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2/28/07 7:49 AM
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PR
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Edited: 28-Feb-07
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Quotes from this link: Cats have relatively intricate brain wiring for control of their paws compared to dogs. They are surprisingly dextrous when seizing and manipulating objects. This is most obvious in polydactyl (extra-toed) cats as these often their paws to grasp objects. Photographs and X-rays of cats' paws in action show several methods of "handling" an object: it may be pierced with just the claws, held between a claw and pad of the paws, or sometimes held between the paw pads without the use of the claws at all. Cats have some ability to move the digits (toes) of their paws separately, again this is most evident in polydactyl cats. When a cat reaches out to grab an object, it pre-shapes its grip, much as we do, giving it a much better chance of catching and holding the object. Gripping is therefore not simply a mindless reflex action in response to something touching the paw pad. Self-Centred Mental Maps Some of the apparently stupid things that cats do can be explained by how they mentally map out their world. A cat's world is three-dimensional (includes shelves, tree branches) and is partly mapped by smells which represent territorial boundaries or signposts. The apparently circuitous route a cat might take to get from A to B is not due to stupidity; it is due to the cat avoiding other cats' territories or stopping to check out (or deposit) scents which announce its presence, age, health and breeding status to other cats. These are things to be taken into account when understanding how cats map out their world. Cats can tell the difference between the motion of a living thing such as a mouse or a TV image of a wildebeest and the motion of an inanimate object such as a blown leaf or a rolled ball. In one experiment, cats were shown moving images on two computer screens. One image contained 14 dots that represented the outline of a walking or running cat. The other contained 14 randomly moving dots. The cats consistently distinguished between the interesting animal motion dots (animals = food potential) and the less interesting random dots. However, if the animal motion computer screen was turned upside down, the cats could no longer distinguish it from the random motion screen. To a cat, animals running upside down make no logical sense. In another experiment cats were trained to press a bar a number of times to open a food tray; having gained access, they could eat as much as they wanted at that sitting. At first it took 40 presses to gain access to the food. As the number of bar presses required for the food tray to open was increased (up to 2560), the cats responded by eating fewer meals each day, but eating more at each sitting. The cats were not counting the presses (we'll look at number sense later on), they simply continued pressing the bar until the food tray opened. For a cat to press a bar 2560 times shows a remarkable level of patience and persistence. The trade off was to expend less effort but more often, or expend more effort but less frequently. Researchers then varied the number of bar presses from one meal to the next, the cats calculated the average "price per meal". They amount they ate at a given meal was related to the average number of times they had pressed the bar in the course of a whole day or over a period of several days, not to the number of times they had pressed it for that particular meal. The same cat learnt to shake hands and even to roll over on command, tricks normally associated with dogs...If anything, the cat's greater agility and their retractile claws allows them to do tricks that dogs cannot do. As scientific researchers have discovered, the trick is finding a way to motivate a cat to perform tricks or tests on command. Cats Using Tools? Tool use is associated with primates and some birds, but J Justin Lancaster, PhD, believes he has witnessed tool use in a domestic cat in San Diego in 1996. He witnessed a grey domestic longhair called Sasha using an absorbent hair scrunchy to moisten her kibble (dry cat food). The scrunchies, belonging to his daughter, were kept in a drawer which Sasha learnt to open by standing on the worktop above the drawer. Sasha hooked the scrunchy with a claw, put it into her mouth and carried it into the kitchen. Sasha deliberately dropped the absorbent scrunchy into her water bowl and dabbed it with her paw. She then fished it out and dropped it onto her kibble. She then ate the kibble that had been moistened by the wet scrunchy. The repeated retrieval and use of a scrunchy as a sponge to make kibble more palatable qualifies as tool use. Sasha, adopted as a kitten in 1988, died in 2005.
2/28/07 9:43 AM
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juszczec
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Edited: 28-Feb-07
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"Sasha hooked the scrunchy with a claw, put it into her mouth and carried it into the kitchen. Sasha deliberately dropped the absorbent scrunchy into her water bowl and dabbed it with her paw. She then fished it out and dropped it onto her kibble. She then ate the kibble that had been moistened by the wet scrunchy." One of my cats used to do something similar. She'd lay on the floor next to her bowl. Scoop one piece of food out and dump in into the bowl with water. She'd let it soak and then eat it. I watched and it was a very deliberate act repeated thru the feeding and over multiple days.
2/28/07 9:48 AM
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jimformation23
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when I was a teenager I made fun of one of my cats wehn it was pooping, I pointed and laughed after that, the cat never pooped when I was around
2/28/07 9:49 AM
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Hawkeyefan
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Edited: 28-Feb-07
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Oh yeah. Is there any way their brain can tell them NOT to puke all over my carpet?
2/28/07 9:56 AM
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e. kaye
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Edited: 28-Feb-07
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I came home one day and my cat had put a supercharger on my Vette.
2/28/07 9:57 AM
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lelo
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Edited: 28-Feb-07 10:00 AM
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"Oh yeah. Is there any way their brain can tell them NOT to puke all over my carpet?" not necessarily, but there's a way to stimulate this part of their brain. best way is by using a nice .22 slug propelled by any type of gunpowder.
2/28/07 10:00 AM
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Shawn C
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Edited: 28-Feb-07
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"when I was a teenager I made fun of one of my cats wehn it was pooping, I pointed and laughed after that, the cat never pooped when I was around" Lol!
2/28/07 10:01 AM
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Lancifer
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"Oh yeah. Is there any way their brain can tell them NOT to puke all over my carpet?"

