When it comes to pets and intelligence, it is clear that dogs have taken the prize, but that is only because cats have not been studied as thoroughly. There are many anecdotes from cat owners explaining how smart their cats are.
A cat’s intelligence is much more complex than one might imagine. The goal is to see how cat behavior is linked to intelligence. Understanding all this should help you become a more informed cat owner.
The reality is your feline friend is quite intelligent. Some experts say their intelligence is akin to that of a two-year-old baby.
A human brain has around 26 billion neurons while dogs have about 160 million neurons and cats have a whopping 300 million neurons, according to a study.
Of course, the cat does not have the thinking power a human being does, but it doubles what a dog has.
Understanding How Your Cat Uses its Brain
What does it mean to have that many neurons in the brain? This is a fair question that this video explains in detail, but it all boils down to the way your cat stores and uses memory.
Of course, memory is a function that allows creatures to remember past events, and it helps inform them of what to do or not to do.
One of the most complex types of memories that certain brains can create is sometimes called episodic memory. This is long-term memory that allows the creature to store the “what,” “where,” and “when” of a particular moment.
It seems that the brain of a cat is capable of creating procedural memories. This type of memory is created by observing and doing and is sometimes linked to certain feelings, such as pain or stress.
A cat can remember a veterinarian’s office, especially if the last experience was traumatic enough.
Of course, the memories your cat forms does not always have to be linked to traumatic events. A cat will also form similar memories if it experiences exciting playtime or delicious food in a particular location.
You may actually see a giddy cat simply because it begins to recognize a place associated with something good.
Another study shows that cats can use their brain for object permanence recognition, which means a cat knows that a particular object exists, even if he or she cannot see it.
Granted the cat does have to see the object first before it is hidden away, which is the reason a cat can look for something you’ve hidden.
It is clear that cats are a lot more complex than previously thought. It should be pointed out that cats can understand their name when it is uttered.
A study shows how cats can zone out sounds that do not benefit or harm them but actually reestablish alertness when they hear the sound of their names.
Owners who swear that their cats ignore them willfully are not wrong. A cat can choose to ignore you, even if it knows you are calling its name. Furthermore, a cat recognizes an owner’s voice, which is pretty spectacular if you think about.
How Cat Owners can Apply This Information?
Now, you know that a cat is pretty smart, but what can you do with all this information? That is a good question that can be answered in many ways.
The following are things you can do, but there are other things that a pet professional can help you with.
Learn to Anticipate Traumatic Flashbacks
You know your cat can remember traumatic events, which means locations that can make your pet nervous should be noted.
The vet was mentioned earlier, but the truth is this could be anything, like your car if you’ve been in an accident with the cat. Try to make your cat feel more at peace if it has to visit the vet or ride in your car.
There are a number of things you can do to try to keep your cat calm, like using scents that promote relaxation for your cat, which is usually made of floral scents. You can talk to a vet to find out what will work best for your pet just to stay safe.
You can also play some relaxing music, and pet your cat before or during a stressful situation. You could also sing s song to your pet; the human voice can have a calming effect.
Your pet is going through a very serious time, and taking these types of actions should help your furry friend get through it all.
Create Positive Experiences as Much As Possible
Your cat will remember past traumatic experiences but will also remember good experiences. This is useful information if you want your pet to get used to a location you are going to have to frequent or even live in.
All you have to do is present this particular location in a positive light to ensure that your cat feels comfortable. Make sure your pet has a ton of fun there.
Try to add the things your cat loves so that it begins to associate good feelings to a place that may not feel that way. Think of giving your kitty a favorite blanket.
Try to add scents your cat loves, such as the floral scents mentioned earlier to help change your pet’s mind about a place.
Let your pet play with favorite toys at this place as this could encourage a fun memory that can help in the future. Perhaps a favorite meal or food might be helpful as well.
Train Them Because it is Possible
When it comes to training an animal, most pet owners will train a dog but not think of training a cat. This is probably because they think dogs can be easily trained or they are smarter, but you know that cats can be trained just the same.
You do not have to deal with a cat that willfully ignores you, even though it actually understands you.
Now, this is going to take some time because cats do not love to take orders and prefer to be a little independent, but that does not mean you cannot train effectively.
There are a number of things you can do, like simply using the reward system whenever your cat listens to you rather than ignore you.
Sure, a cat that ignores you may seem cute at first, but it might not be helpful in the long run, making training pretty important.
Go Ahead and Promote Mental Development
Just like any other intelligent creature, it can be taught to be smarter than it already is. You can actually take steps to make your cat think a little more and, who doesn’t want a savvy cat?
The good thing is most things you can do to improve your cat’s intelligence are mostly fun.
For example, you can play the hiding game, and let your cat find the toy or treat it wants. Remember, this is a skill that cats have, and making them use it improves the mind.
Of course, this is just one of the things you can do to improve your cat’s intelligence.
You can also take your cat to a cat trainer who already has the knowledge and experience to help you train your cat and make your pet smarter. Sure, it may cost you some money to do this, but your cat is worth the investment.
Taking this kind of step will likely improve your overall experience as a cat owner, which is something all cat owners deserve.
Hopefully, this guide helps you understand your cat better and provides answers to all those burning questions you had about your cat’s peculiar behavior or attitude.
You can go ahead and tell other cat owners because they might want to know just how impressive these little creatures truly are.
It should be pointed out that the scientific community is taking more interest in cats, so be sure to keep a lookout for additional studies on cats and all the things they are hiding inside their brains.