The most famous passage in Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is this:

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.

Just a few sentences prior to it, though, Smith writes:

Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog. Nobody ever saw one animal by its gestures and natural cries signify to another, this is mine, that yours; I am willing to give this for that. When an animal wants to obtain something either of a man or of another animal, it has no other means of persuasion but to gain the favour of those whose service it requires.

I wonder if Smith understated the ability of animals or, at least, the ability of cats, to engage in exchange.

Check out this heart-warming video. I found plausible the idea that the cat thought he was exchanging something that someone else thought to be valuable, a leaf, for something he valued, a piece of fish.

HT to my lovely wife, who is always on the lookout for sweet animal stories.