Quantity discrimination by kittens of the domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus)

Anim Cogn. 2023 May 14. doi: 10.1007/s10071-023-01784-z. Online ahead of print.ABSTRACTQuantitative abilities are well described in many species and in diverse life situations, including in the adult domestic cat. However, such abilities have been much less studied during ontogeny. In the present study we examined spontaneous quantity discrimination by pre-weaning age kittens in two-way food choice experiments. In Experiment 1, 26 kittens performed 12 trials with different ratios between the number of same-size food items. In Experiment 2, 24 other kittens performed eight trials with different ratios between the size of two food items. We found, in general, that the kittens discriminated between the different amounts of food and spontaneously chose the larger one, but that their choice was influenced by the ratio of difference. The kittens in Experiment 1 chose the larger number of same-size food items if the ratio was smaller than 0.4 and in Experiment 2 they chose the larger pieces of food if the ratio between the items was smaller than 0.5. Because the kittens' choice was not influenced by the absolute number of food items or the numerical difference between them in Experiment 1, it suggests that their cognitive performance relied on an analog magnitude system rather than on an object file system during the quantity discrimination tasks. We discuss our results considering the ecological and social background of cats and compare it with the performance of previously studied...
Source: Animal Cognition - Category: Zoology Authors: Source Type: research
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