Dr. Douglas Schar and Dr. Anatoly Vinokur
Big Brain Cat
In the age of the smart phone, who wants a dumb cat? Not me. If I am going to spend time and money having a pet, I want to have the best pet possible, and, in my opinion, that would be a big brain cat. A super smart cat, like a super smart phone, does more than a dumb cat.
What is a big brain cat? Well, if it’s type of cat that comes from the Malay Peninsula and more specifically Thailand. In Thailand they are called Maew Boran. In America, Maew Boran became what we know as Siamese, Tonkinese, Burmese, and Korat cats.
Long ago, in some sort of divine cosmic convergence, a personality mutation linked to a color mutation cropped up in the cat population in Thailand. This personality mutation manifested itself as a cat that did not act like your average cat…… it was super friendly, loving, attention seeking, and had extra-ordinary intelligence, to mention a few un-catly behaviours.
Cats with a super friendly personality, in normal circumstances, would have died-out, more specifically, a super friendly cat would have been more likely to be eaten by a local predator. The mutation does not make it likely to survive in the jungle! Smart and friendly don’t do much when you are faced with a tiger. More over, the personality mutation is linked to a color mutation. The color mutations are responsible for the exotic looking cats that come from Thailand, like the Siamese. Exotic also means easy to spot, and, these noticeable colors combined with their friendliness, marked them for consumption. Consumption meant death of the friendly cat mutation.
But, something fantastic happened instead. The early big brain cats found refuge in Thai Buddhist Temples, where the monks fed them and kept them safe and alive. The longer the cats resided in the Temples, the smarter they got. You know, smart and friendly gets more food, more food means more likely to make babies, and over the centuries, a very gentle selective breeding process occurred.
Joseph Thompson, a naval physician, spy, and zoologist, encountered these big brained cats in the 1920’s in Thailand. He was immediately captivated by their intelligence and human bond. When he finished his spying in Asia, and retired to San Francisco, he began importing Thai cats. He bred what we in America call Siamese cats, and, created what we now call the Burmese cat.
This is where things get interesting. Thompson, part time zoologist, was fascinated by the peculiar big brained nature of the Thai cats. There was just something different about them and he spotted it.
And Thompson was a big brained kind of guy. He spoke many Asian languages, worked as a boat physician, acted as a spy on behalf of America, and help to found the San Diego zoo. The guy was wicked smart and really interested in the mind. He wrote a book, “Owners manual for the Human Mind”, and, other works on the workings of the human mind. The fact that these cats appeared to have a mind, unlike most cats, was what interested him in them.
If you have ever been around a cat of Thai descent, you will know they have a mind.
An interesting side note is that while working on as a boat physician, Thompson met the young L. Ron Hubbard, founder of scientology. Thompsons work with the human mind was passed onto Hubbard who integrated it into his religion. Thompson not only introduced the big brain cat to the west, but, he also influenced a uniquely American religion.
Here is a classic big brained cat story from my own life. We had a Siamese cat named Niko when I was five. We moved 25 miles away from the house we had been living in. Niko split when he saw the movers and could not be found. We moved without him. Two years later, and 25 miles away, one day the door opened, and in walked Niko. He found us. Because he was a big brained cat.
People that know these cats will tell endless stories about them and their big brains. It’s a thing. If you are looking for a cat, that acts like a dog, but that is not stupid like a dog, you have found the right website. You have found the right cat.
And no walking wet dark December nights with a plastic bag in one hand….. preparing to collect your dogs evening gift.