Cats get a bad rap for being self-absorbed, indifferent and not as intelligent as their dog counterparts. But how smart are cats, really? As it turns out, a lot smarter than you might think!
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When it comes to animal intelligence, dogs often win the crown for smartest pets. But how smart are cats, really? Studies often have inherent bias with animals coming from such different backgrounds, home lives and enrichment opportunities. According to Ailigh Vanderbush, a certified animal behavior trainer, animal intelligence is based on “learning, conditioning, individual behavior, species behavior and evolutionary behavior.”
That’s quite a list. Plus, in order to measure intelligence, “researchers have looked at memory, spatial cognition, tool use, language and problem solving ability, to name a few concepts.” But even this doesn’t cover all aspects of intelligence or how it’s displayed.
How Smart Are Cats Compared to Other Animals?
Comparing intelligence across species has its problems. While scientists can see that the surface folding in cat brains — which gives them a large capacity for information processing — is nearly 90 percent similar to the surface folding human brains, Vanderbush warns that we can’t really compare different species to each other because of the different types of intelligence.
Brain size also has little to do with what people consider intelligence. For example, parrots have small brains but a great ability to learn. “Cat brains haven’t changed much since domestication. Cats do have twice as many neurons as dogs, meaning they have a greater capacity for information processing than dogs. Generally speaking, both are intelligent but in different ways,” stresses Vanderbush.
Jacqueline Munera, a certified cat behavior consultant, points out that cats often don’t get a chance to demonstrate how intelligent they are. “Cats are also very intelligent in their own natural environment in ways that we just think of as natural to cats,” she says. “Hunting, caring for young and finding safe spaces to live seem less special to many people, but it takes a lot of intelligence in general to survive as a cat.” So your little mouser is pretty bright.
Cats demonstrate different types of intelligence through hunting, problem solving, memory, protection and training. “Social media has been a huge boon to cats in general because videos get out of cats doing interesting things that we can call intelligent,” says Munera. She adds that cats have a spectrum of the level and type of intelligence they have and that, just like some humans, “some cats may not be very smart in one area but excel in another.” With stories of smart cats spreading, whether they can open a door or call 911, their wide range of intelligence is apparent.
It used to be a common practice to have cats on ships to reduce the rodent population. With their adaptability and intelligence, cats took well to the role. U-Boat served on a Royal Navy ship during WWII. He took shore leave when the ship docked, somehow always returning right before the boat left.
Another cat famous for returning, Room 8 appeared one day at an elementary school…and continued to appear the first day of school every year for 15 years. No one knows where Room 8 spent his summer vacations, but he always returned the first day of school.
Feral Maine Coon mix cats, the pair perform remarkable tricks showing off their smarts. Sullivan knows numbers and colors. These two prove that cats, when given training and enrichment, have an amazing capacity to learn.
Famous for his bus riding adventures, Casper has made the news around the world and is the subject of a book. The cat was known to line up with passengers, board buses and ride back to his home stop while his owner was at work. He isn’t the only bus riding cat. Artful Dodger and a cat dubbed Macavity also use public transportation.
Towser displayed hunting abilities retained in cats even through domestication. He was employed as a mouser at Glenturret Distillery where he caught over 28,000 mice — a Guinness World Record.
Dogs often get all the credit for being man’s best friend and working at jobs that save lives, but cats save lives, too. Winnie saved her family from carbon monoxide poisoning by waking them with loud, screaming meows.
The Acro-Cats prove that cats can indeed be trained. This group of rescued kitties can ride skateboards, play music and perform for their acts for audiences.
Cats have a great ability to learn and adapt, making them smart by most standards. Learn more about cat behavior and fun facts with 101 Amusing Cat Facts: Fun Trivia About Your Feline Friend.
Kit Arbuckle works as a freelance writer covering parenting, education, health and pet care topics.
A lot of people believe that dogs are smarter than cats, that felines are way too dumb to follow a simple command. However, cat lovers will argue that their pets are smarter than dogs. They are just not very showy and they have very short attention spans. Cats learn by observation, have excellent short-term memory, and are smarter than your iPad. These and a few more facts about feline intelligence will amaze you.
Cats May Have Smaller Brains, But That’s Not Painting the Whole Picture
There is this notion that the size of the brain is commensurate with intelligence. Hence, the bigger the brain, the more intelligent is the organism. When people talk about brain size, they often define it in terms of its ratio to body mass. The human brain, for instance, occupies only 2 percent of his total body mass. By comparison, a dog will have a brain mass that is 1.2 percent of its body mass. Cats, on the other hand, only have 0.9 percent.
So, does this mean that cats are far less intelligent than humans and dogs? Like everything else in life, size is not a definitive indicator. There are other factors that you have to consider. For instance, mankind’s Neanderthal ancestors had bigger brain mass to body mass ratio compared to modern man. It is fairly obvious that their bigger brain did not save them from the wheels of evolution.
The same is true with cats. While they may have smaller brain-to-body mass ratio, it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Other determinants can be at play. If we are to take the Neanderthal-modern man analogy, you’d get the picture.
The Structure of a Cat’s Brain is More Complex than Those of Canines
The brain contains different sections or lobes. Each of these lobes has a different function. For instance, the frontal lobe is responsible for most cognitive processing as well as motor functions. The parietal lobe integrates information that the brain receives from other parts of the body. The temporal lobe processes auditory signals as well as aids in the integration of sensory inputs. The occipital lobe serves as the visual cortex. These lobes are components of the main part of the brain, the cerebral cortex.
Here’s the amazing part. The brain contains neurons or nerve cells. These are what transmit signals across the different sections of the brain. It’s like your electrical wiring in your house. The more gadgets or appliances you have, the more wiring you need. This electrical wiring network can be so complicated that it would be nearly impossible to follow one from end to end.
The human brain contains 100 billion neurons or nerve cells. On the other hand, a dog’s brain comprises about 160 million neurons. How about cats? Well, your feline friend can have up to 300 million neurons inside its brain. That’s almost twice the number of neurons that an average dog brain can have.
So, a cat’s brain may be smaller in size, yet it has more neurons that allow for the processing of a multitude of data.
Think of the neurons as the number of Gigabytes that your computer’s RAM can have. We know what RAM is and how it can facilitate more efficient computer processing. If you have a computer with a 2GB RAM, you can still perform basic tasks. But, if you have an 8- or 16-GB RAM, then the difference is astounding.
That’s the same thing with feline neurons. They have more nerve cells that can work together to process a lot of stuff at the same time. This makes cats smarter than dogs.
The Cat’s Brain has More Computing Power than an iPad
Referring to our discussion above, a cat’s brain has more neurons than a dog’s. This greater number of processing units can translate into better computing power. Let us put this in a language you’ll understand.
