Man’s best friend is no longer the smartest pet sleeping on your living room floor. In the category of “news everyone already suspected” it turns out cats aren’t as dumb as they’re pretending to be. Who knew, right?
According to a study from Kyoto University, not only are cats not just mushy lumps of fur that lay around all day thinking about nothing but balls of yarn slowly unraveling, but they might actually be just as smart as dogs.
The scientists studied 49 house cats and their ability to recall basic memories. It turns out cats actually have a pretty good memory. This is something that has long been known about dogs, hence our ability to teach them to do tricks. It’s also the reason your Border Collie freaks out when you forget to spell out the world “walk” instead of just saying it.
“Episodic memory is viewed as being related to introspective function of the mind; our study may imply a type of consciousness in cats,” Saho Takagi, a psychologist involved in the research told the BBC.
The experiment consisted of testing whether or not cats could remember which bowl they had already eaten out of after a fifteen minute break. It turns out cats have a memory that rivals that of even dogs.
The researchers found that cats even have episodic memory similar to humans. This means that they hold onto memories and can look back and think about past experiences. This might not actually be a good thing, though, because it means that they’re keenly aware that they’re stuck inside a house day after day and can only dream about going outside anf finally catching one of those tasty-looking birds that keep landing on their favorite windowsill. They probably aren’t happy about that.
The study also determined that cats are actually receptive to our facial gestures and emotions. That means they’re merely staring blankly at us because they want to. Not because they don’t understand us.