The Guardian reports on what we all have been muttering under our breath: “that cat thinks it’s soo smart, but yknow what? It’s not.” Read:
Psychology lecturer Britta Osthaus says cats do not understand cause-and-effect connections between objects. She tested the thought processes of 15 of them by attaching fish and biscuit treats to one end of a piece of string, placing them under a plastic screen to make them unreachable and then seeing if the cats could work out that pulling on the other end of the string would pull the treat closer.
Sure, cats understand that knocking stuff off a cluttered desk is a great way to wake up the food-pouring ape thing and that jumping into a box is a great way to get on YouTube but apparently taking any cause and effect relationship beyond that… just too much work.
This goes a long way to explain why cats have not invented anything more complex than cat vomit.
Fish, on the other hand, have been observed excelling at observational learning. (No jokes about schooling… none!) I fully expect the nine-spined stickleback to soon start trawling the parking lots of Arthur Treacher’s with ingenius nets of their own design, harvesting the ape oil-rich bounty of swollen suburbanites.