Suppose you have an iPad with 60 GB of storage space. Combined with its computing power, an iPad can perform 170 million operations every second. A cat’s brain will have 91 Terabytes or 91,000 Gigabytes. This can process 6.1 trillion operations every second.
It is quite difficult to imagine how 6.1 trillion operations per second will look like in real life. However, this is just to show that a cat’s brain can operate more complex cognitive processes than a typical iPad. Of course, don’t expect the feline brain to give you 4G LTE access or connect you via Wi-Fi.
Cats Learn Through Observation
Cats are driven by their survival instincts. Early in their lives as kittens, they have to watch how Mom would hunt and eat. They also have to learn from their mothers how to groom themselves. A lot of the things that kittens learn in their young lives came from observing their mother.
As such, when you see your cat looking at you while you’re doing something, it is trying to figure out what you’re up to. If it sees you opening your refrigerator and pulling out food, it is trying to figure out how it can do the same.
An important aspect of this is the cat’s short-term memory. They will remember where you put the stash of food. They can also recall how you opened the drawer or the cabinet door. This is because cats have a pretty good short-term memory compared to dogs.
The short-term memory of dogs only lasts about 5 minutes. That’s why you have to be quick in giving the treat for it to associate the reward with an action that it performed. Cats, on the other hand, have short-term memory that can last up to 16 hours. That’s two-thirds of the day.
When you combine their innate ability to observe with the remarkable computing ability of their brain, you’ve got an animal that is smart.
The only problem with cats is that they aren’t showy. When it comes to social intelligence, they lag behind their canine friends. And since pet parents look to build social relationships with their pets, the cognitive intelligence of cats gets overlooked. But, make no mistake, cats are smart.
Cats and dogs have historically been at odds, leading to pet owners categorizing themselves as either dog or cat people. Each side argues that their favorite pet is the smartest, trying to outdo the other.
Scientists have also tangled with this issue, applying their expertise to see whether one of these animals truly triumphs over its rival.
Are Cats Smarter Than Dogs?
The ultimate answer to this is complex, as it is difficult to compare the intelligence of the two animals.
Brian Hare, the founder and director of Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center, put it like this in an interview with PBS: “Asking which species is smarter is like asking if a hammer is a better tool than a screwdriver.
“Each tool is designed for a specific problem, so of course it depends on the problem we are trying to solve.”
However, various studies have concluded that, overall, cats are not smarter than dogs.
One study often cited is that of neurologist Suzana Herculano-Houzel, who has spent nearly 15 years analyzing cognitive function in humans and animals. One such experiment she performed involved counting the neurons in the cortexes of a cat, golden retriever and a mixed-breed small dog.
The cerebral cortex of the brain is involved in many higher level processes, including thought, association and memory.
The cortexes of dead animals were liquified in order to measure the number of suspended nuclei from neuron cells. This meant researchers could estimate the number of neurons present.
An estimate of the number of neurons in the average huuman cortex is 16 billion, according to Herculano-Houzel’s findings. Her research found the dogs had 429 million and 623 million neurons for the mixed breed and golden retriever respectively, while the cat had 250 million neurons in their cerebral cortexes.
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She told PBS: “Neurons are the basic information processing units. The more units you find in the brain, the more cognitively capable the animal is.
“We definitely need more research on this topic before we can definitively state how meaningful brain size is as a measure of intelligence across different animal groups.
“It’s not a larger body that explains the number of neurons you have. You can have animals with similar-sized brains, and they have completely different numbers of neurons.”
Adding to this evidence of dogs’ superior brainpower, a study in 2008 showed cats are not as good at counting or identifying quantities compared to dogs and fish.
It may be the case that dogs are more cognitively capable than cats, however there are explanations as to why this might be, and other measures which could suggest cats have the edge.
Another study, this time in 2006 at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, showed cats are able to follow puzzles, and stick at it until they get it right, unlike dogs who will seek help from their owners.
A study at Oxford University in the U.K. suggested dogs are more intelligent due to their sociability, pet food company Purina suggested this may be due to cats having been domesticated for a shorter length of time than dogs.
According to the New York Times, the Belgian Society to the Elevation of the Domestic Cat even attempted an experiment to see if cats could be used to send messages between towns in the late 19th century.
The fastest cat got to their destination in five hours, and all of the 37 cats made it back within 24 hours, showing cats are clearly not too far behind in the intelligence game.
The Final Verdict
Ultimately, it is impossible to settle on one side or another, as there are extenuating factors to intelligence.
As dogs have been domesticated for longer, they have been able to adapt to the ways of humans and thus, if we measure their intelligence by sociability or ability to follow rules, they are far ahead of cats.
However, cats have fewer neurons in their cortexes, regardless of size, meaning they will naturally be less cognitively capable.
If looking at the data, dogs have the upper hand, but there are clearly some tests where cats could be said to win the day, despite dogs having a domestic advantage.
Last updated: May 20 2022
Ever since humans split into cat people and dog people, the world has never been the same. And we might go to war someday because we can’t agree on what animal is smarter.
Cat people point to feline independence and self-reliance as the most compelling sign that they are more intelligent than dogs. Unlike dogs, cats can hunt for themselves without being bred for it or being trained to.
What’s more, you do not need to potty-train a cat as you have to with a dog. Moreover, a cat can keep itself clean while a dog needs your help.
On the other hand, dog people point to canines’ trainability as being the most telling sign of intelligence. Dogs can learn complex tasks such as working as service dogs and cracking cases with the police, making them invaluable to us. Team dog also posits that cats are not aloof; they are simply unable to learn complex tasks.
As you can imagine, neither group is willing to budge from their stance. Fortunately, we can rely on good old science to shed some light on this topic.
Image Credit: Rick Brown, Pixabay
According to a study published in the Frontiers Journal, one of the best ways of measuring cognitive ability in animals is by counting the number of neurons they possess.
Neurons are the units responsible for information processing in the brain. They gather information from all over the body for the cerebral cortex to process. Different brain sections specialize in processing a specific type of information. The cerebral cortex acts as the coordinating unit to facilitate functions such as decision-making and problem-solving.
According to Suzana Herculano-Houzel, a neuroscientist involved in the aforementioned study, counting the number of neurons in an animal’s cerebral cortex is one of the most accurate tools to judge an animal’s capacity for complex thought, despite its difficulty.
So, which pet reigns supreme?
The study found that the dog has 530 million neurons in its cerebral cortex compared to the cat’s 250 million neurons. This means that dogs have twice as many neurons in their cerebral cortices as cats.
Does this finding imply that dogs are more intelligent than cats?
Dissecting the Study
Image Credit: grapaiva, Pixabay
If you are a cat person, chances are you are not happy with the turn of events. After all, dogs are larger than cats, meaning they should have larger brains and more neurons.
However, it is not that straightforward.
