Just how curious are cats?
As highly efficient predators gifted with excellent powers of hearing and the ability to detect motion at great distances, curiosity is actually a tool cats use to find their prey. Additionally, cats possess both short and long-term memories. They are constantly aware of their environment, and they are able to extrapolate and to improve on learned behaviors that have achieved results they interpret as favorable.
For instance, cats possess a sense of object permanence. They are aware of the fact that an object continues to exist even when they cannot see it. So if your cat watches you put a bag of cat food behind a cabinet door, she knows it’s still there when the door is closed again. And if she has successfully pawed open cabinets in the bathroom, she’ll rapidly put it together than in the kitchen, the same behavior garners a snack.
Whether a cat’s curiosity is engaged by something moving in a provocative way mimicking prey, or as the product of the animal’s quick mind at work, cats are all about return on investment. When presented with a problem or a change in their environment, they will use their active curiosity to figure out just what the new thing or the difference means in the context of their world view.