Are Dogs Smarter Than Cats?

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Dog lovers and cat lovers may never stop arguing over the relative merits of their respective favorite pets, and one of the most hotly contested questions continues to be the debate over who's smarter: dogs or cats?

A recent Wall Street Journal essay has dredged up the old argument once again. The essay decidedly favors dogs when it comes to comparing their intelligence to cats, and canines seem to have science backing up their argument.

Traditionally, the cat's curiosity and sly independence have been considered by many to indicate a superior intelligence. Their apparent lack of great need for attention or approval makes them appear able to live life quite well mostly on their own, and therefore they may seem smarter than dogs. After all, cats don't need their owners to usher them outside just to be able to use the "bathroom," unlike dogs.

But the WSJ argues that science has shown on numerous occasions all the ways that dog brains beat out cat brains. A 2004 University of Portsmouth study showed the ability of dogs to use reason, understanding of human language and process of elimination to make decisions in a way that far outstripped almost all other animals, let alone cats. Other studies in recent years, at the University of Moncton in Canada and the University of Hungary, observed dogs' superior memory, and their ability to copy human problem-solving techniques in certain situations.

As for a cat's independence, a 2010 Oxford University study showed that it's precisely the cat's independent nature that holds it back intellectually, reports The study found that social animals evolve bigger brains, and evolve them at a faster rate, than less social animals. Dogs, being among nature's most social animals, and bred over time to be "man's best friend," have larger brains than cats, and therefore, a capacity for superior intelligence.

It may be true that cats are generally more solitary, lower-maintenance and all-around easier to care for than dogs, but that could be the very reason they lose the debate over intelligence versus dogs. Maybe if cats would deign to socialize with their owners a little more often, they'd gain some brain power.

What do you think? Do you agree that your dogs are smarter than your cats, or do you still think those crafty cats are just tricking scientists into thinking dogs are smarter?


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Hugo Fernandez

Science has determined bigger brains does not always mean bigger smarts. FACT: "Within the cerebral cortex — the brain region responsible for information processing, problem-solving and perception, among other things — cats have 300 million neurons, compared with dogs' 160 million neurons." - Live Science

February 25 2015 at 8:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

well studies show that people that prefer cats have an higher IQ than dog people. Also cats would be smarter because cats are able to surive on there own while dogs usually hunt in packs, but I still don't get that dogs are bigger and have a larger brain mass and are more stupid than cats. Dogs also only get there smartness from being around humans for 30,000 years and cats have been around humans for 10,000 years less. My dad had a unsucessful family and grew up with dogs all his life. He also didn't go to college and he likes cats a lot more than dogs now. While my mom on the other hand grew up with cats and was much smarter and went to college and became a teacher. I also found out that dogs act the way their owner's treat them which also proves that dogs are stupid because they just copy their owners and cats would know if their owner is a good person or a bad person. I guess that if everyone grew up and love cats more than dogs then there wouldn't be so many stupid people in the world.

November 16 2014 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Assuming there were no leash laws how many dogs are smart enough to be left outside without wandering into the path of a car or getting lost or biting somebody? And how many cats can be left outside without making those stupid mistakes?

May 17 2014 at 2:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dogs! I love cats too, it's just that I don't and can't have a cat because of allergies. There are quite a few other reasons I like dogs better though, and they are:
Dogs can be put to much more use such as hunting, field work, herding, seeing eye dogs, dogs that help the deaf, therapy dogs, and dogs that help the disabled.
Cats can't really do that. Yes they hunt rodents but it's for their own use, not to please the owners. Cats can't be seeing eye, hearing, or disabled animals that help others. They can be therapy animals, though.

Dogs,in my opinion, are friendlier. They enjoy playing *with* their owner. They also enjoy pleasing their owner. Also, dogs would be at your side the whole way, no matter what.
Certain cats aren't very friendly and don't care about playing with the owner. Some don't enjoy pleasing their owner, either. I'm pretty sure that a cat would abandon you for themselves if the time came, or at least some would.

