Symbolic behavior in animals

Here is a story about a cat who “hunts” socks and shorts instead of birds and mice.

Brigit has collected 50 pairs of socks and likes to steal them in pairs.

Besides making for a cute story, this behavior is probably a very basic form of symbolic behavior, where clothing items replace prey.

These items symbolize or “stand in for” normal prey and by so doing redirect hunting instincts into the realm of signs, symbols, semiotics.

The ability to use signs and symbols is fundamental to complex communication.

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