Thursday, August 11, 2022

Lily (the Cat) Understands Static Electricity

My son's cat, Lily, who lives with us, has learned about static electricity. She's a smart cat, so this isn't a surprise. I've talked about how petting her causes static electricity and slightly painful shocks before. But Lily has learned that being touched or touching can cause pain. If I pet her, then touch her head, she'll flinch expecting a shock, which she sometimes gets. And when she walks over my leg as I'm sitting, she moves her paw close to it, pulls back, and then sets it down on my leg. She knows she might get shocked. 

I suppose this could just be a Pavlovian response. She's learned through experience. But isn't that how we all learn outside of formal schooling? It amazes me, though, that she knows enough to be wary of static electricity.

I don't know if other cats do this. This is the first cat I've had around as an adult. And the only cat I've had in the dry environment where I live.

Aside: I swear I remember in school learning that in the 18th century, someone rubbed a glass rod with a cat skin and got static electricity. There might be something about cat hide that makes static electricity happen more easily.

Does your cat know about static electricity? Or is Lily just extra smart. Let me know in the comments below.

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