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mirror image

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Just something I've been wondering about for some time. Do cats realize they are looking at themselves when they stare in a mirror?Do they even see that there is a moving reflection? I've been observing my cat's interaction with the various mirrors in my appartment for some time now. She always ignored them as though oblivious to the fact that there were moving images being reflected. Two days ago, I noticed her seemingly trying to engage the reflections in the mirror. She spent about 20 minutes starring intently in the mirror and pawing at it... She then stopped and now is back to ignoring the mirrors.

I think there are probably two issues at stake: the cat's ability to see and her cognitive ability. Does anyone know anything about thi?

post #2 of 16
I don't know about cats. I've watched my cat but she wasn't too curious about her reflection. Then we got a puppy who quite actively tried to get the mirror puppy to play. He'd lick the mirror and bark at the image. Such a character!

post #3 of 16
Leo will pose in front a mirror. I haven't figured out if he is posing for the cat that's posing for him or if he's admiring himself. He is such a handsome lad!
post #4 of 16
In my apartment I have a large closet with sliding mirror doors. I didn't even think this should be a problem when I first brought Fitz home but he definitely doesn't get that it is his reflection and not another cat. I would be in the living room and hear him running around in the bedroom-jumping on the bed and claws digging in the carpet since he's going that fast. This is normal, sometimes he just has to run. What tipped me off was the loud banging I would hear after the running, then another bang and more running.When I'd go in to check on him, he'd be lying on the floor and pawing at the mirror. The next day I stayed in the room with him and watched him playing with the cat in the mirror until........
the "other cat" did something he thought was aggressive and he'd run and jump on the bed and then run FULL SPEED HEAD FIRST into the mirror! He'd fall down after and then do it again! Seeing this was pretty scary and I didn't want him to get really hurt when I was gone so I had to put up cardboard strips about 2 feet high so he can't see himself when he's just walking around and this keeps him from charging. He still goes in there and pulls the card board up and lies between it and the mirror but if he gets up to charge, it stays down covering the "other cat". A couple of weeks ago I figured he was older and could handle it but as soon as that cardboard came down, he was at it again. You'd think he would stop once he got a headache!
Sorry this was so long but I had to tell you about Mr. FitzHerbert and the evil cat in the mirror.
post #5 of 16
That's funny! I think most cats treat mirrors the way they treat t.v.s. At first my kittens try to catch the moving images on the television, but after many fruitless tries, they give up and just watch the action. I'm sure it must be frustrating though.
post #6 of 16
I just don't want to risk a concussion while he learns his lesson.
post #7 of 16
My family's cat, Loppy, used to play with her reflection. She'd paw and sniff at it, and even walk behind the mirror to see where the other kitty was. Ivo, on the other hand, isn't really interested in the mirror. She will sit in front of it, and look at her reflection. And, if I stand behind her and talk to her, she'll look at me in the mirror and not turn around. Although I do keep finding her favorite ball behind the mirror-maybe she's trying to get her reflection to come out and play.
post #8 of 16
I think it depends on the cat. Let's face it, some are smarter and better at figuring things out than others (Just like people!). Neither of mine try to play with their reflections.

On a similar note, though, when they were kittens hubby thought it was funny to play with them with wall shadows (making shadows on the wall with his hands). Trent would play and play. I made hubby stop when Trent charged head first into the wall. Ophelia, on the other hand (no pun intended), went after the shadow once. Then she watched it for a minute, looked back at hubby's hand, at the shadow, at the hand, and went after the hand that was causing the shadows. She's really too smart for her own good!
post #9 of 16
Here is how we assess self-awareness in toddlers, chimps, and gorillas. While playing with the critter put a little smudge of lipstick or something obvious on their forhead. Make sure it is where thay can't see it unless they are looking in the mirror. Then put them in front of a mirror. If they try to grab the smudge on the mirror they do not have self-awareness, but it they wipe their own forhead they are self-aware.

Very young toddlers, chimps and gorillas always reach for the mirror, but at a certain point they suddenly "get it" and realize that "hey, that's me in the mirror, so that lipstick is on my forhead!"

So....everyone's homework for today is to put a big smudge on their cat's forhead and see what they will do when they look in the mirror.
post #10 of 16
cats and miirrors
post #11 of 16
The thing with Fitz is that he understands the principle of reflections because he will look at me through the mirror when I talk to him while he's sitting on the bathroom counter. I think he just isn't sure what he looks like--maybe in a few more months it'll be safe to take the cardboard down for good.
post #12 of 16
According to studies that have been done, only dolphins and some of the chimps are supposedly "self aware", that is will recognize themselves in a mirror. None of our cats seem to be, but some will watch animals on TV with interest. All I know for sure is that animals are all much more intelligent than most people, including scientists, often give them credit for being...
post #13 of 16
I have found corky admiring her reflection in the bathroom before, she manages to clime on top of the sink and crane her neck sideways to get a good look, thankfully she hasn't started playing with the reflection yet : )

Like you story about Mr Fitzherbert:laughing: Have to ask where did his name come from as it rings a bell and is driving me potty trying to think why.
post #14 of 16
Mr. FitzHerbert is from Bridget Jones' Diary. He's her boss's boss and she describes him with my favorite line from the movie:

"Mr FitzHerbert, tits pervert more like. Daniel's boss who stares freely at my breasts with no idea who I am or what I do."

I thought it would be a funny name for a cat and he is living up to it by watching me in the shower and always lying on my chest and using the "built in pillows", except it's cute when Fitzy does it
post #15 of 16
Lol I should have remembered that, I love both the film and the book

He sounds a real cutie as well.
post #16 of 16
Out of the 5 I have had (I have two right now), only one paid attention to the mirror. Someone else mentioned having the large mirror closet doors... one of my cats was happily trotting by them one day and glanced to his side and leaped up in surprise. He spent about 10 minutes leaping closer to scare the mirror then leaping back because the cat in the mirror did the same thing. After that he took to ignoring the mirror for the rest of his life.

None of the others cared less about it.
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