• Nandini

Can cats do math?

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

When I say cat, I really am referring to the following:

Yes, it is true, cats are known to possess certain math skills in their own feline manner. Although it is obvious, they don’t have the knowledge of trigonometry or geometry as we do, but they sure understand the concept of ‘more and less’.

Every cat owner knows they get notified by their cat if the food dish is getting empty or the water is relatively less in the bowl. Furthermore, as they grow, cats can adeptly tell the difference between heights.

Albeit, this is still an ongoing study and researchers have found similarities between the thinking process of fish and that of cats. Fish swim in schools, and that’s how they learn to count. Likewise, adult cats or rather mother cats can identify if one of the kittens is missing.

Deceptively, it becomes easier to recognize the variance if the comparison is between very different quantities. Weber’s Law predicts the latter statement.

It is easier to tell that circle B has more dots in a glance. This is known as subitizing. However, to predict the answer in the case of circles C and D, we have to count.

A representation of Weber's Law

Cats can often be seen exploring the furniture in your house at different heights and land perfectly in a swift motion wherever they plan to. They have an immediate and accurate reckoning of the height, the force, or the distance without needing to pause.

Of course, this sounds similar to subitizing, except cats are not as fast in differentiating between two different quantities, especially when they aren’t interested or want to nap.

These feline beings are very distinct from humans, I mean bananas are closely related to us than cats. Nonetheless, unlike bananas, cats may understand the abstract concept of numbers.

Collectively, cats cannot do all of the math but are smarter than they are considered and adorable at the same time.


Sources: Milius, S. (2016, December 12). Animals can do 'almost math'. Animals can do 'almost math' | Science News for Students.

Chorney, S. C. (2018, February 6). Science Says Dogs Can't Count but Cats Might, While Frogs and Chickens Are Math Whizzes.

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