Okay, be honest. Almost everyone uses Baby Talk when talking to cats. Only we call it using our "Cat Voice." If you've ever seen a cute cat when you're walking down the street and your voice becomes suddenly and uncontrollably high pitched, you know what the "Cat Voice" is. And if you are a cat owner, you might have noticed that when you use the high-pitched "Cat Voice," your cat is more likely to actually pay attention to you.
Well, according to Dr. Uri Burstyn, a veterinarian from Vancouver, British Columbia, there might be a reason why the "Cat Voice" or Baby Talk is more effective in getting a cat's attention.
Dr. Burstyn believes that cats will pay more attention when their names end in a higher frequency. As predatory animals in nature, cats rely on their keen sense of hearing to survive. Feline ears are sensitive to high-pitched noises and frequencies, like the sounds of birds and mice. Dr. Burstyn says that cats are more likely to pay attention if their names follow that pattern.
For instance, names ending in "ee" sounds are more likely to catch a cat's attention than those ending in consonants. This is namely because names that end in "ee" are often said in higher-pitched intonations, the type that cats are sensitive to. The same applies to nicknames, which cat owners often say while speaking in the traditionally higher-pitched "Cat Voice."
Burstyn demonstrated his findings with a cat named Lancelot in a YouTube video. “A study was done several years ago to show that cats respond to their name much better if the name terminates in a high-pitched sound,” Dr. Burstyn said. “For example, Lancelot ends on a low sound. He’s much less likely to respond [to] that than if we call him Lancey. Because Lancey, Lancey is a high-pitched sound.”
Burstyn added of the high-pitched call: “He’s gonna hear it much more clearly and respond to it much more regularly than a low-pitched sound like Lancelot. And this is true of any cat name, and I think a lot of cat owners do this instinctively.”
So when it comes time to name your cat (and all the fun nicknames that will follow), consider a name that ends in "ee" or a higher pitch. Need help choosing a kitty name? Check out 20 most popular cat names in the US!