There is a highly amusing video on YouTube that I think is an example of a cat learning to box, human style! Usually, when we talk of cats learning as kittens we are referring to how kittens learn to hunt.
It was thought, and it probably still is, that kittens learn and perfect predatory skills through play with siblings etc. However this may not be true. Cat learn from a variety of experiences. As usual the speed of learning and competence in hunting is also dependent on individual cats – a natural talent is a factor too. Some kittens learn fast while others lag behind. The differences, however, are smoothed out in adulthood.
Experiences that allow a kitten to acquire predatory skills need not just be hands on. They can learn by watching and they do as the video shows. A kitten can learn by watching mother hunt or watching any cat with which the kitten is familiar.
The power of observational learning is such that a kitten will prefer to eat bananas, yes bananas, if his or her mother was trained to eat them and the kitten watches his mother eat them1.
Well this video of a cat learning the boxing actions of professional boxers is, I think, an example of a cat learning by observation!
It is likely to be the case because people do stand in the shoes (metaphorically!) of mother cats. Our cats see us a parent cats. We feed them and care for them.
Here is the video:
Please note that sometimes videos are pulled off the internet without notice – the screen will go black if that happens.
Maybe I am off the mark. I don’t know. Perhaps someone trained the cat to do this but I doubt it.
This is an example of a cat learning by observation it seems to me – enjoy.
Dorothy Wandruff picked this video out for me – thanks Dorothy.
1. Wyrwicka W 1978 Imitation of mother’s inappropriate food preference in weanling kittens referred to in Wild Cats Of The World page 110.