In addition to cats and dogs, the study also examined several other animals’ brains, which included an African lion, a brown bear, a striped hyena, a banded mongoose, a domestic ferret, and a banded raccoon.
The findings were nothing short of fascinating. For starters, the brown bear has almost the same neuron count as the cat despite its brain being about 10 times larger than that of the cat. This implies that there is no correlation between brain size and neuron count, with findings from the raccoon’s brain acting as evidence of this hypothesis.
A raccoon’s brain is roughly the same size as that of a cat. However, this masked bandit has about the same number of neurons as a dog. This means that an animal does not need to have a larger brain to have more neurons.
If that were the case, humans would need a whale-sized head to house all of the 16 billion neurons we have in our cerebral cortices.
Image Credit: Rudy and Peter Skitterians, Pixabay
According to Jessica Hekman, a veterinary geneticist at MIT, one should be cautious when interpreting results from this study. For starters, she said, there is no established link between intelligence and neuron number.
Brian Hare, director of Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center, supports her sentiments, saying that the biggest risk when comparing intelligence between different species is analyzing it from a human-centric perspective. “Asking which animal is smarter is like asking if a screwdriver is a better tool than a hammer,” Brian quipped.
Therefore, the measure of intelligence should be determined by an animal’s ability to solve its niche problems. For example, while both dolphins and chimpanzees are considered geniuses in their habitats, either animal would look silly in the other’s habitat.
Similarly, cats and dogs excel in different areas. As such, comparing a cat’s intelligence with that of a dog’s is akin to comparing a screwdriver with a hammer.
If you aren’t entirely convinced and would like to expand your knowledge, you can read all about dogs here.
While findings from the 2017 study suggest that dogs might be smarter than cats, the study has many flaws. It does not consider that cats and dogs are intelligent in different ways. For example, the average dog is not as adept at hunting as the average cat.
Similarly, cats might not be as good as dogs in learning tricks.
Moreover, the study did not consider that different breeds within a species differ considerably in cognitive ability. For example, a German Shepherd is a lot smarter than a Bulldog. On the other hand, a Siamese is more quick-witted than a Persian. As such, it would be unreasonable to pit a German Shepherd against a Persian cat.
The bottom line is neither pet is smarter; it all depends on the individuals in question.
Featured Image: Kashaeva Irina, Shutterstock
Cats are among the smartest creatures in the animal kingdom. … Cats have 300 million neurons compared to dogs with 160 million neurons. This high-octane brain power fuels feline intelligence. The cerebral cortex not only governs higher functions of rational thought, but also problem solving.
Are my cat and dog friends?
Sometimes a cat and a dog will become instant friends, often they will develop a tolerance of each other over many years and occasionally they can’t even be in the same room together. … They will spend time with the family and play with other cats but often they just enjoy wandering off and spending time on their own.
Can a cat fight a dog?
Unfortunately, this does not mean they will win fights against dogs. Most of the time, cats will fight only under duress, to escape injury and only if they have no choice.
Can cat be trained like a dog?
Cats can learn tricks, too! It’s true that cats don’t have the same inclination toward following instructions as dogs do. But really, cats can be trained to do almost everything a dog can. The key differentiator will be what you use to train your cat, since they often have different motivations than dogs.
Can cats and cats be friends?
Although some cats certainly become close friends, others never do. Many cats who don’t become buddies learn to avoid each other, but some cats fight when introduced and continue to do so until one of the cats must be re-homed.
Can cats and dogs share a water bowl?
If the animals are free-roaming, such as cats and dogs, sharing a water bowl is fine if both pets are comfortable with the arrangement. Regardless of whether pets share a water bowl or not, it is important to take steps to keep the water safe and sanitary.
Can cats learn their names?
Cats know their names, but don’t expect them to always come when you call. Kitty, Mittens, Frank, Porkchop. Whatever you named your cat, and whatever cute nicknames you end up using for her, domesticated felines can understand their monikers.
Can dogs breed with cats?
Only sperm from the same family of animals can fertilize an egg. This means that dogs can’t impregnate cats can’t impregnate dogs. Even scientists aren’t yet able to make such a crossbreed. Another reason connected to the previous one is that dogs’ and cats’ chromosomes don’t match.
Do bichon frise have a prey drive?
Do expect a Bichon Frise to exercise at their own speed. … Since they have zero prey drive and don’t often care to exercise, the older they become the less they’re motivated. It’s important as their owner to motivate them and ensure that they’re receiving daily exercise, as health problems can arise in the future if not.
Do cats bond with dogs?
Sometimes a cat and a dog will become instant friends, often they will develop a tolerance of each other over many years and occasionally they can’t even be in the same room together. Just like with kids, sometimes a little bit of coaxing and a touch of manipulation is all that is needed to help them make friends.
Do cats get jealous of new dogs?
Even if you introduce a puppy slowly, a cat still might exhibit signs of jealousy. Keep a careful eye on your kitty in the weeks after introducing a puppy. The most obvious signs of jealousy is if your cat is acting aggressively towards the puppy, even if the puppy isn’t interacting with the cat.
Do cats get jealous when you bring a new cat?
Cats may show signs of jealousy when you pay more attention to an object, person, or another animal. This is especially true when you used to spend this time playing with your cat. It may be the arrival of a new family member, such as a newborn baby or pet.
Do cats recognize other cats?
Do cats remember other cats? Yes, cats can remember other cats though experts aren’t sure for how long. Early in life, littermates exchange scents to recognize each other should they get separated. … Probably, a cat’s memory of another cat depends on the length and impact of the two animals’ relationship.
Do dogs get jealous of new dogs?
This behavior is perfectly normal. When jealousy occurs, it is important to deal with your dog’s emotions, properly. … If you change the routine and give your new puppy all of the attention, your dog will be angry and jealous of this new puppy and they may feel like they are losing their territory.
Do dogs understand cats meows?
Both animals are smart, but it’s not them understanding a language when they react to sounds. They are just reacting based on how they were conditioned to react. For example, a dog that has been around a cat for a long time will learn to associate certain meows from the cat with certain moods.
Do people like cats or dogs more?
Cats are more popular than dogs in 91 countries, and dogs more popular in 76 countries. The United States, Australia, and the UK are all dog-people countries. New York City had the highest number of cat- or dog-tagged photos in the world, and 59.6% were about cats rather than dogs.
Does my dog love my cat?
It’s more likely that a dog would fall in love with a cat than vice versa. … He says, “If you define love as a long-term commitment-meaning they seek one another out when they’re apart, they’re happy when they’re reunited, they protect one another … then of course non-human animals love each other.”
How do cats react to dogs?
A cat is rarely a threat to a dog, but some cats will be on the offensive when meeting dogs. If the dog is calm around the cat, you can ask the dog to sit, or lie down and stay, if she has been taught those cues, while the cat moves about freely, sniffing the dog if he wishes.
