'Becoming Self-Aware:' Internet in Shock As Cat Recognizes Own Reflection

It's a well known fact that only a few species can recognize themselves in a mirror, with humans becoming self-aware around a year to 18-months-old.

Other animals displaying this skill include chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas, but it's a video of a cat seemingly recognizing their own reflection which has shocked the internet.

A video on Jackson Galaxy's TikTok page, @jacksongalaxy, has amassed more than four million views since being posted on Thursday.

Galaxy, a cat behavior and wellness expert, captioned it: "Buster here isn't sure what to think of his own reflection!"

Photo of Buster the cat.
Photo of Buster the cat. A clip of Buster checking himself out in the mirror is going viral online. Jackson Galazy

It shows a black cat gingerly standing up straight to eyeball their reflection in a bathroom mirror, with their ears splayed, as they tilt their head while looking at themselves.

Jackson, host of Animal Planet's My Cat From Hell, explained to Newsweek the star of the clip was a one-year-old moggy, named Buster.

His owner, Catherine, said: "My 1 year old Buster and the cat in the mirror. Makes me laugh every time!"

Speaking about the behavior displayed in the video, Galaxy told Newsweek: "Team Cat Mojo cat mom Catherine sent us this clip of her 1 year-old superstar, Buster.

"Clearly Buster feels that he has met a kindred spirit, but it's in his DNA to be a little on guard before trusting him enough to ask him in for dinner. 'MOM? Set an extra bowl out for my very handsome new friend!'"

Other people were taken aback with Buster's supposed perception of himself, as Natasha Rojas observed: "He's becoming self-aware."

Charlene Lizette joked: "Buster is in disbelief he reincarnated as a Cat!"

Caitlin Krisko commented: "This level of self awareness in a cat is WILD."

Inpkrxdozcaabtjnzt agreed, saying: "He has become self aware."

JustFelicia.Me wrote: "Awww... so great you caught that on video

Emmanuela Macedo commented: "Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest cat one of all?"

Photo of Buster the cat.
Photo of Buster the cat. There are a few species which can recognize themselves, including chimpanzees and gorillas. Jackson Galaxy

Lucy & Co. thought: "His whole life just changed."

Alyssa Fawn Hofmann said: "I can turn my head sideways...THEREFORE I am."

Galaxy, based in L.A., also shared a tip on how to cat-proof your bathroom, warning that toothpaste is toxic to cats, as is soap.

Anything perfumed, including facial tissues, could also pose a hazard, while he also advised keeping the toilet lid down if you have cats.

"If it's going to wind up in your cat's mouth, it could be a problem," he said.

The animals that are proven to recognize themselves, by passing what's referred to as the "mark test" or "mirror self-recognition test" (MSR), include humans, gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees.

It stems from a 1970 study by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr, who put red marks on animals, then studied their reaction when placed in front of a mirror. The animal touching the bodypart with a mark was widely believed to be proof they understood the reflection in the mirror was themselves.

The list of animals now thought to pass the test extends to Asian elephants, great apes, dolphins, orcas, magpies and even ants, according to website Animal Cognition.

In 2020 Gallup talked to NPR about his now-infamous experiment, saying: "It had quite an impact—much, much greater impact than I anticipated."

Photo of Buster the cat.
Photo of Buster the cat. The clip has racked up more than four million views in just a few days. Jackson Galaxy