Contemplate the contemplative cat.
You see your cat sitting on, in, or alongside its favorite household perch day after day, eyes half closed. Your cat sits there for hours at a time, and seems to be immersed in deep thoughts.
But how deep can these thoughts be?
Well, we’re probably not talking the western Pacific’s Mariana Trench.
Many believe the thoughts can be distilled into two basic themes:
1) I like eating food.
2) I like sleeping.
But what about the genius cat?
Like people, some cats are smarter than others. And some cats are much smarter than others. And then there’s that rarest of kitties who would be equivalent to Einstein in the human world.
What would the super-smart cat be contemplating?
Perhaps this: “I like eating food, and I like sleeping. How can I figure out how to eat while I’m asleep?”
Many cat owners feel justifiable pride in their cats’ accomplishments in eating and sleeping about their home. They believe their pets are among the genius cats that must be out there.
But how to gauge a cat’s IQ?
Written tests are out.
As are traditional oral tests. Cats tend to listen noncommittally to the questions and then walk away seeking something to eat or a nice place to take a nap.
Still, there must be a way to determine a cat’s intelligence quotient, thus freeing the tremendous potential posed by the smarty-pants feline.
Here are just a few sample tests to get inside that furry, little head.
First, how to determine a cat’s topical awareness.
Does the cat recognize its name?
- Call your cat’s name. Does the cat: a) run to join you; b) run to the basement to play with cobwebs; c) continue sleeping.
Does the cat recognize your name?
- Stare at your cat, point at yourself, and state your name. Does the cat: a) meow in apparent recognition; b) run to the basement to play with cobwebs; c) continue sleeping.
Can the cat recognize at least half of the Republican candidates for the presidency?
- Approach the cat with a printout of the candidates’ names, and read each name in turn, enunciating clearly. Does the cat: a) purr contentedly until you reach Donald Trump’s name, then turn tail and skedaddle under the couch; b) run to the basement to play with cobwebs; c) continue sleeping.
Now, test the cat’s problem-solving skills.
Set up three little doors that the cat can push its way through. Behind one door, place a bowl of its favorite cat food. Behind the second door, place an empty bowl. And finally, behind the third door, place a copy of Dolly Parton’s autobiography, “Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business.” Now, give your cat a little nudge toward the doors. Does the cat: a) go through the first door and eat the food; b) go through the second door and give you a dirty look; c) go through the third door, place its head on the book, and then go to sleep.
Now, test your cat’s vocabulary.
To determine the extent of its knowledge of words, flash cards will have to be fashioned bearing the words you wish to quiz the cat on. Simple words are best to start. Some suggestions would be: “cat,” “tree,” and “bird.” The tester would have three additional cards, one with a picture of the actual subject being named while the other two cards would have different, unrelated pictures.
Does the cat: a) seem to respond and recognize the correct picture card; b) rub up against a nearby table; c) hide from you under a chair.
The optimistic tester can present more difficult words for a second round of testing. Some suggestions would be “onomatopoeia,” “hirsute” and “fiduciary.”
And finally, determine your cat’s knowledge of current events.
This can be done by once again employing flash cards, this time with the pictures of various public figures. Present the cards to the cat while stating the figure’s name, enunciating clearly. Some suggested subjects could include: heads of state, sports stars, any Kardashian.
Does the cat: a) seem to respond to a given photo and name with a meow of apparent recognition; b) seem to want to get away from you and all this annoying testing stuff you’re doing; c) try to eat one of the cards.
OK, if you’ve determined your cat is an intellectual, what the heck do you do now?
Well, don’t be intimidated.
It’s still your kitty.
Just lie about your SAT scores.
Wareham (Mass.) Courier Editor Frank Mulligan can be reached at email@example.com
Frank Talk: Is your cat a feline Einstein?
Contemplate the contemplative cat.