30 Times Pets Creeped Out Their Owners With Their Intelligence Interview
How much do we know about what's going on in our pets' minds? If you believe that it's all simple in there, pondering about a delicious snack or where's the ball, think again. Sometimes our furry friends seem to have an incredibly intelligent side we're not aware of.
Reddit user Overt Operation started a viral thread about the most "creepily intelligent thing" our pets have ever done and it quickly spread to other platforms, gaining most of its popularity on Twitter. The well known Wholesome Memes account posted the same question and hundreds of responses started pouring in, each more surprising than the previous one.
Check out the best tweets Bored Panda has collected from the thread, upvote your favorite ones, and be sure to share about the times your own pets acted ridiculously smart in the comment section below.
Wholesome Memes posted a viral thread about the most "creepily intelligent" things pets have ever done and received hundreds of surprising stories
We reached out to Dr. Brian Hare, author of Genius of Dogs, to find out more about our pets and their intelligence. He is a core member of the Center of Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University and has been researching the evolution of cognition by studying both humans and animal species.
When asked about the intelligence of our dogs, the best-selling author said that sometimes we do overestimate them, especially when it comes to understanding physics. “Dogs usually fail principles of connectivity, where they get tangled around lamp posts. Or gravity, when they drop their ball on a really steep hill.”
However, we underestimate them too: “For instance, dogs are better at reading our body language than our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos. Even though dogs do not have hands and do not point, they can understand what we mean when we point, either to help them retrieve something they’ve lost, or if we want them to see something that we have seen.”
Humans are also able to connect with dogs on a deeper emotional level, like through eye contact. “Researchers have found that when your dog stares at you, oxytocin, also known as the ‘hug hormone’ goes up in you, and when you return your dog’s gaze, their oxytocin goes up,” Dr. Hare explained.
He added: “This promotes feelings of warmth and bonding, and is also known as an oxytocin loop. This also happens to be how babies bond with their parents—before they can walk or talk. They rely on eye contact to bond, and it seems our dogs do the same.”
There have been countless studies about dogs and their incredible ability to detect smells. However, Dr. Hare mentioned that their sense of smell is actually not as remarkable compared to other animals, for example, a rat. “But because our human sense of smell is so pitiful, we find it wondrous that dogs can use their sense of smell to track down endangered animals, or find a missing child by smelling a scrap of clothing,” he said.
According to the best-selling author, smell might help dogs remember someone who has been gone for a long time, or who has changed remarkably in appearance. But what smell has done, paired with their relationship to us, is to help us through partnership—dogs can help smell explosives, or detect narcotics, or find missing people, or endangered species. "Because dogs are motivated to help us, their sense of smell benefits us in a way that a rat’s never would," he explained.
When it comes to canine intelligence, it is not just one-dimensional. Dr. Hare said that a person can be smart at math but terrible at English, one can be a great public speaker but a terrible listener. Dogs are the same: "There are many different types of intelligence and different dogs are good at different things. That being said, we can certainly help dogs hone their natural abilities, through training and practice."
We also contacted jei, a Twitter user who replied to this thread and shared how their cat came running into the room after they sneezed, trying to check up on them. Talking about how well our four-legged friends know us, jei mentioned that they probably understand a lot more than we realize.
For example, when their mom comes over, their fluffy cat is well aware of how to get a few pleasant rubs: "He knows she might ignore him if he sits quietly but if he brushes by her with his tail up, she’ll stop to rub him," they told Bored Panda. The same goes when their mother is eating, the cat will wait until she’s ready to get up, then "he comes tail up to entice her to rub him first before she moves."
Jei thinks that pets can sniff out our troubles simply because they watch us and have keen senses for picking up things we don’t yet realize ourselves. For example, their fluffy feline is very observant and caring: "If I sneeze he is usually coming to check and meow at me, if he hears me fake crying or making sad noises he will come (my chunky cat is not impressed or pressed to check), and if I am sick both will usually be more cuddly and tend to stick around more from room to room."
They assume that we can train our pets to become more intelligent. "I call my kitties Bonnie and Clyde sometimes because of the things they get into together. … I know I have seen them work together to figure out things on their own."
Bonnie (chunky) is highly food-motivated and always watches her owners to see where they hide the delicious snacks and how to reach them. She even figured out three ways to open most doors in the house. "Clyde (fluffy) would usually watch her and it would be several times watching before he could figure out how to do what she was doing," jei told us.
Even if we tend to exaggerate their intelligence, we can’t deny that sometimes our furry friends act ridiculously smart, surprising everyone around them. The stories in this viral thread range from acts of mild heroism to clever displays of how our pets simply try to show us that they care.