Copycats Are Real! Science Says Your Cat Can Actually Imitate Your Behaviors
The study published in Animal Cognition detailed how felines can do more than learn simple tricks.
If you share your home with a furry, adorable cat, you're probably familiar with a number of their everyday habits. Whether it's the toy they like to play with each morning or the sound of their purr when they're being scratched, their tendencies are probably commonplace. But according to the New York Post, your felines could have one habit you didn't know about: copying your every move. That's right! Copycats are real. In a study published in Animal Cognition scientific journal, Claudia Fugazza—an animal behaviorist at Budapest's Eötvös Loránd University—and Fumi Higaki—a dog trainer—discovered that cats can imitate behavior.
Getty / Dean Mitchell
After seven months of trial and error, Higaki noticed that her cat could copy behavior because of the feline's desire for treats. The dog trainer even noticed that her four-legged family member would wait around during her canine classes to try to get a treat. To put the theory to the test, Higaki used a technique created by Fugazza, which she called "do as I do." This training method included showing the pet how to do a trick that it's already familiar with—like shaking hands—and following that up by saying "do it." In turn, any pet will recognize the phrase "do it" as a signal to copy the behavior on their own—no matter if they have practiced it before or not.
Teaching her pet tricks like lay down, stand up, and spin around using the "do it" method, Higaki then coached her cat to touch an item and rub her face on the item. After 16 attempts, the cat completed the movements 80 percent of the time.
Fugazza added that just by having a strong bond with your cat, they can eventually pick up on what you are doing and replicate it: "Cat owners should now know that cats may learn a lot by observing their owners."