Another Cat Proves We’ve Been Seriously Underestimating His Species’ Intelligence

Rabbit the stray seemed to know which humans would help him out.

The street-savvy cat would wait in front of a convenience store, sitting patiently on the sidewalk until he saw a person who would give him a smile or a pat on the head. Then, with Kitty Mind Control Mode enabled, he’d lead his new human minion into the store, guide them to the pet food aisle, and point to his favorite food.

Here’s video of Rabbit in action:

When I saw this, my reaction was sadness: From his familiarity with people to his preference for store-bought cat food, Rabbit was clearly someone’s pet, either lost or abandoned. He’d faced hardship. He was skinny, his snow white fur was dirty, and there was only a stump where his tail should have been.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending.

Tania Lizbeth Santos Coy Tova, a 33-year-old teacher who lives in Mexico, had encountered Rabbit a few times before. She decided to ask about the cat.

“Every time he came to the store, we greeted each other and did the same, he guided me to the shelf and chose the food he wanted,” she said.

Rabbit inside the store, pointing to the yums he wants.

From a story in UK’s Metro:

The managers of the store explained to Tania that the stray always did the same thing with customers. He understood specific hours and waited until a kind passerby would take pity on him and purchase some food.

Santos Coy Tova wanted to see if Rabbit had a home, so she and a friend followed the friendly cat after encountering him one day. When Santos Coy Tova saw the little guy return to an abandoned house, she decided he’d be coming home with her.

For those of us interested in animal intelligence — and feline smarts in particular — this story is fascinating.

Rabbit knew where cat food was purchased, was good enough at reading human body and facial language to reliably find friendly people who were willing to help, and he knew which package his favorite food came in. In addition, he knew that pointing to the package would draw a person’s attention to it.

He wouldn’t have been able to pull that off without the ability to plan ahead and think in the abstract. He also understood the food had to be purchased, or at least that a human had to get it for him. In the video he doesn’t just leap up at the package and take it, he points and looks back toward his person. That also shows he possesses theory of mind, that he understands humans and other animals have a subjective point of view.

This isn’t happening in a research lab environment, true, but it never could have. These are a unique set of circumstances showing cats understand more than they let on — a lot more.

A much healthier-looking rabbit in his new home. Great job, little guy!


8 thoughts on “Another Cat Proves We’ve Been Seriously Underestimating His Species’ Intelligence”

  1. I saw this story on facebook. Followed the link and could not believe my eyes! My heart just wanted to burst out of my chest. I wanted to hold that kitty and buy him treats so bad. I was so happy to read the woman that shot the video adopted this adorable guy. It makes my heart happy to know that he has his forever home and lots of his favorite treats for the rest of his life. A great story. Just wish all stories about stray animals had happy endings like this one did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, it’s good to know this story has a happy ending and this extraordinary little guy has someone to love and care for him. He must have been abandoned and gone through some really tough times.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. It just breaks my heart to know that people just throw out or abandon their pets like they’re garbage. I don’t understand. How can you do that to a living being? And when they find a home, they’re just so full of love. It amazes me the capacity they have to forgive humans even after everything we’ve put them through.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was thinking that too. This little guy had his tail cut off and that had to be some sick human, yet amazingly he still trusts people. Animals are better than us in many ways, that’s for sure. BTW the woman who adopted Rabbit the Cat has an Instagram page for him.


      3. Actually, his short tail may have been genetic (like a Manx cat). Lily Ivo rescues cats in Indonesia, and several of her cats have shortened tails. She explained to her followers that the tails are a genetic commonplace in Indonesia.

        Liked by 1 person

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