Cats and intelligence – Part 1

I’ve always loved cats for their independent personality and for their beauty, although I can have a cat into my house because I live alone, my apartment is too small and its furniture belongs to my house-owner…

Cats are intelligent because they’re predators, used to study carefully what’s around them and habits, movements weak and strong points of their preys, matching all this with their own ability.

So, they act and move always looking for the best solution for them.

The second feature of their intelligence is that they were originally and still are solitary chasers like leopards and tigers, not used to the "work in team" with their similars, typical of social animals like dogs, wolves, dolphins and lions; intelligence is needed also relying only on themselves, although different.

But cats are not rigid in their mind schemes; when they live in our towns and houses, they form groups with gerarchies and preferential links, but every cat always keeps its autonomy and independence, not working together to find the food, like wolves, because they don’t need it.

Their groups are like "clubs", not like working teams.

Then, we cannot teach or train cats to make or not something, just because not good to learn from humans like truely social animals frequently do.

This doesn’t mean that cats are poorly intelligent and unable to learn, simply because they don’t learn what WE would want to teach them for OUR purposes; maybe, they’re simply more interested in other things of their world and they can’t undersatnd most of our verbal and sign language.

Some years ago, I saw a cat living in a house who had learnt to open the doors jumping and hanging with his fore paws to the handle until it rotated downwards opening the doors. Nobody had taught this to him and he had learnt all by himself.

Cats don’t live FOR US, like dogs, but WITH US and they want to keep a minimum of authonomy for ex., to play and have fun with us only when THEY have the will, or to be free to make their tours outside our house in the neighbourhood.

Anyway, their affection and trust on their human friends are intense like those of dogs, although expressed in different manners.

When I was living in Genoa, there were two female red cats, mother and daughter, living in the little car parking in front of my house and, every time I came back home, they went toward me with a short mewing to tell me "Bye, Aldo!" and loved to receive my caresses and company, although they didn’t use to play with me.

They dodn’t like me for opportunism, because I NEVER gave them any food ( a neighbour of mine did it), but because they loved my company.

So, I was really sad when the elder (the mother) disappeared mysteriously 9 years ago; her daughter survived another 5 years and, eventually, she died for breast cancer.

Now that I live in another town, I help a local animalist association that cares abandoned, wounded and ill dogs, cats and other animals and I have seen many cats of all ages.

Kittens are very lovely when they play among them or with us, so, learning what they need for their future life, showing all their desire of living, always in doubt between fear and curiosity.

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