Tag Archives: Environment

Is my cat smart ?

What is intelligence ? Or rather, what are the different characteristics of a kind of intelligence ?

Intelligence is a very complex concept that is still poorly defined : for the moment there is no scientific consensus for a precise definition. In fact, genetics, substances ingested by the mother during pregnancy, nutrition, or even the environment have an influence on the development of intelligence, which leaves thousands of possibilities for a kitten to become a feline genius… or not.

For us, intelligence is the ability to understand, learn and adapt to new situations, and to modify our environment to adapt to our needs.

Is my cat smart - Zorro on the heater

It took a long time for the notion of animal intelligence to be accepted and measured under correct conditions : animals were first subjected to tests similar to those carried out on children. This is of course biased because it completely ignores the specific needs of different species and the environment in which they operate. Is an elephant’s intelligence measured by his ability to climb trees, or a human’s intelligence measured by his ability to hunt mice in a field ?

Is my cat smart - Pixie on her trunk

How do I know if my cat is smart or not ?

That’s the question ! So we have prepared a brief overview of several characteristics of feline intelligence :

  • Is your cat creative ? Has he found a way to open the cupboard you thought was inviolable ?
  • Does your cat have the ability to focus ? Can he stay for hours to watch for the lizard that got under the cabinet, or stalk from the bushes ?
  • Does your cat have a good memory ? If it’s an outdoor cat, does he know how to find the way home ?
  • Does your cat have the ability to form concepts ? For example, wings + black + bzzz = fly = yummy, wings + striped black and yellow + bzzz = wasp = ouch, DANGEROUS
  • Is your cat able to learn new behaviors ?
    – by direct experience : not react by hearing the vacuum cleaner, go to the kitchen when the fridge door opens at the end of the day, meow hard enough and long enough for a human to give me a treat, play with me or open the door to me, discover the hidden treats in a game board, …
    – by transmission : kill a prey by observing how a more experienced cat makes, open a door by pressing the handle, …
  • Does your cat know how to use his body with precision ? Is he skilled ? Can he use his claws or teeth to open a bag of treats ?
  • Does your cat show emotional intelligence ? Does he recognize your emotions and act differently based on them ?

If you answered YES to most of these questions, no doubt, your cat is smart ! A specific training can even help him develop amazing abilities.

Cats and their humans are, however, equal in the face of aging in the sense that this phenomenon can impair their cognitive abilities.

Is my cat smart - Pixie wondering

To learn more about it…

To learn more about animal intelligence, we recommend « Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are ? », Frans De Waal, 2016.
For more information on cat learning, we recommend « The Trainable Cat : How to Make Life Happier for You and Your Cat », John Bradshaw, 2016.
These are two books that we found very comprehensive, interesting, and easy to read.

What manifestations of intelligence did you observe in your cat ? Tell us in your comments !

We lost one hour : it’s spring

We changed to summer time during the night from Saturday to Sunday, and we hate it : be stolen one hour of sleep, it’s unacceptable ! Scandalous ! We protest ! Humans should not have the right to play like this with time sleep of small innocent cats as us !

However, breakfast and the other meals are served an hour early, which makes our protests a little less credible…

This unpleasant change goes hand in hand with another change, much more pleasant that one : nature wakes up, the temperatures become more pleasant, and we can enjoy the garden again. It’s spring !

We hope that the friends who still have paws in the snow can soon do the same !

Global Cat Day

Alley Cat Allies are launching the premiere of Global Cat Day today. The motto of the day is : kindness for all catkind.

Alley Cat Allies is an organization dedicated «to transform and develop communities to protect and improve the lives of cats.»

“On October 16th, compassionate people around the world come together to stand up for policies that protect the cats in their communities.”

You wouldn’t bring a wild animal into your home, and that’s what a community cat (feral cat) is : a wild animal. Pet cats are socialized and domesticated, community cats live outside, and this is their home.

Community cats are not abandoned or lost. They are not pets in distress, but they are often mistaken with socialized cats who have been abandoned. Feral cats are born outside, and are for the most part unadoptable. If you bring them to a shelter, they risk to be killed because they are unsocialized and cannot be re-homed.

Local laws sometimes punish caregivers of community cats. Authorities don’t always understand that the best place for feral cats is outdoor. This must change.

In some areas, it’s allowed to kill cats who don’t have an owner. To us, that’s just cruelty. There are other ways to control feline population.

TNR (trap-neuter-return) is the BEST way to solve the problem. Cats are trapped, they are seen by a veterinarian, they are spayed / neutered, and returned to their home : the outdoor. Every TNR cat has the tip of his ear cut, you can recognize them easily.

If you want to help, advocate for community cats and educate your own community about «compassionate cat management».
Global Cat Day 2017