Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Cat I.Q. Test

You think your kitty’s smart … well, let’s see …

Recently at a thrift store, Pat picked up a copy of the book The Cat I.Q. Test, by Melissa Miller. If I were more sophisticated at this blogging thing, I would include in this blog post a picture of the cover of the book that you could click on in order to order it from an online retailer, but that’s too much trouble for me to go to.

As the title implies, the book contains a lengthy quiz to allow someone who shares a household with a cat to assess the cat’s intelligence. But it also contains additional material – a general overview of the history of how cats and humans have interacted over the millennia, and an additional quiz, the Cat Owner I.Q. Test.

The Cat I.Q. Test contains 75 multiple-choice questions. One example:

If your cat decides it would like a drink, but there is nothing in its bowl, it:

A. Meows sweetly and taps at the bowl with its paw to give you the message.

B. Meows loudly at the bowl to attract your attention.

C. Hopes that you will notice the bowl is empty and waits patiently.

D. Tries to sip from your glass, if there’s something in it.

We ran the test for Dulce. She tested at 140, where, as with human I.Q. tests, 100 is average (the mean was determined by the book author’s survey of cats and cat owners). Dulce’s score came in at “Extremely Intelligent.” But then, we’ve always known that she was much sharper than the average feline.

The second quiz is called the Cat Owner I.Q. Test, but that’s really a misnomer. There is no such thing as a cat owner. There’s a saying: Dogs have owners; cats have staff. Still, the quiz does serve a purpose – it’s not so much about how smart a cat’s humans are, but about how willing the humans are to do extra service for the cats. Here is a sample question:

Your cat is sleeping in a chair you need to occupy. You:

A. Attempt to move your cat to another chair without waking it up.

B. Toss your cat off the chair.

C. Softly call your cat’s name and wake it up gently.

D. Reassess your need to occupy the chair.

The scoring of the Cat Owner I.Q. Test divides people into four categories, based on the score: Practical, Flexible, Congenial, and Fanatic. One of the most valuable parts of the book is an explanation of the best personality matches between owner types and cat types – an easygoing Practical type owner is going to have difficulty with a high-maintenance cat, but likewise a Fanatic is going to be frustrated with a new-to-civilization reformed alley cat who would rather just be left alone.

We tested at 130, the upper end of the Congenial range. What this means is that we’re willing to go out of our way to improve Dulce’s life and make sure things are good for her, but we’re not going to go to insane extremes.

Or, to put it another way, Dulce has us very well trained – and we don’t mind!

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Blogger Lydia Manx said...

Cats are definitely in charge. Anyone who thinks they 'own' a cat probably has furniture with shred marks and dead treats ringing the yard. My two cats were cool. The deaf one responded to hand signals and lights.

Sat Aug 23, 09:32:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

An acquaintance of mine in TorC has a deaf cat who's also psychic. When the cat gets out, calling her doesn't work, but her humans can stand out on the doorstep and think really hard, and she will come running.

Sat Aug 23, 11:30:00 AM MDT  

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