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44 Responses to “Are cats fooled by optical illusions?”

  1. Phlip says:

    inb4 Monty Python’s Confuse-a-Cat episode! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2Je1CEPkUM

  2. franko says:

    as a cat owner, that cat is TOTALLY being fooled by that optical illusion.

    sidebar rant: what is the point of me clicking “remember me” upon login when YOU NEVER DO?

    • Boundegar says:

      Agree, that cat looks like it sees a bug.  And yea, WordPress has been doing that to me too.  I didn’t take it personally.

    • Daemonworks says:

       Boing Boing has never managed to remember me for any significant length of time. :(

    • dasanjos says:

      Don’t worry Franko, we readers will always remember you…

  3. Jim Wile says:

    I had a Physics text book with this same illusion as part of the cover.  Every cat I lived with attacked that illusion like it was a jumping bug!  Hours of fun with kittens – the older cats would ignore it if I was in the room.  I had to toss the book after one male left his editorial comment about the illusion.  “Fool me once – shame on you.  Fool me twice – shame on me.  Fool me fourteen zillion times – I piss on you!”

  4. Cowicide says:

    Print this out and see if they fall for it…….. I created this fractal some years ago and many humans seem to fall for it……  http://i.imgur.com/0DZN2.gif

    • Isaac Rinke says:

      I printed out the .gif. It don’t get it. /sarcasm.

    • look_alive says:

      Wait a minute, though.  That’s not an “optical illusion”.  That’s an animated GIF.  When I take a screenshot of it, it no longer “moves”.  How would printing it out be any different. 

      Edit: well, apparently *I* fell for it! Doh!

      • Cowicide says:

        Fractals lose their resolution during the screenshot process. Try dragging and dropping the fractal picture to your Desktop, then right-click the picture and send it directly from there to your printer for printing. Stare at that printed image. If that image doesn’t move, then the fractal has lost its resolution during the printing process. Upgrade your printer to this Epson printer from Amazon at this link. Please give Amazon my affiliate marketing number: 54734 when you make this purchase. Enjoy your illusions!

      • Ipo says:

         You have to print all frames, bind them and flip the pages with your thumb. 

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I see Santa Claus riding a shark.

  5. Glen Able says:

    I’m surprised this works – I know cats have different colour vision to us (I daren’t describe it as “inferior” in this place!)

    Maybe we need an iPad app with an evolutionary algorithm that produces random variations on the pattern.  It could keep track of how much it gets attacked when it’s displaying each one?

  6. fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

    It seems like we could answer this question by tapping the cat’s brain directly to determine whether it is ‘seeing’ the illusory motion or not.

  7. schmaltastic says:

    What would make it all scientifical isn’t just more cat videos, it’s a negative control.  Is there a diagram as similar to this as possible but without the illusion?  Then we just need to observe differential behavior towards the two diagrams for different cats.  If the negative control was very similar to the illusion, this could be quite convincing either way.

  8. theophrastvs says:

    one should hypothesize the difference between human perception (feelings, misapprehensions, loves, annoyances) and higher animal X is 0.0 until shown otherwise  (note: this haphazard heuristic is the exact opposite of what i was taught in “Psychology as a Natural Science 231″)  next up: how does a dog feel about fingernails on a blackboard? [head-cock]

    • futnuh says:

      I asked my dog, he said fingernails on the blackboard don’t bother him.  He also said the “head cock” is a non-verbal equivalent of “What you talking bout Willis?”.  Next question.

  9. Nathan says:

    And then we can find one of those counting horses, and ask if it sees two bars or three!

  10. Daemonworks says:

    A way to improve the test… put the paper under glass

  11. Tony says:

    Just tried it with my cat and she either can’t see it or (more likely) doesn’t care:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMgGBxLULXk

  12. Snig says:

    My cat, who used to hunt flies, was tricked once when I made a convincing sound of a fly coming from my mouth.  He tried to peer inside my mouth to get at the noise.  Thereafter, any time I tried it, he’d just look at me with contempt.  

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      You should try yogic bee breath. That sounds like a two-pound mosquito.

    • howaboutthisdangit says:

      I had a cat who would respond when I cupped my hand over my mouth and made a squeaky, high-pitched whistle.  I guess she thought I was eating a mouse; the first couple of times I did it she came up and examined my hand and mouth VERY closely.  After that she was no longer fooled, but she treated it as a “come here” type of call.

  13. Preston Sturges says:

    Kittens attack anything and nothing,  so it seems like they are living just this side hallucination much of the time anyway. 

  14. Wooster says:

    Both of my cats were unimpressed by the sheet of paper. On the theory that the printout was too low resolution, or the colors were off, I showed it to them on an iPad. They didn’t notice anything. They do react to cat-toy apps on the iPad, so I’d say this was a bust.

  15. lanzz says:

    Even if they are fooled, that would be only because that was their plan from the beginning. With cats everything is intentional.

  16. Dear Boing Boing,

    Have just been discussing this “cat effect’ with the creator of the Rotating Snakes illusion, Akiyoshi Kitaoka. He correctly points out that you need a control condition. He has provided a control image here:

    Cat owners should test their cats with both images!

    Cheers, Diana

  17. Ivan Jones says:

    Cool, Think I’ll use this as my screensaver. ;)

  18. Fogbert says:

    Our cat simply laid down on the paper.

    Not sure what that means other than we have a lazy cat.

  19. AwesomeRobot says:

    I’m generally convinced that the first few months of a cat’s life is like one long LSD trip. They spend the rest of their lives coming down and occasionally falling into flashbacks.

  20. Listener43 says:

    Who was that guy saying boing boing didn’t remember him?

  21. JAM61 says:

    Just goes to show how intellectually superior cats are to dogs. While the cat is fooled by the illusion, at least it knows there’s an illusion. A dog will simply go over to the paper, try to eat it, and move on….. Probably to pee somewhere….

  22. thermidorthelobster says:

    Never mind the cat – my girlfriend doesn’t see the vast majority of illusions on that page.

  23. Majd Al-shihabi says:

    And then we win an Ig Nobel prize. 

  24. disky00 says:

    I wish more college lectures would contain the sentence “And that brings us to this kitten video”.

  25. moonbird says:

    3 cats: 1 supergenius, 1 neurotic, 1 “special.” None of the triad duped by snakes on a (smooth) plane.