When domestic cats rest is there nothingness in their heads or do they recollect past experiences or think of things to come?

I don’t know of anybody who knows the answer to the question in the title to his article. It’s impossible to get inside the head of a domestic cat with accuracy. We have to rely on quite a large slice of guesswork to try and figure out what a domestic cat is thinking at any one time.

Thinking domestic cat

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If a domestic cat truly does live in the moment all the time and if a domestic cat had no memory then there would be nothingness in his head. He wouldn’t be able to recall past events and he would fail to think about the future.

However, domestic cats do have feelings (emotions) and they do have a memory. They also have a reasonable degree of intelligence specifically attuned to their way of life.


We also know that domestic cats dream. You can see it in their twitching whiskers and moving eyeballs, and perhaps there is ear twitching as well. These are all outward signs of a domestic cat dreaming. I will speculate that domestic cats dream in a similar way to humans. Dreams are based upon experiences which have taken place when awake. Anxieties or desires are played over these experiences in jumbled “images” when dreaming.

Therefore, I would also suggest that domestic cats will recall, for example, fights with other cats in a dream. If that is true then resting domestic cats may well recall events of the day, or even events which took place some time ago. In my experience, domestic cats have good short-term memories because they can be trained. They remember the rewards they receive when they do something right during training.

Limited memories

I would doubt that the domestic cat’s mind is as active, when resting, as the human mind in terms of recalling and chewing over past events. I would have thought that their memories are more basic in their nature and concern a limited range of activities. Humans generally chew over all kinds of anxiety-making issues which the mind tries to resolve using past experiences and projecting into the future. I don’t believe cats do this. It’s beyond them.

Ability to have empty head

Although I believe that cats do think when resting, I also believe that domestic cats have the ability to spend a lot of time with an empty head when resting. However, I would expect cats to recollect some basic events and it may affect how they behave toward similar events in the future.

What do you think? This is a tricky topic for discussion as we are in the dark.

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3 thoughts on “When domestic cats rest is there nothingness in their heads or do they recollect past experiences or think of things to come?”

  1. I think that any thinking animal has to have the ability to conceptualize and make sense of the world as it pertains to them. They’re just simpler than us and different, meaning they must use imagery, sound and basic emotions way more than we do, as it’s the currency they deal with. They see and experience the same world we do, but aren’t burdened with the complexity we impose on things. Ours is complicated and expanded upon with the use of language and the way we order, compare and compartmentalize the world as we see it. They are perhaps very honest and pure about it. I know that we as a species have the tendency to think of ourselves as god-like compared to animals, and that they may as well be inanimate objects… insignificant and empty. I think we could give them a little more credit for being animate and sentient without being too far off or thinking any less of ourselves.

  2. What do humans think about when resting?

    I believe other species have similar patterns of thought to us.

    They share the ability of latent learning with us, which can be conscious or subconscious.

    Science has proved that mammals with no evolved neo-cortex, also have complex emotions, but they happen in other parts of their brain to humans.

    We have to encourage the work of ethology, not behaviourism or neuroscience, in figuring this stuff out.

    A large dose of humility will help humans understand other species in more than just physical depth.

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