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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Mirror, mirror, on the friggin' wall

There's this 8-foot by 4-foot mirror on my living room wall. Seriously. It's like living in a dance studio. But more about that later. My work desk is right beside it, and I'm working right now. Over the last hour, I've had two visitors -- Fenix and then Cougar. Interestingly enough, as they sat in my lap, looking directly at our reflections in the ginormous dance studio glass, they responded as if they totally got it. When I looked down at them, they saw me in the reflection and turned and head-butted me. It was fluid and natural and totally transparent. They just totally understand the concept of a reflection and how it works. Maybe better than I do.

Do all cats understand their reflection? Isn't that a level of self-awarness that animals aren't supposed to grok? I ask because my cats are half (50%) jungle cat, and jungle cats fish...so I would expect them to be fairly well acquainted with their reflection. I know that kittens are afraid of their reflections, thinking that it's another cat (it's cute, but man, kittens are dumb!), but after they realize that it's not going to hurt them, do they realize they're looking at self?



Charles Gramlich said...

Interesting. I know animals can learn to ignore a mirror but this does sound like recognition.

Sidney said...

I don't know if cats "get" mirrors or not. Mine usually don't pay much attention to their reflections as they walk across my bathroom counter.

Synergy Boy said...

Well, miss Missy didn't seem to pay a whole lot of attention until Mr. Dennis showed up. Every time he gets near her, she hisses. Natural, right? Only now, every time she sees her reflection - in the shiny stove front, in the shiny dishwasher front, even in her own friggin' water bowl - she hisses too.

Ummm, I don't think she gets it.

About Me

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.