How do you introduce a puppy to a cat for the first time?
Place your cat in a safe and well-confined space, and let your puppy explore their new home and introduce themselves to your cat. Keeping your puppy on an indoor leash will help prevent and correct any aggressive behavior. A leash also helps you to keep a close watch on how your pets interact with each other.
Dogs are friendly, cats are smart. This simple, albeit simplistic, dichotomy has been citedвЂ”and argued overвЂ”by many a pet owner. But still, the question remains: Is it true that felines are more intelligent than their canine counterparts?
We hate to burst the bubbles of all the ailurophiles reading this, but experts say that comparing cat intelligence to dog smarts is like comparing apples and oranges: вЂњIntelligence evolves to solve problems that are recurrent over an evolutionary relevant timescale,вЂќ Rosalind Arden, a researcher at the London School of Economics who studies intelligence in people and dogs, tells Mental Floss. вЂњThis timescale is not fixed. Cats, who must eat meat, and dogs, who like meat but are more omnivorous, have faced different ecological, survival, and mating problems for a long time. We should therefore expect their cognitive abilities to differ.вЂќ
That said, cat cognition is fairly understudied. To test intelligence among animals, scientists need to come up with a study that presents a solvable problem to its non-human subjects; yields a вЂњrightвЂќ or вЂњwrongвЂќ answer; and has a measurable outcome, using criteria like how long, or how many trials, each animal took to solve said problem. And as you can probably imagine, cats are not the easiest subjects to test. (One scholar even said it was easier to work with fish.)
вЂњSince dogs like snacks, we make food-oriented ‘tests,”’ Arden says. вЂњWith cats? Jeepers. Most of them say, ‘I’ll have mine with the organic double cream on the side, please.вЂ™ They are harder to work with. Kudos to those who manage it.вЂќ
So far experts know that cats have “object permanence,” or the ability to know an object is there even when it goes out of sightвЂ”a prime example being a toy they’ve batted underneath a couch. They also seem to be able to figure out where the item has been moved, even if they aren’t privy to the action itself.
Studies also show that felines can discriminate between quantities, follow a human-pointing gesture to find food, respond to their owners’ emotions, distinguish between humans using only vocal cues, and figure out simple food puzzlesвЂ”all similar to dogs. (Unlike dogs, however, cats won’t look up at their owners for “help” if they can’t solve a puzzle.)
Meanwhile, researchers in Japan recently found that cats may be able to respond to facial expressions, gestures, and human gestures, and discern which food bowl they had already eaten out of, compared to an untouched one, after a 15-minute interval.
However, we still have a long way to go before we figure out what felines are truly capable ofвЂ”and when we do, we should compare them to other cats instead of dogs.
вЂњI’d bet the house that some cats are smarter than others,вЂќ Arden says. “The slog for scholars is to expose those differences with rigorous science, and to show that those differences are reliable, meaning they don’t change with the weather, and that they are valid, meaning that the animals with higher test scores are also better at doing things in the real world. That takes a lot of work. We are only at the beginning of figuring out how to test intelligence in other species.вЂќ
The age-old question among self-described dog people and cat people is, “Which animal is smarter?” People who prefer dogs are inclined to say that dogs are smarter than cats, while cat people will, of course, claim the opposite to be true. The truth of the matter is, scientific research continues to explore the intelligence of both animals. “The answers animals can give us about their capabilities are only as good as the questions we ask them,” explains Dr. Annie Valuska, Ph.D., senior pet behavior expert at Purina Cat Chow. “Perhaps a dog outperforms a cat because the study was conducted in a lab environment, and cats are prey animals that have a suite of (adaptive) behavioral responses in a potentially scary situation that leads to them not participating.”
Here, we asked Dr. Valuska to explain how intelligence in these animals is defined and put to the test., and the results of studies.
The Definition and Test of Intelligence
What is intelligence? In people, intelligence generally refers to the ability to remember details, like facts, as well as the ability to solve complex and creative problems. Scientific studies seem to test for whether dogs or cats are able to learn commands or perform certain tasks. “Dogs are typically introduced to strange people and places as part of their daily lives (walks, car rides, doggie day care, and so on) and have a long history of cooperation with humans throughout our species’ evolution,” explains Dr. Valuska. “Dogs have also been selectively bred for specific behavioral traits. The result? Dogs are primed for success when scientists want to take them into a lab or barge into their homes and ask them to perform.”
But this technique for testing cat intelligence does not work. This is because cats have different social lives and most likely domesticated themselves. Cats are not selectively bred for desired traits like dogs, and they tend to be more independent. “As a result, getting cats to participate in the same experiments that have shown off dogs’ smarts can be difficult,” explains Dr. Valuska. “However, I think it is a mistake to assume that this difficulty speaks to a lack of cat intelligence!”
To test intelligence in cats, scientists look at the following categories: Object permanence or, in other words, “If you hide something from your cat’s view, does he know it’s still there? Bonus—memory: will he remember it’s there even if you distract him for up to 30 seconds?” Another is cause and effect: “Anyone whose cat has learned that knocking something off the table is a great way to get your attention can testify that many cats pass this test with flying colors!” says Dr. Valuska. Plus, an understanding of time (at least in reference to when it’s time to feed them) and human cues (If you point at something, does your cat follow your finger? Does your cat respond to their name?)
Dogs are tested in additional categories, like whether they can learn commands, understand different quantities and learn words such as the names of toys. “A few ‘genius’ dogs are capable of learning the names of around 100 different toys, and selecting the right toy out of a pile when asked,” says Dr. Valuska.
So, who’s smarter?
People often associate an animal’s intelligence with how easy it is to train the animal. Since dogs are generally easier to train, the assumption is that the dog is smarter than the cat. However, it’s possible to train cats—you just have to approach it a different way. Both species will develop bonds with their humans through regular interaction and behave in ways that may not be as easy to test in a laboratory environment. What works for testing dog intelligence is not going to work when testing cat intelligence. “There isn’t an easy answer [to whether cats or dogs are smarter],” explains Dr. Valuska. “[There’s a] case for focusing instead on the unique abilities of each species (and in fact, each individual animal).” The important thing is that we love our animals and cultivate their abilities through play and exercise as much as possible.
It has been one of the many long debates and arguments that divide the world into dog lovers and cat lovers: Are cats smarter than dogs? If youвЂ™ve watched the Nickelodeon cartoon show Catdog or any other animal cartoon show for that matter, you would probably notice the stereotype of cats as being smarter than dogs. According to science, however, dogs hold the upper ground.
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ItвЂ™s all in the brainsвЂ¦ sort of
Some people would say that since dogs are generally bigger than cats, their brain size would mean that the canines are smarter. However, that isnвЂ™t actually the case. Scientists have proven that brain size does not universally equate to intelligence. In fact, there are hundreds of creatures on the planet that have way bigger brains than us humans (the biggest brain belongs to the sperm whale, at an astonishing weight of 18 pounds!)
