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can cats pass judgements?

very important room-mate debate:
can cats make judgements? do cats judge people?
some of us think so, because these people have sort of romantic ideas about cats, that they ‘know what you’re thinking’ etc…
then some of us think not, because cats lack the cognitive abilities, the concepts of past and future needed to gather evidence and formulate a judgement. cats are curious, sure, and are able to acquire and retain information, but can this information be used in making a judgement? or just for blind survival?
help us settle this argument.
please give a clear and educated argument, and include your definition of judgement. cite sources for extra karma. personal experience ok.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I have had cats since I was little. I have had one cat in particular since the 2nd grade. I am now graduating college. I personally believe that cats are more intelligent than dogs. They make you work for their affection. A dog on the other hand is always there to wag his tail and be happy and do what you tell it to do. Given the low intelligence of most human beings…this is why dogs are generally preferred to cats. I feel like I have a connection with my cat because we have watched each other grow up. Yet, he will still be in a pissy mood somedays and other times you can really tell he appreciates everything that is done for him.
    Yes, I think they can form judgements.

  2. Dude if a human can ask the question… What if… A cat can ask the question. Just assume everything is smarter then you already wake the fuck up folks lol. I love you all 🙂

  3. Certain animals have a sense of who they are, and I think cats are right on the border. Given their hunting abilities, they’re vocal range, and some of their unique abilities (like opening refrigerators), cats give the appearance they are more than mechanisms of their environment. But at the end of the day, when they look in the mirror, various psychological studies have shown they are not aware that the image they see is actually them.
    What happens when you look in the mirror and realize that its you staring back? A little voice goes off in your head, telling you that it is you. So if you didn’t have this voice going off in your head, what exactly is? You’d probably just be living in the moment– smiling at the happy face– much like a cat would.
    I believe that animals that have that a conscious voice in their head realize they are looking at themselves in the mirror– this sense of self is an easy (and reliable) test to determine if a thinking being is capable of higher thought, like judgement.
    Judgement is the process in which we make decisions based on prior experience, the current situation, and deciding how much we want to trust our inner hunch. Judgement is not acting on the spot, it’s thinking things through. Cats might look they don’t act on the spot, but its just their tiny brains taking so long to think about things they look like their wise.
    Since humans have a long history of domesticating cats, we have formed romantic ideas that cats are critical thinkers. Sure, there might be a continuum they fall under– and they are definitely wiser than say, a sheep. But they are not capable of judging from previous experience because they constantly live ‘in the moment’.

  4. You say that judgments are intellectual and rational attitudes? Then where do prejudices come into play? Are they an irrational exception to valid judgments? And if irrational is the right adjective, why wouldnt it apply to animals? If animals lack the cognitive ability to form rational judgments, then what is left besides irrational judgments?
    My cat purrs when I pet her. I have no doubt she feels some degree of love and affection. She licks me when she chooses to, as a sign of affection.
    And after all these years, I have never hurt her, but she still flinches when I raise my hand, runs when I stand up… fear is an irrational prejudice (a judgment) and need not be based on preexisting experiential knowledge.
    I had a cat once. She was chasing another cat, as cats sometimes do in play. There was a box on the ground. It was opened on one end and closed on the other, as most boxes are. The box was laying on its side. The cat in the lead ran around the far side of the box. The cat taking up the rear thought she would make up for lost ground by cutting through the box. Little did she know, the box didnt have another opening.
    Someone who saw this with me snarled “stupid cat”. I however did not. I was impressed. I had an epiphany. I realized just then the intellectual capacity of a cat. What she did fell under the category of “anticipation” and “expectation” and “geometric visualization”. By human standards it was “poor planning”… but by an unintelligent instinct-driven animals standards, she “planned!” Staying in the chase would have been instinctive. Perhaps even shorting the route by running on the other side of the box, instead, might be considered instinctive. But to go through it? Oblivious of the fact that there was no “through”? That stupid stunt that made her look foolish proved to me her genius.

  5. Just look at either of my cats, if you visit. They are evaluating you and your potential value to them. Depending on your behavior, they may change their mind about you.
    You better believe they pass judgment.
    For example, as the feeder and the primary worshipper, I have great value to my cats. They may eye you for worship, if you come by, but if you do not worship them properly, you will see, quite obviously, that you become ‘dead to them.’ Order the dog around in a disciplinarian voice, and Mr. Boy is visibly pleased.
    Just watch how they evaluate the dog! Kitty thinks the dog is stupid, but harmless and fun. Mr. Boy (the big cat) feels the dog only exists to be punked for his amusement. Pay a great deal of attention to the dog, and you can see how the Boy writes you off, similar to how you would someone who LOVES a TV show or movie that you think is beneath you. “He he… make her obey again, Daddy! You know I can’t get enough of that!”

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