The battle between dog lovers and cat lovers never ends. When you let them stay together, they will constantly talk about their pets and compare them with each other. And one of the most popular comparisons is comparing the intelligence of dogs and cats: Are cats smarter than dogs? As we all know, dog is a type of pet that is famous for its intelligence, so what about cats? And what is the answer of scientists?
Are Cats Smarter Than Dogs?: Here’re Some Studies
Generally, intelligence is a rather vague term. It is even hard to compare the intelligence of two people because each has its own strengths, let alone dogs and cats. Therefore, scientists have chosen to measure intelligence by the number of neurons present in the brain. That is, the species with more neurons are more intelligent. They believe that the number of neurons present in the cerebral cortex will provide more suitable indicators for assessing motor ability in the brain of each species.
In previous studies comparing the “neuron density” in the brains of several animals, cats have about 300 million neurons, while dogs have only 160 million. The difference is almost 2 times, so cats are always defaulted to being smarter.
However, the results of a recent study show that dogs have nearly 530 million neurons, while cats have only 250 million. That is, if we consider the number of cortical neurons as intelligence, dogs outperform cats at too long a distance. The above study also produced an even more surprising result, the number of neurons in the brain of dogs was the highest among the animals participating in the experiment, although the brain of dogs was not the largest.
Do Dogs Win?
So, is the dog really the winner in this comparison? If considered based on the above research, it is correct – dogs are completely superior in intelligence. However, according to Herculano-Houzel, who carried out the study, his research simply proves that biologically, dogs are more flexible than cats, and that does not mean dogs have more “intelligence” than cats.
The Surprising Cat’s Intelligence
Besides, the cats are actually smarter than you think. It is a fact that, compared to dogs, cats are less studied. The social intelligence of cats has only begun to be studied scientifically in recent years. Studies show that the social skills of cats are often not inferior to dogs, although they manifest differently.
According to Kristyn Vitale from the University of Oregon, cats’ social behavior is different in ways that are easily understood by humans. For example, when the owner comes home, the cat often plays alone or curls up to sleep. That doesn’t mean they’re indifferent to their owners, on the contrary, says Vitale. According to him, that reaction was a message of affection. Cats feel calm and content after seeing their trusted person at home.
A Hungarian study, published in the journal Animal Cognition, shows that cats also have the cognitive ability to intentionally mimic the actions of another animal. They investigated whether the cat was learning to obey verbal commands, such as turning from side to side – which is a typical trick taught to dogs.
To the surprise of the researchers, the cat knew how to mimic human behavior. It opened the drawer, turned, reached for the toy, and settled into the human-like position. There are a total of 18 moves. The cat repeated them correctly more than 80%. The researchers came to the conclusion that cats have the ability to deduce which body part corresponds to which part of the human body, front paws, etc, and the ability to use them in a similar way.
In conclusion, we have the wrong habit of comparing things that are not similar, and the same is true of comparing the intelligence of dogs and cats. Because dogs are often socialized and attend training classes, cats rarely participate in these forms of socialization and training.
In fact, many cases show that cats can do the same things as a dog if properly trained, and even better. Thus, it is clear that cats are not limited by intelligence, and comparing the intelligence of any two animals seems impossible.
So, are cats smarter than dogs? Hopefully you have your own answer.
Related post: “The Big Debate: Are Cats or Dogs Better?”