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Posts Tagged ‘intelligence’

Cat Intelligence

Monday, December 7th, 2009

I’ve always known one of my cats was much smarter than the average cat.  She’s very social, and I’m fairly certain that she believes that either she’s a small human or we (her owners) are very large cats.  She never hesitates to let her opinion be known in any conversation, and, whenever we have visitors, she always makes sure to show them where the litter box is in case they need to use it.

She’s definitely learned a few tricks too…such as coming when called by name, how to get someone to play with a particular toy, “no claws” (as a verbal command when she plays too rough), “come on” (when she wants to jump in my lap), and “let’s go” to leave the room.

Back to the litterbox.  Showing newcomers where the litterbox is was the first non-trick display of intelligence my cat had shown.  I believe this stems from when I first took her in.  She was a stray in our neighborhood, but was the friendliest (and most vocal) cat that I’d ever seen.  When I finally decided to take her in, the first thing I did was show her where her litter box was.

Not too much later, I went traveling with her for the first time.  When we got to our destination, the first thing I did was show her the new location of her litterbox.

The next time we had visitors, she began escorting them to the litterbox immediately after they took off their shoes.   The fact that she was considerate of others, and remembered this time after time, is very impressive.

However, while I’m obviously a big fan of my cat, even I was pleasantly surprised by her intelligence one morning a few days ago.

Working from home that day, I had just gotten off a two hour call with a colleague, where we’d tried to work through a complex problem.  After the long, intense work session, I was ready for an early lunch.

Immediately upon opening the door to the office, my cat, who had been laying right outside the door, greeted me with an insistent, “Iknowofsomethingthatneedsyourattentionnow” meow.

Feeling something like a character from Lassie, I followed her–from her insistent meow, I could tell she thought it was important.

She led me down the hallway and around the corner to the room where we kept her litter box, but went to the opposite side of the room.  As I followed her, she led me directly to the corner of the room, where a small piece of poo lay–apparently, it had been knocked out of the litterbox.   For those who don’t have cats, the occasional stray piece does get knocked out of the litterbox, so this wasn’t completely unexpected.

Now, showing me a mess soon after it happens is impressive enough for me — I’m grateful when either of my cats tells me that there is a problem, preferably before it stains the carpet.  However, she had gone a step further–she had apparently found some used tissues (presumably from the small wastebasket nearby).  The tissues were neatly arranged around the poo so it would be easy to pick up without getting my hands dirty.

She has definitely seen me grab a nearby paper towel in the past to pick up a stray piece of poo in the past.  However, this is the first time that she’s ever attempted to help me clean it up.  I have to admit, I was somewhat stunned by the carefully placed tissues, and praised her profusely.

Watching her grow in intelligence is somewhat akin to watching a child grow–it’s amazing to see how much they can do.  She’s only three years old, so I look forward to watching her continue to grow and develop into (hopefully) an ever-more intelligent cat.  You may see more updates about her (and our other cat, who has his own personality) as time goes on.

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