View Full Version : Cat intelligence

02-11-2008, 02:28 PM
This one, Catawumpous, is pretty high on the scale of cat intelligence, but sometimes she makes me wonder about basics. She'll sit and look out the window, know it's snowy winter outside and not much use for cats. Then she'll go to the door, ask out, which I'll oblige. Nine out of ten she'll say, "Unh uh, I ain't going out in that." Then just ten minutes later she'll ask out again. Same routine, I'll open the door and she says NOPE.

Why doesn't she catch on, if she's so smart? It's as though the intelligence is driven, underground, by more primal matters which I don't understand. I've lived with cats, off and on, for forty years, and while I respect them I really haven't a clue as to their mind.

02-11-2008, 02:35 PM
It's just a test to make sure the Human Control System (HCS) is still working. :D

02-11-2008, 02:35 PM
Sounds like my second wife!:D

02-11-2008, 02:45 PM
Turns out my feral is even smarter than I first understood. I put the food out for her, she eats half of it and waits until her black haired, golden eyed son shows up, then steps aside for him to eat the other half. Today I put the chicken roasting pan out for her, in 16 degrees (metal pan) and, fearing that her tongue might get frozen to it, I peeked out the door and there was the black haired creature scrubbing it clean. MaMa was sitting nearby watching!

These two seem to be survivors, which has to be attributable to their intelligence, because coyotes are swift and smart too.

Uncle Duke
02-11-2008, 02:59 PM
From 'The Door Into Summer':

One winter shortly before the Six Weeks War my tomcat, Petronius the Arbiter, and I lived in an old farmhouse in Connecticut....the place had eleven doors to the outside. Twelve if you counted Pete's door....
While still a kitten, all fluff and buzzes, Pete had worked out a simple philosophy. I was in charge of quarters, rations and weather; he was in charge of everything else. But he held me especially responsible for the weather. Connecticut winters are good only for Christmas cards; regularly that winter Pete would check his own door, refuse to go out it because of that unpleasant white stuff beyond it (he was no fool), then badger me to open a people door.
He had a fixed conviction that at least one of them must lead into summer weather. Each time this meant that I had to to around with him to each of eleven doors, hold it open while he satisfied himself that it was winter out that way, too, then go on to the next door, while his criticisms of my mismanagement grew more bitter with each disappointment.
Then he would stay indoors until hydraulic pressure utterly forced him outside. When he returned the ice in his pads would sound like little clogs on the wooden floor and he would glare at me and refuse to purr until he had chewed it all out...whereupon he would forgive me until the next time.
But he never gave up his search for the Door into Summer.

02-11-2008, 03:10 PM
As a 30 year cat owner it's my opinion that Cat and Inteligence qualifies as an oxymoron.

Our previous cat Sahra hated me.

When I was varnishing the perimitor band on the dining room floor she sat and watched me till I was finished. Then she deliberatly walked across the part I had just finished (not the unfinished part which was 10 times larger) I yelled at her and she scooted up the stairs.

She lived to be 22.

In certain lights you can still see her varnish foot prints on the stairs :)

Door into Summerby Robert Heinlein right?

Uncle Duke
02-11-2008, 03:22 PM
by Robert Heinlein right?
Correct! Take any prize from the middle shelf!
One of my favorites, from his "middle period', after his "juvenile" novels and before his "mystic" period.....

02-11-2008, 03:38 PM
Ish, please install a cat door. That's what your cat is trying to tell you. How would you like it if you had to wake up a giant every time you wanted to go outside? Seriously, a cat door removes most of the neurosis from the cat/human interface.

02-11-2008, 04:13 PM
I've had different cats for different reasons for 30 years. Your cat is bored and has determined that you might need some remedial training just to liven things up. My last cat was five before I realized how well that one had trained me. She was a good master, and is now trying to train my last wife.

02-11-2008, 04:46 PM
Jack, I hate to be like Joe, but that's very much a metaphor for most of our lives, and especially yours.

Joe (SoCal)
02-11-2008, 04:51 PM
Jack, I hate to be like Joe

No you don't Gareth, everybody wants to be like Joe ;) :D

02-11-2008, 05:01 PM
Ish...my cat can eat your cat.......and you too if you get in the way......:D

02-11-2008, 05:05 PM

Next time you open the door for the cat, and it doesn't go outside, give it a bit of boot. Not saying kick it, or hurt it, but force it out. After a couple minutes, let it back in. You two can train each other after awhile. ;)

02-11-2008, 05:06 PM

I've stepped into the winter more times than I care to recount. I haven't, bless the gods, ever been hungry, or without shelter.

