Harvey: The Smartest Cat I Ever Knew

I used to have quite a smart cat with a vocabulary of at least 50 words (at least as far as I could tell). He was an alley cat before we adopted him, and he'd learned a large number of cool skills, including feeding himself from tins, opening doors, and was quite adept at picking up stuff after seeing it once.

Once I opened the sliding window in the dining room, and he was watching. He liked the cool breeze, so whenever he wanted it, he'd spend forever trying to lift up the latch and slide the window. It was too heavy for him to succeed, so he'd try for a bit, and then give up and go try to find a human to do it for him.

Quite the smart kitty. His language skills were (as far as I could tell) based on the pitch shifts in syllables. He'd respond to "Harvey" as his name, as well as "Car key" and "Darr-Deee". He was also quite tactile; if you were lying in bed by him but ignoring him, he'd gently reach up a paw and touch you on the cheek to get your attention.

I'd have loved to have seen what he could have done if he'd had the polydactylous mutation that some cats are getting now.

He's an odd one though; most cats I've met were nowhere near as smart. Same with the dogs - I've only met a couple that bright.

Unfortunately, Harvey died about a year ago of a kidney infection. Poor little guy.

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

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