Researchers found that cats remember better after doing than seeing.
The stealthy movements of your cat as it prowls through your kitchen may have more to do with memory than style, says a University of Alberta study.
Keir Pearson has studied the science of walking -- known in research-speak as neurobiology locomotion -- for more than 20 years.
Mr. Pearson's research, done over a two-year period, compared cats' working memory of their recent movements with their visual memory. It found cats remember better with their bodies than with their eyes.
"We found that, even many minutes later, the cat would step high with their back legs, even though we had taken away the obstacle."
"Many minutes" translates into about 10 minutes. To compare this working memory to the cat's visual memory, the researchers repeated the experiment, allowing the animals to see the obstacle -- usually a small wooden block -- but this time stopping them even before they made their first step over it, reports Ottawa Citizen.
Research with horses and dogs has shown similar results, Pearson said.
Similar memories may play a role in humans' ability to navigate objects in the dark or remember where they parked their car in the morning.
By actually walking from your car into your office, you solidify the memory of what space your car is in and don't spend half an hour looking for it—well, not usually, LiveScience reports.