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Why Do Cats Get Stuck in Trees?

Do you ever wonder why house cats can climb up a tree, but they don't know how to get down the tree? Animal expert and autism advocate Temple Grandin has a theory. She claims, that at some point, mother cats teach kittens how to descend from a tree—just as they teach their young a great many other things that were once thought to be innate cat behavior, including how to hunt, bury their waste, deal with live prey, approach an unknown person or dog, and so forth.

Cats that get stuck in trees, the theory goes, are cats that were taken from their mothers before the lesson about getting out of trees could be taught. That is just a theory, but we do know from scientific studies that a great deal of animal behavior is learned behavior. It's not just instinctual. Scientific studies have been done on all kinds of animals—tigers, wolves, cheetahs, birds, lizards, fish, and even ants— and those studies show that animals learn how to be a particular kind of animal by watching, observing, and imitating their mothers, fathers, or other members of their animal group. They learn by imitation.

Possible Preaching Angle:

In the same way, we learn how to follow Jesus by watching and imitating other followers of Jesus.


Mary Eberstadt, Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics (Templeton Press, 2019), page 92

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