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When it comes to pets, they are not always recognised as the friendliest or even the most sociable.

But it seems cats are less selfish than they may appear – for not only do they know the names of their owners but also those of their feline friends.

Japanese researchers looked at 48 cats which lived with at least two other pets, either in a family home or a cat cafe. 

Each animal heard a recording of their owner calling the name of a cat they lived with.

Then either a picture of that cat flashed up on a computer screen, or a picture of a different cat in their household.

The 19 cats from family homes spent longer staring at the picture when it did not show the cat whose name had been called – a common reaction if animals are surprised.

A study by Japanese researchers has suggested cats know each other's names and 'possible' those of their owners (stock image)

A study by Japanese researchers has suggested cats know each other's names and 'possible' those of their owners (stock image)

A study by Japanese researchers has suggested cats know each other’s names and ‘possible’ those of their owners (stock image)

A separate experiment showed cats either a picture of their owner or themselves when their name was called.

Although the 26 cats surveyed did less well overall, those living in a bigger family stared for longer when the picture and name did not match.

Authors, from Kyoto University, said the results suggest cats know each other’s names and ‘possibly’ those of their owners.

They said: ‘One possible explanation has to do with competition. 

‘A cat might receive food when the owner calls her name but not when she calls another cat’s name.’

However, cats are never in competition with humans at mealtimes so have less reason to know their names. 

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Source: Daily Mail

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