Did you ever notice how a cat will just jump into your lap and stare at you? Start a conversation with them and you can see their ears move and the concentration in the eyes. Go ahead, try it. But what really makes cats such good listeners?

It’s true, if you come home from a long day at work or just had a stressful day, your cat will be there to greet you (and be happy to see you). Cats are known for making the people around them feel welcomed and loved – especially if there’s a treat or meal involved. Yes, give a cat a snack and they’ll be your best friend. But that’s not all, cats will genuinely listen to what you have to say – even if they don’t know exactly what it is you’re saying. Cats like to watch the animation in your face and the rise and fall of your voice. They may even make the occasional purr in agreement or sympathy to what you’re telling them.

A recent study conducted in Tokyo found that cats can differentiate the voices of their owner from other people. It went on to find that when the cat’s name was called by their owner, the cats displayed a greater response to the voice than to a stranger’s and did so by displaying orientating behavior such as moving their head and ears to find the sound.

Dr. Dennis Turner found that cats will listen to and interact with their human counterparts more if you just let them be and follow their terms. “The more the owner complies with the cat’s wishes to interact, the more the cat complies with the owners wishes, at other times. It’s a fantastic give and take partnership. It’s a true social relationship between owners and cats,” said Dr. Turner. Turner also found that cats can help alleviate their owner’s bad mood just by their mere presence. So the next time you’re having a bad day, get out a few treats, let your cat come to you and let it all out. You’ll be glad you did. And you just might get a purr or two in return.