Originally Posted by Mom of Franz
Okay, I am not trying to be the Jane Goodhall of felines but I am curious about something. I posted a behavior problem the other day concerning Maddie age one and her play/aggression toward original resident "brother" Franz age 8YRS. and 3 times her size. She has a couple of times stood in wait outside the bathroom door (hidden from his view) while he uses the pan. When he emerges she pounces on him.
This got me wondering if she has a more complicated thought process than I realized cats could have, because as I see it this means:
1)She thought of the idea, and how to plan it.
2)She knew for it to work she had to remain hidden
3)She had to have some sense of time (patience)
4) Because Franz takes forever digging to China, she had to have a sense of recall about why she was there.
Probably more, but you get my point.
Have I underestimated our feline friends intelligence all this time, or do I have too much time on my hands in thinking about this?
Cats are definately one of the smartest animals. They show the ability to successfully hunt prey. There is a lot to that.
They also have the ability to distinguish people, down to their clothing and smell. They have a very active memory.
They are planners, they understand that there is a process to doing something, and they know what they need to do to get there. They are also very adept at thinking on their feet.
Watch cats play with toys, watch them play with each other, watch them hunt prey, watch them fight. Everything they do, they do with thought. Ambushes require planning and thought, playful or not. The ability to roll with the punches, rather to adapt to an ever changing situation, is something that not all animals can do so quickly.
Something that I love doing. Take a laser pointer, get the cat chasing it, really get the cat wound up. Then hold it still, let the cat "catch" it. Watch them as they try to figure it out. Because when they try to swat it, it appears on their paw, when they try to bite it, it's on their nose. After a few tries, the cat will usually step back and look at the dot. It will try a few more things usually, before giving up. Move it again, and all of a sudden, it's a toy again. But you can watch them try to catch the uncatchable, when you hold it still. They don't just stop playing with it instantly, they try to figure it out. (one word of caution though, don't let the laser get into the cats eyes) Another fun thing to do, is to make the laser disappear around a corner, and just turn it off. The cat will follow it around the corner, and then will come back and try to find it. It will be persistent and look only in the immediate area, it won't just blindly search for it, but it will think things through, and try to figure out where it can be. Doesn't always take a long time before the cat gives up on it, but I have seen cats sit for minutes waiting and watching quietly.
Cats are very intelligent animals. They think three dimensionally usually also. They don't always take the most direct path. I have seen cats bounce off a wall to attack something from the side, even though they had a clear shot at the front. Reason is that they know that the front of anything is almost always the most protected, and easiest to defend. The sides and the back are not. If they can appear to come from the front, but instead manage to get to the side, then they have just effectively used the element of surprise.
Cats are highly independant animals, they can function in a group, but given a choice they usually prefer to work things out individually. They are not pack animals, they do not rely on each other to accomplish something. They rely on themselves. To do this requires more than just brute physical strength, it requires a high degree of intelligence.
I think I just had me a complicated thought process