# Schrodinger's cat and consistent histories

I was reading Wikipedia's article on Schrodinger's cat:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat#Many-worlds_interpretation_and_consistent_histories

Quote: "When opening the box, the observer becomes entangled with the cat, so "observer states" corresponding to the cat's being alive and dead are formed; each observer state is entangled or linked with the cat so that the "observation of the cat's state" and the "cat's state" correspond with each other. Quantum decoherence ensures that the different outcomes have no interaction with each other."

My question is... what concretely it means for different outcomes to interact with each other.

So suppose decoherence was not happening. Then could we have:

1) The cat is observed dead, but the cat is alive (so the observer from one outcome is interacting with the cat from the other outcome).

2) At one point in time "the cat is dead and observed dead", and at a later point in time "the cat is alive, and observed alive" (ie: in reality there's a wave equation which is a superposition of both possibilities... at different points in time we may observe different outcomes but the world is internally consistent at any point in time and the wave equation continues to evolve as it does regardless).

Is decoherence needed to prevent 1), 2) or both?

Thanks.

• Schroedinger's cat died in 1935, when Schroedinger came up with this nonsense. A cat is a living being and living beings can't exist in a perfectly closed box. They die a few minutes after you put them in there for thermodynamic reasons. If Schroedinger had spent even a few minutes thinking about this before he wrote it down, he would have noticed, that the irreversible radioactive process happens in the interaction between the nucleus and the electromagnetic quantum field, everything after that is classical. Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 23:29
• 1) If the cat is in state $\alpha$(alive)+$\beta$(dead) then the observer is in state $\alpha$(sees cat alive)+$\beta$(sees cat dead). You are positing that $\alpha=1$ and $\alpha=0$ simultaneously. Obviously this can't happen. 2) Presumably the time evolution of the state (dead) involves at most a phase shift. Dead cats do not come alive. Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 23:30
• @WillO, so decoherence has no effect here? Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 23:33
• Of course it does... on the first $10^{-18}-10^{-15}m$ where the actual quantum process happens. Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 23:48
• @CuriousOne, so what if decoherence did not happen... what would be the state of things? Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 0:27