If your cat isn't responding to your calls, you might want to ask if they are just ignoring you.

Researchers have shown that cats know their owner's voice. When their owners talk to them, they behave differently than someone else.

At the sound of a familiar voice, the cats in the study often froze, tails flicking, eyes blinking, or ears twitching, but only when the words were spoken in a register reserved for a cute little fluff ball.

The cats seemed to think the owner's speech wasn't directed at them, if they heard the same sentence in the owner's voice.

High-pitched, short utterances with repetitive sounds are common features of human speech. Dogs can sense both tone and meaning in their owner's voice.

Experiments show that when a pet owner uses 'dog talk', like 'Who's a good boy?', it draws the attention and affection of their dog.

Past research shows that humans use a register to speak to their cats. It's not known if cats care for it.

The current experiments are looking at how cats respond to speech directed at them.

Cats can discriminate between speech directed at other humans and speech specifically addressed to them.

This was true only when the owner of the cat spoke. The pet didn't show much interest when a stranger spoke in the same way as a cat. They didn't change their behavior as usual.

Adult house cats that aren't used to strangers have learned to read their owner's speech, according to the findings. An innate preference for friendly, intimate qualities in a human voice may be the reason for the close relationship between cats and humans.

Future experiments should compare the response of cats to strangers. The cats in cat cafes seem to be very attentive to human speech and have learned the names of other cats around them.

Most of the house cats in the current study lived in studio apartments, with the exception of one.

Experiments were conducted in each cat's apartment. They sat silently and did not interact with the cat during the trial.

A series of audio recordings would be played by the experimenter after he had met the cat. The recordings were made when the cat and its owner were interacting.

The pet owner said the same things to their cat that they said to them. The owner's words and tone were copied by a stranger.

When the final audio was played to a house cat, the pet's behavior only changed when the owner spoke in a cat-like way. The cat may look towards the sound or stop grooming itself. Sometimes a cat's response was less obvious, as their ears quietly turned to the sound of their owner's voice while they looked disinterested.

The cat's behavior didn't change when the stranger's voice was heard or the owner's voice sounded like a human's.

The authors of the study say that their findings are a good start to understanding how our pets might comprehend us.

The results show the importance of one-to-one relationships for indoor companion cats, who do not seem to generalize the communication developed with one human to all humans.

The study was published in an animal journal.