Catawumpous used to revel in it, but has become rather soft. She likes, very much, that I provide some shelter and some food. Who could blame her? It's interesting to watch.

I think people like you, just your small ship on a wide ocean, know these matters well.

I really like this cat. She was an orphan. I love looking at her paw prints in the snow. No tracker would know quite what critter made them, they are full of stray toes. Imprints as sure as a photographic plate.

Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
02-11-2008, 05:15 PM
Fat Bob doesn't go outside.
Since we rescued him at the APL and let him come into our home, he's shown no desire for the outside world.
He's fixed.
He'll spend all day in the window, watching the birds and sniffing the air but never wants to go out.
He was abused no doubt, early in his life, and has a BB pellet still lodged in his leg.
I think he knows he's safe here and ignores the call of the wild.
He'll follow me anywhere, down the basement or in the garage but always stops at the outside door.
Weird cat he is, smart in some ways and dumb as a rock in others.

02-11-2008, 05:43 PM
Late last year a "stray" calico cat kept sneaking on the porch and curling up behind some plants that I had, and I think it was due to a feeling of safety. She was never aggressive with critter and they seemed almost like friends. I managed to catch her one day and took her to the vets and found that she had been spayed and had an electronic tag implant....and all attempts to find owners failed.....so we were adopted. She is still very cautious, will not sit in critters place and sneeks to where i sit on the sofa after I turn out the lights and head upstairs......she uses her litter box from the start, but she will not go outside.....except, if I stand outside with her, she will follow Little Critter within a cat length or two, and as soon as dawg comes it, she's in like a flash.....I guess I have more feeling for four footed critters sometimes more than the 2 legged variety....

Bob Adams
02-11-2008, 06:01 PM
You think cats are intellegent? Try Ferrets. I'm very glad they aren't equipped with thumbs!

02-13-2008, 08:17 AM
".. red sea crews refuse to sail unless a cat is aboard .. "

so it says , read again about heyerdahl (http://www.plu.edu/%7Eryandp/RAX.html) , remember him , voyage of ra , i think there is a passage talking about cats , and one particular cat who would , for days on end , stare listlessly at the horizon ,, so the story goes about two ancient boats becoming separated on the high seas , the direction the cat was facing was where the second boat was finally sighted ..

02-13-2008, 08:44 AM
Dildo my calico cat is very fond of the shepherd. The dog has come to her aid on several occasions when she was in distress. The little slut is knocked up though so I am in for a new batch of mousers. Chances are one of them will be aboard in the summer and get their sea legs.
Handy little bastards to have around if you don't like vermin.

02-13-2008, 08:52 AM
I like them, very much. I think people tend to read too much human stuff into them, as they do with all their animals.

The three I've kept in my adult life were all reasonably intelligent. As with all critters, there are smart ones and not so smart ones.

Meanie Minnie, the middle one, was a curmudgeon. She didn't much like anyone. If she hadn't been so beautiful I'd have been tempted to turn her into a hat! LOL. A feral I raised from three weeks old, and I often wondered if my parenting wasn't quite up to snuff and gave her a complex.

She was a gorgeous little girl cat, out of Lord knows how many generations of ferals in the New England woods. Her markings, a gray tabby, but with really rich variations in browns and tans. When the leaves were on the ground she could be sitting right in front of you, and you wouldn't see her unless you really looked or she moved. If anyone needs confirmation of Darwin, at least on a micro-scale, they need look no further than Minnie. A pip! Not terribly friendly, but I just figured it as part of the equation.

This current one has become pretty well socialized over time. When company comes, she'll jump up, say hello, I'm a cat, do you like cats? She won't be in your face if she senses you don't.

Polydactyl, a lot of stray toes, which gives her her waddle and her name. They were considered good luck aboard ship. Sailor's superstition? Perhaps, but I wager it's because they tend to play hell with rodents. A great mouser, this one. Her extra front toes give almost a thumb.

Fun critters. Thanks for the good replies.

Tom Montgomery
02-13-2008, 09:22 AM
Is my cat Intelligent? Compared to what? Other cats?

Leporello understands the word "no" as well as any dog I've owned. The vet says he is unusually people-oriented. We raised him from a kitten. He is neutered and has never been outside. I interact with him as much as any dog I've owned. He knows my schedule ... meets me at the door each day when I return home from work ... we trained him to never jump up onto the kitchen counters or dining room table ... he has never messed with the waste baskets. He alerts me when he needs food, water, or his litter box cleaned... which is a rare occurance.

