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Not Just Aloof: Cats Know More Than You Think

Unraveling the mystery behind cat cognition, new studies suggest these independent creatures possess cognitive skills on par with young children, including understanding human emotions, making nutritional choices and demonstrating complex problem-solving abilities.

are cats smart

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • While cats are often portrayed as aloof, research shows they form attachment bonds with their caregivers, such that “we may be underestimating cats’ socio-cognitive abilities”
  • Cats use visual and auditory signals to recognize emotions in humans and other cats
  • Cats have a sense of object permanence, meaning that when an object disappears from their sight, they know that it still exists
  • Cats also have working memory and “highly developed” long-term memory, along with numerical competence
  • Cats can discriminate their own names from other words when said by their owner or a stranger

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