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Measure Your Cat’s Intelligence

By The Daily Cat experts

Measure Your Cat’s Intelligence

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.


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Posted on May 17, 2011

Mary says: Why does my cat put her toys in her food dish?

Posted on January 5, 2012

Paul A. Alter says: I don't buy into this idea that a cat is about as smart as an 18-month-old child. I suggest a test: Let's set a cat(s) and some 18-month-old child(children) loose in the wilds and/or a city and see which survives longest on it's own. My point is that there are different standards for measuring "intelligence," and what's a good measure for humans is not a good measure for cats.

Posted on March 18, 2012

Brian says: My 3 year old cat, also named Maggie, has started doing the same thing!! I have a rbebur mat down on the hardwood, with the food and water bowl in it. She pushed the bowl around, spilling the water. It has gone under the mat without me knowing, and has warped my floors!!What to do??!

Posted on May 21, 2012

Katie says: I think we need to distinguish what is "intelligence" and what is "instinct" before suggesting that a cat has the intelligence of an 18 month child.

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