Cats are Crazy Smart

UnknownThis is clearly our collective cat moment; they’ve taken over YouTube and are out-purring dogs as our favourite animals. And since I’ve taken on a three week double cat sitting gig, cats are definitely on my mind, too. The question is, exactly how smart are these graceful critters? Take last night, when one of my elderly cat gentlemen escaped via an unlocked garden gate. I noticed that the other cat, Suki, was climbing all over me and wouldn’t let me watch TV. He normally doesn’t do that, so I just put it down to cat temper. And then, I noticed that Kazi was gone. And then I discovered the unlocked garden gate and began connecting the dots. Of course! I had been the dumb animal here; I just didn’t get the message Suki was trying to tell me.
That’s just one example of how smart cats really are. But for the real proof, you would have to talk to my friend S, who used to have two cats herself. When they started peeing into the corners, she had what she calls “A Talk” with them. “I just told them that if this didn’t stop, they were history. And they went away and never did it again,” she says. Now here’s the thing: my two cats also pee into corners and are generally not terribly well behaved. I wonder if they would listen if they were given an ultimatum like that?
They might, except that the owners would never ever really mean it. And those clever beasts would know.
There is a reason cats were sacred to the Egyptians, and totemic animals were part of all aboriginal cultures. We’re at a moment in time when we’re taking a hard look at our relationship with the animal world. I wonder what will come of it, and whether, in the fulness of time, we will look back and think: what barbarians we used to be!

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