What exactly happens inside a cat’s mind is a mystery to science, even though we know they hate cucumbers and hateful cardboard boxes.
According to new research, the size of the files is so great for small enclosed spaces that they will even try to sit in a magic box that doesn’t exist in reality. After reporting their findings in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science, the researchers explained how their motivation was not to test cats’ emotional levels with boxes, but to gain a deeper insight into the animal’s point of view. In particular, they tried to see if cats were able to perceive a magical square in the way they really do.
To do this, they hired 500 people and their pet cats for the most prestigious civic science project – “If I Fit I Sit” – and asked them to continue an experiment at home. In experiments centered on the Kanizsa square, four squares of a square shaped like a Pacman were arranged. When people see the Kanizsa square, our brains automatically fill in the blanks, with the result that we can perceive the presence of a real square even though only the angles are visible.
Cat owners were instructed to depict the behavior of their pets when presented with the Kanizsa square, a real square tapped on the floor and a control situation involving the elements of Kanisza Square is in no way like a square. The purpose of this experiment was to try and observe whether cats showed a preference for sitting inside any size they presented.
Owners were asked to wear dark sunglasses for the duration of their test to prevent their pets from being inadvertently affected by their eyes. Out of 500 participants, only 30 were able to complete all the tests required by the study author. The researchers wrote, “Cats chose Kanizsa Maya just as square and marked more often than control, proving that native cats can behave in a manner consistent with the subjective Kanizsa as well as in the true synthesis.” While this finding provides an interesting insight into cats’ perspectives, many questions remain unanswered as to why cats treat them.