Study Finds Cats Respond To Owner’s “Baby Talk”

A study conducted by Charlotte de Mouzon, ethologist at the Cognition and Development Ethology Laboratory (University of Nanterre), found that cats are receptive to what their masters say, especially if they use a more childish tone.

Study Construct

The study observed the behavior of 16 students’ pets from the Maisons-Alfort Veterinary School in Val-de-Marne. The felines were initially confronted with recordings of strangers addressing themselves in a “traditional” way, then recordings of their owners addressing their cats directly, with a more childish, even “silly” tone.

Results of the Study

The results of the experiment showed that the cats were more demonstrative when their owners used the childish language. Scientists found that cats turn their ears and their pupils are more dilated. Some cats even stopped their grooming and turned to their masters upon hearing their “childish” voice.


If you’re a cat owner, this study likely isn’t surprising. Speaking of my own cats, I know that they definitely recognize my voice and they even understand many word. Do you talk to your cats? Do you use a different tone? (I do.)

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy reading about this study about how cats have similar attachment styles to babies and dogs, or this study about how cats may influence their owner’s behavior.