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Sable, an Amazingly Intelligent Cat

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Picture of Intelligent Cat, Sable

Picture of Intelligent Cat, Sable

Photo Credit: © Sable's Student
I wanted to share something that happened just last night. Previously, Sable has shown amazing intelligence. She taught us that she can fetch, and alternates between my husband, Greg, who is blind, and me. She puts the object within easy reach for me, but with Greg, she either taps his instep with a paw, or makes a noise with it so he can locate the object by feel or sound. She only does that with Greg, not with me or my stepson. She knows we can see where it is.

Sable also understands that sometimes she needs medicine. Sable is normally not a touchy-feely cat - she was feral and is still getting used to being inside and around kind people. Given that temperament, when she needs flea medication, she will hop up waist high, to make it easier for me (I have a knee replacement and really can't get down to the floor very easily) and she looks at the part that itches, then at me, then at the flea medication.

But what she did last night was truly amazing. We've finally managed to banish the fleas, but Sable has scabs from them. I have been treating them with a cat medication that numbs the area and kills infection, and discourages licking because of the taste. She does not like medicine, but understands that it is necessary. Last night, Sable lay down on my foot, twisted around to lick the base of her tail (where the worst of the scabbing is), then looked me in the eye. She then hopped up and waited until I had the medicine in my hand, and allowed me to put it on her. She didn't run away, although she hates it. She waited patiently for me to administer it.

This cat, who hates to be restrained, and hates this medicine that tastes bad, understands that it helps her, showed me she needed more medication, then waited patiently more me to administer it. I used to have an incredibly intelligent Boxer, but Sable is much smarter than Dusty was. Imagine overcoming the fear and disgust of being restrained and having to take medicine you hate, but understanding that the medication is necessary, and being able to communicate that you need more of it, then cooperating completely. Sable fought her own instincts, understood what she needed, and communicated her need to me. That's an incredibly intelligent animal.

Sable has another interesting quirk - I found out one day when I was doing some vocal warmups that Sable absolutely loves ballads. The only time she ever rolls on her back and waves her paws in the air is if I'm singing, and she really loves show tunes. Several times, she has climbed up my leg, trying to see where the music is coming from. She never does that except when I'm singing. Last week, I thought I'd give her a treat, and sang a bunch of ballads in a row. I had my eyes shut, and opened them to find Sable spooning one of my tomcats, Bill-O, and the other three kittens from the same litter were lined up in a row, each with a paw around the next one's neck. If I'd only had a camera! Maybe she was Edith Piaf in a past life.

Readers Respond: How does your cat demonstrate unusual intelligence?

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