Are Cats Or Dogs Smarter? The Final Debate For Pet Owners Revealed! | Kidadl


Are Cats Or Dogs Smarter? The Final Debate For Pet Owners Revealed!

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When it comes to our feline and pup friends, it should never come down to choosing one over the other.

That being said, which of these two animals is the smarter one? Based on intelligence, behavior, and other traits, which animal among the canine and feline will win?

While researchers wrestle with findings defining animal intelligence and the comparison of species, there are certain takes by different veterinarians, scientists, cognition experts, animal intelligence experts, and behavior researchers. These are very interesting as well as fun to know for cats and dogs owners who are constantly arguing about their preferred pet being better. While there are many multi-pet households that are happily living with both animals, i.e., a dog and a cat, in perfect harmony, many are still divided on this debate of intelligence.

That's exactly why so many people want to know, are cats smarter than dogs? Which one should you bring home to your family to make the perfect companion? Let's find out more about these facts.

Which is more intelligent; a cat or a dog?

The founder and director of the Canine Cognition Center of Duke University, Brian Hare, said that "asking which species is smarter is like asking if a hammer is a better tool than a screwdriver..... each tool is designed for a specific problem, so of course it depends on the problem we are trying to solve." Let's dig a little deeper:

  • Neurons are the basic information processing units. An estimated number of neurons found in an average human brain, a dog and a cat, respectively, are 86 billion, 429 million, and 300 million. This clearly shows that dogs are smarter than cats, but other measures of intelligence could suggest otherwise.
  • A study by the University of California observed that cats, being natural predators, are used to tricky situations hence can solve puzzles, sticking to solving them consistently rather than dogs who commonly seek help from their masters.
  • Dogs can be regarded as smarter than cats based on their social skills and ability to follow the rules. Cats, despite what people would like to believe, are not as domesticated as dogs, despite the pets sharing a household with humans for tens of thousands of years.


What is the IQ of a cat?

A surprising finding is that a kitten's cerebral cortex, a sheet of neural tissues where rational decision-making takes place, has around 300 million neurons. Hence, it will not be wrong to call our furry friends quite smart; they learn by doing rather than observing.

  • The brain of cats and humans work in similar ways. Both brains have surface folding, which is important in assessing intelligence, unlike brain size. The cat brain works and learns by observation and doing.
  • Cats associate the memory of an event with the emotions they experienced in the environment. For example, they remember experiences felt in a particular surrounding, such as fear, happiness, and much more.
  • The smartest cats are considered to have an IQ equivalent to a human toddler of two to three years.
  • A cat's brain structure is similar to other intelligent animals.
  • Dogs might have a larger brain size than cats, but cats outperform dogs in activities such as counting objects, having a spoken vocabulary, and other activities proving the many neurons present in their cerebral cortex are being put to good use.
The intelligence of a dog or cat can depend on what their breed was initially created for. An example can be how retrievers are intelligent enough because we bred them to be loyal hunters and do their job well.

What do cats think about?

A cat's brain regards emotions very differently from ours. We consider dogs to be very loyal animals with great intelligence, while we consider cats somewhat indifferent because they disregard traveling with humans. That is their way of showing loyalty to the place and people they stayed with.

  • Despite the huge gap in the number of neurons present in cat brains and human brains, they have similar cognitive skills in some ways.
  • They share 'object permanence. For example, just like when humans leave a pot of boiling water in the kitchen and remember about it even while doing other chores, somewhere at the back of their minds, cats too remember a spot they saw you hiding food in, even after days. There are high chances they will go back to the spot looking for food. Hence they understand object permanence!
  • Cats also love to think about food. The thought of a yummy piece of meat seems to pop in their mind at the slightest stimulation. You will hear all the 'meows' when you enter the kitchen or open a cupboard. Cats are natural predators; hence food is always on their minds even when they are fully and sufficiently fed.
  • Cats are not pack animals, hence they do not have the concept of hierarchy. They do not think of other fellow cats or humans as superior or inferior, but they might be assertive in nature.
  • A cat does not consider humans as their parents or themselves as the superior in any way, but think that they have an agreement with you that is to be strictly followed. Food on time, open doors on time etc. Cats expect such requirements from their owner as a part of that agreement.
  • The authoritativeness shown by the cat is, according to them, negotiation-based and not based on the concept of the master-pet relationship.


Why do dogs have greater mental potential than cats?

Let's take a look:

  • If we look purely at the number of neurons needed to process information, science does not back the notion that cats are smarter than dogs. This is because the brain relies on the number of neurons to process information, and the more amount of information processed results in richer mental capabilities.
  • This clearly shows that dogs with many neurons have the potential for complex and flexible behavior when a comparison is drawn between dogs and cats.
  • Coren, a popular writer, quoted, 'Their stunning flashes of brilliance and creativity are reminders that dogs may not be Einstein but are sure closer to humans than we thought'.
  • According to studies, a human toddler of two has mental abilities similar to a dog.
  • Humans no doubt process thoughts faster than a dog due to the neurons in our brains that form billions of brain connections which dogs cannot do.


Did You Know...

Let's explore some more facts about dogs, cats, and who is the smarter animal!

  • Dogs are social butterflies, working together as a team to hunt, rescue trapped people, and play, which makes them excellent companions in comparison to other animals like cats.
  • Dogs and cats have their respective pros and cons, but team dog surely is more affectionate and shows more unconditional love!
  • Animals like dogs provide you with devoted companionship and constant entertainment, which makes cats smarter than dogs sound like a myth. But smarts are not enough for some people who find the feline friend more stress relieving and joyful.
  • To conclude, while there are some scientific facts to show the difference, at the end of the day it's all about personal preferences.

<p>With a Bachelor's degree in commerce from the University of Calicut, Avinash is an accomplished artist, writer, and social worker. He has exhibited his paintings in galleries worldwide and his writing has been recognized for its creativity and clarity in various publications. Avinash's dedication to social justice and equality has led him to devote his time and resources to various causes that aim to improve the lives of those in need. Having gained valuable experience working with major corporations, Avinash has become a successful entrepreneur. When he is not busy pursuing his passion for art and social work, he spends his free time reading, farming, and indulging his love for automobiles and motorcycles.</p>

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