Field of Science

What's on a cat's mind?

No one really knows, especially what's on this one's mind. Mind? This is an interesting article about people who study animal intelligence, and they say cats are just really, really difficult to work with.  People like to think that dogs are smarter than cats, but in TPP's opinion this is largely because humans and dogs understand each other better.  Communicating with a cat is more like trying to figure out an alien life form. Humans just don't think like cats. Naturally as solitary predators, cats are very self-centered even those that are very friendly and very well socialized. You just get them many of the things they like: warm place to sleep, kibble, etc. Cats are very good at figuring out how to get into and out of tricky places, and this takes some problem solving and evaluation of what you physically can and cannot do. When presented with a problem (how to get out of my yard), they find solutions. Go up onto the back steps, jump to the hand rail and walk along it. Jump to the top beam of the gate and walk across.  Then jump up onto the garage roof.  Jump across the narrow alley between our garage and the neighbor's garage.  From here access the back neighbors fence, and so on.  Retreat and retrace those umpteen steps when caught by startled owner.  Yes, this was a real adventure of the F1's mighty cat, a 26 lb. Maine coon cat. A lot of cat behavior seems very hard-wired, but cats are very careful and aware of their environment and they notice everything, when a piece of furniture is moved, they get upset because this is something that might affect their choice of a nap location.  Dogs don't seem to notice except to avoid bumping into it. Cats are very curious and investigative of their environment, and they find lots of things, for example, lost toys and things they consider to be toys, and they remember where little things were for quite some time, and they remember their "tricks" for quite some time, and both things would make them successful hunters. So this is a very different type of intelligence and humans haven't been smart enough to figure out how to test cats, but doggy tests won't work, and it ain't because they're smarter.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps your cat has been sneaking peeks at Treehugger, and is thinking what would convince you to purchase a cat table like the one online. (Not so sure about the Steampunk cat transport though!)

The Phytophactor said...

Oh, very nice. Here's the link to the cat/people table.