The Intelligent Siamese Cat

The Intelligent Siamese Cat

by Michael

Traditional Siamese cat - photo by fofurasfelinas (Flickr) see base of page for link

Traditional Siamese cat - photo by fofurasfelinas (Flickr) see base of page for link

Prevention is the best medicine for your pet's health.This short story is about a Siamese cat who lived with a scientist, J.H. Hetherington, a professor at Michigan State University. I am not sure of the year but it was before the personal computer, so sometime before about 1980. Actually, I have just discovered that it was 1975.

The good professor had written a long and complex article for publication in Physical Review Letters and he needed to proof read it. Unfortunately he had used the editorial "we" rather than "I". As he was the sole author of the article he was told to change this.

That presented a lot of work to Professor Hetherington as it meant retyping the whole thing. He was unable as he was to use the "find and replace" function of a PC as they didn't exist at that time. He clearly didn't fancy retyping the whole thing so he invented a co-author.

This seemed like a neat solution. He decided to name the fictional co-author F.D.C. Willard. F.D.C stood for Felis Domesticus Chester. It was the dressed up name of his Siamese cat. Why not? Siamese cats are known to be one of the most intelligent cat breeds.

All went according to plan. The research article was well received. F.D.C Willard instantly became a well renowned scientist!

But Professor Hetherington went a step too far and got a bit ambitious. He decided in 1980 to present another paper, but this time under his cat's sole name.

This couldn't last, as you can no doubt imagine. When the professor was out and a visitor asked to meet F.D.C. Willard instead, the intelligent Siamese cat was exposed!

Michael Avatar

Associated pages:

Cat Intelligence

Link to original photo on Flickr

From The Intelligent Siamese Cat to Siamese cats

I am indebted to Sam Stall who wrote: 100 Cats Who Changed Civilisation: History's Most Influential Felines.

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