New Study Says Baby Talk with Cats Actually Works

A recent study conducted by French researchers points to baby talk as being a good way to converse with your cats. Let’s face it, most of us are guilty of baby-talking to our pets, anyways. We can’t help it. Pets are like our kids, so it would make sense that that’s how we’d engage with them. Now, you don’t have to feel silly or guilty about it if you get caught doing it. Just point to the research and go about your day.

Baby Talk

According to the study, the researchers conducted three rounds of testing using 16 felines. During the trials, they discovered that cats are more apt to respond to their pet parent’s voice than that of a stranger. Additionally, it’s believed they can tell when that parent is directing the message directly to them. It boils down to their ability to distinguish between their human’s cat-directed “baby-talk voice” and the normal voice they use when speaking to other humans.
 
“It’s further evidence showing that there is attachment between cats and humans. And I think that’s important to keep in mind because for decades, we have been thinking that cats are very independent creatures, that they just want food and shelter, and that they don’t care about humans,” the study’s lead author, Charlotte De Mouzon, stated.

cat
Photo: Pixabay/SayaPhotos

Feline Behaviors & Attitudes

Cats are far more independent than our needy canine friends. Often described as aloof, they seem to be completely indifferent to us at times. Some cats are obviously more friendly and inclined to affection than others, but they will never be as clingy as dogs. It isn’t because they don’t love us or feel an affinity towards us. It’s just how they roll. It can be like a game of chess with them. In fact, it is because of this very attitude that many people choose them over dogs. They just don’t require the same amount of effort as man’s best friend.

tabby cat on chess board
Photo: Pixabay/RickJbrown

Indoor Cats

Of the 16 felines that took part in the study, all of them were house cats. Due to this, there was some question as to whether that might have some influence on why the cats wouldn’t react to voices from unknown persons they have no ties to. After all, they have little exposure to strangers and probably aren’t inclined to respond. Conducted in the cats’ homes to avoid stress behaviors that might impact the results, the felines had a number of sentences spoken directly to them in baby talk and adult talk and the baby talk elicited better responses each time. So, the next time they ignore you, employ a higher pitched voice and see if they acknowledge you.

People, Pets & Planet

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