How smart are cats? Probably every cat owner has an opinion on the subject, but it’s surprisingly difficult to quantify cat intelligence. Scientists like to do experiments that are simple and repeatable and cats just aren’t like that! One cat might perform a task in return for a treat a couple of times and then lose interest. Another cat might decide that the treat isn’t worth her while and hold out for something better. A third cat might decline to participate altogether because the experiment was cutting into his naptime. Faced with experimental subjects like this, it’s no wonder scientists prefer to work with dogs.
However, it’s generally agreed that cats have excellent memories, which they may retain for at least 10 years. Once a cat learns how to hunt, it will always know how, even if it doesn’t use those skills for years. A negative interaction, such as being confronted by a hostile dog, can be imprinted for life. Positive associations, such as the sound of a cat food can being opened, are equally well recalled.
If dogs are motivated by attention from their masters, cats are motivated by what pleases them. Studies have proven that cats have good memories and some studies claim their memory is 200 times better than dogs, but would only remember what they want to remember.
One thing seems clear—a cat’s intelligence focuses on information and skills that will directly impact the cat. One person might call these traits street smarts, while another would refer to it as self-centeredness. Whichever is the case, our cats have managed to balance on the boundary between domestication and independence for 10,000 years. Surely they possess genius-level survival intelligence to have accomplished that!
Our cat of the week is a pair of jet-black domestic shorthaired siblings named Papa and Tango. This stunning bonded pair was smart enough to promptly snag themselves a loving “fur-ever” home last weekend. In fact, all of the cats that were available for adoption last week promptly found themselves homes. Now this is a truly rare occurrence. First to go was Smokey, a handsome silvery gray love bug who was a true friendly cat ambassador. Next to leave with her adoring new servants was Flora, a very pretty gray and white sweetheart who had originally come in as a stray. She is going to be one very spoiled little girl. Then 7-year-old brown tabby Clover enchanted her new servants, including two little ones to play with, and she barely stopped to say good-bye. We are delighted that this sweet lady found a loving home. The last to leave the premises were Papa and Tango. These two also left with nary a backward glance as they headed off on their next adventure.
Several other kitties were adopted and will be heading off to their new homes within a few days. Of these, our orange tabby Digit, was the first to enchant his new owners. This friendly and lively boy was found as an emaciated stray at the start of December. He has responded well to treatment and is on his way to a full recovery and a new lease on life. The same is true for Sushi, our little senior brown tabby stray who was found in really rough shape in early December. This very sweet girl is finally on her way to recovery and has won the heart of one of our volunteers. Last to get adopted was a cute little older kitten named Autumn. This shy little tortoiseshell had just come into the shelter when she promptly found her new home.
While our census is presently low, that is already changing. We admitted a few new cats last week and will be admitting a few more before you read this article. Some have already been to the vet and will be available for adoption. So check in during adoption hours to see if the right kitty for you is here waiting for you.
The PFC shelter is at 44 Beagle Lane, Teaticket. Our mailing address is PO Box 422, West Falmouth, MA 02574.
The shelter is open for adoptions and visitors Wednesday from 4-6 PM and Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM. If you need to get in touch with us when we are closed, call our hotline at 508-540-5654. Press #0 if you have cat-related issues, questions, are interested in volunteering or for additional information about People for Cats. Press #2 if you need financial assistance for veterinary care or spay/neuter assistance. Press #3 if you have a cat or kitten to surrender and be sure to leave your name, telephone number and a brief description of the cat. All calls are returned as quickly as possible.
Check us out at www.peopleforcats.org, look for our available cats on Petfinder and like us on our Facebook page.
All for the love of cats…