While cats and dogs have traditionally been at odds, today’s pet owners are more likely to identify themselves as either cat or dog people. There is much debate about Are Cats Smarter Than Dogs? as each animal advocates its own intelligence.
It’s amazing to think that some animals can really compete with each other, not just for food but also for territory, love, and mates. Scientists have also been testing this idea, and it turns out that one of these animals truly reigns supreme.
Are Cats Smarter Than Dogs?
The answer to this question is not straightforward, as it is difficult to compare the intelligence of the two animals.
Canine cognition researchers like me say that dogs are the most intellectually interesting animals on the planet. They use all of their cognitive abilities to help them succeed in everyday life. And, as the canine cognition researchers tell us, they do it all in a language we can understand.
“Each tool is designed for a specific problem, so depending on the problem we are trying to solve it’s going to be different.
Although there are various studies that have concluded that cats are not actually smarter than dogs, many of these studies have come to this conclusion by comparing cats and dogs of the same intelligence level.
One of the most interesting studies done is by neurologist Suzana Herculano-Houzel, who has spent nearly 15 years analyzing cognitive function in humans and animals. One of my favorite experiments I’ve ever performed was on a dog named Zeus. I counted the number of neurons in his brain by sectioning it into coronal slices and staining the slides for Nissl bodies, a chemical used to identify nerve cell nuclei.
The cerebral cortex is involved in many higher level processes, including thinking, associating and remembering.
Cortical slices from dead animals were liquified to measure the number of suspended nuclei from neuron cells. This new technology means researchers can estimate the number of neurons present.
According to her findings, the estimate of the number of neurons in the human cortex is 16 billion, an estimate that is more accurate than any previous estimates. This research has shown that dog brains have more neurons in their cerebral cortex than cats, but their brains have been found to have more neurons in the limbic system of their brain.
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Dogs are definitely smarter than cats. Even in the face of evidence to the contrary, scientists still believe that dogs are smarter than cats. They have more of everything, including brain cells.
She says, “Neurons are the basic information processing units in the brain. They receive information from other neurons, process it, and then pass it along. An animal that has a larger number of brain cells is better equipped to process information than an animal with fewer brain cells.
We definitely need more research on this topic before we can definitively state how meaningful brain size is as a measure of intelligence across different animal groups.
“It’s not a larger brain that explains the number of neurons you have. It’s the number of neurons in the brain. You can have animals with similar sized brains, and they have completely different numbers of neurons.
Dogs are not as good at counting or identifying quantities compared to cats and fish. Cats are even worse at it than fish.
Dogs are more likely to become smarter than cats, but there are a number of reasons why this might be the case, and other methods which could indicate that cats might have the edge.
Another study, this time in 2006, in the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, showed cats are able to solve puzzles, and stick at it until they get it right, unlike dogs who will seek help from their owners.
A study at Oxford University in the U.K. shows that people are more likely to share photos of themselves than to post them. There are two types of dogs suggested by the pet food company Purina, because cats have been domesticated for shorter lengths of time than dogs. They are, according to Purina, more intelligent due to their sociability.
People have been trying to send messages by animal for a long time. In 1869 the Belgian Society to the Elevation of the Domestic Cat sent a cat called Muffin to Paris via the train station, with instructions to wait there for a reply. Unfortunately, it never came, and now it’s thought that the cat died.
The fastest cat made it to his destination in five hours. All of the 37 cats arrived back at home within 24 hours. This shows that cats are not too far behind in the intelligence game.