Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What’s the Smartest Thing your Cat has ever Done?

"Smart cat" Figg

By Langley Cornwell

Well, the cats caught wind of the article I wrote titled “What’s the Smartest Thing your Dog has ever Done?” and demanded equal time. I should have known; cats have been bossing me around for years now! They kept pointing to Julia’s article: Are Cats Smart? Smarter Than Dogs Even? as evidence that yes indeed, they are very smart and I should write about it.

As instructed, I posed this question to my animal-loving friends: What’s the smartest thing your cat has ever done? I received lots of fun answers.

Many cats have learned how to manage without opposable thumbs. Chris once had a Persian cat who would turn door knobs with her paws so she could go outside. Dana’s cat could open door knobs and pull the door open towards him. And Priscilla’s cat Peppy opens the kitchen cabinet by using his front paws and pulling the door open in order to help himself to his own food.

Juniper’s cat loved attention and knew how to get it. He would pet himself to show that he wanted someone to pet him. He would rub one paw on top of his head while meowing frantically until someone would understand what he was “saying” and would pet him. If he did it for a while and the person still didn't pet him, he would start petting them by repeatedly stroking their thigh with his paw. That’s pretty impressive language for a cat!

My friend Charles and his wife have three indoor cats, Maggie, Sally and Daisy, as well as two outdoor boys, Spinner and Webster. Two of the girl cats have learned how to team up to pilfer food. Maggie, an eight pound shorthair tuxedo, throws herself incessantly at the door handle until she is able to hang on to it just long enough to cause the door to open. Daisy, a big 17 pounder, then goes to work on the FELIDAE bag. Whether it takes 30 minutes or several hours, Daisy gnaws away at the bag until she is able to tear open a hole in the side big enough to let the kibble cascade onto the floor. They then feast until their humans catch them, at which point they scatter like the wind.

Joyce and her family live in the country and have always had indoor-outdoor cats. One of their cats, Iris, would always look both ways before crossing the road. She also, every day to the minute, would walk the 1/8 of a mile to greet Joyce’s daughter at her bus stop after school. Iris was a stray and never meowed. But after she lived with them for a few years, she meowed loudly to let them know their daughter had been stung by bees. “She was the smartest cat we’ve ever lived with,” said Joyce.

Chi Chi and Baby Blue
Luchrisa and her husband are passionately devoted to animals and live with a menagerie. Their Chi Chi cat always knows what kind of food she wants to eat that day. She will take her paw and open the cabinet door. Then she will look at all the cans and pull the one she wants them to feed her out onto the floor. Even if they hide the kind she likes the most, the cat will rearrange the cans until she finds it and then pull it out onto the floor. Another cat, Blueberry Farms kitty AKA Baby Blue, pops soap bubbles with her nose. That’s cute, but Luchrisa and Mike swear that Baby Blue cat talks to them. When they ask her a question they claim she air-eeks in response.

Nora’s kitty brought her a snake and when she screamed, he backed out the cat door with the snake in his mouth. I’m not that lucky. My cat brings me gifts often but if he gets in the house with them, he deposits them on the floor and doesn’t take them back outside for me.

Laurie makes a great point. She says all of her six pets are smart. They were ALL smart enough to get themselves rescued and living indoors in a loving home!

So tell us, what’s the smartest thing your cat has ever done?

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell


  1. I can't think of anything specific. They do smart things every day.
    One cat, Mew Mew has a sixth sense. Our Person had to send her last pony to heaven one day and was very very sad and MewMew sat next to her for 2 hours consoling her. It was amazing.

  2. We had a cat named Splash at the shelter years ago, who figured out how to unlock his cage. The morning crew found him out a few days in a row, but chalked it up to someone not latching the cage properly. That's not the end of the story, however. This cat ALSO figured out how to open the door to the room he was in. It had the "handle" type knobs, and he would jump up, hang on the handle and wiggle until the door opened. THEN, for whatever reason, he would open a door to a cat room across the hall, and unlatch the cage of "Bo," another adult male kitty. This pair of BFFs was discovered wandering the shelter hallways for about a week until the humans FINALLY added it all up. Happily, Bo and Splash were adopted together to a forever home. And in case you're wondering, their new family changed all the doors that led outside to knobs (as opposed to handles)! :)

  3. We had a chocolate point Siamese named "Snickers" that could open all the interior doors, turn on touch lamps in the bedroom when he wanted us to wake up and play. He would even fetch milk jug caps and drop it at your feet to throw.


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