FIRST AIRED: December 7, 2018

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00:00:01
>> Ever get the feeling that your cat is staring at you looking for the answer to some unasked question? Well, behavioral researchers in Hungary now say it may just be looking for referential clues. Cats, it appears, share an ability to follow a human's gaze, to a bowl of food in this case, and interpret it correctly, which puts them in the same hitherto rarified group of babies and dogs.
00:00:24
>> In general we found that cats are very good in following human gazing signals, independently of the type of the signal. So whether we do a sustained gaze when we don't take off our eyes from the target, or we do a momentary gaze when we just look shortly on the target and then turn back to the cat.
00:00:51
So independently of the difficulty or the level of difficulty of these gazing signals, cats are very good in following it. So they follow human gaze much over chance level.>> The team at Budapest Eotvos Lorand University tested 41 cats in their owners' home. Using bowls of food and a steady or fleeting gaze to look for similar characteristics as dogs when interacting with humans.
00:01:18
This kind of ethology testing rarely examines cats, who are far more challenging than dogs. And this is the first research to use more complex signaling than just pointing. The cats scored a resounding 70% success rate.>> Cats learn spontaneously that where humans look at, it can be important.
00:01:39
And this is a very interesting thing, because then you could ask that, okay, if it is not innate but the cats learn it, could any other animal learn it?