We frequently come across articles online asking this question…and we’ll TRY to keep our completely biased opinion out of this comparison =)
Some studies state that the key to understanding differences between the two species comes down to understanding their relationship to their environment. When humans began breeding dogs, they realized that these pack animals, evolved from wolves and had great social communication skills. Point to an object and the dog will retrieve it for you. Actions humans viewed as “smart” as a requirement for their environmental needs.
Now, point to an object lying there and tell your cat to bring it to you…*pause for laughter*… exactly, you get the common look of disdain. Since cats evolved as hunters, they excel at stalking small animals, such as rodents, which was the primary reason humans began seeking them as companions. Consider the Great Plague of London in the 1600’s. This was spread by fleas living on rats, and subsequently the numbers of the infected rose and fell with the introduction and reduction, respectively, of the common house cat. These cats didn’t just lay around sleeping, they literally saved humanity! But that’s just our opinion.
Recently, research scientists have reported on testing that focused on the number of cortical neurons (these are the neurons associated with thought, planning and complex behaviors) in cat and dog brains. These are the nerve cells that send information to and from your brain to the rest of your body. Dogs have over 525 million, cats over 240 million and for comparison sake, humans have approximately 16 BILLION ~ WE WIN!
Just kidding, but in all seriousness just because these cortical neuron numbers are considered “intellectual” traits, does that make it truth? I can definitely think of some animals that are smarter than some humans!
Everyone’s opinion of what is “smart” differs; it’s all subjective and we’ve experienced it from both sides. Cole and Marmalade’s mom, Jessica, was raised with a German Shepard mix, Dutchess, who would patiently wait as toddler Jess pulled herself up, grabbed onto the loving dog who slowly walked, helping teach her how to walk. Later in life, Jess’s family had a Black Lab, Kelly who would “play shy” by covering her eyes with her paw on command. These are absolutely intelligent actions, whether reinforced by treats or not.
Cats too are trainable, as litter boxes and going on walks with harnesses/leashes show us. Admittedly so, this is probably 99% food driven, but we have to question this…is it shrewder to have trained US to do their bidding for them? Work smarter, not harder? They do care enough to thank us by bringing gifts using their wits. If you’re a cat owner, you know the type of “gifts” we’re referring too =)
Whichever study may have more accurate or proven “facts”, it is comparing apples to oranges in our honest opinion. Regardless of which side you pre-fur, we love them all and are just grateful to have our furry, 4-legged companions in our lives…Canine or Feline!
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