How does a cat know? Not simply how does a cat think, but how does it know what it knows? From genetics? Experience? In other words, what is a feline epistemology? Epistemology is multi-syllabic word that simply means a theory of knowledge, of a way of knowing, a way of understanding, a way of relating and giving meaning to reality. How and when do we know? How and when do cats know? Given that not everyone speaks cat, even though people — including this writer — talk to cats all the time, how might we go about learning how a cat knows what it knows?
Two personal suggestions for all you animal people out there. First, the new Netflix show Inside the Mind of a Cat is a wonderous and joyful romp through the world of cats. It's a visual ethnography about capacities for love, compassion, and connections with the feline world from a new generation of researchers. Learn about the usefulness of whiskers, the relationship of meowing to children's communication tones, and the connective power of the slow blink. Inside the Mind of a Cat decodes and deciphers the secrets of cats.
If you want to get inside the mind of a cat yourself, check out Stray. A third-person adventure game set in a mysterious cyber-city inhabited by robots and unexpected creatures, Stray allows players to "See the world through the eyes of a cat and interact with the environment in playful ways." Roaming the post-apocalyptic city, with the help of an endearing drone named B-12, the goal is to unlock the mysteries of this urban anomaly.
Perhaps the best feature is that you get to meow and meow and meow at will. BlueTwelve Studio, "a small team from the south of France mostly made up of cats and a handful of humans," developed the game. (Perhaps they were inspired by "Three Robots," the second episode of Love, Death, and Robots, where "long after the fall of humanity, three robots embark on a sightseeing tour of a post-apocalyptic city." In this episode, the only surviving sentient beings depicted are cats — lucid, verbal, and with opposable thumbs. As the Washington Post reported, Stray has gained such popularity that intrepid and talented programmers are using Nexusmods to share their creations and are (virtually) inserting their own cats into the game.