I’d say most of us consider our cats to be pretty darn smart. Just look at the things they get into and out of. They seem to be able to figure out semi-complex things and respond in interesting ways to the games we play with them and the games they invent. Cats know how to take care of themselves whether they need privacy and safety or attention. But do these things determine intelligence or plain old survival techniques?
Cats can be taught—they have the capacity to learn, even though some cats are resistant to doing things the way you want them to. That could be a sign of a smart cat—a smart cat with a strong mind of its own.
What has your cat done that seems over-the-top intelligent? We have so many stories, but we have to wonder, did the cat actually do that for the reason we believe or was it a fluke gut reaction to something else.
For example, Sophie used to seem to respond to what was on TV before starting her bedtime routine. She’d look at the TV when a program’s music started, indicating the program was over, then she’d trot off to the bedroom where she knew we’d soon follow.
Winfield also knew when it was bedtime and he’d go directly to his kibbles bowl. If it was full, he’d walk away satisfied. If he could see the bottom of the bowl, he’d wait next to it doing his best to catch our attention and making sure we added kibbles before heading to bed.
This week, Olivia was in the man cave with Dennis. She started to walk out when something on his TV caught her attention. Two cowboys were talking about killing a cougar. Dennis said it was as if she understood the words and she stopped and stared at the TV for a few moments before walking out of the room. You may remember me saying that Olivia (like many domestic cats, actually) is related to the cheetah, which is related to the cougar. In her DNA report they said the wild cat she’s most closely related to is the cheetah. I imagine that’s from her Egyptian Mau line. So what was it about that conversation on TV that caught her attention? Do we have an extremely intelligent cat who understands concepts such as, “Yikes, those men are going to kill my great, great, great, grandpa?” Sure, that’s where the human mind goes. But it could have been just a fluke for Olivia. Heck, maybe she heard the sound of a cougar in the background and that’s what caught her attention.
At any rate, cats are certainly fascinating creatures that can sure keep us entertained, amazed and guessing, but are they as smarter than a first grader? The debate goes on.