Thoughts for Thursday – Cats and Mirrors

Mark Twain once wrote in response to “What is a Mirror,”

“It is a hole in the wall,” said the cat. “You look in it, and there you see the picture and it is so dainty and charming and ethereal and inspiring in its unimaginable beauty that your head turns round and round, and you almost swoon with ecstasy.”

What cat or kitten hasn’t suddenly noticed his reflection in a mirror and reacted? A cat discovering a mirror can be hilarious. There are many YouTube videos showing cats challenging the image in the mirror, trying to find the kitten in there, getting to know the cat by patting it, trying to sniff it. Does the cat think she is looking out a window at another cat?

A group of scientists once did a study to determine whether animals recognize their own image. They put a dot on the animal’s forehead, then showed them a mirror. They figured that if the animal touched the dot, this would indicate that he knew he was the image in the mirror—the mirror was reflecting his image. Only a few of the animals touched the dot and cats and dogs were not among them. Here’s the study and additional information about animals and mirrors. I found it interesting. Maybe you will too.



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