How Does My Cat Recognise Me

If you own a pet cat, I’m sure the question of recognition has crossed your mind at some point.

My cat spends most of her day staring at my feet, or snoozing on my legs if I’m lounging on the sofa. Surely my lower body can’t be that completely unique and distinct from everybody else’s in the world that she’s able to distinguish me from the sight of my legs?

Which leads to the inevitable question…how does my furry friend recognise me?

Cats Senses

I might have assumed that she would recognise people in the same way that I do, by looking at them. For humans after all, sight is the easiest way to distinguish between one person and another. However, sight isn’t the primary sense for cats,  all of a cats senses are used together as you will find out.

Cats Sight

cats sensesCat’s eyes are set further apart than ours. This means that they have a larger visual field and better peripheral vision than us. It also means that they have less overlap in the centre of their vision – which affects their ability to see objects clearly at a distance. This is why your cat is slightly short sighted, and won’t be able to recognise you from a distance by sight alone.

Their vision may also not be of the best clarity (only 20-40% of our own) but they have great motion sensors. They can spot the movement of an object much more successfully than humans can – a cats sight is perfect for hunting.

This may explain why you’re not able to entice your cat to leave their warm spot on the sofa at the other side of the room yourself, but they’ll come running if you’re swinging a cats toy like Mr. Fish (pictured).

Cats Smell

cats hearingCats rely much more on their other senses when trying to tell you apart from other people.

The cats smell receptors in their nose are very highly developed, but they also have another receptor on the roof of their mouth, called the Jacobson’s organ, which analyses inhaled air through their mouth.

Recognising smell is very important for cats, as it not only allows them to find you for a stroke and a cuddle, but warns them off other cat’s marked territory. Cats are well known for marking their territory by spraying urine – you may have seen your cat doing this outside in your garden. But they also secrete scents from the glands in their cheeks and paws. So when you next see your cat rubbing up against your legs, it’s marking you as its territory!

Cats Hearing

Finally sound is the most important sense to your cat. A cats hearing is 3 times more powerful than your own.

You may have noticed that their ears are proportionally larger than ours, and are shaped to be able to catch as much sound as possible. They also have lots of ear muscles to allow the ears movement so that the sound can be captured more accurately. You will also see your cats ears twitch at the tiniest of noises.

The way that your cat will recognise you the best is through your voice. They know their name, they understand tone of voice, and they recognise your individual voice.

So the best way to make yourself known to your cat is to rely on a cats hearing and to shout out!

About the author

Ross Davies

Ross is a UK Siamese & Oriental Cat Breeder breeding and showing his cats and kittens under the prefix Burnthwaites . He is the author on various cat related websites and blogs including 'Siamese Cat Breeder' and ''.

Ross is the creator of this website and has lived with cats since being a very young child. He started breeding cats in 2001 and has showed them successfully breeding many best in show cats.

Ross is a GCCF cat judge and also sits on cat club committees and both the Oriental and Siamese Cat Joint Advisory Committees. He holds certification in both feline behaviour & psychology and also cat anxiety and stress.

Ross writes extensively about cats and has been featured in magazines such as Your Cat and Our Cats and also guest authored on newsletters for various cat organisations. He is also a guest speaker at cat seminars.


cat health, cats

You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Siamese and Oriental Cat Lovers

Subscribe to our newsletter now!