In the 1980s or 1990s someone told me a story about how scientists tested various animals to discover if they are “Self-Aware“. This test involved placing some kind of visible mark on the outside of the animal’s body, typically ink, and then using mirrors to see if the animal notices the mark.
Apparently, most animals failed this test, including dogs and cats. The conclusion then was if the animal doesn’t show any interest or concern in it’s reflection or the mark on it’s body that it must not be “Self-Aware” and this has been used as an excuse ever since to justify animal abuse.
Well here is proof then, that small animals do recognize their reflection and do show interest in unusual visual “marks”. In this video, a cat has a piece of paper stuck to it’s head that it can feel, it can just barely see, but it can’t quite reach. Near the end of the video the cat looks down at it’s own shadow, to locate the object.
So when the cats failed the mirror test, it does not mean they lack intellect, or that they are not self aware. Something else is going on. Perhaps they’re so self-aware as to be indifferent toward the humans’ experiments. Or perhaps the environment was too overwhelming for their senses and brain to handle.