Can Cats Count?

Pisa, P. E. and C. Agrillo (2009). “Quantity discrimination in felines: a preliminary investigation of the domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) ” J Ethology 27(2): 289-293.

The ability to count, while complicated, is not limited to humans. The simplest form of this is being able to discriminate between two different quantities of objects, and this ability may enhance survival in different ways. Little work has been done on this area in cats. In this study, four pet cats were trained to discriminate between groups of two and three dots for a food reward. The investigators demonstrated that cats can learn how to distinguish between two groups of objects that differed only in number. Interestingly, they concluded that cats do not spontaneously use numerical information, but rather make use of visual cues to solve the task. [VT]
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