Cats and magic


After I posted that video about how dogs react to magic, I received an email from professional magician Rick Lax with a link to a video where he tried doing similar tricks with cats. The results were quite different, as you can see.

He said that he even put catnip on things to try and get their interest but that cats seemed to hate magic so much that even that would not keep their attention.

Comments

  1. Alverant says

    I’ve seen cats hate things, cats don’t hate magic they just know it’s a trick and get bored quickly.

  2. says

    To be fair, i don’t think a dog would be any more interested in card tricks. The dog tricks worked the way they did because the magician had treats they wanted. I suspect my cat would be much more directly interested in the magician if he actually had one of his treats in his hand.

  3. OverlappingMagisteria says

    Some of the tricks depend on the viewing angle. At 0:53, when he is making cards appear from his hand, the cat is in a position to see exactly how the trick works. So even if it was interested it wouldn’t be impressed.

  4. Holms says

    Unless the object has their interest – say, food – they don’t really have a reason to give a crap if it disappears.

  5. says

    It’s funny, but not relevant the way the dog video was. The whole reason that the dog video was interesting is that is told us something about how dogs think about the world, form expectations, and react when those expectations are not met.

    This video doesn’t do the same for cats. They should have tried the identical trick; offer the cat a treat, wait until the cat’s attention is on the treat and then disappear it. In this case, the tricks are too different for the results to be comparable.

    Seems to me that the problem stems from a fundamental difference in focus. The first video focused on the dogs; this video focuses on the magician. Compare the two videos; notice how much screen time the magician gets in each; notice where he’s placed in the frame; notice how often we see the magician’s face; notice the clothes.

    It’s a funny video, but it doesn’t do what the dog video did. I hope somebody will do that with cats. It would be interesting to see.

  6. karmacat says

    If he had a mouse… But that may be harder to hide. The other problem is that cats are much more cautious around people. Dogs are pack animals so they are more focused on their fellow pack human

  7. busterggi says

    Cats have spent milleniums working with witches – it takes some serious magic to impress them.

  8. says

    This video doesn’t do the same for cats. They should have tried the identical trick; offer the cat a treat, wait until the cat’s attention is on the treat and then disappear it. In this case, the tricks are too different for the results to be comparable.

    This, exactly. My cat loves his Pounce. When he was kitten I had to shake the jar and he would come, but now just picking the jar up is enough to get his attention and he’s all over me looking for his treat.

    While it’s entirely possible not all cats are into treats like that, ideally they would find at least a few who were. I’ve known dogs that had no use for biscuits, either, and would not have been useful for the dog video.

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