On December 19, 2022, EL PAÍS published an article by Ms. Laura Camón: Your cat knows you’re talking to it, but does it understand you? My New Leaf Journal colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, addressed the question of whether cats understand us in humorous fashion in 2020 when he tried to determine whether his cat was deaf or simply did not care about him. Ms. Camón’s article takes a more scientific approach. The line in the article which most jumped out to me addressed why kitty science is difficult:
Figuring out what cats are thinking when we talk to them is proving to be a challenge for scientists because cats just don’t like to be examined in laboratories.
The degree to and manner in which cats understand human speech may still be an open question (no doubt due in part to a general kitty aversion to being studued in laboratories). However, it probably does not take a scientist to figure out that cats would not enjoy being studied in labs. Even if I had not had cats for many years, I would have been able to figure that much out without the benefit of practical experience.
(Jokes about cats and labs aside, the article is interesting and worth your time.)