Kitteh contest: Asherah

January 18, 2012 • 5:35 am

I’m continuing to post the many entries in our old kitteh contest. Reader Ibis regales us with a photo and a story of her very smart cat Asherah:

This is my thirteen year old feline companion, Asherah. She’s thoroughly awesome all day long. She’s not very affectionate with strangers due to some unpleasant kittenhood experiences, but what she lacks in sociability she makes up for in sheer intelligence. This being combined with a healthy degree of bossiness, she gets her way more often than not. One day my other cat at the time was pestering me silly while I was trying to work so I put her out of that section of the apartment and shut the door. Some time later, Asherah got up from a nap and started meowing and walking over my desk. I knew from previous experience that what she wanted was to sit in my chair (forget every other surface she could have employed as a bed). I ignored her. Then she got mean and started to knock things off of my bookshelves so I would get up. I ignored her still. Eventually, it seemed as though she had given up—she stopped meowing at me, stopped causing a mess, seemed to settle somewhere else. Then, as soon as she’d lulled me into a false sense of security, she went to the door and meowed to be let out. I wasn’t two steps away from the chair before she was lying down in it, acting as though she’d done me a favour. She’s like a chess player who thinks three moves ahead. And she now has her own chair.

9 thoughts on “Kitteh contest: Asherah

  1. Fully intentional behaviour with plan ..

    When I was living in a room with my first cat, she was out in daytime and than her catbox was under my bed. At night she was in and I had the catbox elsewhere to be available. One day I forgot to get the catbox from under my bed. She meowed consistently to be let out, but I said it was her time to be in.
    Then, I suddenly had to look behind me. My cat was sitting on my bed peeing, looking straight and fierce at me: ‘I’ll learn you not to let me out when I tell you I have to pee!’

  2. IIRC, this is called second order thinking – deliberately creating an impression (whether true or false) in the mind of another. Humans do this all the time, of course, but it is thought to be quite rare in other species. Anyone know when it first appears in human children?

  3. It LOOKS like second order thinking, and I am not saying it is not, but it COULD have been that Asherah mewed to be let out and as soon as Ibis was out of the favoured chair, Asherah saw it was vacant and immediately jumped up into it. I would like it to be unequivocal evidence of deception, but…MOAR KITTEH EXPERIMENTS NEEDED!

  4. Ah, this all sounds so familiar! Cats more than most species know exactly what they want and seldom rest until they get it.

    Ibis, congrats on the privilege of being Asherah’s person.

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