I think the cat knows what it's doing. Not only that, some cats will mess with you to test your boundaries. Others can be dumb and won't be able to interact on any level beyond a pain/pleasure animal reflex. I guess the same could be said for humans and the degree to which all of us vary and interact with the world.
I believe that behavioral conditioning works and there's also a part about animal behavior that remains unexplained that makes us create a system of right and wrong. I do not believe in an external moral fabric in the world that all creatures participate in by virtue of being alive, including humans. But that doesn't mean it's impossible to feel inclined to be effectively altruistic or effectively tyrannical.
I hesitate to place a value system over another species but in our scope of understanding, it would appear that sometimes animals behave on a level deeper than just conditioned reflexes and exhibit pre-meditation in their actions.