This incredibly cute Persian kitten is hell-bent on destroying its new archenemy—its own reflection in a linoleum floor.
This is not a proper example of the Gallup Mirror Test—a classic tool for gauging animal self-awareness. (In the real test, researchers put two dye dots on the animal—one that it can see when it looks in the mirror and one that it can't—and judge whether the animal is aware that the image in the mirror is itself based on how it reacts to the dot it can see. Basically, does seeing that dot on itself in the mirror make it realize the dot is on its body?) Nevertheless, this kitten's response to its reflection isn't surprising, given that cats are not on the very short list of animals that can pass the Mirror Test.
Who does pass? Great apes, dolphins, elephants, magpies, and humans over the age of 18 months old. That last bit is particularly interesting in light of a couple of studies that have found a correlation between babies that can pass the mirror test, and babies that can "get" the concept of empathy with another individual.
(Thanks to John Pavlus!)
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.