The ‘experts’ say that there is no evidence that domestic cats are self-aware and I believe them because I have not seen the evidence either. But when you look at this little guy what do you see? I hope I am not anthropomorphising cats (relating to cats as humans) but I see a cat who is making a particular movement with his right foreleg and paw to check if the image in the mirror is him!
He grooms his right ear with his right paw while looking in the mirror standing on this hind legs in the meerkat position. Before he does this he is looking at his reflection in the mirror not sure what he is looking at so he makes this movement with his right foreleg and paw.
If this assessment is correct he should have realised that he was looking at his reflection in the mirror and as a consequence he might be self-aware. But it might simply have confused him more.
The whole argument turns on why he made the movement with his right foreleg. The action is a grooming movement. He was not engaged in grooming himself and a cat does not groom himself while in the meerkat position. Therefore the action was not done for self-grooming purposes. So why? As I said, it looks like he is checking the reflection.
There you go, another of nature’s mysteries. I sense that domestic cats are right on the cusp of being self-aware. Perhaps some are. We just don’t know and it is important.