Researchers at the University of Tokyo found that although pet cats are capable of recognizing their owner's voice, the felines usually choose to ignore their calls.
Scientists observed 20 domesticated cats in their homes for eight months to monitor how the animals recognized and responded to different voices, both strangers' voices, and the cats' owners, calling out the cats' names.
The study found that 50 percent to 70 percent of the cats turned their heads at the sound and 30 percent moved their ears typical reactions to hear any sound. Just 10 percent of the felines responded to being called by meowing or moving their tails.
In other words, your cat hears you when you call he just doesn't care enough to acknowledge it.
Response rates were similar regardless of whether the cats were called by strangers or their owners. However, the felines did have a "more intense" response to their owner's voice, indicating that the animals do have a special relationship with the people they know.
While dogs were bred over thousands of years to respond to commands, the authors say that cats never needed to learn to obey human orders. "Historically speaking, cats, unlike dogs, have not been domesticated to obey humans' orders. Rather, they seem to take the initiative in human-cat interaction."