Cat's Reaction to Reflection Dubbed One Step Away From 'Self Recognition'

A cat recognizing a fellow feline's reflection has been dubbed as one step away from "self recognition" by impressed TikTokers.

A video of a ginger cat confusedly grappling with a mirror was shared to the social media app by @taikawaititismoustache, who goes by Maggie on the site.

The owner filmed two cats, believed to be called Phineas and Hector, which she jokingly captioned: "What a goooob."

She narrated the clip, saying: "Phin is very confused as to how Hector is there, but also in the mirror."

It shows Phineas looking from the mirror back to the real-life cat, as he paws the glass. Still perturbed, he then touches his peer, continually looking back and forth between the reflection and flesh-and-blood cat.

Still baffled, Phineas then tries to feel behind the mirror, seemingly trying to understand what he was seeing, as he also touched Hector some more, seeing Maggie laugh in the background.

Numerous people were equally impressed, and wary of Phineas' intelligence, as Dima wrote: "He's one epiphany away from self recognition."

Similarly, User001 said: "Cats learning about self recognition."

Kitty noted: "The way he pets him to see if he's an illusion."

Solitarydaughter noted: "The shaking of the paw when he sees its movement repeated in the mirror."

You can see the gears turning, and it is AMAZING."
Brett Gostick

B.P commented: "Cats mind be blown."

Rosie Sweeney raved: "It's so sweet that he goes to pet him and then goes to pet the back of the mirror as well."

Chelle said: "Omg this is the cutest thing ever! I can't believe you caught it on camera."

Brett Gostick thought: "You can see the gears turning, and it is AMAZING."

While Cathal added: "He understands that's his reflection but can't grasp that others have reflections too."

The video, which can be seen here, has racked up nearly 500,000 views since being posted last month.

Another video on her page, from October, explained when she first got her pet, saying: "Hi I got a kitten. His name is Phineas and he is always in a silly goofy mood."

There are a few species that can recognize their own reflection, regarded as a marker of intelligence, with humans being one of them.

The so-called "mirror test" was devised by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. in 1970, who put red marks on animals, then studied their reaction when placed in front of a mirror.

It was widely considered that if the animal touched the corresponding body part where the mark was, it would be an indicator that they realized the reflection was themselves.

According to an NPR article, Gallup regards only three species as successfully passing the test; chimpanzees, orangutans, and humans.

Although there's debate over other animals also qualifying, as a 2019 report published in the PLOS Biology journal, entitled "If a fish can pass the mark test, what are the implications for consciousness and self-awareness testing in animals?" suggests.

It says: " Accumulating reports claim that many other animal species also pass the mark test, including chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins, and corvids, while many other species are apparently unable to pass the test (but see)."

Although it added: "To date, no vertebrate outside of mammals and one bird species has passed the mark test."

Newsweek reached out to Maggie for comment.

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File photo of cat and reflection.
File photo of cat and reflection. A cat recognizing a feline's reflection has been hailed as one step away from "self recognition." rustycanuck/Getty Images