Chris Kouwenhoven

Reality check

While the cat is the most intelligent of all our domestic animals, it is important for cat owners to be clear about the limitation of their cat's thought processes, as attributing human motivations to the pet can interfere with the patient, methodical, approach necessary to treat behavior problems. For example, a cat cannot ponder the past or make plans for the future. It is therefore useless for an owner to punish a cat for something it did even a few minutes earlier, because the cat is incapable of making the connection between the action and the punishment. Conversely, its actions can not be motivated by revenge for some past insult by the owner. Stress caused by the owner's actions, and not spite, is the culprit here.