Though felines are favorite research subjects fro Spokane animal studies, felines for the most part, are particularly taxing subjects for intelligence testing. It is difficult to get them to display how they learn or what they know, above all in a laboratory setting. While social animals like dogs and horses act in response to social rewards and to chastisement, these are almost pointless to cats.
Even though cats may get pleasure from being petted, they don’t have the import of acceptance by a superior in the same way it does for dogs. They are unmoved to the concept of petting as a reward and withholding petting as a reprimand. Truth is; taking no notice of a cat can be counter-productive because this can be seen as a sign of courtesy in feline terms. Though this method works for dogs, cats are either nonplussed or have a lax social structure and act in response to the same punishment with the fight or flight reaction. Having evolved to be autonomous, they lack the inclination to appease social superiors or acquire acceptance into a pack or herd. They are more apt to go away for a few hours and wait for the human partaker to calm down.
Cats are self-reliant, sole, speculative hunters and have evolved to deal with periods of hunger since only around one in three hunts result in a meal. In tests where cats which had not been fed for a whole day were observed for their ability to find an object hidden behind a screen, the researchers noted that the cats’ searches were "unhurried" or "halfhearted" even though the rewards for locating the object were the cats' favorite food treats. In the wild, cats are trailblazers and explore their territory for places likely to obscure prey so the "laissez-faire" test subjects were less encouraged by the food treat than by checking all potential prey hiding places.
Felines are truly fascinating creatures and no one yet has quite figured these mysterious creatures out. We think they want it this way.