Our pets can seem far more intelligent than we give them credit for. And the things that they sometimes get up to, well, they make it seem like they’re secretly 300 IQ geniuses or even mad scientists.
People have been sharing the “most creepily intelligent things” that their pets have done in a viral thread on the r/AskReddit subreddit, and the stories make us wonder… what exactly do our pets get up to when we leave our homes? Maybe it’s time to install a webcam to see just how smart they are? Check out the best posts below, upvote your fave ones, and be sure to drop us a comment about the times your own pets acted incredibly intelligently, dear Pandas! When you’re done, check out our earlier posts about smart pets here and here.
Bored Panda reached out to Dr. Suzanne MacDonald from the Department of Psychology at York University in Toronto so that we could get to understand the topic of animal intelligence better. Read on for her surprising and interesting insights.
I had a really bad day and was in my room crying, my cockatiel Stormageddon started screaming from his cage so I got him out, he jumped onto my shoulder and put his head on my cheek and started saying "it's ok it's ok it's ok" over and over again.
I say that to him when he freaks out in his cage at night time (a car honks a horn outside and he starts screaming and flapping his wings) I didn't realise he could tell I was sad and say it back to me to comfort me like I comfort him let alone say it at all.
My cat, Tuffy stole a piece of bread off of the stove and put it on the floor next to the cabinet. She then stared at it intensely, and motionlessly for an hour. We thought that was creepy. Then a mouse came out from behind the cabinet to get the bread and she pounced it! She was using the bread as motherf***ing bait! This is the same cat who routinely burns her tongue licking lightbulbs, hisses at them, and keeps licking.
I have a blind, 150lbs of solid muscle, American Bulldog.
He loves everyone. If he hears a new voice, the "love wiggles" begin. He is just a huge loverdog. Sleeps with my 4 year old every night. Gets along with my cats and other dogs.
Just a giant sweetheart.
Well, a work buddy of mine gave me a ride home once. Invited him in for a bit. We walk in. My pup starts his love wiggles...
...and stops. Ears fall. Tail droops. His expression changes from his usual happy-go-lucky self into... the dog he looks like: A vicious monster.
Well... he bears his teeth, starts growling at my buddy, and when my son walked into the room, he went nuts. He lunged at my buddy, snarling, teeth barred.
WTH? He never acts like this. EVER.
I was so confused and embarassed. My buddy leaves. I scold my pup. Life goes on.
Fast forward a few months and it turns out the buddy of mine from work is arrested for possession of CP.
My blind beast who loves everyone... somehow knew to hate this guy. He instinctively disliked him. And when my son came into the room, he went into protect-mode and tried to get the guy.
According to Dr. MacDonald, in her experience, people "tend to overestimate the intelligence of their pets." She highlighted that this was especially prevalent among dog owners, of all people!
"Pet owners tend to attribute a lot more cognitive complexity to their animals than the research typically shows they have," she explained. "Of course, some people underestimate animal intelligence, but typically pet owners do the opposite."
As for dog owners, well, it all comes down to how adaptable canines are to get what they need. "Dog owners tend to overestimate their intelligence because dogs and humans co-evolved so we can read each other’s cues very well. Dogs are super great at picking up small cues from us, and they look to us when they need help... so they have learned to do things—like have a 'guilty' face, for example—that make us think they have the same intentions and understanding that humans do... even if the research shows that they don’t."
Dr. MacDonald revealed to Bored Panda that she's currently working on research about how pet owners think their animals think and feel and she'll be sharing her findings in a couple of months. So there's something interesting to look forward to in the spring!
My cat is diabetic. About a month ago he had to start insulin twice daily. I have an auto feeder which goes off every 12 hours and gives a preportioned meal. Since I work early in the morning the first meal goes off at 5am. Half an hour after he eats he gets his insulin. He is a good boy and sits very still while I give him his needle. Every time I tell him "good boy!" and give him a quick once over with his favorite brush. On my day off I forgot to set my alarm for his insulin. At 5:30 he jumped right up on my chest and patted my face every so gently until I got out of bed. He immediately ran right to the fridge and sat down(where the insulin is) waiting for his first brushing. Good boy knows he is a good boy.
My cousin had a koi fish pond and two dogs. One night the dogs started barking during the middle of the night really loud and urgently, and they almost never bark at anything. My cousin and her parents knew something was weird and went out to check.
One of the fish somehow managed to jump out the pond and was flopping around next to the water on the concrete, and one dog was trying to help it back in the water with his nose while the other was barking for my cousin or her parents to help.
