Who knows how many videos there are on YouTube of cats and kittens encountering a mirror for the first time. It's almost always hilarious. No cat I have ever owned has ever freaked out about their own reflection in a mirror. Not that I have seen. Maybe they did it when I wasn't home, or maybe all my cats have been intelligent aliens from another planet posing as cats. Much to my dismay, I have never personally seen a cat freaking out about a mirror with my own eyes.
Now we have mirrors in this house. We have always had mirrors in this house. The doors on the bedroom closet are floor to ceiling mirrors (and I hate them). Obviously, there is a mirror in the bathroom right above the counter all the cats walk around on. Then there is an assortment of mirrors of various large sizes that can be found leaning up against walls here and there (the locations change regularly). My current collection of cats have known mirrors since their first moments in this house. Even if they could have possibly not noticed any of the mirrors during the years of their lives, I did, in fact, introduce each of them to mirrors when they joined our family as kittens, because I wanted to see a kitten freak out about a mirror in person. None of them ever did.
So a little while ago, when I went to the bedroom to get my phone from the bedside table, I was surprised to see Ronin creeping toward the chest of drawers with his eyes bugged out, his tail between his legs, and every hair on his body standing on end … while staring at the mirror that has been there since before he was born. I sat down on the bed right beside him and watched as his fur got fluffier and fluffier the closer he inched to mirror. His ears finally went back when he was about four inches from it, and his eyes were threatening to pop out of his skull. I couldn't contain my laughter anymore. He gave me a look like I was the one who had lost their mind.
My laughter attracted the other two cats, and all three of us were sitting on the edge of the bed watching Ronin being confused by a mirror he has personally taken naps right next to for years. If cats could laugh, Myu and Tora would have been laughing. Tora eventually hopped over to the chest of drawers and sniffed Ronin's head (which didn't distract him from his slow-moving mission of killing the cat in the mirror). She looked at me and squeaked her little squeak, sniffed his head, squeaked at me again, and I just shrugged my shoulders and said “Yeah, Ronin's brain is obviously farting.”
The other cats got bored and wandered off for naps, and quite frankly, I was getting bored too. So far, it had taken the cat ten minutes to travel five inches, and since I know how Ronin tends to freak out when he finally does (a hiss and then a vanishing act), I figured I would bring this activity to a hasty end. I poked Ronin. Poking him usually distracts him from whatever foolish thing he is doing. Didn't work! He was focused on his mirror self with the intensity of the sun on a summer day in Texas. I rubbed his head and then tapped on the mirror cat head, rinse and repeat three times. This worked. He sniffed the mirror, un-fluffed, licked my hand, and trundled off to have a snack in the kitchen.
The mirror cat crisis was at an end.