A cat can be trained to know and respond to its name with cues. Cats are as trainable as dogs and can learn to respond to commands, according to the ASPCA.
One of the easiest ways to teach a cat to respond to its name is with its food. Be sure to call for the cat first before opening the food or creating that 'cue' sound. Once learned, push its boundaries by training throughout the house with some motivation in the form of toys, cat nip or meat on a spoon. Call your cat by its name and surprise it with one of the treats. Over time, increase the difficulty by increasing the distance at which the cat must respond to its name being called.
Cats understand their names when called upon, but do not care to acknowledge, according to the University of Tokyo. This can be traced back to the early stages of domestication for cats. The study had the cats listen to their names in four audio recordings, with one recorded by its owner. The results showed most cats perked up and had an increased responses when they heard their name by their owner's voice, but did not actively respond.