The real answer to an animalвЂ™s intelligence lies in the number of neurons there are inside the brain. Neurons (also called nerve cells) are the basic building blocks of the brain. They are the ones responsible for processing and transmitting information from the brain to the nerves, muscles and vice versa.
Using a technique developed by neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel, the number of neurons is tallied from the cerebral cortex.
Are cats smarter than dogs yes or no?
The results show that cats possess about 250 million neurons in the cortex, while dogs have about twice as that at 500 million neurons. Based on this, we can say that dogs are smarter than cats. Be aware that how smart a cat or dog is, also depends on the breeds.
To put the numbers into perspective, a humanвЂ™s cortex possesses about 16 billion neurons.
This explains why when it comes to learning commands or doing common tasks, dogs seem to be more capable than cats. Herculano-Houzel said itвЂ™s even possible that small dogs, like chihuahuas or terriers, have more neurons than cats. Thus, in the realm of science, itвЂ™s a technical win for the dogs.
How smart are cats, then?
So itвЂ™s been decided by science that dogs are smarter than cats, but that doesnвЂ™t make cats any less intelligent than they actually are. In fact, there are other means of showing how smart they can be:
- They know where things are. Cats have an ability called вЂњobject permanence,вЂќ which allows them to know if an object is there even when it goes out of sight, such as when a toy theyвЂ™ve played with goes under the couch. They also seem to be able to understand where an item has been moved, even if they arenвЂ™t aware of the action itself. These clever felines will still know where the snacks and toys are, no matter how well you hide them.
- They have excellent memory.В Cats excel at what is called procedural memory. Similar to humans, cats learn by observation and action. They can learn how to ring bells, open doors, and even turn on light switches. Studies suggest that these memories can last for 10 years or even more! They associate memories of events or places with various emotions they experienced at a certain point in time; they will remember the fear and trauma when you bring them to the vet, and they will remember the joyful experience of playing with you and you feeding them food (especially the latter).
Common questions on cats vs dogs
Are cats more expensive than dogs?
ItвЂ™s a common misconception that having a cat requires more luxurious care than dogs do, and itвЂ™s a common trait in pop culture. However, the ASPCA conducted a study on the average cost of owning a dog or cat, and surprisingly dogs are more expensive to care for. The group examined the capital costs of owning a cat or dog and tallied recurring costs, including medical bills, food, litter for cats, licenses, toys/treats and insurance. The results show that medium and large dogs are at an average of $560 in capital costs plus $800-$1000 in recurring costs per year, while small dogs and cats are at an average of $350-$400 in capital costs plus $800 in recurring costs per year. Although dogs (especially the big ones) cost more to keep than cats, вЂњyou canвЂ™t put a price on love.вЂќ
Are cats more dangerous than dogs?
Dogs can be more ferocious when angry, but when it comes to animal bites, youвЂ™re more likely to suffer from a dangerous infection from cats. ItвЂ™s not as though cats harbor more dangerous bacteria than dogs, however. ItвЂ™s simply that feline fangs are much sharper; their small, sharp teeth can quickly penetrate the skin and deep into the personвЂ™s muscles and tissue, causing rapid infection. So donвЂ™t take a cat bite lightly just because itвЂ™s a small wound.
Are cats more independent than dogs?
As many cat owners know, cats can pretty much handle being left alone. Dogs are pack-dependent in nature and they rely on attention and care from one another to survive, which is why dogs rely on their ownerвЂ™s (their вЂpack leaderвЂ™sвЂ™) attention. Cats, on the other hand, are solitary hunters; they often donвЂ™t rely on their owners, except for their basic needs of food and a clean litter box. They are content for being alone for hours at a time, making them excellent pets for people working long shifts.
What animal is smarter than a dog?
There are a couple of animals that we for sure can say are smarter than a dog. Chimpanzees, dolphins, American badgers, giant pandas, but you can also argue that some bears and sea otters are at least as clever because they are good at using tools.
Animals like pigeons, pigs and chimpanzeez are capable of remembering a lot more details than dogs do, and thereby are smarter than dogs.
The bottom line
The take-away from this is that intelligence is a complicated thing; comparing the intelligence between a cat and a dog is like comparing an apple with an orange. Although dogs are more intelligent when it comes to the neurons in their brains, cats can still be deemed as intelligent through their unique traits and behaviors. At the end of the day, choosing whether to own a cat or a dog does not necessarily rely on their respective levels of intelligence, but to the ownerвЂ™s commitment to understanding and caring for them.
Known for their bravery, strength, hunting skills, lions are one of the most iconic animals in the entire animal kingdom. But what about their intelligence? Are lions smart?
Yes, lions are smart animals. In fact, lions are the smartest species of all big cats. In several task-solving experiments, lions were able to outperform all other felines. Researchers believe that social life is the key to the lion’s advantage over other big cats and that social intelligence results in higher cognitive ability.
In this article, we are going to dive deeper into the question of how smart lions actually are.
Also, we will explore interesting experiments conducted on both wild and captive lions.
Let’s dive right in!
Table of Contents
How Smart Are Lions?
Measuring animal intelligence is not a straightforward task. Many researchers would argue on a single definition of the animal’s intelligence.
However, learning, problem-solving, long-term memory, processing speed, and decision-making are the most common factors when measuring the animal’s cognitive abilities.
An experiment conducted on lions in captivity was supposed to show how intelligent lions really are. The task was to open the door of a box in which the food was placed earlier.
For her assignment, the first lioness examiner needed around 20 minutes to figure out the solution. And once the puzzle was solved, the lioness had no problem remembering the solution again and again, even after a long time.
However, what’s interesting is that a different lioness who was only watching the whole procedure managed to solve the task right off the bat.
The ability to learn and understand by observing is a sign of true intelligence. Finding out that lions possess this cognitive ability puts them in the company of the smartest creatures in the entire animal kingdom.
Another interesting experiment measuring the lion’s intelligence was conducted over big cats in the wild.
Namely, the researchers would play the sounds of roars to the nearby pride of lions. Male lions responsible for defending the territory were smart enough to estimate the number of enemies based on roars.
And so, if the researchers would play many roars sounds at the same time, the lions would withdraw from their territory without defending.
On the flip side, if the defending lions have sensed that intruders were in the minority, they would follow the roar sounds.
As a result of an experiment, the researchers have found out that the lions were smart enough to assess the odds of winning.
Are lions smarter than tigers?
An experiment conducted on all four species of big cats has shown that lions are smarter than tigers. Lions could solve tasks and puzzles that tigers couldn’t. In fact, based on the results of solving various cognitive tasks, lions have proved to be the smartest big cats.
