An interesting thing happened last week, as our new six month old kitty began to aclimate herself to our home.
Of all her toys, her favorite is a poofy bunch of feathers on a line and stick; she loves chasing it and when she does finally catch is, she likes to carry it around the house before returning it to you for more play. On one such occation, she happened to walk by the window while holding the feather-toy. Lo and behold, a scrub jay appeared in our yard! Amazing! Enthralled, she crouched in the window, toy still dangling from her mouth, while the jay hopped about our yard. Finally he left and Tara aparently lost interest. Or so it seemed. We went back to playing, but the next time she caught the toy, she made a b-line to the window and stared intently out. She repeated this behavior several times, twitching her tail and holding herself as if at any moment, that jay would appear, called once again by her talismen of Bird Summoning. That's right! Within a matter of moments, my cat had developed a superstition!
Now, I know this sort of thing has been observed in pigeons, but it's interesting to see it yourself.
She kept up this ritual for several days. Now, though, she has given up on her talismin, either forgetting it, or realizing in her little kitty brain that the birds will come whether or not she prompts them with her lucky charm. This, then, demonstrated two things:
1) Cats can develop unfounded superstitions.
2) My cat is smarter than 83.1 % of Americans, because upon failure of her unfounded belief, she promptly gave it up.