Cats don’t understand mirrors

The eternal question as to whether cats are self-aware is asked again in this compilation of short videos of cats looking at their reflections in mirrors. And they are not. If they were they’d understand mirrors and recognise themselves in the reflection. Well, that’s the theory. They see another cat and go around the edge of the mirror thinking the cat (herself) will be there. It is cute to see but a bit of shame because they become confused. The concept of reflections creating an image is not in their repertoire of possibles.

In one session the cat is a bathroom and he/she raises a paw to see the reflection. It looks like human behavior. You wonder if she is checking if she is looking at a reflection. If so she is self-aware. However, the general consensus among the experts is that there is no evidence to support the view that cats are self-aware.

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Cats don’t understand mirrors — 2 Comments

  1. Pfft at the experts!

    Some humans are born without sight and/or hearing, we would not question their self awareness.

    Where did this nonsense come from regarding the ability to recognise ones self in a mirror being the sole indication of self awareness?

    It is out dated old cobblers. Without self awareness, it is unlikely any species would exist.

    Was it Freud or the Victorians who came up with this dumb old guff?

    Allocating all behaviour by other species to simple, crude instinct, is fallacious, hypocritical even.

    Everything humans do, everything, no matter how technologically or intellectually brilliant, is about sex and death. Getting one to avoid the other, for self survival and to protect the endurance of the gene pool.

    Humans seem so desperate to prove their superiority. With such arrogance they betray their terminal insecurity.

    • ‘Humans seem so desperate to prove their superiority. ” – I don’t think it has anything to do with superiority: great apes are able to recognize themselves in the mirror too.

      Why I understand that the ability to understand how mirrors work may not indicate self awareness, but I also don’t agree that this view is related to humans trying to prove their superiority.

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