This guest article is contributed by The Vets.
6 Cool Facts About Your Cat’s Brain
For many pet owners, the independence, athleticism, curiosity, and seeming laid-back nature of cats are intriguing. We know that is why we love them. The cat’s brain is responsible for initiating and controlling all actions. These give rise to their characteristics. Your cat’s brain makes it possible for her to do amazing things. Although cats are not the most cooperative research subjects, researchers fascinated by these characteristics have studied the cat’s brain and revealed mind-blowing facts about it.
For example, University of Bristol scientist – John Bradshaw explains in the book Cat Sense that cats can see, hear, and smell incomparably better than we can. They are also amazingly agile. Here are six cool facts about your cat’s brain.
Your cat’s brain is pretty similar to yours
Although the size and shape are different, the anatomy of your cat’s brain is pretty similar to yours. Like humans, your cat has the following brain structures:
- Cerebral cortex
- Brain stem
These structures perform similar functions in cats as they do in humans. The cerebral cortex is responsible for cognition, logical operations, memory, emotions, and motor functions. The cerebellum regulates movement and balance, and the brainstem controls involuntary body functions like breathing, pulse, and temperature regulation.
However, there are differences in the size and complexity of these structures. For example, cats have a larger and more complex cerebellum which explains their jaw-dropping agility. But humans have a much larger and more complex prefrontal cortex. Hence we can think more logically and have more sophisticated behaviors.
Your cat knows you
Many people who do not understand cats criticize their lack of enthusiasm to please or get excited about their caregiver. But that does not mean the cat cannot recognize you. In fact, your cat knows how you look, your scent, and your voice. She is just not eager to show it.
Their keen sense of hearing means that your cat can pick out your voice amidst multiple other sounds. And there is evidence to prove it. In 2013 researchers recorded voices of different people calling the names of cats. They played recordings to respective cats. The cats were more responsive to their caregiver’s voices than those of strangers.
These revelations are significant, especially if you, unfortunately, lose your pet cat. You have a better chance of finding your lost kitty when you go out and call her name from hiding spots.
Cats can pick up on your body language and emotions
Cats don’t just recognize your voice, scent, and looks. They can sense your body language. According to Catvills.com, they have a more sophisticated cerebellum which means they are more conscious about the environment. They can read your subtle gestures.
In one study, scientists served two bowls to a group of cats; one was empty, and the other had food. Although the cats could not see or smell the contents of the bowls, they chose the bowl with food nearly all the time. Other studies have shown that cats can recognize your facial expressions. They can discern emotional cues and can tell your mood just by listening to the tone of your voice.
Cats are excellent learners; they learn by observation
If your cat watches you open the refrigerator door enough times, she will figure out how to do it by herself. Learning by observation is the oldest and most widespread approach to learning. But cats have perfected the practice.
In the jungle, wild kittens learn the art of stalking, hunting, and killing their prey by watching their mothers. Your kitty is just doing what her cousins in the wild do so frequently.
Therefore, it is crucial to give your cat mention stimulation whether it’s through puzzles, games, or a cat tree or cat gym. It’s also important that she can roam around outside unless she is a house cat. She will observe and learn her surroundings. If you ever lose your cat, she could find her way home.
Your cat has an impeccable memory
Cats can remember details about places and objects. They have good memories about hunting and where to find prey. A study published in the journal Behavioural Processes showed how cats could remember specific bowls that contained food, even after the kitties were taken out of the room. However, when the activity does not involve food, the memory is short-lived. In plain sight of several cats, researchers hid an object in one of four boxes. They waited between 10 and 60 seconds and gave the boxes to cats to find the item. The cats had trouble identifying the correct box.
A final word – cats cognitive ability declines as they age
Cats’ brains and what they can do are fascinating. But like many mammals, their cognitive abilities decline as they age. Cats can develop Feline cognitive dysfunction syndrome (FCDS) – a condition similar to Alzheimer’s. Your old cat may look disoriented, depressed, and have antisocial behavior. But worry not, only a few cats develop the condition. Besides, you can keep FCDS at bay. Engage your cat with plenty of enrichment activities, games, and other brain-stimulating exercises.