Another reason that sets the lions’ intelligence apart from other big cats is their life in groups. Social intelligence results in a higher cognitive complexity as opposed to a solitary lifestyle.
Are lions smarter than dogs?
Lions and dogs have approximately the same level of intelligence. The number of neurons in lions and dogs is roughly the same.
However, given the complex tasks dogs can accomplish, we give a slight intelligence advantage in a favor of dogs.
Are lions smarter than house cats?
Lions are smarter than house cats. The impact of the environment and social life would make a difference in intelligence comparison between lions and house cats. Lions also have a higher number of neurons than domestic cats.
The size difference between lions and house cats would also play an important role when measuring the levels of intelligence. Lions do not worry about other predators, while house cats see the world as a threat in which they are prey.
Why Are Lions Smart?
As we have mentioned earlier, lions have displayed signs of high intelligence in several testing experiments.
Also, fairly new abilities to being able to adapt to their surroundings by changing their habits and behaviors really move the needle when we talk about animal intelligence.
In addition, there are natural characteristics of lions that make them stand out from the average animal.
Lions are social animals
The fundamental reason for the lions’ higher levels of intelligence is their social life. Lions live in a complex group of up to 40 individuals, in which there is a clear hierarchy among family members.
Male lions guard the pride and the territory, while female lions handle hunting.
When hunting, lionesses use intelligent tactics to catch prey. Every individual lioness has different tasks based on the action of their hunting partner.
Also, based on how many lionesses are on the hunt; they’ll decide on the size of the animal they’ll attack. In case they are in large numbers, lionesses would hunt giraffes and other giant animals.
Besides, communication and calls are also important signs of lion intelligence.
They use a wide variety of sounds as a way of communication, both with the intruders and the pride members. Roaring is one of the most known ways of communication among lions.
Lions are carnivores
Carnivore species, in most cases, are smarter than herbivores. Lions, being predators, require additional intelligence to stalk, chase, and outsmart their prey. Carnivores have also learned that they have higher success when going after prey that is young and weak.
Animals that feed on the ground do not have such mental capacity. Most herbivores cannot predict or learn what their predator might do next. They basically act on instinct.
It is worth mentioning that not all herbivores are less smart than carnivores. Chimpanzees, elephants, and some parrot species, despite being herbivores, have displayed a tremendous level of intelligence.
However, the majority of the most intelligent animals come from a meat-eater group of creatures.
Although primarily recognizable by violence, lions are actually smart creatures. Studies have shown that lions have the highest level of intelligence among all big cats. Even though social intelligence was not important in studies conducted, scientists believe that social life plays an immense role in developing higher cognitive complexity.
Squirrels are some of the most intelligent animals around, perhaps everyone will remember them for their ability to bury food, just to deceive onlookers. There are several ways to consider the smartness of squirrels, and they include the following;
– A squirrel is smart for instance when it feels its life is in danger, it will remain motionless first, and when it noticed no one is watching , it quickly runs to the next tree and climb to safety. A squirrel often hangs onto the tree by pressing its body tightly to the tree.
– Squirrels are fond of eating out of the hand of humans, but very few animals can trust humans for food.
– In cold regions of Europe and North America, squirrels have been found to plan ahead of the cold winter months, by storing nuts and seeds in strategic locations, and then return to such locations to eat stored food for energy.
– Squirrels are known to run through erratic paths, and this is done to deceive their predators and for this reason, they can easily escape from such.
– Squirrels are very intelligent, they normally bury their foods to deceive humans or any other animal watching them from nearby, and the burying of food is normally to trick potential stalkers or thieves such as birds or other squirrels, who may think that the squirrel is storing its food in that position. Any animal hoping to uncover the buried food on that spot will definitely miss it, thus allowing the squirrel to bury the food somewhere else.
– Squirrels that live on trees often build dreys that look like bird nests, and such dreys are made up of twigs , moss, feathers and grass. The dreys are often the size of a football вЂ“ all the items surrounding the dreys provide support and insulation.
– Squirrels make use of several vocalizations to communicate with each other, they also create scents to attract opposite sex or communicate, likewise they can create signals with their tails by twitching it just to alert some other squirrels about the presence of a potential danger.
– There are some species of squirrels often referred to as вЂFlying squirrelsвЂќ, though they donвЂ™t actually fly, they actually fly with the aid of a membrane that is attached from their wrists to ankles, and this feature helps squirrels to glide just like humans.
With all these features , one can conclude that squirrels are indeed some of the smartest animals in the world.
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Cats are among the smartest, most beloved animals in the world. Studies show they stimulate a substance called oxytocin in us, a neurochemical linked to love. (Dogs do the same.) But that’s not the reason we love cats. We love watching them bang at the piano keys. There’s applause hearing a cat call 911 to get help for their disabled owner. Cat memes get outrageous views. We love that they’re a pain. Cats are often difficult to train. They’re extremely independent and self-sufficient. But traits like these also make felines excellent companions.
Intelligence is what makes your cat unique. Studies show they may be the smartest creatures in any ecosystem, not just surpassing dolphins and monkeys, but humans. With felines, there are more visual nerve cells. They influence problem-solving, decision-making, language processing, memory, and planning. This characteristic gives every type of cat capabilities we’d never imagine an animal might have. For instance, have you ever seen your pet suddenly go bolting to another room for no apparent reason? Well, it’s because they see or sense something you’re incapable of detecting.
Like any other living species, the most intelligent cat fluctuates from breed to breed and even kitty to kitty. Some breeds are smarter than others. Some cats are smarter than their cousins, even within the same breed. While we can’t gauge a cat to cat ratio for intelligence, we can certainly take a look at which breeds have the smartest cat breeds. Here are 10 of the smartest cat breeds in the world.
#10: Japanese Bobcat
The Japanese Bobcat first came to America in 1968. That’s fascinating considering the species goes back to Japan, 600 to 700 A.D. The dating makes her one of the oldest recorded types of the cat in existence. The Bobtail will watch television with you and sit in your lap while you read. This is the type of cat that, at the sound of the bell, will follow or meet you at the door to see what’s what. (Some claim the cat’s just nosey.)
Japanese Bobtails are smart, capable of responding to a range of commands like “fetch” and learning an array of tricks and stunts. Like any intelligent breed, she’s got to have her physical and mental game time daily. Otherwise, you end up with a bored and frustrated feline. Keep a variety of activities around to keep her thinking and exploring.
Cats Are Smarter Than We Thought
By Dr. Lorie Huston, DVM
Have you ever wondered, when your cat looks at you or seems to be trying to communicate with you, exactly how smart your cat is? Have you seen your cat perform some behavior or task that seems like it should be beyond his capabilities?
