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The most basic definition of intelligence is “the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience.” This does not necessarily take into account compassion, the ability to solve problems in creative ways, and many other valuable skills that both humans and felines possess. Nevertheless, it is thought that some cats are more intelligent than others, and in ways that can be demonstrated.
In The Cat Behavior Answer Book, authors Arden Moore and Nancy Peterson propose one clever way of measuring your cat’s intelligence. It’s a test that was originally created for human children, but can also be used on your pet. It is sort of like playing peekaboo with your cat.
Begin by showing your cat an object, such as a favorite toy. Do this in an uncluttered area, so your cat will be able to focus on this single item. Next, place the object behind a solid item, such as a file folder. If your cat knows to look behind the folder to see the object, your pet is ranked in IQ with 18-month-old human children. That’s because there’s a realization that the object is hidden and did not just disappear.
Very smart cats on par with 2-year-old kids can even predict an object’s trajectory of movement without actually seeing it. If a mechanical mouse goes under your couch or refrigerator, for example, your cat might be able to predict where it will come out, based on the toy’s prior motions. This ability to predict is tied to the higher level of intellect.