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A scientist rescues a pregnant Maine Coon on the road and takes care of her. The kittens grow but there is something odd about their behaviour.

The camera in the house witnesses something remarkable: the young kittens start playing the piano in the house, mimic the daughter of their owner, and appear to understand human language. These cats somehow evolved to have the intelligence of a 10-year-old human.

The government of the United States is interested in these intelligent cats for the army with the intention of breeding them in large numbers -- but what role will the cats fulfill in the army?

Note: The intelligence gene only shows up when the intelligent cats breed with purebred cats.

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closed as too broad by James, Bellerophon, Lio Elbammalf, Azuaron, Hohmannfan Mar 16 '17 at 18:38

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ What role do the cats want to play in the army, and who is going to tell them otherwise? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Mar 16 '17 at 0:10
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    $\begingroup$ Sometimes Truth is funnier than fiction. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Mar 16 '17 at 2:26
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    $\begingroup$ Why would the US government want super-cats for the military? Cats don't follow instruction (don't listen at all), sleep all the time, and are easily distracted. They seem more appropriately suited to Congress. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Mar 16 '17 at 3:28
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    $\begingroup$ @HenryTaylor, continue reading your link... "Happy April Fools!". $\endgroup$ – Martín-Blas Pérez Pinilla Mar 16 '17 at 8:07
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    $\begingroup$ What would the temperament of such cats be? That of cats themselves (independent, don't follow instructions), or that of 10-year olds? Oh wait, 10-yos also don't follow instructions :) $\endgroup$ – Phylyp Mar 16 '17 at 10:19
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Let's talk fundamentals. What are cats good at?

  • Night vision
  • Jumping
  • Balancing
  • Swatting at things
  • Sleeping in apparently very uncomfortable positions
  • Getting in your way
  • Purposefully ignoring you

I'm envisioning the night crew of an anti-aircraft battery using their interest in small, moving objects and quick reaction times to "swat" at incoming aircraft and missiles. They would use their "I'm ignoring you" powers to wait until the last possible moment to turn on their radar and fire, ensuring the air threat is at optimal range and has little time to react or retaliate.

This job also involves a lot of downtime, so the cats can nap at their stations, warmed by the military electronics.

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    $\begingroup$ In your list, you forgot their "Getting (unwanted) attention" passive skill. $\endgroup$ – xDaizu Mar 16 '17 at 13:20
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You want them as spies, not soldiers.

Suddenly have adorable kittens show up in the backyards of world leaders and some number will be adopted and loved by the victims.

Teach them to listen for sensitive information and report to nearby operatives every once in a while.

They'll pass any kind of bug detection, and nobody will suspect cats of passing information.

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    $\begingroup$ Dun dun DUUUUN!!! $\endgroup$ – Schwern Mar 16 '17 at 4:24
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    $\begingroup$ They would make for the perfect scout for the same reasons. $\endgroup$ – Christopher Mar 16 '17 at 8:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Schwern They infiltrated the UK government, too! $\endgroup$ – Philipp Mar 16 '17 at 10:16
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    $\begingroup$ They are security through obscurity, though. Once its abilities are known they would be captured easily - or shot, but capturing them would be a priority: be sure to sterilize them! $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Mar 16 '17 at 10:51
  • $\begingroup$ +1 Taking their adorability into account, spies is the second thing that makes more sense, after recruiters $\endgroup$ – xDaizu Mar 16 '17 at 13:18
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Compared to dogs, cats have a few advantages. In particular, they are more agile and stealthier. They may climb trees, and jump roofs. They are good navigating unfamiliar terrain and have a great night vision (Well, dogs have some of that night vision too, and better sense of smell, and they are more obedient).

Aside from boosting morale as a pet... one particular case where cats are useful, is in survival situations. For example Crimea Tom helped British soldiers to find food and clean water.

Additionally, cats can predict earthquakes... well; research is not conclusive on that. But at least Faith saved her owner’s life on the The London Blitz.

Another advantage of cats is that the enemy will dismiss them. For example, if the soldiers think they found an enemy in a trench but they only see a cat, they will think it was a mistake. Like it happened with Pitoutchi who saved the life of his owner in a trench in World War I.

However, cats are not good if you want to use them for assault. For example, attaching bombs to cats and sending to attack the enemy, or throwing them from a plane is a bad idea.


Wait, those links are about real cats. Certainly, these cats are better.

With the intelligence of a 10-years-old human, they can follow simple orders and you can teach them. Teach then to recognize threats. Teach them to understand tactical situations.

Well, they cannot really operate a weapon. You can strap some equipment to them, perhaps some armor. We can augment them with robotics, so we can have remote video feed and perhaps the ability to talk to the cat and drop a device. They would operate as a cheap, smart and stealthy land drone.

You may try to use them as a biological vector of attack, if you can make them carriers (preferably, biological carriers, but it could be just carriers of some device) of a biological weapon, they will be effective.

You may also drop explosives, hidden cameras and microphones, you may equip them with antennas to relay radio communications, and you can use them to do covert operations.

You could use them for sabotage, for example disconnecting the electricity, or with the explosives mentioned before. They may also misdirect the enemy by creating a distraction... the soldiers go to see what's over there and only find a cat, meanwhile your troops can roll in.

In addition, if you find a keyboard, the cat can jump on it... In fact, if they can play the piano, they may type some commands. Or you can hack the wireless network with device mounted on the cat, whatever works.