Once they watched them place the fish in the water, they went back in the kennels to sleep. They would watch the pond a lot from then on.
I have a Chocolate Lab and a black cat. My dog loves tennis balls. My cat doesn't want my dog to be happy, so he would sit on her tennis balls like a chicken hatching an egg. One morning I was getting ready for work and my dog is barking at my cat because he's sitting on her tennis ball. I thought, "Alright a-hole, that's it.", and I went to the closet, got 3 cans of tennis balls, opened them and tossed them around the apartment. My cat seemed unmoved as my dog yelped in glee at her newly-found fortune. I left for work. When I got back home that evening I hear my dog barking in the dining room. When I get there I see all ten tennis balls in the corner, guarded by my cat and my dog barking at him. He looked me in the eyes as if to say, "F*** you. I win again."
Dr. MacDonald’s research has shown that urban raccoons were far more likely than their rural cousins to figure out problems that involved hidden food. Furthermore, urban raccoons tend to spend more time figuring things out and actually coming up with creative strategies to fill their bellies. Which shows that they’re adaptable and quick on their feet (both literally and metaphorically).
I actually have a story for this. I taught my dog to play hide and seek. I made him sit in the kitchen while I hid a rawhide somewhere in the house. He would then search until he found it and would then bring it back to me. I would then tell him to hide it and he would. One day I was searching for the damn rawhide for like 10 mins and could not find it. Searched everywhere. Eventually I had to give up totally confused. Next morning I open a dresser drawer to get a pair of shorts and there it is. He saw a slightly cracked drawer, dropped it in, closed it, and outsmarted a human. I was very proud.
When I was younger I lost a watch that I really loved. Around that time my cat developed a habit of using his front paws to reach under the fridge and just scramble around under there like crazy. He was seriously obsessed and did that for almost a year, until one night he pulled out a tray that had been under the fridge, and on it was my watch. After that he never touched the fridge again. He was a good boy.
My fiancé and I adopted a puppy back in February. We got her at 9 weeks old. She always slept through the night in her crate with 0 accidents and 0 problems. About two months after we brought her home, we were all sleeping in the bedroom when suddenly Kali (the pup) starts whining out of the blue, which was very unusual for her. My fiancé goes to let her out of the crate to take her outside but she just laid back down in the back of the crate and kept whining. Then we heard what sounded like someone coming up our basement stairs. Fiancé went to check, nothing. So he picked up Kali to take her outside when he hears the pounding again. He looks around and doesn’t see an animal or anyone in our yard making these noises. Then a car drove by and set off our front flood light, showing the neighbor across the street laying in front of his door at 4:30AM when it’s 20 degrees out, banging on the door yelling for help. Fiancé brings Kali back inside and rushes to the neighbors house to help the guy out and called 911.
Turns out the man has dementia, got lost going to the bathroom, locked himself outside and slipped on his icy front steps. Kali woke us up to go help him. Good girl, Kal.
Whether or not we can say that they’re smarter than their rural counterparts is another question.
“I wouldn’t say that makes them ‘smarter,’ but it certainly does make urban raccoons more likely to be able to open trash cans and get into our attics than rural raccoons. I can’t say whether these differences are innate or whether urban raccoons learn how to do those things, so the next step is to compare baby urban and rural raccoons on the same tasks to see if the differences exist from birth. This is easier said than done so it is taking several years to collect enough data,” Dr. MacDonald explained.
My dog has epilepsy, so he has to take a pill every morning. I broke it in half and put it in his food and let go at it. Checked a few minutes later and I see the bowl is completely empty except for one if the halves left in the centre.
I walked into the living room were he was, looked at him as said "forget something?" as a joke. He looked at me, got up, went back to his bowl and ate the pill in front of me. That [bastard] knows what's up
I was in my closet getting dressed, and my Doberman came, obviously wanting me to follow him.
I did, in a hurry, and found my kid with a handful of screws that someone, one of the decorators probably, had left in the bay window. She was about to put them in her mouth.
Kid was two. That was the best dog
When I lived with my ex we got a cat that would occasionally come make pitifully adorable tiny mews outside my bedroom door (where my computer was) when she wanted attention. Usually it was 50/50 wanting to be cuddled or wanting me to shake the food bowl so she couldn’t see the bottom.
One time she sounded a lot more urgent than usual. I went and opened the door and she ran off. Okay, not cuddles. I followed her down the stairs and she turned left into the dining room instead of right into the kitchen where her food was. Okay... what’s up? She went to the middle of the floor and sat down, staring at a window. Took me a couple of seconds to realize the bird feeder usually suction cupped to the outside was missing and she was very distressed about it.
