The Intelligence of Cats

Although we usually talk about feline intelligence, defining that term is not so easy. The qualities of cats in this field are many and varied:

  • They have an excellent ability to explore large territories. In some cases, cats have been known to have traveled long distances and found their way home from totally remote points.
  • An innate and natural knowledge of movement and forces, that is, an understanding of the mechanics, that they have to apply to hunt, escape or simply play.
  • An ability to choose where they want to live for both their safety and productivity.
  • Ability to remember at all times what to eat and what not to eat.
  • An innate understanding of the behaviour of other animals, as well as the ability to predict their probable behaviour from their first acts.
  • They know perfectly and innately how, where and when to examine a certain territory as well as where to mark it.
  • A high maternal relationship and the importance of kinship between litters of the same family.
  • And above all, personal hygiene is highly important as a method of survival and as a means of self-affirmation and individuality.

It can be said that in terms of spatial awareness, natural intelligence of the knowledge of its own body and its relationship with space, the cat is much more intelligent than dogs and much more than humans. Cats think through images and sensory memories of smells and sounds, and as in humans, puppies learn much faster by observing their parents.

Regarding their ability to dream, it has been shown that they reach the REM phase, a phase of deep and active sleep, generating rapid movements of the eyes and it is this phase, in which dreams occur, has come to theorize with the possibility that they are able to learn and rehearse bodily acts related to hunting and fleeing. There are also theories that state that an awake cat can enter a phase of minimal body activity, to save heat and reduce its metabolism at will.

On the other hand, and although cats are not good at solving puzzles or escaping mazes, as much as their dog friends, it is known that they have an unusual spatial and directional orientation, since it could be related to existence of very small amounts of iron in their brain that would allow them to orient themselves according to the magnetic field of the earth, a quality that would also be related to the certainty that they are capable of reacting much earlier than humans to an earthquake, for example.

Finally, but a more mystical part, it would be the intelligence related to the sixth sense or the ability that some say that cats have to see beyond what mere humans can. We love it when they stare at a specific point where there is no one …

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