Most people believe the brain is the center of intelligence. In terms of size, the brain of the cat accounts for approximately 0.9 percent of its body mass, compared to about 2 percent in an average human and about 1.2 percent in an average dog. Though the brain of a cat is comparatively smaller than that of other species, relative brain size isn’t always the best indicator of intelligence. And the cat brain shares some amazing similarities with our own brains.
The Cat Brain: A Look Inside
It appears that surface folding and brain structure matter more than brain size. The brains of cats have a surface folding and structure that is very similar to that of the human brain, about 90 percent similar to be more exact. Morphologically, both cat brains and human brains have cerebral cortices with similar lobes.
Further, a cat’s brain is separated into different areas that each perform specialized tasks. These areas are all interconnected and can easily and rapidly share information. This exchange of information gives your cat a valuable perception of his surrounding environment and allows him to react to and even manipulate his environment.
Do Cats Have Long-Term Memory?
The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain responsible for memory, learning, and decision making. Cats have the ability to store both long-term and short-term memories. Memory is important because it shapes the ability to learn. Kittens learn survival skills such as hunting and grooming from observing and then copying their mother. They also learn social skills from playing with their litter mates. For cats, learning is a matter of practice makes perfect.
In the case of my cat, Dillon, memory and the powers of observation have made it possible for him to learn how to open the sliding door to the closet where his food is kept. One day I came home to find that not only had he opened the door, he had actually opened a hole in the food bag and helped himself to an additional meal. Since then, I’ve placed the bag inside a covered Tupperware container. Now, I find him lying on top of the Tupperware container, waiting for me to open it to feed him. He obviously has a good enough memory to realize that his food is in the container, even if he can’t access it, not to mention having figured out how to slide the door open so that he can gain entry.
There are many factors that may affect your cat’s memory. Diet is known to have a direct effect on memory and learning ability. Aging and disease can also have a negative effect on your cat’s memory. Just as in people, some cats are simply smarter than others and learn at a faster rate.
Despite the common misconception that cats are not trainable, they can indeed be trained to perform specific tasks, or even tricks. Clicker training is one potential method by which a cat can be trained. This form of training is a good example of operant conditioning, in which your cat learns a behavior through the use of a reward in response to the performance of the behavior.
Cat Training, Dreaming and More
Here are a couple of other interesting observations about your cat’s brain.
- Cats do dream while they sleep. They undergo both REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep. It is during REM sleep that your cat will dream. Have you ever noticed your cat twitching, switching his tail, raising his lip, or making other subtle movements or sounds while sleeping? It’s likely your cat is having a dream. This is normal behavior.
- Cats have binocular vision, like humans. Because their vision is binocular, they are also able to perceive depth. This depth perception is, in part, what makes your cat a successful hunter and stalker.
How has your cat displayed his or her intelligence? Share your story in the comments.
Are cats actually smarter than dogs? It’s a biting question that pet owners have debated for countless years in tooth-and-claw discussions.
Gathering information concerning canine intelligence is an easy task but try finding the same info on cats. Good luck! Feline information on intelligence comparison remains sparse because, well, cats are unwilling to cooperate. One scientist commented that out of 26 cat test subjects only 7 were willing to participate!
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At any rate, this is what we’ve discovered about dog and cat intelligence.
Recent studies suggest dogs have bigger brains than cats (1.2 percent of their body mass as compared to the cats .09 percent) but other studies suggest brain mass has nothing whatsoever to do with intelligence and we should be concentrating more on neurons which are found in the brain’s cerebral cortex. Neurons are responsible for decision making, perception, problem solving and information processing. Cats have way more neurons than dogs (300 million as compared to the dogs paltry 160 million.) So this should be end of the argument, right?
Wrong! Tests done on dogs theorize they can think in the abstract and thus are able to sort out objects into categories and even guess what a person is thinking! Tests done on cats (when they felt like cooperating), scored close to the dogs and appeared they too may have thought processes in the rudimentary stages. So are cats and dogs running neck and neck in the brains department?
Consider this problem solving test involving food. Food is placed under a stool allowing dogs and cats to pull out the bowl in order to eat. Both cats and dogs pawed at the bowl until they got to the food.
In another test, the bowl was tied to the stool legs, making it unmovable. The dogs pawed at the bowl, then eventually gave up and looked to their owners for help. The cats, being free thinkers (did I say that?) wouldn’t give up! The cats kept pawing and pawing, rarely looking at their owners for anything. But this doesn’t prove cats are less intelligent than dogs just because they don’t know when to give up on an impossible task. What this proves is that dogs have been domesticated longer than cats and their social skills are better adapted to humans because they’re tuned in more than cats who, for the most part, remain independent and indifferent.
But take note, further testing on cats have shown us, they too have the ability to understand humans to a degree, but only if they want to understand us. Cats don’t stick on our every word like dogs do. A cat’s independence makes them difficult test subjects whose minds may be forever a mystery to science. But wait! Scientists haven’t given up on cat testing just yet. Technologies such as eye tracking and fMRI machines (functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI which measures brain activity by blood flow changes) may yet shed some light on feline thinking.
Everyone has their dog or cat tale demonstrating their pets intelligence or lack thereof, and believe me, my dog, a midsize Cockapoo named Angel, has displayed a penchant for both. But my Persian cat mix, Mitz, throughout his entire twenty-some year lifespan, remained indifferent and unconcerned about trivial matters of intelligence.
What Is a Normal Amount of Time a Cat Sleeps?
The question of feline fatigue is a controversial one. Some may give cats the label of laziness because of their unique sleeping habits. Others may say cats are lazy because they won’t fetch a ball like Fido does. To understand cats, one must take a look at their evolutionary history.
two cats on chair image by MasterAdrian from Fotolia.com
If you think cats are lazy because they seem to be sleeping all the time, you may be half right. Cats sleep an average of 13 to 16 hours a day. If a human did that, he’d be called a slacker. The age and general health of the cat has a lot to do with how many hours he will sleep. His living arrangements, too, come into play. A strictly indoor cat with little mental stimulation may become bored and take naps because there’s not much else to do. Bottom line, cats may appear lazy because of their normal sleeping patterns.
cat image by tnk333 from Fotolia.com
Today’s domestic cat is evolved from the African wild cat, a desert animal. As with all desert animals, cats conserve energy during the daytime and become more energetic at night. The big cats are still nocturnal and do their hunting under cover of night, while domestic cats have evolved to be crepuscular, meaning they are more active at dusk and dawn. Cats will sleep 85 percent of their day away. Only 40 percent of that is regular sleep, while 15 percent is spent in deep slumber. The rest of the time is spent in resting or just hanging out. You see your cat spending so much time catching zzzzz’s you begin to think he’s lazy, but he’s really just being a cat.