I went outside and put it back on the window, and she jumped on the stool by the window to watch me do it. When I went back in I walked back into the dining room. She looked over her shoulder at me then jumped down, ran over, rubbed against my legs for a few seconds, then went back and jumped back on the stool again waiting for birds to show up.
She pointed out that comparing intelligence across different species is incredibly hard to do. Especially because intelligence, as a concept is very hard to define.
“A researcher over 100 years ago did a memory test to compare dogs, monkeys, raccoons, and children, and he claimed that the raccoons and kids were the smartest!
"Certainly, raccoons are not evil geniuses, and they don’t compare with humans in terms of brainpower. Dogs are pretty special, too, because they evolved with humans and so are exquisitely tuned to human behavior. Raccoons have their own kind of smarts, not really the same as any other animal.”
My brother was sitting at the table eating cake when he hears our dog barking at the front door. He gets up to check it out (usually means someone is about to ring the doorbell) and then our dog sprints back to the unsupervised cake and eats it all in one bite.
My friend’s dog knows he’s not allowed onto one very specific carpeted area in the house and he knows never to step onto that area. How does he like to be a smartass about it? He grabs his favorite toy, casually tosses it onto said carpeted area, looks at us, and gives us the “well my toy’s there and I have to step onto the carpet to get it”. He does it so slowly and so deliberately that you know he’s being a complete smartass about it. I can’t help but laugh every time he does it which is not often. He typically does it when he’s desperate for our play because he knows he’ll get a laugh and a positive reaction out of it.
I had a cat once who knew that to get water from the faucet in the sink she would tap on the handle (not the faucet) and look at me. If she had opposable thumbs she would have turned it herself. Other cats would just look at the faucet and wait. She also would leap on her brother if he started to scratch the edge of the sofa, to get him to stop, knowing it was not allowed. She also not only recognized herself in the mirror, but would use it to groom the hair on her back that she couldn't see otherwise.
Had a cat I had a rudimentary system of communication with. When she was hungry, she'd walk in to the room and sort of lick her lips if you will, flicking her tongue in and out a few times and I'd then follow her to the kitchen.
She also always wanted to claim my computer chair for herself but I wouldn't let her sit on it.
So one day she comes in my bedroom, licks her lips, turns towards the door and as I get up to follow her, she gave a little triumphant chirp, whipped round at the speed of light and jumped on my now vacant chair, then curled up in the middle and proceeded to groom her fur while looking very pleased with herself.
I was tricked by a cat.
Not mine, by my mother had two cats in Hawaii before I was born. She would tell stories about how one, Epo, was very intelligent, and the other, Popokie, was as dumb as a bag of rocks. Made a great pair.
She would talk about how they'd be playing out back and she would call them in for dinner. Epo would immediately show up, but Popokie would be lost in her very small backyard
She would just look at Epo and say: "Epo, go get Popokie!"
And Epo would run out and guide Popokie into the house and to his food dish so that he could have dinner.
Not my pet but the dog of a farmer in my grandma's town that recently had given birth to puppies. When we were strolling around by the farm we saw the dog and said to her: “hey, show us your puppies!“ next thing we know, the dog ran around the farm and came back with all her cute little puppies and let us play with them. What a wonderful day.
Not my pet but my best friends. His dog figured out how to open the patio door at his house by hitting the handle and leaning into it and so rather than wait to be let out to relieve herself at night she would just open the door and go outside and handle business. However, the door would usually shut when she would go out and the exterior handle was a knob which she couldn't manipulate without thumbs. So she would scratch and bark a bit until my friend came and let her back in. Then she figured out an even better way to get in. When she had finished her business she would go around front and (I'm not kidding) bonk the doorbell with her nose. Now I never knew she could do this so I was watching a movie at my friend's place and he went to go use the can and while he was occupied the door bell rang and I got up to answer it and I didn't see anyone out the screen door so I shrugged and went back to my seat. Then it rang again and this time I opened the screen door and there was the dog sitting patiently waiting to come in. I was floored. I was like "DUDE. YOUR [FRIKKIN] DOG KNOWS HOW TO RING A DOOR BELL???" And he was like "Yea, did I not tell you that?"
"NO YOU DIDN'T. I'M ALSO NOT SURE WHY I'M SHOUTING." She died a few months back and my friend and his family were devastated. RIP Molly.
