Tag: feline intelligence

Buddy Condemns Scientists Who Claim Cats Are Psychopaths

NEW YORK — Buddy the Cat condemned British scientists who pegged cats as psychopaths in a new study, saying he’d like to “introduce them to my claws,” if not for the fact that he’s too charming to do something so uncouth.

“I was offended when I read that study, frankly,” Buddy said, pausing to spit out the bones of a mouse he’d just killed and sip from his bird blood cocktail. “The very idea is preposterous.”

Psychologistsfrom the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University developed a questionnaire that asks cat owners servants to rate their felines’ behavior based on 46 different behavioral statements.

Examples of the statements include: “My cat torments their prey rather than killing it straight away”, “my cat vocalises loudly (e.g meows, yowls) for no apparent reason”, and “my cat is very excitable (e.g goes into ‘overdrive’ and becomes uncoordinated).”

Respondents were asked to rate, on a 5-point scale, how closely each statement applied to their cat(s).

“Asking our servants to respond to the survey was the first mistake they made,” Buddy continued, using a claw to dig bits of mouse from between his teeth. “I mean, do you ask Beethoven’s gardener to evaluate the master’s symphonies? Would you ask the overnight office cleaning crew at Apple to gauge the brilliance of Steve Jobs? Would you ask Brian Scalabrine to weigh in on the transcendent talent of Michael Jordan? Of course not. So why would you ask my human to evaluate me? Why would you think such a simple creature could hope to understand the cathedral that is my mind?”

“And furthermore, why should I care? Does the lion concern himself with the opinions of sheep? I’m officially a jaguar, by the way. I don’t know if you knew that. Yeah. They welcomed me into their mystic community and call me Kinich Bajo, which means ‘god of wisdom.'”

Personality traits like delusions of grandeur, charm, lack of empathy and narcissism are typically associated with psychopaths, experts say. A psychopath might, for example, imagine he’s a large, muscular cat when in fact he’s 10 pounds soaking wet.

chairmanmeow3
Buddy imagines himself as a powerful authoritarian leader

The degree of psychopathy varies widely among felines, lead author Rebecca Evans said.

“We believe that like any other personality trait, psychopathy is on a continuum, where some cats will score more highly than others,” Evans said. “It is likely that all cats have an element of psychopathy as it would have once been helpful for their ancestors in terms of acquiring resources, for example food, territory and mating opportunities.”

 

Mom Cat Brings Her Sick Babies To Health Clinic

Even those of us who love cats often joke about how aloof they are, and then they go and do something that shows such a profound understanding of human behavior that we’re left thunderstruck.

That was the case in Turkey’s Izmir province, where a ginger tabby dragged her two babies into a health clinic this week one at a time, according to a report in the English-language Turkish news site Daily Sabah:

The official said that they noticed the animal while they were attending to patients as she started “constantly meowing.” When they saw something was wrong with kittens, they took a closer look and discovered the kittens’ eyes were closed tightly. “We gave them some drugs and they started opening their eyes and later, we transferred them to the veterinary department. It was the first time that an animal walked into our clinic, and it was a very emotional moment for us,” the official said.

Both kittens had eye infections and fully recovered.

This isn’t the first time cats have asked humans for help, nor is it the first time a mom cat brought her kittens into a hospital or clinic.

On April 27, 2020, a female cat walked into the emergency room of Kucukcekmece Hospital in Istanbul while carrying her kitten in her mouth, then deposited the “mischievous” little one right in front of a group of hospital employees who were chatting.

Hospital staff gave the mom food and water while they examined her baby.

A mom cat takes her baby to the hospital

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And in May of 2020, a cat in Mexico shocked a woman with his understanding of how the human world works. After she saw him in front of a store and bent down to pet him, he led her into the store, guided her to the pet food aisle and pointed to the exact type of food he wanted.

Not only did this cat understand that he had to be accompanied by a human to get into the store, and precisely where to direct her, but he also knew the packaging of his favorite food and understood that she had to buy it for him. He may not understand the concept of currency, but he does know a human has to get him the food and he can’t just tear into it.

The woman was so moved that she adopted the smart little guy and named him Rabbit.

Rabbit the Cat
Rabbit points to the food he wanted a kind woman to buy for him.

These examples not only show how astonishingly intelligent and observant cats are — or can be, when they’re motivated — they also make it difficult for anyone to cling to old beliefs that cats and other mammals are unthinking, unfeeling automatons. Or the dreaded, all too common “it’s just a cat.”

If cats understand hospitals and health clinics are places where the sick and injured are treated, and they understand abstract social concepts like “a human must obtain this for me,” it makes you wonder what else they observe and fully understand in those furry little heads.

Cat Figures Out How To Open Sliding Glass Door

Folks, this has terrifying implications for the Budster. Whatever you do, don’t show him this video!

The short clip shows Olive, a tuxedo kitty belonging to Beth Belnap of Oregon, prying open a sliding glass door that leads to a porch outside. Olive was able to get the door open by jumping, grabbing onto the door handle and pressing her little feet against the door frame to give herself enough leverage to slide the door open a crack.

