Categories: cat intelligence

If fish can read human faces we should respect our cats more

Fish are more intelligent than we think they are. They can recognise human faces. This is the conclusion of a study. Scientists from Oxford and Queensland have demonstrated that archerfish can quickly learn to recognise a picture of a human face and distinguish it from 43 alternatives. They picked the right face 80% of the time even when the faces are not complete. The fish can recognise subtle differences. We cannot presume that fish have evolved to recognise human faces. This must be a learned process and they learn fast. In addition some fish learn faster than others indicating a variable in IQ levels between individual fish. Sounds human to me.


We tend to treat fish as objects because so many millions or billions of them are killed annually to feed us. They are not really living creatures to many people. There are many other examples of animals being more intelligent than we had thought. Daily we hear of new studies, new tests, which confirm this.

We read stories about the intelligence of dolphins and elephants. We have also read the story of the jail breaking octopus who in April waited for his keepers to go home before he slithered out of his tank, across the floor and squeezed himself down a long drain to reach the sea. Surely, this octopus must be described as being intelligent.

We must, therefore, respect our domestic cats more highly. Many people do respect their domestic cat highly but there are still many people who don’t. They still think of a cat as “just a cat”. There is more going on in the cat brain that we know about.

For too long, the arrogance of the eternally lost and fearful human has refused to believe that any other animal on the planet is intelligent. They are just there to serve us and we can do with them what we please. That is the thought of many. It is an incorrect thought. It is an arrogant, ignorant thought. It is time for change.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

View Comments

  • My daughter and her family have a Koi and Goldfish pond. She has been feeding and playing with the fish for a few years. Many of then come to the side of the pond when she appears and a few like their backs and sided rubbed gently. When I have taken care of them when the family is on vacation, I have found that some of them will come up to my fingers so I can put the food pellets directly into their mouths. They don't do this for everyone.

    • They recognise and like you, Susan. It is a little study which should jolt some people into regarding animals in a different light.

  • Of all the things I've wanted as pets and usually restrained myself from an octopus rates on top of that list. They are sadly of maybe thankfully above my pay grade to properly maintain.
    Intelligence isn't always measured on human terms. It the ability to problem solve.
    No species would survive or adapt if they were just ' dumb animals.'.

    • So, so agree, ME.
      Although I consume a small amount of fish, I could never bring myself to pick out a lobster from a tank.
      They have knowing eyes, and I tear up watching how they pair up sometimes even though not with their original mates that they paired up for life with. They are much more loyal than humans.
      Ofcourse, cats are intelligent and deserve respect. And, mine read me like a novel. But, sadly to me, cats are independent beings that can divide their loyalty and do not choose life partners.

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