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Helpful Words and Phrases

Listen and repeat.

  1. imitate
    • ex. The little boy imitates his father every morning. He even pretends to shave!
    • ex. I didn’t understand his explanation because it was very complicated.
    • ex. I taught my dog how to stand up on his hind legs.
  2. a paw
    • ex. Humans and monkeys have hands, but dogs and cats have paws.
    • ex. I prefer this TV channel because they usually report the weather forecast accurately.


Read the article below and answer your tutor's questions.

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According to a new study, cats may be more intelligent than most people think. In the study, a Japanese cat named Ebisu was able to imitate her owner’s actions. At first, Ebisu copied simple actions such as spinning around and touching a toy. Later, though, the cat was able to imitate more complicated actions. For example, when her owner raised her arms above her head, Ebisu stood up on her hind legs and lifted her paws up.

Ebisu’s owner, Fumi Higaki, is a dog trainer, and Ebisu lived in her pet store. Higaki noticed that Ebisu liked to join dog training sessions in order to get treats from people. When Higaki told animal behavior researcher Claudia Fugazza about this, they decided to do some experiments. Higaki and Fugazza say that in their study, the cat accurately copied Higaki’s actions more than 81% of the time.

According to scientists, the ability to imitate humans is only common in dolphins, parrots, apes, dogs, and killer whales. Higaki and Fugazza’s study shows that cats could possibly be added to this list, but because the study was only done with one cat, many scientists are not so sure.


Choose a topic and discuss the questions with your tutor.

Animal Abilities

  • Do you think animals can do many things that humans haven't discovered yet? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Do you think animals can understand human speech and emotions? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Do you think animals can be as intelligent as humans? Why or why not? Discuss.


  • Do you think it's okay for humans to train their pets to do special tricks (ex. shake hands, stand on their hind legs)? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Do you think pets have different behavior than wild animals (ex. friendlier with people, less active)? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Do you think it's okay for humans to have rare pets (ex. alligators, tigers)? Why or why not? Discuss.