Categories: cat intelligence

How a domestic cat navigates a narrow gap

Cat getting through a narrow gap.

This is pure amusement. It is a sort of test about how a domestic cat navigates a narrow gap. I use the word ‘navigate’ advisedly as you will see at the end of the video. I have also said ‘sort of a test’ because the gap is made of cardboard which bends. There would be different outcome if the sides of the gap were solid and inflexible because there is a lot of bent cardboard in this test.

Other than making me laugh does it tell me anything about domestic cats that I already don’t know? Resourcefulness comes to mind. Persistence is another feline quality. And intelligence. The last segment of the video confirms that.

You can see that the grey tabby-and-white cat is also smart enough to recognise that the gap is oblong shaped and that his head is not round. You can see that this is the case because the cat turns his head sideways on to the gap to facilitate getting it through. In order to do this he must have recognised that his head was more likely to get through if he turned it through 90 degrees. In order to decide that he must realise that his head is not round but oval shaped. How about that? That is something I have learned from the video. Or perhaps he was trying to protect his whiskers and it may have painful to try forcing through with the head vertical.

And to jump over the whole construction indicates that he is thinking about alternative means to get through the obstruction. Rather than going through it he decided to go around it, vertically. I’d call that a smart move too.

A lot of internet surfers are looking for answers about feline intelligence. This post might answer some questions. There is certainly a degree of what I’d call rational and considered thought going on in the brain of this tabby cat. Feline intelligence is a fraught topic because humans don’t really know how to test it. It is a different kind of intelligence to ours.

The video may give us an insight into why cats not infrequently get stuck in very narrow or tight spaces. Inexplicably they want to get into these spaces but fail to extricate themselves. Inquisitiveness is one reason and the ability to get in (as demonstrated by the video) is another. These trapped cats videos do highlight a failing in the thought processes of domestic cats.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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