I was curious because my cat never comes when I call it but my dog always does. But does my dog recognize that that name is hers, or does she simply know that when she hears that sound, I’m usually about to pet her or give her something? I did a little bit of research and here’s the conclusion I reached:
For dogs, it isn’t clear whether it depends on the dog, or all dogs recognize their names as their identities. Intelligence varies wildly between breeds. Some dogs are capable of reacting to other’s names which shows they should be able to recognize their own. For example, one person said that if they said their friends name while looking expectantly at their dog, their dog would run over to their friend. But other dogs seem to not be able because they will not register hearing their name if you use it in a different tone of voice than when you’re calling them, such as when used in conversation with others. However recent animal behavior studies have found that dog’s brains behave in much the same way our brains do when someone says our name.
Now what about cats? The aforementioned studies found that cat’s brains also behave in the same way as ours when they hear their names. So why do they not come when called? They simply don’t care. Domesticated cats are social with humans and sometimes other animals, but they were originally solitary animals, unlike dogs. Wolves are highly social and have highly complicated social relationships, so they are more adapted to caring about interactions. Of course anyone who owns a cat can tell you that they can be selfish jerks.