I know that cats cannot "self-recognize" when they look into the mirror. But why don't they think the image is, at the very least, another cat?

I did a self-recognition study with chimpanzees in college for my honors thesis (it was fascinating). The first phase of interaction with the mirror (before they caught on that they were looking at themselves) was always a social behavior of some sort. They thought they were seeing another chimp in the mirror, so the behaviors would be play invitations or aggression.

I'm just interested in why/ how cats don't see themselves in the mirror and think it's another cat?
-Jen
Half the people you know are below average. -Steven Wright
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I know that cats cannot "self-recognize" when they look into the mirror. But why don't they think the image is, ... themselves in the mirror and think it's another cat? -Jen Half the people you know are below average. -Steven Wright

As far as I know, they often do think it's another cat. I remember waking up one morning, years ago, to the sound of growls coming from downstairs. When I rushed down, I found one of my cats looking in a mirror that I had temporarily placed at floor level, and trying to get behind it to get at the cat he could see, all the time growling like crazy.
I think it all depends on how they encounter the mirror image; in this case, it was at floor level, and every stalking move he made just made him more convinced that there was another cat there to fight with.

Deb

Don't let perfection get in the way of 'pretty damn good'. - "Coach" Jack Donohue
Hey,
I remember when my cat was a kitty and used to freak out at the sight of herself. But she got used to it, maybe it has something to do with the smell. I remember there was research carried out with dolphins and they were not only able to recognise themselves, but changes as well i.e. a magic marker mark. Which other animals can recognise themselves and/or changes to them?
Sonny
London, England
http://community.webshots.com/user/sham126a
I remember when my cat was a kitty and used to freak out at the sight of herself. But she ... themselves, but changes as well i.e. a magic marker mark. Which other animals can recognise themselves and/or changes to them?

It seems apparent to me that cats can recognize themselves in the mirror as cats, but they soon figure out they aren't "real" cats. When we first brought home our older cat as a kitten, she saw herself in a floor length mirror and became very excited, running up to her image mewing. It seemed clear to me that she thought what she saw was one of her littermates (who looked just like her). After some time, however, she eventually learned that mirror images are not "real" they don't smell like other cats and you can't interact with them. So she soon started ignoring her image.
circa Mon, 26 Jan 2004 08:45:20 -0500, in rec.pets.cats.health+behav, Iain & Deb (Email Removed) said,
As far as I know, they often do think it's another cat. I remember waking up one morning, years ago, ... and every stalking move he made just made him more convinced that there was another cat there to fight with.

Two of my bedrooms have full-length mirrors built into the backs of the doors. Oscar always tries to figure out how to get into that "other room", but he definitely doesn't think it's another cat in the mirror. In fact, in my last place, he used to sit on the counter and look in the mirror to see me when I was showering. :-)

Laura

I am Dyslexia of Borg,
Your ass will be laminated.
circa 26 Jan 2004 22:44:23 GMT, in rec.pets.cats.health+behav, Yngver (Email Removed) said,
It seems apparent to me that cats can recognize themselves in the mirror as cats, but they soon figure out ... not "real" they don't smell like other cats and you can't interact with them. So she soon started ignoring her image.

I think you're right about the smell thing- cats are *so* dependent on their smell that the lack of smell in the "other" cat is probably what helps them figure out that it isn't "real".
Laura

I am Dyslexia of Borg,
Your ass will be laminated.
circa Mon, 26 Jan 2004 08:45:20 -0500, in rec.pets.cats.health+behav, Iain & Deb (Email Removed) said,
As far as I know, they often do think it's another cat. I remember waking up one morning, years ago, ... and every stalking move he made just made him more convinced that there was another cat there to fight with.

Two of my bedrooms have full-length mirrors built into the backs of the doors. Oscar always tries to figure out how to get into that "other room", but he definitely doesn't think it's another cat in the mirror. In fact, in my last place, he used to sit on the counter and look in the mirror to see me when I was showering. :-)

Most of my cats have refused to look in a mirror. Hold them up to one and they look the other direction. Boots on the other hand loves looking at himself in the mirror. He climbs up on my dresser and then on top of my jewelry box so he can see himself. He just sits there looking. Who can figure cats.
Wendy
circa Sun, 1 Feb 2004 18:35:36 -0500, in rec.pets.cats.health+behav, Wendy (Email Removed) said,
Two of my bedrooms have full-length mirrors built into the backs of the doors. Oscar always tries to figure out ... on top of my jewelry box so he can see himself. He just sits there looking. Who can figure cats.

My oldest cat doesn't pay the slightest bit of attention to mirrors except to chase the light that reflects off of hand mirrors. My second oldest doesn't really seem to notice them much, either. Only Oscar the Goofball displays interest, and only in big mirrors. Then again, whenever I open a closet, he hauls into it, then sits there looking like he just won a prize. He also tries to crawl into empty kleenex boxes, usually managing to get his head and one paw in, whereupon he sits down thinking he has hidden himself. He's not really the sharpest knife in the drawer. :-)
Laura

I am Dyslexia of Borg,
Your ass will be laminated.
Two of my bedrooms have full-length mirrors built into the ... himself. He just sits there looking. Who can figure cats.

My oldest cat doesn't pay the slightest bit of attention to mirrors except to chase the light that reflects off ... whereupon he sits down thinking he has hidden himself. He's not really the sharpest knife in the drawer. :-) Laura

ROTFLMAO!!! Oh thank you, I needed that!! Emotion: smile
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