Dogs smell better, too. They do their business outside where we won't smell it. They are usually clean but need to be cleaned by us, which is a downside.
Cats do their business inside where we can smell it. But, they do clean themselves which I personally like about cats.

Dogs may not be as smart but they are still intelligent. They know when you are sad, angry, happy, or mixed. They also try to make you feel better.
Cats are pretty smart but they can do certain things that dint seem smart. They probably know when you're sad, angry, happy or mixed but they don't usually do anything about it.

Both are cute though! Dogs have a softer toungh, though, unlike a cat that has a sand paper feeling toungh. I like the feeling of a cat's toungh.

Personally, I like dogs better, no offense.

April 18 2014 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to htomb2076's comment


November 16 2014 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sorry I don't like bad grammar

November 16 2014 at 5:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

cats go to jupiter to get more stupider

March 26 2014 at 11:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lesley Gordon

Dogs are super SMART!!!!!!! Has anyone ever saw a Search or Rescue Cat?? No, they don't exist. Cats are too selfish & independent to care that much for their owners. Dogs are loyal plus willing to risk their lives to save us Humans!!! To have a puppy that grows into an adult dog is one of the best gifts & relationships a person could have. I hope all dog owners have a long, healthy, & I'm sure fun-filled lifetime with your four-legged companion!!!!! Cat loving IDIOTS. Dogs Rule & God is only Dog spelled backwards. Thats whats dogs are: GODS. Get it.

January 30 2014 at 1:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I had a Siamese that was a real joy and very gentle and loved to interact. If I spoke to her she would always meow back and would always quit when I quit she and always had to have the last word. I will miss her and always remember her. (She chose to jump under my blanket when I slept and deposit a litter of kittens one time) Having said that only a moron would have this debate. Cat intelligence is "In the Moment" and is food first driven. They are hunters. Dogs have a strong symbiotic relationship to their family and can remember and anticipate in ways that cats are not geared to. When I first took my daughter to school she whined as she left the car alone and was nervous the whole time and freaked out 8 hours later when she was picked up. She is now used to her leaving, but when I turn off the T.V. to pick her up she starts whining the exact same type of whine that is more nervous than her "I want to go for a walk whine" She starts going nuts wagging her tail when she see's the school and then when my daughter actually appears she barks, when she gets in the car "Let the licking begin!" If you want to make some esoteric argument that cats are smarter by some measure like better night vision etc. Then you can't leave out Octopi I read an article in national geographic on the amazing problem solving intelligence of an Octopus. So in some realm Octopus and Cats are smarter. But dogs are big oafish drooling idiots just like me! When it comes to our Maltese, that is a different story. She is a nervous little alarm system that can hear a rat fart a mile away. And somehow she knows which rats belong in our neighborhood! So she only barks when strange rats fart!

December 15 2013 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michaela Starr

People who say cats don't show love have never had one. I lived in a single pet household with my cat for many years, and when given as much socialization as a dog typically gets, their capacities are astounding. When I made the right noise, my cat knew to come running from wherever he was, he could play chase games with me and recognized different speech sounds and tones. You don't build a relationship with a cat by conditioning them with treats like you do a dog, you earn the love and respect from the animal. What's more rewarding than that?

November 19 2013 at 12:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So....having qualities of a slave is what decides intelligence is all I'm reading from all these dog lovers xD. "Dogs can do what humans say so they are obviously smarter"

That's about the worst logic I've ever heard and the worst part of it all, is that dogs have been bred for...what...15,000 years? just to be able to do what they do today. That's pretty pathetic if you ask me.

On the other hand, cats aren't bred to do any of those things simply because they refuse to be treated as slaves at their "masters" beckoned call. If you have even half a brain you could realize which of these 2 breeds is smarter and you don't have to love one or the other to figure it out. All these biased comments are hilarious to me though xD Keep up with your flawed logic about which one acts more like a slave to make you happy as being more intelligent please, it's hilarious :D

November 14 2013 at 8:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lim Jia Yi


October 04 2013 at 6:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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