20 Special Abilities That Show How Smart Cats Are

Cats are recognized as very smart. They can do many clever things, and for thousands of years they have been suspected of being far more intelligent then we expect. It’s only recently, however, that our suspicions are being confirmed with scientific evidence, and plenty of additional eye-witness accounts. It’s now thought that cats may not only be the highly intelligent creatures we’ve always thought them to be, but they may very well have special abilities which fall into the realms of psychology and the paranormal. Here are just a few things recent research has discovered.

Cats can calm their own anxiety.

They like to lick their coats when they feel nervous, afraid, or anxious. Their tongues are very coarse and covered with papillae. These are tiny projections on the tongue’s surface which point backward. They’re made of the same stuff human fingernails have, called keratin. This substance is very tough and abrasive. That’s why their tongues feel like sandpaper, and why they can use them to comb their fur. Whenever they need to calm themselves they use their tongues. It may be after they fall or slip while attempting to jump. It often occurs after they’ve been in a tussle with a roommate cat. They will characteristically lick their fur vigorously to settle themselves down after an uncomfortable incident. When they take a moment to lick their owners, it is their cat way of extending a friendly calming lick or two. Sometimes its better to take that mini-bath, with all its sandpaper discomfort, rather than discouraging a cat from offering to share its comfort.

Cats can hear sounds up to 65,000 hertz, and their ears funnel sounds in.

Humans can only hear sounds up to 20,000 hertz. To describe the difference in human terms, it means that cats can hear electrical current, but we cannot. Cat have ears on the top of their heads, and they function much better than ours. Our ears are situated on the sides of our heads and do not swivel. Cats ears swivel up to 180 degrees. They can hear sound from all directions, simply by turning their cone-shaped ears to point toward sound, and then allow the sounds to funnel into the cones. Their ears are perfect hearing machines, and they use them for many different purposes. The only creatures on Earth who have better hearing than cats are bats and some insects. It’s highly possible that humans cannot cope with the level of sensory input that cats can collect with their ears. 

Most cats have superior night vision.

Humans have difficulty seeing at night. We carry flashlights to help us navigate when it’s dark. But cats can see with just one sixth of the quantity of light humans need at night. While we struggle to see, cats are generally doing their best at night. They can hunt extremely well at night, and in partial light because their eyes have functional irises. During the day, the iris in a cat’s eye closes to just a slim slit. Cats don’t see as well as humans do during the day. They can see colors, but their vision is thought to be a bit blurry in the daytime. At night, the iris opens wide which helps them to use any available light to see. That’s why they see much better at night than humans do.

Fidge alerted Wendy to breast cancer.

Wendy was just 52 years old when Fidge started leaping on her right breast every night. Wendy was on the sofa, watching TV. Fidge, a black and white kitten, jumped up on the sofa and then sat on Wendy’s breast for two weeks. Wendy thought it was funny at first, but she went to see her doctor. Her doctor told her that she had a cancerous lump in her breast the size of a pea. Had it gone undiagnosed, that lump would have been the end of Wendy. Wendy had chemotherapy, and scheduled surgery to remove the breast. Wendy was convinced that Fidge, who was just ten months old at the time, had the talent to sniff our cancer. It was just 2011 when German researchers discovered that cancers seem to produce chemical odors which animals can smell. At first, dogs received training to detect cancers. But researchers are beginning to believe that cats have the ability to detect cancer also.

Kitty

A cat’s purring sound can help to get rid of migraines.

Migraines are among the worst kinds of headaches. But there are many who suffer from them who have discovered that when they lie down to rest, their cat joins them. When the cat begins to purr, the steady rhythm of the purring helps to get rid of the pain and the headache. Stroking their fur helps to relax both the migraine sufferer and the cat. For some reason, cats seem to know when their owners are not feeling well, and will curl up beside them, or even right on top of them. Having a rest together relieves stress and can lower blood pressure. When a cat purrs, the migraine may disappear without the need for medication. A nice cat may very provide the solution to a problem bothering many for years. 

Cats have found their families from miles away.

There are stories about families who have moved from one state to another for various reasons. These families loved their cats, and hated to leave them behind, but found new homes for their pets rather than have them endure the stressfulness of moving long distances. In these stories, the cat left behind has traveled to find their owners. These cats each had unique identifying features which helped to distinguish them from others of their breeds. In each case, the cats traveled anywhere from hundreds of miles to thousands of miles to reunite with their families. In one case a family moved from California to Oklahoma. Nearly a year later, their pet arrived at their new door in Oklahoma. In a second case, a family relocated from New York to California. Several months later, their cat arrived at their new doorstep in California.

Oscar became famous when he predicated 25 deaths.

