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Socialization and problem-solving in domestic cats (Felis catus)

By Mary Howard

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There is evidence that an animal’s socialization towards humans and rearing environment can enhance their problem-solving ability. According to the social intelligence hypothesis, which states that intelligence evolved due to complex social environments, an animal’s social life should result in higher cognitive abilities. Domestic cats are capable of leading both solitary and social lives in their natural habitat, as well as in captive environments. I assessed both general problem-solving ability and the relationship between socialization and problem-solving ability, problem-solving speed, and latency to approach a novel apparatus in domestic cats. Twenty-four out of eighty-six cats solved the problem-solving task. There was also a significant relationship between the cats’ socialization with their problem-solving abilities, latency to solve, and latency to approach the apparatus. These results provide evidence that domestic cats are not only capable of problem-solving, but that their socialization towards humans influences their abilities.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2018
Pages 61
Publisher University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Location of Publication Chattanooga (Tenn.)
Department Dept. of Psychology
Degree Masters theses
Language English
University University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal roles
  3. Cats
  4. Mammals
  5. open access
  6. Pets and companion animals
  7. Socialization
  1. open access