Let’s Put it to Bed: Are Cats Smarter than Dogs?

cats and dogs

It’s an age-old debate; are cats smarter than dogs? The immediate answer that comes to mind is certainly yes. Cats are much smarter than dogs. After all, cats just look smarter. But are they actually smarter? When it comes down to the real answer, as stated by several very reputable sources in the medical, animal and science industries, the answer seems a bit unbelievable. Whether you think you know it or not, you will be surprised by the answer. You might even disagree with the answer. You might blame me for being incorrect. I don’t make the rules, thought; I just found the answers, read the research and took a look at the information provided to the world. If you assume your cat is smarter than all dogs, I’m not going to disagree with you. If you think your dog is the smartest animal that ever walked the planet Earth, I’m not going to disagree with you. After all, I have the four smartest and most beautiful kids that ever did exist ever in the history of time, always, you know. So, see? We are all as crazy as one another and I’m not disagreeing with that. But now that we’ve covered the basics and established that no matter what scientific proof is offered we will always feel that our completely unscientific, uneducated, biased and fact less ways are the correct ones, let’s answer the question.

Are Cats Smarter than Dogs?

We don’t know. The best we can tell you is that the evidence, the data and the facts are inconclusive (and this is information that comes straight from the mouths of several well-educated and established veterinarians and not from ask.com). There is little research, in reality, and most of it inconclusive at this point. It seems that dogs might be smarter than cats and then it seems that cats are smarter than dogs. It all depends, heavily, on the circumstance and instance being discussed. For example, cats have smaller brains than dogs. But then again, many scientists believe that size doesn’t matter (we know that you have an opinion about that one) in relation to how the brain is used (and here we go). Some cats are smart, some are not. Some dogs are smart, some are not. Some are better at certain things than the other). It’s not an easy task to find out which is smarter, but we can break down a few of the facts we do know.

Cats Owners are Smarter

We can debate on this one all you want, but a study from the University of Bristol states that cat owners are typically better educated than dog owners. According to NBC, who reported these findings, there is a likely reason for this. Most educated people work longer hours, travel more often and have more involved and active lifestyles than those who are uneducated. For this particular reason, they have to have a pet that is a bit more self-sufficient. Educated people don’t want to give up the luxury and comfort of owning animals, but they don’t necessarily have the time to care for a dog, that does require more care than a cat as far as exercise and physical presence are concerned.

Dogs are Smart like Toddlers

According to intelligence tests performed by a researcher at the University of British Columbia, dogs have the same level of intelligence as a 2-year-old child. Of course, it could be argued that a 2-year-old child is as intelligent as a dog and then it seems so much less impressive. However, according to these tests that were performed to measure the intelligence of a dog in relation to a child, dogs have the ability to learn as many as 165 words. My cat doesn’t even understand one; no. Additionally, the study also shows that dogs seem to know basic math. According to Stanley Coren, researcher behind this project, the dogs he tested became confused and visibly upset when they were first shown a specific number of treats which were then hidden and then reappeared with one or two missing. This, according to Coren, suggests that the dogs are perfectly aware that they were more treats there to begin with, and they were upset that some were missing. This suggests their math skills are impressive.

Dogs Can Smell Cancer

This one is very, very interesting. According to many studies that have been and are currently being performed with dogs and cancer, dogs have a very exceptional ability to sniff out certain cancers. The belief, at the moment, is that cancer has a very unique smell that dogs – because of their very advanced sniffing capabilities – can smell. So far studies find that dogs can smell a person’s breath and detect cancers such as breast, lung and even melanoma. If this proves to continue to be true and dogs can sniff out cancer in their owners or other people, it could be the kind of medical breakthrough that changes the way diseases are diagnosed. It could mean so many things, including earlier diagnosis of cancer in people because of the lack of expensive tests that have to be performed to detect this kind of illness.

Cats and dogs are both very intelligent animals. Dogs might seem less intelligent because they are bouncy and energetic and they hang their tongues out of the corner of their mouths and drool on everything (it just seems like an unintelligent thing to do, doesn’t it?) and cats might seem intelligent because of their cool gaze and unwavering inability to make you feel like an idiot; but the truth is unknown. Both animals are intelligent enough to figure out how to convey to humans what they want, how to survive on their own in the wild, how to bond with people and how to have fun. At the end of the day, does it really matter which is smarter? Of course, you’re going to have your own opinion regardless, so we can agree to disagree on this one.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

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