Sioux Falls Zoologists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"

The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is the primary indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals and marks entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology. Animals that pass mirror test are: Humans older than 18 mo, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, Gorillas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Orcas (Killer Whales), Elephants, and European Magpies. Others showing signs of self-awareness are Pigs, some Gibbons, Rhesus Macaques, Capuchin Monkeys, some Corvids (Crows & Ravens) and Pigeons w/training. (Sorry Kitty!)

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse Catwatching
for explaining much of domestic cat behavior.

Why cats purr and everything else you ever wanted to know
By Desmond Morris

Catwatching (1986) - 136 pages
Catwatching at

  • Why does a cat purr?
  • Why does a cat rub up against your leg when it greets you?
  • Why does A cat spend so much time grooming it's fur?
  • Why does a cat wag it's tail?
  • How sociable are cats?
  • Why do cats keep crying to be let out and then cry to be let in again?
  • Why does a cat hiss?
  • Why does a cat chatter its teeth when it sees a bird through the window?
  • Why does a cat sometimes play with its prey before killing it?
  • Why do cats eat grass?
  • How does a cat use its whiskers?
  • Can cats see color?
  • How do kittens avoid squabbling when feeding from the mother?
  • Why does a kitten sometimes throw a toy into the air when playing?
  • How do cats perform their courtship?
  • How does a cat manage to fall on its feet?
  • Can cats predict earthquakes?
  • Why are cat owners healthier than other people?
  • Why is a female cat called a queen?
  • Why does a cat have nine lives?
  • Why do we say "It is raining cats and dogs"?

"The domestic cat is a contradiction. No animal has developed such an intimate relationship with mankind, while at the same time demanding and getting such independence of movement and action. The dog may be man's best friend, but it is rarely allowed out on its own to wander from garden to garden or street to street. The headstrong cat walks alone." Thus begins Desmond Morris's fascinating examination of cat behavior and the way in which man and cats interact.

In this intriguing and engaging book Desmond Morris answers many of the questions he has been asked about cats - and some that have never been asked. Every cat lover will be amazed and enlightened by this new book, which has already hit number one on British best-seller lists.

Early Egyptian records show that the cat was already fully domesticated 3,500 years ago. Yet even the most domesticated of cats leads a double life; the overgrown kitten that purrs in its owner's lap is just as likely to become a self-sufficient, wild creature wrapped up in catching its prey or defending its territory. It is clear that cats today carry with them an ancient inheritance of amazing sensory capacities, vocal utterances, body language, and territorial displays.

Desmond Morris developed the habit of cat watching as a boy growing up in the English countryside, where he remembers having spent many hours lying in the grass observing the farm cats as they stalked their prey. As a zoologist, he has had in his care most members of the cat family - from great tigers, powerful leopards, and mighty jaguars to tiny tiger cats and little jaguarundi.

Desmond Morris, in addition to having been the Curator of Mammals at the London Zoo, was the presenter of the BBC television series "Zootime" for several years. He is the author of The Naked Ape, The Human Zoo, The Biology of Art, The Soccer Tribe, Animal Days, Manwatching, and Bodywatching.

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Why cats purr and everything else you ever wanted to know
By Desmond Morris

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse Catwatching
for explaining much of domestic cat behavior.