13 thoughts on “The Sunday Cat answers the call

  1. i nominated this blog for an award which can be seen on my blog! haha it’s just something that’s floating around the ‘fashion’ blogosphere.

  2. The cats are definitely cute as are their adoptees; it’s that nonfeline entity yacking about lessons to be learned that is not!

  3. O, I didn’t get the meaning, then. I thought the idea that the mother cat is “blind to their differences” is offensive in a number of directions.

  4. I entirely agree, jj!
    Let’s put it this way, it would have been better if the yacking entity had not yacked… from the moment she starts about the lessons being learned, things go rapidly downhill, and indeed, that includes the anthropomorphising blabber. Particularly that.

    The cats are still cute, even though I am quite convinced that there wasn’t a speck of thought in their heads about whether they should include foreign entities into their litter, let alone that there were any altruistic motives!

    Sometimes I look at my cat and think… what goes on in that little head of his?
    The answer always pops up immediately: absolutely nothing.
    I am envious, at times :))

  5. nah! it’s surely not *absolutely nothing*. more like *nothing at all like what would be going thru my head were i in her position*. surely cats think. don’t you think?

  6. Well, since you were so nice to ask, lp. I think they have some of what we have minus, as it were, language. Do you know Barsalou’s perceptual symbol system theory? He isn’t using “symbol” as philosophers do; rather, perceptual symbols are simulations of sensory experience stored in memory, roughly speaking, and they’re at the core of our concepts. I should think kitties are going around with a nice store of these. It also turns out that you can get some logic out of these and some idea of similarity. And, of course, Dehaene and later research has made us aware these critters can count. (We did a post a while back on bees’ counting.)

    Our new little shy snowshoe has completely sussed out where in our home he can get and we can’t. It’s very impressive; it turns out most of our bookcases have cat hidely places underneath them.

  7. Was the yacker a “newsperson” by any chance?

    And, somewhat a propos, has anyone ever seen the story about the snake that was given a baby gerbil for … you know, but which ended up being its pal and constant companion? I have a pic on my office wall of the two together. I keep wondering what the now-adult gerbil thinks about the snake’s eating habits.

  8. so is the idea something like this: instead of thinking “where was that hiding place i found yesterday? ah yes, it’s under the boookshelf in the hall. i think i’ll go there again”, the cat has something more like a slide-show running in his head; a replay of perceptual memory that guides him to the same place he hid before? is that about right?

  9. Yvonne: Thanks so much!! We will have to do some thinking and conferring about who to nominate.

  10. lp, detail, details! I should think that the cat has lots of associations, often connecting to motor programs. So it hears a tin opener and dopamine kicks in, the motor neurons fire and its right at your side.

    One nice thing the dopamine makes possible is one-lesson learning; the cat can get the cat food/tin opener connection very quickly. That sounds becomes extremely salient.

    Just in case you haven’t noticed…

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