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This Oughta Be Good

Parenting & Family > Pets > Smart Cats

Smart Cats

There was recent study that said dogs are smarter than cats, based on having more of the sort of brain matter that signifies intelligence. I think cats make up for it with cleverness. However, based on observation I don't think our Las Vegas cat $hitty is very bright.

He is a neighborhood cat, abandoned by owners at some point, and he does us the favor of spending part of most days inside our house, especially in winter or when it's windy outside. He has the softest fur, soft like a bunny, and likes to be brushed.

He's got to be resourceful in order to survive on his own, especially in the summer when we're not here, but when it comes to skills related to house things, he's not too sharp.

We might not have noticed this, cats being notoriously independent-minded, but we've got this other cat for comparison. It took $hitty about 10 days to learn how to use the cat door, including several coaching sessions. The Colorado cat, Eloise, figured it out in less than a day, on her own, with no encouragement because we don't want her to leave the house.

For awhile we thought we had a good plan with the door set to allow Mr. Las Vegas to come in whenever he want, but the door didn't swing to let Eloise out. But when the wind blows, the flap flops in and out, and she figured out how to catch it and escape.

The other day I was watching $hitty thinking about exploring an open closet, but he'd have to go around a box to reach the opening, and he couldn't figure out how to do that, so he gave up.




$hitty's name comes from the TV series Trailer Park Boys. The park manager referred to cats as $hit rats, and when this cat first started coming to our house, he lurked around on the patio upsetting our inside cats and ran every time we looked at him. Eventually he warmed up to us, but the name stuck.

posted on Dec 3, 2017 12:54 PM ()


He is adorable and I love it when animals are silly...
comment by kristilyn3 on Dec 18, 2017 7:39 AM ()
The site wouldn't let me use S....y's name.
comment by tealstar on Dec 9, 2017 4:33 PM ()
###### Kitty is a good looking cat. My kitty Brunswick never learned to use the pet door,even with coaxing and look, here is how you do it. Max caught on right away, which is good, because he is in and out. Ziggy will use it but will wait outside looking forlorn, until you notice him and open the door to let him back in. How can you say no to a forlorn looking kitty?
comment by tealstar on Dec 9, 2017 4:32 PM ()
Whoever came to the conclusion that an untestable species was "smarter" than another that cannot complete that test needs at be tested himself. I have owned both species and can affirm that most cats seem to have a higher level of intelligence than even some humans.
comment by hobbie on Dec 6, 2017 10:01 AM ()
I wonder if this cat is so stupid, too, since he's survived outside. Overcaution might make you avoid a manmade cat door and narrowed closet entrances (where dragons probably live).
comment by drmaus on Dec 4, 2017 11:02 AM ()
Sometimes I wonder if he can't see very well - sees the opening but not well enough - that's how he acts. But I don't think he could fare so well in the outdoors if that was the case, so that's when I started wondering about his intelligence.
reply by troutbend on Dec 4, 2017 12:53 PM ()
I hate to say it but I think Martin has a point. I also think $hitty is one very lazy feline.
comment by nittineedles on Dec 3, 2017 10:58 PM ()
He isn't trusting, startles easily, takes nothing for granted, found a remote hiding place in the house for refuge so nobody can walk into the room and surprise him. But tolerates us because, in his little pea-brained survivalist mind, spending time in our house to get out of the weather serves a purpose.
reply by troutbend on Dec 4, 2017 1:03 PM ()
"Not too bright"???? Mmmmmm--who is feeding him, giving him shelter, gets brushed, survives living outside, etc. I don't think he is the one who isn't too bright!!!
comment by greatmartin on Dec 3, 2017 2:11 PM ()
He operates at a more instinctual level than the other cat, doesn't have the smug 'I've got it made' attitude that most house cats have, gets skittish when someone walks in the room.
reply by troutbend on Dec 4, 2017 12:56 PM ()

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