An amazing new discovery could change how we understand our feline friends.
An incredible new report suggests that cats may actually be tiny little scientists, able to detect hidden prey via a unique understanding of physics.
A new study in Japan finds cats used both an understanding of cause and effect principles and some elements of physics to predict where prey will be based on nothing more than a sound, according to a Springer statement.
This may explain how they are frequently able to hunt even in poor visibility.
Researchers wanted to find out if cats could determine the presence of a hidden object and predict where it would appear based on sounds. They videotaped the responses of 30 cats for the experiment.
The experimenter would shake a container and at the same time either produce a rattling sound or no sound at all in order to suggest to the cat either that the container had something in it or it was empty.
The container was then turned over so the cat could see if there was actually something inside. In some cases, the experimenters matched up the sound to reality, but in other instances they did not.
The team found that cats spent more time examining the containers when there was a noise, suggesting that they have a basic understanding of physical laws that should suggest the presence of an actual object in the container.
“Researchers suggest that species’ surroundings influence their ability to find out information based on what they hear,” the statement reads. “The ecology of cats’ natural hunting style may therefore also favor the ability for inference on the basis of sounds. Takagi explains that hunting cats often need to infer the location or the distance of their prey from sounds alone because they stake out places of poor visibility. Further research is needed to find out exactly what cats see in their mind’s eye when they pick up noises, and if they can extract information such as quantity and size from what they hear.”