Someone at The Guardian is trying to stir up conflict. They have an article up that claims that dogs are smarter than cats. a boffin (dressed, no doubt, in a lab coat) tested cats’ abilities to work out how to drag treats on string towards them. On the basis of this test she concluded that “cats do not understand cause-and-effect connections between objects”.
The Beast begs to differ. He knows when one object goes into the kitchen, there’s a high chance that the fridge will be opened:
We both know what’s in there. So do you want to be woken at 3.17am or not?
The Beast, being sophisticated, knows that this is probabilistic causation. It is not certain that he will be fed, but it is more likely than if the moving object went into the bathroom. He even knows about do(): if he goes into the kitchen when I do, and squeaks at me, I’m more likely to give him food.
The problem with the experiment is that it ignore the nature of cats. It assumes that they will cooperate.
Do you really think I’d let you take a photo of my arse, just so you could use it as a statement about the article?
And if anyone really thinks cats do not understand cause-and-effect connections between objects, they have to explain this to Gizmo:
Now you’re read this stuff, go back and read the comments under the Grauniad article. They’re much more fun.