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Are ferals smarter than domestics?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I don't know if it's because she's younger than Creep, but she seems to think around barriers me and my partner out to stop her going places or doing things. Creep trys once or twice then doesn't bother doing anything. She just looks at me meows then sulks off.
Also quciksilver is more confident and out going... is this because she is more clever than Creep or is Creep just an old lady? she's 9.
post #2 of 15
I think perhaps ferals are not necessarily smarter, but that only the smart ferals survive... predators, disease, and cars take their toll; and a high intelligence can give a cat an edge out in the wild.

Eventually, natural selection should affect the feral's genetics enough to make them tend towards smarter, faster, and more perceptive cats... though it might also tend towards cats who have bigger litters (more chances for them to survive).

There are an awful lot of smart domestic cats, though. Cats aren't stupid animals by a long shot.
post #3 of 15
I'm don't think they are smarter, they just are more desperate and have a stronger instinct to "survive". For example: I have a feral cat and some non-ferals. Where I used to live there were alot of places for the cats to hide so I had to block them all off. The non-feral tried a couple times to get through the barriers and gave up. The feral cat, however, was desperately trying to find a way to hide because she thought if she didn't then somebody might get her.(she's always scared of everything)

See, the non-ferals have been raised around humans and therefore are less fearful and more trusting, ferals are the exact opposite, therefore they have stonger, more wild instincts.
post #4 of 15
If they were smarter, they'd recognise a human who wants to feed them, provide them with warmth and shelter and love them forever and enjoy it Domestic cats KNOW they're onto a good thing when they find a good owner!

Ferals definitely have the desperation to survive.
post #5 of 15
My entire household is made up of feral and former feral cats. If I can socialize them, they move inside otherwise they can chose to live in or out.

I wouldn't say that feral cats are smarter than domestic cats. The cats that live a feral lifestyle at my household just seem to be more insightful about how to manage themselves in their environment. It is all about survival to them.

My "domesticated" feral cats were all born from feral lineage, but have very limited survival skills. On the few occassions they sneak outside, they have absolutely no clue on the dangers in the world - they have simply become too trusting of their environment.

My feral cats will leap for cover when a dog wanders by. My domesticated cats will try to lick them (they do that to our dogs). Neither action is unintelligent in the constraints of the environment where they were raised.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
I think I caught Quicksliver before she had a chance to develop her full feral instinks. She doesn't like going outside unless Creep is near by. I think she sees me as her mother and Creep as her other mother.
The first night we had her she wouldn't go near anyone and hid in corner. (I know every kitten does that.) She then spent the next 2-3 nights crying for her mother.
while she sleped, during the day, Creep would walk up to her and sniff her, then lick her head. She always bolted if she woke Quicksilver up.
Every so often when Quicksilver wants someone to suggle to she'll try to lay next to Creep. But Creep usally wake and hits her.
I know cats aren't stupid. I think they are like us but in animal form. Call me crazy if you want.
post #7 of 15
Probably, because they actually have to survive for a living. Domestic cats just sit and play and get their food served to them quite literally on a silver platter! But once domesticated, like my Gemma cat who was once a stray, they lose their outdoor skills.
post #8 of 15
They gain indoor skills, though... ever seen a feral who knew how to use a human toilet?
post #9 of 15
I do think that part of it is genetics and part of it is survival. My Ophelia, who we got as a feral kitten (6 weeks old and every bit a feral!) is the smartest cat I've ever seen. She thinks logically - honest to goodness, I've seen her work out problems logically even if she can't physically complete it. Trent was raised in a domestic setting, and his logic is "If I cry, some human will come fix it for me." Ophelia wants to do everything herself.

