Measuring domestic cat intelligence through their abilities

This is a cross-post on an infographic which looks at cat intelligence from a different perspective. Humans tend to measure domestic cat intelligence through their eyes. They project their ideas of intelligence onto their cat. They also tend, sometimes, to make comparisons with dogs. 


Dogs tend to be good at playing fetch because often they're working dogs bred over thousands of years to fetch. And dogs are more trainable than cats because they are pack animals and look to their master, their human owner, for answers

Therefore, it is unhelpful to compare cats with dogs when trying to measure intelligence. But you might hear a person saying that their cat is intelligent because they play fetch and because they learn very quickly when they train their cat. Their cat might be intelligent, even more intelligent than average, but I don't think these are good tests.

Dr. Fogle looks at the abilities of domestic cats and works backwards from there. Of course, many domestic cats don't live natural lives where they can necessarily express their intelligence. 

And, of course, being mothered all their lives by their human caretaker means that they don't really develop emotionally and mentally into adulthood. They are kept to a certain extent in a state of permanent kitten behaviour being dependent entirely on their human caregiver as if they are still in the den, the natal nest, before they become independent. This must impact their intelligence or how they express it

And certainly, full-time indoor cats have little opportunity to be measured as per the Infographic because, for example, one measure is to see how a cat sets up their home range and defends it.

The home range of a full-time indoor cat is within the human home and is very much compressed compared to what would be normal if allowed outside. And there's no prey animals to chase inside the home. And there's no competition from other cats who also wish to set up their home range.

The behaviour of full-time indoor cats particularly in multi-cat homes is very much adapted to an entirely unusual environment compared to what they would normally live within if they were living in the wild.

Nonetheless, I think Dr. Fogle's method of domestic cat assessment of intelligence, which is perhaps more theoretical than practical, is a worthwhile exercise.

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