The researchers said that cats also have rudimentary concept of the laws of physics and the principle of cause and effect. The study added that the keen sense of hearing possesses by the cats along with application of these concepts allows them to more easily hunt for prey.
A team of researchers in Japan started the study with an aim to know if cats can anticipate the presence of an invisible object in a box after taking into account he sound produced by the container when it is shaken. The researchers also wanted to know if cats expect an object to fall from the box when the container is turned over so they conducted experiments involving 30 domestic cats.
Boxes were shaken by Saho Takagi, from Kyoto University in Japan, and colleagues in front of the cats with and without a rattling sound. The researchers also flipped over the boxes, only some of
which yielded a dropped object.
The researchers came to know that cats tend to stare longer at rattling boxes during the experiment. The study also showed that the cats correctly anticipated the presence of an object based on the container's rattling sound.
"The results suggest that cats used a causal-logical understanding of auditory stimuli to predict the appearance of invisible objects," the researchers wrote. The findings of the study were published in the journal Animal Cognition on June 14.
"The ecology of cats' natural hunting style may favor the ability for inference on the basis of sounds," Takagi and colleagues added.