Your Cat Really Is A Manipulative Little Villain, According To This Study
Anyone who's ever owned a cat will tell you the species as a whole is maniacal. Cats seem to study every emotion, cuddling up with you on a bad day but purposely vomiting on your handwoven West Elm rug when they feel annoyed.
I always say owning a feline is a lot like having a roommate who's out to ruin your life, bit by bit, all while purring like an angel. The cunning Siamese cats from “Lady and the Tramp” aren't too far from the truth.
Apparently, there's more proof to my theory than just anecdotal evidence. According to published research from Kyoto University, cats actually seem to have an understanding of cause and effect, as well as gravity. So when Cuddles uses her paw to politely push your water glass off the counter, she might also understand that it's going to fall. In other words, she's messing with you.
During the study, researchers created four different scenarios for their test kitties. For the first two trials, they shook a magnetic toy in front of 30 house cats. Half the time it made a sound, and it was silent the other half. In the second two trials, they turned the hollow toy upside down, and metal balls fell out only half the time.
The animals were most attentive and interested when the situation didn't make sense according to the normal laws of gravity, like when the toy container turned over, but nothing fell out. Fluffy may play dumb occasionally, but she can read clues and infer a result from them. As the team succinctly put it, “There's no ball without noise."
However, not everyone thinks the study is accurate. John Bradshaw, a domestic pet pro from the University of Bristol, told the Washington Post the cats could have just looked at the toys out of sheer interest. Cats are challenging to study because their reactions could be due to any number of stimuli.
This idea is entirely plausible, given the kind of hunters cats are [...] I just don't think that this experiment provides conclusive evidence one way or another.
What should you take away from this? If you shake a bag of treats, your cat almost definitely knows a snack is coming. And if she's ruining your life, it's probably on purpose.
Tiny, adorable villain.
Citations: CATS MAY UNDERSTAND CAUSE AND EFFECT, STUDY FINDS (Popular Science)