Few animals are able to identify themselves in a mirror. It takes longer for even humans to recognise themselves in reflections than it does for them to turn one year old. While chimps, dolphins, and gorillas can identify themselves in a mirror, what about cats? Can cats identify themselves in the mirror?
How Smart Are Cats?
Every cat owner will admit that some of their pets are intelligent. A regular house cat can be just as intelligent as a toddler in humans on average. They are trainable, have a way of expressing themselves when they are in need, and retain knowledge from prior encounters.
Cats sleep as well as have sophisticated ideas while they’re awake. Once the cat is up, they may remember their intricate dreams.
Similar to dog breeds, certain cat breeds are thought to be more intelligent than others. Bengals, Abyssinians, and Siamese cats are typically regarded as intelligent breeds. Compared to other species, these cats are very gregarious, responsive to cues and training, inquisitive, and more eager to cooperate with people.
Do Cats Recognize Their Reflections in a Mirror?
No, cats are not aware that they are in a mirror. If a cat looks at their mirror at all, they typically perceive it as either another cat or a reflection that they are not familiar with being their own. Cats are not naturally adept at recognising their reflections, but they can learn through practice.
If cats are able to detect movement in the mirror, it’s likely that they don’t retain any significant memories of how they looked. Even if they detect that the reflecting movement is related to them and they react to it, they could not recognise themselves.
Scientists tested an old notion years ago to see if animals could recognise themselves in the mirror. The animals that were unconscious had a red dot painted on their foreheads. These animals were placed in front of a mirror as they awoke.
It was intended to see whether the impacted animals would attempt to erase the dot from their foreheads. Should they do so, it would indicate that they are aware of their own reflection. Few animals were able to pass this test and respond to the dot. Among the failures were cats.
It’s dangerous when cats see their reflections in the metal cages at vet clinics and animal shelters. This is because a tense cat can mistakenly believe that the reflection it sees in the metal is that of another cat. The likelihood of their attacking is high because they are already at heightened alertness.
Are Cats Self-Aware?
Scientists have established that cats possess a sense of self, even if it is unclear if they are self-aware. They experience happiness and pain, for instance, and they have views about things like their favourite meals. It remains unclear, nevertheless, if they are aware that they are an entity experiencing reality.
Cats lack the self-awareness to recognise when they are reflecting themselves in photos or mirrors. Whether or not they can see them, they are able to distinguish between people and animals when they are in their presence.
Though they may appear to be lost in thought, cats are most likely not. Cats don’t worry about tomorrow or what their owner is doing while they’re away since they don’t comprehend the past or the future.
Do Cats Recognize Their Owners?
Though not in the same way as people recognise other people and animals, cats can recognise their owners. Humans recognise entities they have previously interacted with using their sight-based memory. Although they rely more on their other senses, such as hearing and smell, animals can see as well.
This is not to say that they don’t occasionally rely largely on vision to identify their owners. For instance, until a human gets close enough to sniff, some cats have been observed confusing one person for another. Other cats react differently to visual cues, such as headwear. They might flee in terror if their owner puts on a hat.
Cats are known to have long-term memory; some have been shown to recognise faces over 10 years after they last interacted with them. Their ability to distinguish between different times of day, such as playtime and dinner, stems from their heightened sensitivity to sounds, smells, and subtle behavioural cues.
Research has demonstrated that cats are able to identify their owner’s voice and react significantly more strongly when they hear it than when they don’t. They are aware of the precise tone that their target employs to try to capture their attention. It ultimately depends on their want to respond in any way whether or not they react to their owner’s voice.
A cat does not perceive humans as entirely distinct animals. Not because we are perceived as very different, but rather because we are large cats that should be treated differently due to our hairlessness. They brush on us and cuddle with their folks because they do not view us as another species.