Owner Reveals What Happens When Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat-’Traumatized’

We’ve all heard the proverb “curiosity killed the cat,” but one pet owner has shared what happens when curiosity doesn’t kill the cat.

Kiera Nightly is a 13-year-old black cat who lives in North Carolina, and she hasn’t touched a Christmas tree in 12 years.

Keira, named after the renowned actress Keira Knightley, had a shocking encounter with a Christmas tree light cord when she was just one year old. Her owner, Maiken, told Newsweek: “She chewed through the tree light cord, killing the lights instantly. She began hissing loudly, stumbling around with all her hair up. I knew something was wrong immediately and called our vet.”

Thankfully, Keira came to no physical harm and after a check-up was given the all clear. But Maiken, who used to work in animal care facilities, believes Keira remembers the incident. “She doesn’t seem scared of [lit trees], more like cautious. She definitely learned her lesson and now knows to leave the pretty lights alone,” she said.

Over the past 12 years, Keira has displayed a remarkable change in behavior around lit trees. Her owner noticed that she became hesitant but not scared, indicating a learned caution.

While it may seem unusual, there is plenty of evidence that cats learn from previous experiences. In 2022, a paper published in Scientific Reports showed evidence that cats do learn from experiences. Researchers found that cats can learn the names of their companion cats in their daily lives without explicit training. While an article published by the British Psychological Society by cat expert Zazie Todd explained that cats learn through associative learning, such as learning by consequence and association with an event.

Maiken shared her cat’s unusual quirk with the internet in a video on TikTok where it has been viewed 1.5 million times and people have been amazed by the cat’s reaction to the lights. Alongside the video she noted the cat’s “traumatized” expression.

“We love a queen who learns her lessons,” laughed viewer Julie, while TikToker Erica said: “Could you have her come and talk to my cat? He hasn’t learned his lesson and it’s a constant battle.”

Kiera’s owner was stunned by the amount of attention the video got online. “Never did I imagine it would go viral and cause so many people to share hilarious comments and their own stories of their pets doing similar, dangerous things,” she said.

Since the video, Maiken has even uploaded Kiera’s very own public service announcement for any other pets who like to bite cords, sharing her experience and warning with cats and dogs around the world.

“I will definitely be posting more videos of Keira Nightly from now on. Because who doesn’t love watching cute and funny cat videos when they’re having a rough day?” said the owner.

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This story was originally published December 24, 2023, 6:00 AM.

source: star-telegram

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