Cats are incredibly agile and skilled. A cat can jump five times its own height, and at the same time balance with the help of its tail. Cats can also run up to 29 kilometers per hour! However, they need to replenish all this energy by sleeping up to eighteen hours a day ! In this article, we will talk about cats’ intelligence and how this makes them incredible creatures.
Most of us think that cat’s whiskers are sweet and all that, but they also have a practical function: to measure the size of a hole, to determine if their body can pass through. Did you know that?
Just like humans, all the information processing behind the cat’s exquisite skill has to do with neural control and the cat’s ability to learn.
5 examples of how cats’ intelligence can exceed all our expectations
Cats have an incredible ability to learn from their experiences
Intelligence is defined as the ability to learn from one’s experiences, retain that knowledge, and use it to solve problems in a new environment. The brain is the organ responsible for these functions.
In this context, researchers have concluded that the cat’s brain occupies about 1 percent of the cat’s body weight. However, the most important thing for evaluating the intelligence of a species is the folding of the surface and the structure of the brain, not its size.
2. The structure and folds of the feline brain are very similar to those of humans
It is interesting to know that the cerebral cortex not only regulates higher functions for rational thinking, but also problem solving. This is also the storage area for short and long term memory.
Memory is the brain’s way of storing, remembering and using information learned from previous experiences. Long-term memory reminds us of “what”, “where” and “when” for each specific life experience and event we have experienced in our lives.
It is surprising that scientific studies have shown that cats can remember and use information from “what” and “where” in their experiences.
Cats have about twice as many nerve cells in the cerebral cortex as dogs, which is the area of the brain responsible for information processing. This makes us wonder if cats’ intelligence is superior to that of dogs in any way.
3. It’s not just imagining: cats can think of an object and look for where it can be
According to several studies, animal behavior experts believe that the intelligence of an adult cat is comparable to that of a 2-year-old human child.
In this sense, several laboratory tests have shown that cats can understand “object permanence”. This means that they are aware that objects can exist even if they are not directly visible. So they know that if an object is out of sight, it does not mean that it has disappeared forever.
4. Cats can also understand our gestures
Even if cats do not understand what you are saying with your words, they can perceive your gestures. Researchers have found that they understand human gestures, and will follow them to find food.
A study from 2005 was conducted to test this theory:
- The researchers presented the cats with two closed bowls, one of which contained cat food and the other was empty.
- The cats had to approach them and choose one of the bowls while a researcher pointed to the bowl with the food in it.
- Almost all cats followed the signal and chose the right bowl! Therefore, they deserved to get the food in it.
This indicates that they have what researchers call “empathy”. That is, the ability to perceive others’ knowledge, desires and intentions. In this case, the cats discovered that the “pointing” researcher was trying to show them something.
5. Cats that count
Cats can count! Well, not exactly. A study aimed to examine the domestic cat’s ability to distinguish between images that contain two and three points for food.
The results show that cats can be trained and learn to distinguish between the two different pictures or quantities. The researchers concluded that cats do not spontaneously use numerical information. They also seemed to link images that vary in combination with quantities to solve the task.
All these results show that domesticated cats have a certain degree of understanding, perception and problem solving. This is why it is important to treat our pets with integrity, love and understanding. The cat’s intelligence may even be high enough to know the difference between good and evil and right and wrong.