We are the most intelligent animals in the world, we think. Each day we learn more about the different forms of intelligence of our fellow animals. Yes, we are animals and so are the other creatures on this planet.
There are apparently 9 types of intelligence. In some forms the "others" beat us. Here very briefly are some examples how our humble moggie beats us hands down.
This relates to the ability to use a range of physical skills and "manipulate" objects. I presume this means to handle objects deftly. It is also reflected in great timing and co-ordination. "Timing" refers to the sequence of events in a certain action (such as jumping) that maximizes the use of the effort put in). Think of all our best sports people and dancers for example.
Now think of the cat. The WOW factor. The sheer ease with which a cat jumps up and lands on a flat surface with dead weight. When I see a cat jump to the kitchen counter he uses the exact amount of force needed to jump the height required and no more so that he lands softly. That is one example of superb athletic ability and co-ordination, which makes us look clumsy. And I haven't mentioned the height they can jump to.
Here's another (there are many). Cats are very efficient hunters. They can stalk in the dark using eyes, nose and whiskers (to sense air movement). They kill prey by biting the exact spot on the neck of the prey to kill it. The whiskers guide the teeth in the dark.
The speed of a cat's swipe is impressive. We have all been caught out by our cat swiping us when we have gone too far in play.
This is about image manipulation, thinking in three dimensions and mental imagery. There is an overlap here I think in the cats kinetic intelligence (jumping ability)
Only recently I have mentioned a cat (Podge) that routinely travels a few miles daily to the exact same spot and waits for his human to pick him up. Then there is the story of the white Moggie living in South London, who regularly jumps on a No. 22 bus to go one stop to the fish and chip shop. At first the other passengers were surprised. Now they accept him as another passenger and are surprised when he's not there. He always sits at the front :)
Cats can get around their territory extremely well without maps....We can't even read maps half the time.
This relates to an awareness of self and how to act with that knowledge. Obviously cats act instinctively as opposed to a rational logical process (I got that wrong as it implies humans are rational and logical). Yet they have some great intrapersonal intelligence.
For example they wash themselves all the time in a set order, maintaining a high level of personal hygiene (beats some humans I know). Cats demonstrate an awareness of their position in the house and amongst human and never push their luck or overstep the mark.
When she wants something she'll persist and wait; demonstrating skills beyond many humans.
Yes cats aren't as intelligent as us in some ways but in others they beat us - let us respect them for that.
Top photo reproduced under creative commons copyright zach kowalczyk. Bottom photo copyright leff