As long as it’s with regards to Newton’s laws of motion and electromagnets, research shows curiosity does not kill the cat after all.

A team at Kyoto University recently ran tests to learn more about cats’ ability to use logical thinking. In this study, researchers examined if a cat would expect to see something based on a sound it heard. Previous attempts had been made with other animals, but the failure rate was high.

As it turned out, other animals, such as primates, were turned off by unknown sounds for fear that it might be a threat. On the other hand, cats have the unique personality trait of interpreting a noise as something they might want to kill and eat and were more intrigued by it.

So the team visited some cat cafes and homes of cat owners with a specially designed steel container and iron object to go inside. The container was also fit with an electromagnet allowing the object to cling to the bottom when needed.

An examiner would then approach an individual feline in an isolated environment and call their name to get their attention. They would then shake the box and turn it upside down so that the object would fall out. While taking breaks in between, they repeated the procedure but used the magnet to create different causes and effects.

The examiners also video recorded the cats’ reactions for detailed analysis and smiled warmly throughout because this whole testing was all so gosh-darned precious.

What they found was the cats were mostly interested in cases 2 and 3 where unexpected results occurred. Interest was measured by the time they spent staring at the container. This means that the cats were possibly applying laws of physics to the apparatus and expecting an object to fall out once they heard a sound and vice versa.

It should be noted that not all cats demonstrated an equal thirst for knowledge. Out of 45 tested cats, 15 were refused because they expressed either fear or indifference at the experiment – knowing cats, the majority of them probably felt the latter.

It certainly seems as though an Ig Noble Prize is in the works for this breakthrough in animal inference research and the team is far from finished. They would also like to test cats’ hearing more in depth to learn whether they can determine how many objects are in a box and whether to expect a certain number to fall out of the container.

Once we are in possession of this knowledge, the human race can finally…hmm, like apply it to other fields of study and stuff. Alright, I don’t know about humanity but I can finally guilt my daughter into doing her science homework by saying even a cat can do it.

Source: Sputnik News (Japanese), Ars Technica (English), Springer Link (English)
Images: RocketNews24
Friction Diagram: Wikipedia/Mets501