For me, the domestic cat consistently demonstrates to us that he or she possesses imagination. Their brains are able to imagine things the way we do. This video is one example. Cats often play with thin air, imagining prey being grabbed and pushed around.
The video is described as “crazy cat in the bathtub”. To some people the behavior may appear crazy but it doesn’t to a cat (or me) and you can see how he is playing in a totally sterile environment with imagined prey.
I suppose my proposition that this is a form of feline imagination could be challenged. A counter argument is that the cat is just going through programmed motions or activities which are hardwired into his brain – an unthinking robot. I don’t believe that because we know that cats experience emotions and have real intelligence in areas of brain function that we don’t possess (i.e. the senses). Cats are able to form genuine friendships as well both with their owns species and interspecies. The domestic cat can copy us and learn from us. They can open doors and so on.
If I am correct that the domestic cat has the ability to imagine things, then we have to conclude that it is one more piece of evidence that the cat’s brain is probably more advanced that many people imagine.
Imagination involves many different brain functions:
- thought process etc.
Imagination in people is not yet clearly understood. I suspect that people believe that only people employ imagination in their daily lives. In the lives of humans, imagination plays a major role. It is employed instinctively. Some people believe that when we look at things we don’t see exactly what it there but something more fanciful: what is there filtered through our imagination.
I wonder if our domestic cat does that? When a kitten kneads our knees, she may be imagining feeding at her mother’s breast as opposed to going through the motions robotically and unthinkingly. It could well be a need for security and imagining the days when she was being nursed by her mother brings the necessary reassurances.