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rebbel's avatar

Are pussycats stupid?

Asked by rebbel (23532 points ) June 16th, 2011

My sweet kitty is a kitty that lives in home, she has never been an ‘out’ cat.
The only times she is out is when I take her for a walk on the balcony or the gallery of my apartment building.
We walk to the corridor where the elevator is situated, I open the door of it and we are in the corridor.
Beside the elevator there are also stairs, leading floors up and down.
Now sometimes she takes the stairs to one floor down and walks to the door (which is closed) to the gallery and starts a ‘panicky’ meow (I assume it is panicky because the door isn’t open and she can’t enter the gallery back to her house (which isn’t on that floor of course)).
Now my question is this: Did my pussycat already forgot, after seconds, that she walked the stairs to a down floor? is she stupid?
Any cat memory specialists around?

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16 Answers

josie's avatar

Is she stupid?
Compared to what?

rebbel's avatar

@josie Compared to other cats, to other animals.
To me…,i can remember that i walked stairs.

snowberry's avatar

As I understand it, cats are smell oriented first, then hearing, and lastly, sight. My guess is that it didn’t smell right. They are also sensitive to vibrations, faint sounds, and echos that we might not even notice. They love routine, and if walking downstairs is not part of her very normal predictable routine, that could push her over the edge.

In other words I think it has more to do with what feels “right” to her, than intelligence.

rebbel's avatar

Wow, now that sounds like an answer that comes from a specialist and makes sense…, thank you @snowberry !

Zaku's avatar

Modern humans do this surreal thing where we make a multi-level building with one level on top of another that looks almost identical. Makes sense to us. Not so much to some cats. One of my indoor cats used to get confused when I’d (rarely) let him out into the apartment corridor: he’d venture carefully out and try going down stairs, only to find this other artificial universe that looked like where he just came from, and he’d usually go to the door under ours, and try to get let in there.

Seems to be a common mind-blower. I think humans could get similarly confused though if they didn’t have the benefit of training and civilization and long life spans to explain artificial mirror buildings to them. Cats in interesting houses and ones they can fully explore seem to have no problem with navigation.

On the other hand, I had a cat who would want to check all the doors to see if it was raining outside of all of them. Or, maybe she just liked the service and attention. Cats don’t generally like doors to be closed.

rebbel's avatar

@Zaku Love it, thanks! Nicely worded too.

marinelife's avatar

Cats are definitely not the sharpest knives in the animal drawer, but some can be smarter than others. I had a cat that was capable of abstract reasoning and showed it.

zenvelo's avatar

Cats live in an alternate reality.I know of cats that cannot and will not use a cat door. Those cats know it is a different back yard through the cat door than if they go outside when the whole door is open.

Cruiser's avatar

She is telling you to open the damn door and let me explore!! LET ME OUT already! She is protesting her confined imprisonment and is demanding to expand her horizons!

Pandora's avatar

Maybe she’s smarter than you think. She got you to help her out I bet. She was just upset because her human servant wasn’t reading her mind.

Bellatrix's avatar

Also, how old is she? I am not saying this is the cause, but cats can suffer from dementia and can become confused.

ucme's avatar

Nah, evil fuckers but not stoopid!

snowberry's avatar

I think your cat thinks YOU are stupid because you insist in going where it’s not “safe”. (Remember that safe is wherever she says it is.)

chewhorse's avatar

Maybe yours but not mine.. Even after I named him “Dawg”.. Didn’t seem to upset him. The ‘lil guy never went ‘stoopid’ on me (maybe they hide it better than dogs). As far as your pet is concerned, why should it have to remember when it has a slave to do what it wants with just a whimper.. Think about it.

chewhorse's avatar

“Did my pussycat already forgot, after seconds, that she walked the stairs to a down floor?”

Stupid? Actually the true answer revolves around you. You feed her, you clean her box after b’ness, you walk her.. You take her to the balcony and around the apartment complex and the corridor then (I assume) you watch her as she goes to the closed door and (in you’re words, she frantically) meows.. No, she didn’t forget.. She’s calling you over to open it for her, after all, as you accompany her on these trips, always doing this then doing that for her, she views you as the slave while she is the queen. ☺

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