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At Mind Matters News: Why cats can remember other cats’ names

Cats are more intelligent than they have been given credit for in the past but they don’t do abstractions. To the extent that a cat recognizes his own name or another cat’s name, he interprets it as a signal that attention is being paid and that something may happen. Read More ›

Hybrid pet cat bred from species as different as humans and chimpanzees

Or so they say. Working on a story about unusual facts about cats, I (O’Leary for News) came across an interesting piece of information from a NOVA documentary: CARLOS DRISCOLL: All domestic cats, up until the last 20 years, have been purely Felis silvesteris. Humans have, very interestingly, now hybridized the domestic cat with a completely different species. NARRATOR: Anthony Hutcherson has been breeding one such hybrid, the Bengal cat. ANTHONY HUTCHERSON (Winn Feline Foundation): Bengals come from a cross between domestic cats and a wildcat species called the Asian leopard cat. Personality-wise, they are a little different from other cats, and they’re pretty active and interested and intelligent. So, if you just want a cat to sit on your Read More ›

If you think dogs are smarter than cats, this will surprise you

Interspecies comparisons are difficult but if we are going to compare, a better matchup would be between cats and wolves because both species have generally had to solve their own problems, as opposed to dogs which are bred to wait for human guidance. Read More ›

Rawr!! Cats DO recognize their names, researchers say!

But why was that a big issue anyway? Cats fare poorly overall in this either/or thinking. They are usually relegated to being “less intelligent than dogs.” Hence the researchers’ surprise that cats can learn their names. But if the cat can recognize and react to the household car pulling up the drive, a specific footstep on the stairs, or a can opener at work, why couldn’t he recognize his name when it is shouted? Many misconceptions about cats stem from the all-or-nothing naturalist hierarchy: “Cats are notorious for their indifference to humans: Almost any owner will testify to how readily these animals ignore us when we call them. But according to a study published Thursday in Scientific Reports, domestic cats Read More ›

Cats played a unique role in the space program

Back in the 1960s, space scientists needed to know if it is true that a cat always lands on its feet: NASA contributed funding to the paper “A Dynamical Explanation of the Falling Cat Phenomenon,” published in the International Journal of Solids and Structures, by Stanford’s T.R. Kane and M.P. Scher. What was so significant about the paper was that it demonstrated that cats are physically capable of rotating their body in mid-air to right themselves when falling. A cat employs specific motor functions in order to achieve this self-righting mechanism, and the paper analyzed these functions as equations that could then be applied to humans. While this function isn’t very useful to humans on earth, it’s critically important in Read More ›