If you need them to face soldiers directly, you would want numbers, many cats, swarm the place. Although these cats are rare and expensive, so it is better not risking them, so I suggest keeping them hidden.

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The same way you use a regular 10 year old kid in warfare - as scouts and living bombs.

Your cats are incospicious, and for the last few hundred years, their primary evolutionary pressure was to appear cute and protection-worthy to humans. Either your enemies get blown up, or they will suffer emotional stress - win-win.

Add to that, that cats have a fairly good breeding capability, and their really is no reason to not use them as disposable fodder.

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Obviously: Internet widespread manipulation.

USA army recruitment poster featuring a cat

Specifically, they could be great for recruitment. Remember that Simpson's episode where they did a brainwashing recruitment song? Well, cats are even more powerful getting the internet's attention

They can go full viral and become the new army mascot, kinda like... Uncle Purr (?)

(other pun-names suggestions accepted)

enter image description here

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Spying is probably the area you'd get the best use out of them and believe it or not the CIA actually did attempt to use cats for surveillance during the cold war! It was called "Operation Accoustic Kitty", essentially the idea was that the cat would act as a living surveillance device:

https://www.damninteresting.com/operation-acoustic-kitty/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_Kitty

As you an see from the links it didn't exactly work out! That said with only a relatively small increase in intelligence and "trainability" the principles are reasonably sound.

Cats are a relatively common sight in populated areas in most of the world so they can easily pass unnoticed when wandering about on their own (unlike dogs for example). They are agile and their musculature/skeletal structure allows them to maneuver through very tight spaces, make relatively large leaps and they can fall large distances without permanent injury. Their hunting skills make them suitable for long term deployment "behind enemy lines" as it were, and with a fairly limited amount of natural predators and good stealh/evaision skills they are unlikely to simply get eaten by the local wildlife. As the CIA (allegedly) discovered probably the biggest hazard cats face in an urban environment is vehicles but with "10 year old" levels of intelligence it's certainly feasibly that they could reduce this risk to acceptable levels.

Within your parameters it's also not a stretch to suggest that they could be trained to carry small objects on their collar and "scratch" them off at a specified point - imagine having a cat climb the roof of a target facility, enter the ventilation system and navigate the vents to a certain point before depositing it's payload - this could be a small explosive or a bug.

Depending on how good their understanding of language is you could also have them report back any information their particular senses revealed to them - they can track through scent, have great hearing in the higher frequencies and can see light wavelengths that we can't, and if they can play a piano they can certainly type on a modified keyboard!

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First off everyone thinks cats are cute and adorable, but their innocence is all an act, in fact most cats are cold blooded murderers who kill for pleasure (Source)

The best military use for them would be to provide a means for them to indiscriminately utilize their evolutionary honed instincts, i.e. to spot, track, and kill small fast moving prey.

By providing them with an appropriate control interface (some form of VR possibly using laser pointers) they could be used to control weapon system for area denial operations. Give them the means and they would ruthlessly pursue any target that entered their field of vision and pursue it with inhuman tenacity until it is eliminated.

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    $\begingroup$ Giving cats a laser-pointer to launch missiles is going to end hilarious. $\endgroup$ – kat0r Mar 16 '17 at 14:16
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    $\begingroup$ I envisioned the cats more responding to a laser pointer representing radar or other sensor data, rather than directly controlling it. But it would be interesting to watch. You see a room with a cat chasing a laser pointer, but it is actually controlling missile guidance systems, or targeting a turret gun to follow the target. $\endgroup$ – Josh King Mar 16 '17 at 14:21
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Being familiar with the three groups you mention: Cats, the Military and 10-yos, is this the line I think this will take:

Kitten development: No playing piano, but they will be excellent problem solvers. Doors open, no candy can be hidden. You will find traces of your little bundles of joy everywhere... Your bed is theirs now. They are smart enough to unlock your phone. If they pick up / learn to read they will order stuff from the internet. (mind you, reading is a very hard skill that takes years to develop in most humans) Things just start to arrive at your door. Live mice anyone? Only locks that they just don't have strength to open will do. And I think they will play computer games. Then they start to hunt it will be very scary, they will outsmart any animal out there! They will understand you. Normal cats have a vocabulary of about at least 20 expressions. They will find a way to communicate with you and your daughter.

And then the military recruiter comes by to see if they can have a job in the Army. Obviously not the Marines.. Navy might work, they have a history of cats on ships...

  • Marines: to much water (and hard work).
  • Navy: pest control and no problems with small spaces and dark.
  • Airforce: Not sure, might be drone pilots?
  • Army: Lots of things to do and explore.
  • Coast Guard & Border Control: with decent smell and excellent eyesight they make good customs inspectors.

They have picked a branch. Now training starts. Let's work that cat! Oh, no, they are asleep, again. Now, cats are trainable, but herding cats is a thing. But the reason this in not going to work is that cats don't have the will to please. And will end up like this guide dog that like to do it's own thing. (but that story comes from tumblr, so, yea)

And we still have very smart cats. Testable smart. Are they sentient? What status will they have under the law? Can they vote? When are they adult? Who owns them? Can they be owned at all?

Just a few kittens. In breading will be a huge problem. And they will be very wanted. Hope you have good security against theft...

Looks like a great short story!

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Quite obviously; PR and Funding. Think of all the Youtube dollars you could make with cats playing the piano.

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