My cat was sitting on the front porch sunning herself one day, and my dad walks outside to do some yard work. He tells her to make herself useful and go catch a mouse or something, and walks off. (My mom confirmed she heard my dad say this through the open window near the porch.)
A short while later, my dad is passing through the front yard, and sees the cat laying in the grass with her front legs outstretched in front of her. Upon closer inspection, she's got something clamped between her front paws. It was a mouse.
There was a time when, coming back from a trip, the balls of my feet were swollen and it hurt going up and down the stairs. My cat, that little s**t, would actually imitate me by limping up and down the stairs (taking the steps one at a time) while meowing pitifully. I swear if he could talk, he would've said something like "see, this is how stupid you look."
My 13 lb ginger cat always had to be near me. Some of the doors in my house didn’t latch, and he learned to open them by using his body as a battering ram. Okay, fine. So one day I’m in a closed room with a door that does latch, and I hear the doorknob rattle. It rattles for a bit then turns, and the cat pops the door open with his weight and saunters in.
I miss him.
He has to take antibiotics for ten days They are pills.
In the beginning, i was wondering why he wasnt getting better. Turns out, the a-hole was keeping them in his cheek or under his tongue and spitting them out under the closet.
So now i hold him until he swallows and then i check his mouth.
It’s really one of those times i wish i could explain to him why i am ‘torturing’ him with eye drops and painkillers and whatnot. YOU ARE A SENIOR KITIZEN AND YOU HAVE A SEVERE COLD. Stop spitting things out!
On the other hand, he has never scratched or bitten me, just struggles and pulls away.he is a very sweet cat.
Growing up we had a half dingo dog who would unclip other dogs and then hold the lead in her mouth and take the other dog for a walk like a human. The neighbours were astounded when she took a liking to their Jack Russell and starting unclipping him and taking him over to ours.
My daughter is developmentally delayed. I was in the shower, husband was getting dressed. We had company staying, still asleep, so door locking routines were off. Little lady opened the front door and started running.
Not sure how long it was before one of us walked by and saw the door open. Hubs started yelling, I threw on clothes, banged on guest's door, and started running. We didn't see her anywhere. Hubs jumped in car. Guest ran other direction in pjs. I collapsed on sidewalk, then called 911.
Officers arrived and quickly located our 15 pound cockapoo standing alert on the sidewalk 2 blocks away. In the bushes nearby was my wandering child, happy as a clam, digging around in a neighbors yard. We hadn't even realized the dog was gone. He happily walked back while my daughter, 5 years old, tried to outrun police officers. They cornered her in a school parking lot and had me come grab her.
We now have multiple locks and an alarm.
I watched my Australian Shepherd problem solve how to get her tennis balls that get stuck under the furniture out by taking another tennis ball and rolling it to knock the stuck one out. She seemed very pleased with herself.
I went to the toilet and found my cat in there having a s***. I’m surprised he wasn’t reading the f***ing newspaper.
Not my dog (I have one but he hasn't had any remarkable moment for now), but my neighbor's dog.
He is old and frail and neglects him, even though he gave him a place to stay (he used to be a stray).
He knows he won't get much food from his owner, if any, so he usually spends his days roaming the neighborhood and going to house to house. He knows specifically which neighbor will give him food and knows the precise time we all finished lunch. He used to frequent my grandma's house, waiting patiently at the front door for leftovers (if she didn't have any, he would leave with dignity, although he pooped in my grandma's garden as a revenge once).
The most intelligent part tho is his ability to sneak outside his fenced yard, and nobody knows how. Even with the gates closed, he would suddenly appear outside or inside. Once, I watched him closely as he was walking home, to make sure I could see him. However, suddenly he stopped and looked at me, never breaking eye contact. I had to sneeze, and by the time I could look back at him (three [frikkin] seconds), he was back in his yard. The [boy] was clever to take the opportunity.
He also is aware of the concept of traffic lights and pedestrian crosses over roads, as I've witnessed him multiple times waiting patiently for his light to turn green so he could pass the street, and knows to look for cars anytime he has to cross on an unmarked area.
Faked to have a paw injury so I'd carry him around the house.
My dog once started barking at the door, like someone was about to knock or come in, while I was eating. I got up to see who was there and it was no one. I went back and some of my food was on the ground, being shared by the dog and two cats. I think one of the cats knocked some off, so they worked together as a team to steal my food.
So I have this cat: Chairman Meow. He had to go live at my parents because I was in the Navy and my ship was deploying, and they started letting him go out and come in as he pleased (which I was totally in favor of; he was getting chubby as an apartment cat).