But is any of that an indication of "intelligence?" I wonder.

I'm convinced any cat raised like Leporello is going to be different from one that remains un-neutered and spends time outside.

02-13-2008, 09:30 AM
my cat is being stalked , ruthlessly , by another male neutered neighborhood cat , he saunters down the street and carelessly, wantonly parks it right in front of the front door sidelight , exactly where jack wants out but can't get out without being mmmrowed at from his own stoop

i have proving b&w pictures , and diagrams with circles and arrows

02-13-2008, 09:35 AM
my cat is being stalked , ruthlessly , by another male neutered neighborhood cat , he saunters down the street and carelessly, wantonly parks it right in front of the front door sidelight , exactly where jack wants out but can't get out without being mmmrowed at from his own stoop

i have proving b&w pictures , and diagrams with circles and arrows

Slingshot? Paintball? Handgun?

02-13-2008, 09:41 AM
naw , oscar is far too a human friendly cat to be chased off

i let them work it out on their own cat terms, seems to be a vieing match , a wager, for the attention of tabitha cat , but everyone is fixed so i'm going to let it be

02-13-2008, 09:55 AM
This one has had a few tiffs with the local toughs. She's not very big, maybe eleven pounds, and they often got the best of her. She's pretty much learned the better part of valor since she got that abscess and had to stay overnight at the vets. Some of the wild and semi-wild cats around here are pushing in on bobcat territory as to size.

When we lived near a dairy farm, Shadow, a little black boy cat I kept until he got et' by something in the woods, used to come in all beaten up. I'd see the barn tom around, and I'd tell Shadow, "Man, you don't want to go up against that! Swallow your pride a bit--and save me the vet bills!? LOL.

David G
02-13-2008, 10:15 AM
No you don't Gareth, everybody wants to be like Joe ;) :D

Joe - I'm new around here, and of course want to respect your longevity & seniority. However, I'm afraid the statement above is Just Not True. Initially, I thought it was true (at least for me). Then I saw the foto of you in the St. Pauli Girl outfit. It's a nice outfit... but the whole picture is just scary...<G> And then there's the... well, we don't really need to go on. I made my point, eh?

I've always been a dog person. My wife likes cats, though. We've had them since I met her and currently have two. I think cats are more like people than dogs. Maybe that's why I enjoy dogs so much. New puppy coming as soon as we find the right one at the pound or Craigslist.

"Megalomania in the morning scares me"

02-13-2008, 11:12 AM
No you don't Gareth, everybody wants to be like Joe ;) :D

Narcissistic stupid a-holes for everyone!

David G
02-14-2008, 08:18 PM
Oops, sorry Joe. I didn't mean to start a pile on Joe diversion. Just teasing you a bit, eh?

"One doesn't have a sense of humor. It has you" -- Larry Gelbart

<something cats don't have much of>

02-15-2008, 12:40 PM
we have a cat, his name is easter...obtained from a nearby farm on Easter Sunday ....he lived at our home as i was building it 11 yrs ago. he would follow me around in the house and on the roof structure every day as i was building the house. at one time he got trapped inside the garage foundation forms as i was pouring concrete ...i had to stop the pour and take a form panel off to get him out!
he has the most dog-like behaviour i have ever seen in a cat. he knows no, lie down, ok, be nice. we live in the country and when he goes outside he will go across the street in the field to hunt but he always comes running back as soon as we call him. he can also be stopped from going to the field with....,"easter, stay in your yard".... a cat who surely knows where his bread is buttered!

02-15-2008, 01:20 PM
My cats know "no" but they don't always obey, and they whine when I make them. Sebastian comes when called, even from naps, even when food is not in the offing. Abby comes when she wishes, food or no. Abby is terribly fearful of being handled violently so every approach makes her wince, which makes me very sad. Bastie is gullible and can't imagine anyone doing him harm. He has no clue that being carried around hanging from his hind legs and tail is not normal for cats, nor does he realize that cats don't tolerate being poured out of a lap upside down. He will lie on his back in my lap and slide backward down my closed legs, land on his shoulders, roll over get up and wait to be complimented and scratched behind the ears.

My feral comes when called and understands being petted as positive before eating the proffered kibble.

02-15-2008, 10:57 PM
Next time you open the door for the cat, and it doesn't go outside, give it a bit of boot. Not saying kick it, or hurt it, but force it out. After a couple minutes, let it back in. You two can train each other after awhile.

THAT is how they are trained, BrianW!

Will take about two days ... then the BS will stop!

Good call.