Why can dogs learn their names and cats cannot?


Dogs and cats both understand their names, but with different intonations.  Let’s take the dog I grew up with, Pinky:

pinky

He was a West Highland White Terrier named after his pink ears, who loved to play tug of war, be carried like a football, and sniff everything with his big black nose.  I would call him over, piiiinKEE!  piiiinKEE!  And he would come-a-runnin’!

Then there’s my famous cat, Luna…

luna_in_folded_blanket

I’ll call her over… luuuuNA! luuuuNA!  …No response.

Then she’ll investigate the suitcase I just opened, which we’d like to stay cat hair-free.  And it looks like she has other plans.  She starts to poke her nose, and I call her… luuuNA! luuuuNA!!  The desperation rings through the air as I’m completely ignored.

But then it’s too late.

luna_in_black_suitcase

And then with sadness, I remark, “LUUUnaaa :(”  And she finally offers a brief, curious glance.  Unlike dogs who aim to please, I believe cats are much more interested in our disappointment.

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11 comments

  1. They believe in selective knowledge. They like to go with the thought that “Us hearing or not hearing our name is not to be questioned but you damn well bring your butt if we meow otherwise things are gonna get dark. Muahahaha.. “

    Liked by 3 people

    • Getting dark indeed. Especially since we have staircases. “Sleepily going downstairs for coffee? Wouldn’t it be ‘inconvenient’ if I brushed against your legs midstep?” Well, she does that anyway though.

      Like

  2. One of my cats comes when I call him. Then, again, we have been through three different names already, and this is the first one he bothers to acknowledge (Lloyd), this one shall remain for good ;).
    Miranda, the other cat, knows when she’s called, but you can see she decides to ignore you completely. On the other hand, she’s really “mewative” when she have some commands to share :p

    Liked by 2 people

    • Okay, so not all cats are jerks like Luna and Miranda 🙂 I know my wife’s childhood cat used to come when you tap your fingers. She was eternally disappointed when it never worked on Luna. It is fun to summon Luna with treats. She’ll come from anywhere. I’ll open up the bag, then I’ll hear her hurried footsteps rushing on the hardwood floor upstairs, then on the stairs heading down. Unfailingly, she appears from the darkness, trying to open up her eyes after sleeping 3 hours in front of the heater. Silly things we live with.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cats know their names they just don’t bother.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cats know their names, they are just better at ignoring you. Lucy (my cat) will come about half the time when I call her.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A dog hears its name and comes. Most of the times. A cat hears its name, reconsiders it – and comes back to you later.

    Like

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