Go Back   Pet forum for dogs cats and humans - Pets.ca > In the News - Pet related articles and stories in the press > Newspaper Articles of Interest (animal/pet related) from Around the World > Pure Inspiration - Happy tails

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old June 10th, 2008, 10:16 AM
ancientgirl's Avatar
ancientgirl ancientgirl is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 15,069
A very ingenious kitty!

Sasha, the Cat Who Used Tools

From J. Justin Lancaster, Ph.D.
Guest Article by J. Justin Lancaster, Ph.D.

Some years ago I had thought it would be interesting to submit an article to a biology journal describing my observations of tool use by a cat. But my field of science was chemistry and climate, so reporting this observation didn't seem terribly important at the time. Recently, however, I have noted with amusement the stories about tool use by other primates, such as using a stick for balance or to probe depth, or using a rock as a hammer. Given the timing, perhaps you and your readers will be interested in this story.

The cat I observed using a tool was a solid, light-gray, domestic long haired cat. We first met her as a stray kitten in San Diego in 1988; we took her in and named her Sasha. We noticed signs of unusual intelligence early on; Sasha was fascinated, for instance, by the water disappearing down a flushing toilet.

Sasha moved with us to Lexington, MA, in 1991.

The tool that Sasha used was a cotton hair "scrunchy". This is the small, cotton-covered, elastic loop that we used to tie our daughter's ponytails. My daughters kept these hair scrunchies in a drawer next to the sink in an upstairs bathroom.

I had become curious when I found these small cotton objects in Sasha's water bowl, sometimes two of them. I'd take them out, and then some days later there it would be again. Sasha's water bowl was in the kitchen downstairs, right next to her food dish. I thought perhaps one of my daughters had dropped them there.

One day, somewhere around 1996, I was in the upstairs bathroom; let's just say I was reading. I observed Sasha come in the bathroom and jump up onto the counter next to the sink. She reached over the counter and pulled the drawer open from above, just a few inches. She reached into the drawer and pulled out a scrunchy, which was easy for her because her claws could readily catch the soft, fluffy cotton. She put it in her mouth and carried it off. Fascinated, I hastened after her, a bit surreptitiously, like a private detective.

I followed Sasha down to the kitchen and watched the most amazing thing: she walked very deliberately over to her water bowl and dropped the scrunchy into the water. She waited only a few seconds, and dabbed at it with her paw. Then she fished it out, into her mouth again for a second and immediately moved over and dropped it onto her dry cat food. Then she ate the food that had been moistened by the water.

What I observed was a cat going to get a water-carrying cotton sponge device, carrying the device to a water dish and using the device to move water onto cat food that was obviously too dry for her taste. Without a doubt, this qualifies as tool use.

Sasha died in August, 2005, and is buried in Lexington.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Ha, all the nay sayers! Cats are smart!
__________________
There are only two rules at my house: House rule #1. Cats rule. House rule #2. See rule #1.

http://nuriaandthegang.shutterfly.com/
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old June 10th, 2008, 01:00 PM
Love4himies's Avatar
Love4himies Love4himies is offline
Rescue is my fav. breed
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Boating in the 1000 Islands
Posts: 17,754
Hmmmm, very smart kitty. I often wonder why kitties put their toys in the water, they are trying to moisten them up .
__________________
Cat maid to:

Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.-English Proverb

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen R. Covey
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old June 10th, 2008, 01:10 PM
ancientgirl's Avatar
ancientgirl ancientgirl is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 15,069
Now and then I find little poofy balls in my gang's food. I wonder if that's what they're trying to do too!
__________________
There are only two rules at my house: House rule #1. Cats rule. House rule #2. See rule #1.

http://nuriaandthegang.shutterfly.com/
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old June 10th, 2008, 02:20 PM
14+kitties's Avatar
14+kitties 14+kitties is offline
150% PRO S/N
Starcastle Champion, V:force Champion, UFO Shoot Out Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, Mission To Mars Champion, Disc Dash Champion, Crazy Closet Champion, Railway Line Champion, Penguin Pass Champion
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MYOB
Posts: 15,406
What a neat story!! Thanks for sharing!!
__________________
Assumptions do nothing but make an ass out of u and me.

We can stick our heads in the sand for only so long before it starts choking us. Face it folks. The pet population is bad ALL OVER THE WORLD!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Forum Terms of Use

  • All Bulletin Board Posts are for personal/non-commercial use only.
  • Self-promotion and/or promotion in general is prohibited.
  • Debate is healthy but profane and deliberately rude posts will be deleted.
  • Posters not following the rules will be banned at the Admins' discretion.
  • Read the Full Forum Rules

Forum Details

  • Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
    Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
    vBulletin Optimisation by vB Optimise (Reduced on this page: MySQL 8.33%).
  • All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:26 AM.