Oscar lived in a Rhode Island, United States hospice. He was considered to be a fairly average sort of cat. Not particularly friendly and not necessarily beautiful, he spent his days visiting patients and their family members. At one point in time, the hospice staff noticed that he would curl up on the bed of a patient, and that patient often died within a few days after Oscar made their bed his home. The number of so-called predictions was high. At 25, the staff began to believe that Oscar wasn’t only looking for a warm bed or blankets. The likelihood that it was coincidence began to diminish. Dr. Joan Teno from Brown University suggested that Oscar may be particularly attracted to a scent which dying people produce, and cats can smell, but people cannot. Some animal behaviorists assert that cats like Oscar may indeed have some kind of psychic abilities which we do not understand.

Cats purr in vibrations within the range of 25 to 150Hz; which is known to be a form of medical therapy.

The frequency range was discovered in a study conducted by the Fauna Communications Research Institute. Every cat the study purred within the range. What’s fascinating is that this particular range of vibrations is known to be used for therapeutic joint mobility, bone grown and healing, dyspnea relief, pain relief, tendon repair, swelling reduction, muscle growth and repair, and wound healing. It would seem that with a great cat around, there may be no need to spend the money on a gym membership or a massage. Many cat owners are discovering that it may be that having a good purring session with a favorite feline could support their overall wellness while at home. 

Kitten alerted her family before an earthquake extensively damaged their home.

Kitten always slept on Amy’s bed at night. But in January 1994, Kitten jumped off Amy’s bed and began to race around her room. Amy woke up. Kitten jumped onto the bed with Amy and began to bite her hair. Amy got out of bed to find her parents, and the earthquake began. The ground rolled and shook. Amy and her family hid under their kitchen table as the windows broke apart and the ceiling cracked. The pool also cracked apart and water sloshed everywhere. Kitten had alerted Amy and her family just before the 6.7 North Ridge earthquake hit California. That earthquake injured 9,000 and killed 57 people. Kitten had some kind of awareness which scientists are only now beginning to understand. But, stories of cat’s alerting to danger fill the Internet. 

Cats use their tails to signal their moods.

While tails primarily help cats to balance while jumping, climbing, and turning, tails also tell humans much about how cats are feeling. Tails are primary to their body language, and they use their tails effectively. When cats carry their tails upright, it means they are feeling confident. If their tails puff up to bottle brush dimensions, it means something has frightened them. When they are feeling anxious, they will lower their tail and even pull it between their legs. Quivering their tails indicates that they are expressing their love. 

Cats are great communicators, with a vocabulary of about 100 sounds.

Cats can produce vocalizations in addition to the typical meow. Cat use growls, hisses, chirps, trills and purring to communicate its emotions. Some cats are particularly adept at combining these different vocalizations into patterns and can vary the intensity of sound or the highness and lowness of pitches within their vocalizations. Cats are capable of a complexity of language that help them to show negative and positive emotions. Growling and hissing convey their anger, aggression, or fear. Chirping, trilling, and purring convey contentment, happiness and pleasure. The number of vocal sounds available to cats tops the number available to dogs, who are only capable of making about 10. But, both dogs and cats also rely on physical communication. Cats often rub their cheeks on objects when marking their territory. They knead their front paws on soft items to show they are happy and content. Their ears rotate forward and perk up to show that something interests them. They tuck their tails and hold them low to the ground when afraid. Their vocabulary combined with their actions helps humans to understand them better. It’s interesting to learn that cats do not meow at other cats, but only to their humans. 

Bandit saved a neighbor who had fallen.

Bandit lives with his owner Fran in Cleburne, Texas. Both Fran and Bandit live in the Buena Vista Seniors Community. Bandit was rescued from a shelter, and he and Fran had been companions ever since. Each night Bandit takes Fran for a walk around the community. He really enjoys the walk and insists on it every night. On June 29, 2017, they had completed their walk, and Fran’s daughter was there to visit. Bandit insisted on taking a second walk, and this wasn’t usual. Fran let him take a walk outside. Bandit headed straight for the hallway and began to meow. Fran and her daughter heard Bandit, and went to see what was happening. They found Fran’s diabetic neighbor, Mary, on the ground with her dog Sugar. Mary couldn’t get up. Her blood sugar level had fallen, and she was crying for help, but her voice was so soft that her cries were barely audible. Bandit heard her cries, and went straight to her. Bandit is now friends with both Fran and Mary.

New Japanese research shows that cats understand cause and effect.

Saho Takagi and her team from Kyoto University led the study. They included 30 domestic cats from the popular cat cafes and 8 from private homes. The cats were videotaped during the study. The cats were included in four experiments. Two were compatible with the laws of physics, while two were not. Cats were evaluated to determine their level of predator skills. What was discovered is that cats are able to use their excellent hearing skills to find where their prey is hiding. It all makes sense when considering that cats do much of their hunting at night and in areas where there isn’t much light. At the end of the studies, the researchers determined that the cats showed more interest in cups that made noise. They simply stared at cups which did not. This prompted researchers to consider that cats use noise and the logic of physics to determine how and what they will hunt.