Then my mom started to notice something weird. Now, for context, she's in her 60s and had just retired. My dad was still working for another year or two. With me and my brother grown and moved out, there was a lot of time home alone for her (not that she didn't go out or have hobbies, but that's beside the point). What she noticed is that sometimes, she'd let the cat out, then 10 minutes later he'd walk by inside. She started worrying that she was having blackouts, or suffering from something with "Early Onset" in the name or something. It was happening often enough that she started keeping paper logs.
Then one day she went down to the (finished) basement for the first time in a while, and stepped into a horror film. Like I said, my brother and I had moved out, and the basement was carpeted etc. but was mostly being used to store stuff. Including, apparently, blood. Lots of blood. Staining the carpet, dripping down a wall, in the ceiling... She even found a pile of entrails.
Turns out what was happening was: the cat had gotten up in the suspended ceiling, and found a loose brick in the foundation. He'd worked it loose. Being a cat, he still demanded humans serve him by opening the door, but he could go in and out as he pleased also. And he was bringing his trophies back into the basement. The entrails I mentioned? On closer inspection, it was a rabbit (well, half a rabbit).
And that's how my cat made my mom think she was losing her mind.
I woke up one summer morning to a flooded basement. My dad was yelling at me that I had left the outdoor faucet running which caused the flood. Spent hours and lots of money cleaning it up. Come to find out my dog, after watching me use the faucet, figured out how to turn it on. We only found this out because one day my dad heard someone cranking on the faucet, and when he looked into the yard, my boxer's mouth was around the valve, twisting her head like a confused puppy until it turned on. She never did figure out how to turn it off though.
My brothers cat will look at you through a mirror and watch you. (Yes, he is looking I tested him by pretending to throw a cushion at him, he ducked) He can also recognise himself in the mirror. He also enjoys watching you shower through the mirror.
The cat is obsessed and freaky with mirrors.
If I called my girlfriend at around 9 PM on a Friday, my dog would always get excited and head to the truck.
I was stationed in Shanghai for about a year, but lived for years in Thailand with my GF and my dog.
Whenever I had a long weekend I'd fly back to Thailand. My dog quickly picked up on the idea that whenever my GF switched from speaking Thai to English, she was talking to me. I would call her when I arrived at the airport on a Friday evening, as it was only about 15 minutes from our home, and she'd come pick me up.
My dog was able to put this whole scenario together and went ape-crazy whenever I called on a Friday evening and he would immediately head for the truck to go pick me up. When I would call her at other hours of the day, he would look at her like he knew who she was talking to, but he knew that it didn't mean that I was coming home.
When my kitty Furiosa catches the occasional mouse in our house, we flush the carcass down the toilet. She'll watch the water burial with great interest as the dead mouse swirls down and away...
A week or so ago I woke up and went to use the bathroom only to find a maimed and dead mouse floating in the bowl. I checked with my husband, but he did not put it in there and it's only us and the pets in the house. So Furi must have disposed of her own mouse body this time.
I had friends round and one of them brought fudge. cats were interested but got chased off it a couple of time. They wait for attention to shift to something else. Little cat goes into the middle of the group of friends, acts all cute causes a distraction, while bigger cat gets on the table, knocks down the fudge, little cat quietly moves on and then joins her brother eating fudge. Proper teamwork, that not only used their individual strengths but exploited our weaknesses. Impressed.
She was chilling on the couch but the sun was hitting her eyes and she didn't like it. So she pulled one of the cushions that were piled next to her over enough that it blocked the sun and resumed her nap.
Woke me up and brought me outside to under the deck, where he very obviously showed me the cat that got out and was hiding under there. He looked at the cat, then back at me, then at the cat, then back at me.
Rock in a rocking chair. I thought my living room was haunted for weeks.
My outside dog climbs into my hammock all the time, which is up against the side of the house on the front porch.
Kept hearing this faint "tap... tap.... tap...." and realized he was swinging it, and it was bumping the wall!
Took a LONG time to figure out, too.. because when he'd hear the front door open, he'd immediately jump down and run to the door.. so we never actually saw him in it, until one day I looked out the window to see him jumping down. (it's in an awkward-to-see spot, can't see the hammock itself, I just happened to see him jump out of it this one time, and heard the tap as he did... put 2 and 2 together...)
my cat can open doors. She understands that turning to knob unlatches the door. it takes her a few tries, but she does it all the time now, getting into the office, where she isn't allowed. I have also found her cat toy stash. I have no idea why, but she hides her favorite toys in a few caches around my apartment