I'm sure a lot of the differences are both nature and nurture, but I do think that natural selection in a true feral world plays a part, and the smarter ones have a better chance of survival and procreation.
post #10 of 15
I don't know if it is genetical or just the fact that only the smartest survives but after living together with two feral kat-mothers and their five kittens for three and a half month now I have to admit that they are the smartest cats I ever met. They cooperate with eachother in everything - even in checking how I take care of their kittens.
When we built the cat-garden for them they both checked every millimeter of it before they let their kittens go out. One was guarding the kittens while the other one checked the fence and then they shifted. The older mother, Moa, is a little bit more relaxed with humans, and when Agnes, the young mama, kitten got ill from the antibiotics he had from the vet and almost died, Agnes wanted to check on her baby. The problem was that we share custody of the kitten. He is partly bottle fed and he wouldn't let me leave him. If I was more than a meter from him he would scream and try to follow me and since he hardly could walk and had a high irregular heart beat, that wasn't good, so I was stuck there with him. Agnes didn't dare to come that close to me so after watching us for a while she went to get Moa. Moa walked up to kitten, keeping an eye on me all the time, checked him out and went back to Agnes to rapport.
The kitten made it. Even if the mothers are really feral they have always accepted that I treat their babies - even when the kittens was small. I could lift the kittens out of the nest and put them back but if I even thought of touching the mother they were off. It was as if they could read my mind.
Agnes chosed to be trapped. She saw when we trapped Moa and when we tried to trap her she knew exactley where not to go. After two days without her mother and kittens she was on her way in to our house by her self. I figured she hade made up her mind so I put the trap out again and within five minutes it was over. She went straight in to the trap. She chosed her family in front of her freedom and she came to tell me about it so I could arrange it.
post #11 of 15
My feral baby is very different from the two kittens I've had that were born and bred domestics. He is the most "grown-up" baby kitty I've ever seen. He had adult cat mannerisms even at a mere 4 weeks old. He's too young to tell, but I think he is going to be a very smart boy. He's just so alert and clever and present. My domestics were clever as kittens (well, ok, one of them is, but...his brother could probably be outsmarted by a rock), but not like Jules is. He amazes me. Probably there is some genetic selection toward smarter cats. It's a fiercely competitive world for them out there. Domestics get by on looks a lot of the time.
post #12 of 15
Malena. This you write is a striking witness-ship in many ways.

Also an excellent evidence for a hypothesis I have:

The catched feral mothers usually do accept the new situations. Yes it is even common they do accept to be helped with the birth and the caretaking of the kittens.
There are even described cases they dont try to escape although the door is open, and they could escape also taking the kittens with them too.
Yet they choose to stay.

So my hypothesis is: the most important for these feral and semiferal cat-mothers is not "freedom", but safety and welfare of their kittens.
If the place seems safe and good enough, and the humans in charge docile enough - they suppress their instinct of not being captured and their immediate fear for humans. etc.
They know the alternatives outside are a lot worse.

A interesting point they can thus choose: by suppressing the immediate fear for humans and capturing, against a bigger, future fear of wild animals, hunger, bad weather.


Thinking and speculating some.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
So my hypothesis is: the most important for these feral and semiferal cat-mothers is not "freedom", but safety and welfare of their kittens.
If the place seems safe and good enough, and the humans in charge docile enough - they suppress their instinct of not being captured and their immediate fear for humans. etc.
They know the alternatives outside are a lot worse.

A interesting point they can thus choose: by suppressing the immediate fear for humans and capturing, against a bigger, future fear of wild animals, hunger, bad weather.
Yes, I agree with your hypothesis. I think you're right. Sooooo smart on the part of the feral cat-mothers.
post #14 of 15
I am really impressed by the kittens to. They differ a lot in personality but they are so good at learning from watching. They also cooperate in a way I havn't seen with my earlier domestic kittens.
post #15 of 15
Zoey is my indoor feral (ex) ... She was about 8 months when I adopted her at the shelter...I didnt know feral from stray... well she is far sweeter in disposition than my domestic.. She learns very very fast ... aka she is a true copy cat ... I have been owned and handled by her for 22 months ... Today she went for a get to know you visit to the accupuctureist and was so calm and sweet

She is smarter street wise than my domestic but she copys everything the domestic and the dog do
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