3-month-old babies can distinguish between cats and dogs by looking at the silhouette of the head of a cat and dog.
I’m not sure how useful this information is to the general population of people but nonetheless it is quite interesting.
A study1 concluded that although very young babies can distinguish between cats and dogs when looking at a silhouette of the head of the cat or dog, they were unable to distinguish between these species of animal when looking at the body of the animal.
The obvious conclusion is that the body of a cat and dog is quite similar, while the profile and outline of the head of these two species of animal is quite different or sufficiently different for a very young baby to pick it out.
I suppose the information might be useful to mothers who are unsure whether the baby can tell the difference between their pet dog and cat. A mother might wish to ensure that their baby reacts differently to their family dog than they do to their cat. If so, then the mother will know that their baby can at least tell the difference between the two!
Three months of age this is a very formative time for a child. The knowledge that they can positively distinguish between the two species (“form categorical representations”) may help in parenting.
- Study: Perceptual Categorization of Cat and Dog Silhouettes by 3- to 4-Month-Old Infants.
- Associated page: the different types of cat breed appearance – body types.