LMFAO, that's exactly what I was going to ask.  Mine display remarkable intelligence at times, but then puke on a $1,000 Brooks Brothers overcoat and all over the fucking carpet narrowly avoiding the hardwood floors that would be so easy to clean by comparison.  WTF?!?

2/28/07 10:29 AM
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alpo
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I have also seen cats do the food moistening thing, though not nearly as complex as the scrunchy method in the story. Cats are very smart, but hard to train because of the motivation issue, like the article touched on. The wiki entries on cats and dogs are long and exhaustive, but are both excellent, IMO. I found the cat one more interesting because there was just so much more I didn't know about their thought processes. Everything is just so primal, it's hard to get into their mindset. For example, a domesticated cat usually considers humans to be part of their pack, with the adult humans as the alphas. When a cat catches a bird or squirrel or whatever, it will often bring it to an adult human, usually the person that fills their food dish. This is because the animal sees you as its superior and it recognizes that you are more important to the survival of the pack, so it brings you the food to eat first. You are seen as a superior not only because of your physical size, but also because you give them their food every day, so the cat thinks you are the primary hunter. Dogs are complicated also, but easier to "get" because they have been bred for thousands of years to understand and act like people. Dogs are also pack hunters, so they are generally more social than cats.
2/28/07 10:31 AM
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jimformation23
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"When a cat catches a bird or squirrel or whatever, it will often bring it to an adult human, usually the person that fills their food dish." my siamese used to bring me the choice bits of their kills - hearts, livers etc it was sweet of them to save the best part for me
2/28/07 10:33 AM
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PatK
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"This is most obvious in polydactyl (extra-toed) cats as these often their paws to grasp objects. " My cat Milky is polydactyl. It looks like he has thumbs.
2/28/07 10:49 AM
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causticfix
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Interesting. Imo cats get a bad rap as being less social than dogs. They're just social differently. I had a cat years ago that would pick things up with her paw like a human uses a hand...if you threw a bottlecap or something in the floor, she would grab it & pick it up like a person would, turn her paw over to check it out, & drop it. I used to throw things in the floor for hours to watch her do it.
2/28/07 11:21 AM
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MikeZev
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the door to my cats litterbox was jammed on monday and he couldnt open it so he shit on my shower drain.
2/28/07 11:58 AM
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karasu
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Edited: 28-Feb-07
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my cat likes to put his cat tunnel in the hallway blocking the entrance to bathroom and bedrooms making it so that to gain access you must pass by his tunnel so that he can then pounce and attack feet and legs.
2/28/07 12:05 PM
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Lancifer
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the door to my cats litterbox was jammed on monday and he couldnt open it so he shit on my shower drain.

If I block the entrance to my cats litterbox she will go pee on Cujo's laundry.

100% true.

2/28/07 12:14 PM
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V WRESTLER
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Edited: 28-Feb-07
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cats are awesome
2/28/07 12:17 PM
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MikeZev
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clean or dirty laundry?
2/28/07 12:19 PM
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Lancifer
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Zev, a little of both.

Wugi never pees on my stuff, though.  She seeks out Cujo's.

I'd call her a racist, but she is black also.

2/28/07 12:20 PM
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Lancifer
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I'd call her a racist, but she is black also.

I laughed at my own joke while writing that.

2/28/07 12:39 PM
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fokket
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Edited: 28-Feb-07
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ttt
2/28/07 12:46 PM
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MikeZev
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your cat is clearly an uncle tom!
2/28/07 12:49 PM
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crobrun
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I always understood cat's leaving mice/birds as them seeing us as kittens. IIRC, we confuse cats. In many ways, we are obviously the adults, and the cat's are Kittens to us. You can see that in some of their behavior (tails up running to us, etc) However, you will see mother cats bring food to their kittens, and live food to teach them to hunt. I've seen our cats do this, and they are so confused when we don't pounce and kill, but instead put the animal outside. We must be very confusing for the cat.
2/28/07 12:58 PM
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Decepticon
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Edited: 28-Feb-07
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i don't care how intricate thier brains are they are very nice to kick and throw shit at.
2/28/07 12:58 PM
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Decepticon
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i don't care how intricate thier brains are they are very nice to kick and throw shit at.
2/28/07 1:04 PM
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Xtina
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Edited: 28-Feb-07
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My cat's automatic litter box got stuck mid-clean, so she couldn't use it. She went for the next-dirtiest thing in the house and--yep--peed on my gi.

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