Marvel or DC? West coast or East Coast? One Direction or Justin Bieber? Dogs or Cats?
This is one of those eternal battles that everyone has an opinion on. Alright, even if you don’t care about either or love both – there are hundreds that have their minds made up about this matter! So, strictly speaking about intelligence – is there any way to definitively say that X is smarter than Y? Is it just case by case with each individual animal? Let’s find out.
The most well-known test to measure intelligence is, of course, the IQ test.
Scientists measure all kinds of things, like the number of neurons in cerebral cortex (which is twice as high in cats compared to dogs), their ability to solve simple puzzles, survival behavior, information processing capabilities and so on.
Usually, dogs fare better in an animal IQ test.
But does it mean that they are smarter? It is important to mention that these animals are quite different in their character. While dogs are pack animals’, cats are much more individualistic (cat-owners very well know this). Dogs are better at cooperating and collaborating. That is what, probably, makes them such great companions for people. This is great news for us, but it doesn’t mean that dogs are smarter! If the goal is your own well-being, cats might be a little bit more adapted to the real world. Sure, they will not try to rescue you from a burning building, maybe they couldn’t even possibly do it, but they will survive!
This incredible bond between dogs and humans has also impacted their intelligence and instincts.
Becoming so domesticated and overly dependent on humans, the species might have lost a number of skills that would be crucial in wilderness. The same way tamed lions and bears from zoos will not survive in the wild, our dogs will be virtually helpless out there.
A funny and interesting scientific study in Britain has reversed the question posed.
What’s the intelligence of the OWNERS? Apparently, cat owners are smarter than dog owners and are much more likely to have a college degree. However, the cat-owners’ party hasn’t lasted long. Similar research was conducted in the United States with the results being completely opposite. Maybe this is a UK-US difference and has nothing to do with animals themselves. It’s hard to establish if the Brits expose their cats to better education and literature than the Americans! So that leaves us where we started.
It looks like both sides are reluctant to concede defeat. Much like the Batman and Superman never-ending battle of “who is better”.
Will there be a victor? I guess, the ultimate beneficiaries here will be the humans. After all, we’ve got awesome buddies in our cats and dogs. Unless you’re looking for a pet that will help you with the university thesis – there’s not much difference. And it may be irrelevant after all. The main thing is – we love them so much that IQ tests do not matter at all.