Does Research Prove That Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats?
I suppose as far as guys go, I'm a bit of an anomaly. I like dogs AND cats; it's not an either/or thing for me. Each species has obviously different traits, and I'm not just talking about their physical makeup.
- Cats poop in a box. Dogs eat poop.
- Dogs are happy to see you when you get home. Cats deign to allow you to enter their home.
- Dogs need attention. Cats need their space.
- Dogs come when you call them. Cats often ignore you.
- Dogs are quick to lavish affection on you. Cats just tolerate you.
All the things that people seem to dislike in dogs, I love. Cats are never needy; you can pay attention to them when you want to. You don't have to walk a cat, and you never have to give them a bath. But even with all the things I love about my two cats, Maestro and Mezzo, there's always been this lingering suspicion that they're just not that smart.
I don't know if Maestro was dropped on his head as a kitten, or what; but, it's like the movie "50 First Dates" whenever my wife and I get home from work. He looks up as if to say, "Who are you?", and then runs and hides under the bed. Mezzo likes to eat the shipping tape off of mail packages, and lick the stickum on envelopes. This causes him to immediately throw up, so everything that comes in the mail has to be put out of his reach.
Now there's a study that would seem to confirm my suspicions. A team of researchers from six different universities in the U.S., Brazil, Denmark, and South Africa has just completed a paper for publication that contains the results of a project they conducted that examined the number of neurons in dogs' and cats' brains.
One of the researchers is noted neurologist Suzana Herculano-Houzel. She is a professor at the Vanderbilt Brain Institute and has been studying intelligence in humans and animals for years. In a November 30th article in National Geographic, Herculano-Houzel said, "Neurons are the basic information processing units. The more units you find in the brain, the more cognitively capable the animal is."
So how many neurons did researchers find when they examined the brains of cats and dogs? The average cat brain has 250 million neurons. The average dog brain contains 500 million. This sort of ends the debate doesn't it? Dogs are smarter than cats, right?
Well, as we all know, there are different kinds of smart. I'm sure you know a couple of people that are book smart, but can't change a light bulb. (My wife would say that sentence perfectly describes her husband.) So maybe there are some things that cats are smarter at than dogs.
Oh, here's one: Cats poop; dogs eat it. Nuff said.