which researchers conducted experiments employing both cat owners' voices and those of strangers. "Results showed that cats were surprised when their owner appeared to be 'teleported' to a new, unexpected location, but they did not react in the same way when tested with non-social stimuli," the researchers summarized.

Purr-fect pets?

  • When a cat rubs against you, it's not just saying hello: It's also marking you as part of it's territory, or property.

  • Cats came to America in the mid-18th century aboard European ships that brought them for pest control.

  • Cats rarely "talk" to one another, instead reserving their meows for people.

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    • New research suggests that cats create mental maps of their owner’s location, even when humans are out of sight.
      By: Neil Cummings
      New research suggests that cats create mental maps of their owner’s location, even when humans are out of sight.