Cats paw their water to judge its quality.

Cats are far-sighted. They have trouble focusing on small items underneath their noses due to the peripheral range of their eyes. But, they compensate for this by using their paws. They will paw their drinking water before lapping to get an idea where the water surface is located. They can also tell if the water is flowing or stagnant this way. It’s also the most important tool they have for discovering if there is anything dangerous lurking below the surface. For these reasons, its important to forgive them when they miss tiny pieces of food they’ve managed to scatter out of their bowls onto the floor. When they make a mess of their water bowls and fountains, splashing water all over the floor, they’re only doing what comes naturally to their protective instincts.

Cats can fall in a planned order.

Cats tend to fall in a planned order which reduces their impact then they land. First, they rotate their heads. Next, their spine will twist so that their back legs can align. Then, they arch their backs before they land. All of these motions, done in order, help to protect cats when they fall from very high places. There are many stories about cats who have climbed very high, and then have fallen to the ground without being injured. While this has led to stories that cats do not fall, in truth, they can and do fall. Sometimes they do get hurt. They can also slip when attempting to leap and fail to catch their claws and paws correctly upon landing. The basic problem is that many cats love heights, and their need to explore them often leads them into locations where they can’t get down. It’s best to monitor indoor cats to keep them away from heights, if possible, as the idea that they can fall and always land upright isn’t quite accurate.

Cats use their thick whiskers to evaluate their environment.

Cat’s whiskers are much thicker than regular hair. Cat’s depend on their whiskers for sensory input. Their whiskers are also very sensitive. Their whiskers sense changes in airflow, so cats don’t need to touch a nearby object to know if it is moving or not. They check their prey for signs of life with a brief nod of their whiskers. They use their long, rigid whiskers and even rotate those that protrude sideways from the muzzle down. Cats use their whiskers to measure tight spaces. If the whiskers will fit through, then the cat can fit through, too. Behind their front legs, cats have additional hairs that are very much like whiskers, which they use to feel their prey. The long, curved whiskers above the eyes begin trigger a blinking reflex, and this protects their eyes from objects which come close to them. Because cats do not have collar bones, they can fit into any space that is sized equal to their heads.

Cats know how to use their tongues to drink water without spilling.

They use the tips to draw their drinking water up into their mouths. Then, they close their jaws before gravity can cause the water to spill. They can make four laps per second, and stay neat all at the same time. Dogs and other animals do not have this skill.

Cats can remember where food has been hidden for approximately 16 hours.

This data is taken in part from evaluations performed on object permanence using WAIS testing for intelligence testing on adult humans, but used on cats instead. The results from controlled experiments have indicated that cats have brains which are very similar to humans and their memory functions are also similar. Just like humans, they need adequate nourishment for optimal brain functions.

Domestic felines are very good at remembering sounds related to food, such as the sound that can openers make when opening cans of cat food. They can come running in an instant when hearing the sound of a pop-top tin of cat food. (Some owners liken it to the similar sounds of soda or alcoholic beverages being opened.) Cats know the sound of their favorite dry food bag rattling. Many will wake their owners at precisely the right time for breakfast, or come to the kitchen crying in time for dinner. In fact, cats are also known to easily remember information about incidents which are very positive such as enjoyable play. When their favorite toy is rattled or squeaks they understand immediately that it is time to play. On the other hand, dogs can only remember where food is hidden for 5 minutes, give or take a few.

Cats have the ability to process approximately 6 million operations per second.

In the past, it was thought that cat learned skills by observing and imitating their mother or from being with other cats. This idea is losing ground with many scientists. Based on recent research, the prevalent thinking is that cats practice their inborn abilities to refine and perfect them. It is widely thought that cats learn in a manner similar to the way that human beings learn. One example would be that humans master languages over time with practice. What is now thought, is that cats have a unique intelligence which differs from dogs and humans, and that their mental abilities which were once thought to be purely instinctive are actually skills honed through practice.

Some cats can predict earthquakes.

There are scientists world-wide who have researched cat behavior just before earthquakes. In Japan, Professor Mitsuaki Ota has concluded that earthquakes with a seismic rating at 6.9 or higher have been predicted by cats. Some cats have been known to run around or scratch at doors to gain outside access just before an earthquake strikes. In Haicheng, China, about 150,000 people were evacuated before a 1975 earthquake. Seismologists gave the reasons for forecasting the earthquake. One was that the area cat behaviors were so unusual that combined with seismic evidence, the scientists considered no other action. The residents did not realize the danger, but the cats apparently did. The lives of the people of Haicheng were saved because the scientists paid attention to the cats. There are numerous cat lovers who have shared stories about the various ways that their cats sensed that an earthquake was about to happen.


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