Smart An­i­mals

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Kindness Of Strangers -

Some an­i­mals run rings around their own­ers and peers


My cat Hei­hei, a short-haired do­mes­tic, ig­nores most of the food we give him – even cooked chicken, beef and cer­tain types of fish. To teach Hei­hei a les­son, my boyfriend, Ron­ald, de­cided to stop giv­ing Hei­hei any food un­til he fin­ished the dry food in his bowl. A cou­ple of days passed by and we no­ticed that Hei­hei was eat­ing what­ever food we gave him.

Need­less to say, we were thrilled to see him try so many dif­fer­ent types of food. We were so happy that we de­cided to buy him some treats and new toys as re­wards. Happy kitty, happy life. Or so we thought. That Sun­day, four days into Hei­hei’s new diet, I no­ticed a stash of food un­der our sofa. Specif­i­cally, the food that Hei­hei hated.

Think­ing that it might be a co­in­ci­dence, I gave him some dry food. Hei­hei pro­ceeded to eat it. Be­fore leav­ing the room, I set up my phone to record a video of him eat­ing. When his bowl was empty, I checked my phone. The video showed our charm­ing pet putting food into his mouth, walk­ing over to the sofa, drop­ping the food on the floor and then kick­ing it un­der the sofa. He did this mul­ti­ple times un­til the bowl was empty. I showed the video to Ron­ald, think­ing he would be an­gry. “That is im­pres­sive! My pet is smart,” he ex­claimed. I have to say that I was also very im­pressed.


In 1954, when I was ten years old, my mother’s friends gave me a Ban­tam hen and rooster. The hen promptly turned up her toes and dropped down dead when she saw her liv­ing quar­ters. How­ever, the

rooster thrived and soon be­came a real chicken-coop tyrant. He might have been small, yet this pint-sized, feath­ered bully or­dered the big­ger hens about like an army gen­eral! I named him Napoleon. He soon had the chicken pen run­ning just the way he wanted it.

Napoleon would strut about in his feath­ered fin­ery just like a real dic­ta­tor. All he needed was a funny shaped two-cor­nered hat to com­plete the out­fit. He had the poor hens up at the crack of dawn and he wouldn’t take no for an an­swer.

When­ever I took in their food, Napoleon had to have the first bite. Af­ter he’d eaten his fill, he would round up the hens and or­der them to start eat­ing. The Ban­tam ruler would stand back then, flap his wings and crow grandly.

Napoleon had been with us for nearly a year mak­ing the hens’ lives a mis­ery when I de­cided the only so­lu­tion to stop the bul­ly­ing was to put him in a pot. Thank­fully, my mother’s friends asked if they could have him back as their rooster had died. I gave him back gladly and the dif­fer­ence it made to the hens’ lives was in­stan­ta­neous. I could al­most hear them sigh­ing with re­lief and loos­en­ing their feath­ered corsets. Fi­nally, they could re­lax with­out be­ing ruled over by Napoleon, the Ban­tam dic­ta­tor.


Sit­ting on some old ce­ment steps, I no­ticed an ant car­ry­ing a leaf on its back. The leaf was many times big­ger than the ant and I won­dered what pur­pose it could pos­si­bly serve. The ant fi­nally came to a big crack in the ce­ment that it couldn’t cross, so it stopped. It had two op­tions – it could either turn back or drop the leaf and pro­ceed down the crack with­out it. The so­lu­tion it came up with was far su­pe­rior. The ant dropped the leaf on the crack and made it across the gap by walk­ing over the leaf. It had made it­self a bridge! Once on the other side, the ant picked up the leaf and con­tin­ued on its way. That’s prob­lem-solv­ing for you, on the small­est scale. You could earn cash by telling us about the an­tics of unique pets or wildlife. Turn to page 8 for de­tails on how to con­trib­ute.

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