The setup here is similar, and Bud is already well-versed in the “feet against the frame” trick because he’s used it to open my bedroom door from inside. Thankfully I believe the sliding glass door is too heavy for Buddy to push, but we’re talking about the same cat who pulled a 20-pound mirror off a wall when he was a kitten weighing no more than three or four pounds. You never know.

Here’s Olive doing her thing:

Bonus: Check out this little guy’s technique:

Whoah
The judges awarded him style points in addition to praising his door-opening technique.

Mom Cat Dies In Fire Protecting Kittens With Her Own Body

One of the most compelling cat stories I’ve ever heard involved a reader of this blog, a woman who took in a white stray she named Snowy.

Snowy was a street cat who was always with a male cat, and the woman fed them both whenever they came by. Soon it became clear Snowy was pregnant, and her trusting tom — the father of her babies — nuzzled her goodbye as Snowy accepted the woman’s invitation to move inside at least temporarily so she’d have a safe place to give birth to her kittens.

In the three weeks that followed, Snowy raised her kittens in the woman’s home, and the tomcat would come by daily to see her and their little ones.

Snowy died when a pair of dogs climbed the porch steps, snapping at her kittens. Snowy fought the dogs off while her babies escaped, but she died from her injuries.

The poor tom who had been her constant companion came by the next night and meowed for her. He showed up again and again, meowing mournfully each night, distraught at her disappearance.

The story shows cats are capable of extraordinary empathy and love: The love between Snowy and her mate, who was protective of Snowy and loving with their babies, an unusual trait in toms. The love Snowy had for her babies, sacrificing her life for theirs. And the love the crestfallen woman had for those kittens when she returned home and found Snowy dead and the kittens hiding.

Another story of a mother who gave her life for her kittens reinforces the idea that cats are capable of great love and empathy.

When a mobile home in Pasco County, Florida, caught fire this week, the man who lived there was able to escape but his cats were trapped and firefighters couldn’t reach them.

Molly the kitten
Molly’s mom sacrificed her life to save the 2 1/2-week-old kitten.

The mother cat covered her kittens with her body, laying on top of them and remaining there even as the fire scorched her.

When firefighters poked through the debris, they found the cat and her kittens. The mom and one of her babies died at the veterinary hospital, but one kitten survived.

“It seemed as if mom did everything possible to protect her kittens, even risking her own life in their defense, but the flames and the smoke were too much,” said Rick Chaboudy, executive director of the Suncoast Animal League. “But mom managed to protect one of her kittens from the blaze, enough to give that kitty a chance at life. Other than her whiskers being burned completely off and a slight odor of smoke, she is doing well with her bottle feeding and her cuddling.”

Staff at the shelter named the kitten Molly after Molly Williams, a former slave who became the first black female firefighter in the US. Molly the kitten is expected to make a full recovery.

What’s that? A tear, you say? Absurd! Buddy and I do not cry. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to toss a football around, talk about trucks and fix some things around the house with power tools.

Buddy the Manly
“In addition to being handsome, I am very meowscular and I know kung fu!”

‘Rehomed’ Cat Makes 228-Mile Journey Back Home

Despite the current golden age of feline cognition studies and a growing body of research that shows cats have genuine affection for their humans, people still think of the little fluffballs as aloof, antisocial and ambivalent.

Old stereotypes about cats die hard, but maybe this latest story will finally give people pause: A cat named Gray C. made an epic, 228-mile journey back to a Texas town after she was ‘rehomed’ a week earlier.

Vikki and Eugene Braun told KTBC, a Fox affiliate in Austin, that they brought Gray C. and their other cat, Sissy, to a friend’s ranch in Terrell, about 35 miles east of Dallas. Both were outdoor cats, they said.

“We thought because they weren’t ‘pet’ cats, they wanted to live outside, we thought, well, maybe they’d rather live in the barn,” Eugene told the Fox affiliate.

The next day, their friend from the ranch in Terrell phoned to tell them the cats were gone. A week later, Vikki Braun was shocked when she came home and found Gray C. inside, helping herself to some food.

“I thought one of the neighbor’s cats had got in through the doggie door and that’s never happened, but I picked it up and I was like, this is Gray C.!” Vikki Braun said.

gracy
Gray C. is held by Vikki Braun after her long trek back to Burnet, Texas.

That was about three weeks ago. The Brauns say they don’t know what happened to Sissy. Hopefully she shows up unhurt.

No one is sure how Gray C. managed to cover so much distance in a little more than a weeks’ time. It seems unlikely a cat could cover more than 32 miles in a day.  The little felines are considerably faster than humans but like all felids, they’re built for shorter bursts of intense activity and require lots of rest.

“That’s a lot of miles per day, you know, but I’m sure she probably didn’t stop. She just kept on going,” Eugene Braun said.

garfieldcat
Garfield walked 40 miles back to his owners in London in June 2020.

Gray C’s story mirrors the story of Garfield, an orange tabby who walked 40 miles back home this summer after his owners gave him away. It took Garfield considerably longer to get home as he navigated London and its crowded suburbs, but his determination struck a chord with his people, who reconsidered their decision and kept him after his journey.