Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects


48 Responses to “Cat plays shell game, wins every time”

  1. Ashley Yakeley says:

    Should try with a non-jingling item in the cups.

  2. LYNDON says:

    One from the related videos where the human is a bit tricker and the cat a bit more determined https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QrlTijuhVOA

    • I just got suckered, via YouTube related videos, into a good half hour of soldiers returning from Iraq being reunited with their dogs. I’m not surprised they don’t have videos of Iraq War soldiers being reunited with their cats. A solid three days of being studiously ignored, followed by a two-week montage of shit in shoes and half-dead small prey in the bed.

      Cats have their own language, and it consists of blood, viscera, shit, and urine.

      “I missed you, Daddy. Please enjoy this shit-filled slipper and half-dead tailless squirrel.”“`

      • rattypilgrim says:

         And dirty looks.

      • Harvey says:

        I left my cat with my parents for 3 weeks while I did the post-college Euro-trip. When I got back, I whistled once, and the cat ran out of a bedroom towards me at full speed. She then ran up my body with her claws until she got to my chest purring as loud as she could.

        •  Oh, I had a cat like that once, Harvey. I know it happens. I just don’t think it’s typical. And every time Baby was enthusiastic to see me after an absence, the girls would beat him up.

    • Jason's Robot says:

      Yeah.  The ‘game’ in your link is more legit.
      I’m thinking this cat in the vid above, when there’s 3 cups, knows to pick the middle one and, when there’s 4 cups, knows to pick the outside-right one (the cat’s left). Watch how the person purposefully puts the bell-cup on the outside-right when there’re 4 cups.

  3. It would be interesting to train the cat against the fair game, and then introduce sleight-of-hand and misdirection. (I picture open claws on the back of someone’s hand.)

  4. xian says:

    Yo, where da hell’s mah treat?

  5. Warren_Terra says:

    It’s going a bit too slowly, or the camera angle is too good – I could track the cup by eye, which in viewing other examples of the “game” I’ve found that I suck at.

    • Boundegar says:

      Wait, a cat plays 3-card monte, and you complain the human didn’t make it hard enough?  Either you’re one tough audience or a dog person.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Or a dog.

      • Warren_Terra says:

        I’m impressed that a cat can be trained to play 3-card monte; it’s a real feat. I’m just saying that once you assume that first, impressive accomplishment (of convincing the cat to follow or otherwise pick out the right cup), that the cups are moving slowly or simply enough to make the task less difficult than I’d normally expect. Put another way: the cat is playing 3-card monte, which is hugely impressive. But it’s not clear from the demonstration that the cat is displaying an uncanny ability to follow the cup in a hugely difficult test, which is something I’d rather expected from the post title. I do realize this is running afoul of Samuel Johnson’s assessment of the dancing bear, but still …

  6. Karen Newton says:

    Wonder how he would be at 3-card Monte?

  7. GawainLavers says:

    One cup has catnip taped to the inside top…

  8. morgane says:

    they grow opposable thumbs and we’re DOOMED!

  9. pjcamp says:

    Human doesn’t understand how to play the shell game:

    “The operator’s trick is sleight of hand. A skilled operator can remove a pea from under any shell (or shells) and place it (or not) under any shell (or shells) undetected by a mark. So it is never of any benefit for the mark to watch the movement of either the shells or the operator’s hands.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_game

    Let’s see the cat beat this version (starts at 3:33): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44evqucHc_s

    • retchdog says:

      i’ve read about a trick around this. it will work at most one time and takes some nerve. i’ve never done it.

      play as usual, but instead of picking the one shell “with” the pea, very quickly and assertively turn over the two shells without the pea, thus indicating the remaining shell as your choice. the idea is that they’ll be forced to admit it was a con and give you your winnings. or they might beat the shit out of you. one or the other.

      oh, never mind. that’s in the wikipedia article. figures.

    • SamSam says:

      One of the main features of the shell game is to slowly build up your confidence with easier, non-tricky rounds, waiting for you to start laying down bigger bets. No one would ever play it if no one was ever seen to be winning.

      Trust me, either this cat is about to get seriously scammed, or this cat is simply the shill who appears to be winning, in order to trick the stupid dog into thinking this is legit.

      Hey guys! Hey guys! Hey guys! What you playing? Hey guys! What you playing? Oooh, a cup game? I love cup games! I love cup games! Can I play can I play can I play can I play please please please please? Squirrel!

  10. HubrisSonic says:

    What’s the point? That cat don’t got no dough! 

  11. Milo says:

    Meanwhile, our cat is still crapping on the floor where his litter box used to be.

  12. lorq says:

    Nice comic timing in the pause just before the cat makes a selection.

  13. Baanrit says:

    Actually, if I am not mistaken, the correct result was always in the same place. In the middle of three an then at the end of four. 

  14. Ian Brewer says:

    Cats are smarter than we think, they’ve already taken over the internet.

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