A Cat’s Sleep
black cat image by .shock from Fotolia.com
There are different sleep patterns and their quality varies greatly from regular sleep to deep REM sleep to light cat naps. The cat nap is the result of a cat’s instinct as a predator. During a cat nap, your cat can be up and running within seconds of opening her eyes; it’s a very light sleep. Their night sleep is more restful, their bodies a bit more relaxed. A deep sleep is unmistakable, the body is totally relaxed, they are usually curled up or stretched out, you notice twitching and rapid eye movement that indicates dreaming and it takes a moment for your cat to wake from a deep sleep. Your cat isn’t being lazy so much as simply giving into habit.
Why Won’t He Fetch?
If you’re of the opinion that cats are lazy because they won’t fetch a ball and refuse to learn tricks like a dog, you are not alone. Cats have a reputation of being lazy and aloof because, for the most part, they cannot be taught tricks and obedience like dogs. Some cats can, and do, learn a repertoire of requested behaviors but it takes a lot of patience on the part of the cat’s owner. A 2009 study titled “From wild animals to domestic pets, an evolutionary view of domestication” and reported to the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America suggests that, unlike dogs, cats actually domesticated themselves. They tolerated humans, found they could benefit from hanging around humans and decided to partner with humans, which led to their domestication. This differed from the domestication of dogs who were deliberately brought into the fold for the mutual benefit of both human and canine and led to their laid-back attitude today. They are not as eager to please as dogs because their survival does not depend on our support as it does for dogs.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
By Higgs, the Science Cat Parade @cosmic_tabby
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Who’s smarter—cats or dogs? Addressing this question is the first task I’ve been assigned as Science Cat. (Don’t think just because I’m a cat I won’t be able to answer this objectively. I can assure you that I employ only rigorous scientific thinking and consult only top-rated scientists.) The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece arguing that dogs were smarter than cats. My own independent research has revealed something quite different.
My assistant and I started our investigation with noted veterinary behaviorist Debra Horwitz. “The key to understanding differences between cats and dogs comes down to understanding their ecology,” she said. Dogs evolved from wolves—pack hunters who are good at communication and picking up social signals. When humans started breeding dogs, they expanded on that social intelligence, she explained, favoring dogs who were attentive to humans.
Many dogs will fetch objects when you point to them, and a few dogs can memorize hundreds of spoken words, Horwitz said. “Dogs have a more evolved social communication repertoire than cats, and that leads them to do things humans equate with being smarter.”
Note the nuance here, please. She’s not saying dogs are smarter—only that they do things that humans consider smart. You could argue that cats are smarter, because we don’t always have to do what humans want. Upon further questioning, Dr. Horwitz said cats like me evolved as solitary hunters. We’re good at stalking small animals such as mice, and our mouse and rat-catching skills were the primary reason humans started living with us.
We next put the dogs vs. cats question to Marc Bekoff, a professor of evolutionary biology and author of Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals and many other books. “As a biologist, I don’t consider that to be a meaningful question,” he said. “Animals do what they do to be card-carrying members of their species.”
Dr. Bekoff has a point. The words “smart” and “intelligent” can be defined in umpteen different ways. Recently, for example, scientists at Kyoto University in Japan pitted a chimp named Ayumu against humans in the task of remembering strings of random numbers flashed on a screen. The chimp won. People commenting on the news initially assumed the students were unusually stupid. But in a recent piece for the Wall Street Journal, noted primatologist Frans de Waal admitted the chimp beat him easily. Ayumu also reportedly beat a human memory champion. Does that mean chimps are smarter than humans?
In the end, I’m left to conclude that comparing dogs with cats is like asking who’s smarter, musicians or mathematicians. Each does things the other can’t. It’s a poorly conceived question, so it’s incorrect to say dogs are smarter than cats.
On average, we cats aren’t very obedient, but we’re quick, stealthy, and capable of subtlety. When my assistant sleeps late and I need my breakfast, I gently brush my paw against her cheek. It’s a lot classier than slobbering on people, if you ask me. I’m glad I was born a cat.
Thank you for letting me express my thoughts. May I have a treat now? — Higgs
Higgs is a cat and an armchair scientist, who is fascinated by astronomy, physics, evolution, and human behavior. He also enjoys scratching the arms of the couch. You can keep up with him on Twitter here. His caretaker and agent, Faye Flam, has written about science for The Economist, The Washington Post, Science, and more; read more of her writing here.
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Meet these four-legged friends who walk the fine line between “intelligent” and “mischievous.”
You can almost see the wheels spinning behind the calculating eyes of a cat, always looking for nooks and crannies in the home and sizing up new houseguests. And it’s no wonder: Cats are intelligent creatures — even when they appear to be aloof — and have been found to recognize their names, according to recent research published in Scientific Reports.
The smartest breeds of cats tend to have the biggest, most playful personalities of the bunch. They’ll stay by your side, strike up conversations, and swat around new toys. They even take well to training, much like dogs! That said, they can also be the first into trouble. If you don’t exercise their body and brain regularly with activity and games, these curious cats might attempt to entertain themselves with play that’s more destructive. If you own any of these 10 smart breeds, strive to satisfy the ever-inquisitive mind with attention and interaction.
With its large ears and its wide almond-shaped eyes, the Abyssinian’s astute looks match its incredibly curious nature. Don’t be surprised to find this lean feline snooping about every corner of the house, even those that you think you’ve made off-limits. “Thanks to the Aby’s excellent memory and learning capacity, he’ll know where toys are hidden and how to open doors,” Chewy’s PetCentral reports.
The Ragamuffin is known for his docile nature. He loves to be held like a baby and will completely relax into your arms.
See all Ragamuffin characteristics below!
More About This Breed
If you are wondering if the Ragamuffin is related to the Ragdoll, the answer is yes. Some breeders wanted to introduce new colors and patterns while others thought it was important to widen the breed’s gene pool. Because the breeding of Ragdolls was strictly controlled by that breed’s founder, Ann Baker, a new group formed to create its own breed. They outcrossed to Persians, Himalayans and domestic longhaired cats, to increase the size and to bring about other changes in appearance that would differentiate the Ragamuffin from the Ragdoll. The name Ragamuffin was chosen in part as an homage to the founding breed.
Cat associations that recognize the Ragamuffin are the United Feline Organization—the first to do so—the American Cat Fanciers Association, the American Association of Cat Enthusiasts, and the Cat Fanciers Federation. The Ragamuffin most recently gained full recognition from the Cat Fanciers Association, in February 2011.
Females usually weigh 10 to 15 pounds, and some males weigh more than 20 pounds.
Like his cousin the Ragdoll, the Ragamuffin is a huggable lug who wants nothing more than to follow his people around and sit in a lap whenever possible. A nice combination of sweet and smart, he is often described as puppylike for his friendly personality and willingness to play fetch, learn tricks and walk on a leash. He greets visitors warmly and would meet you at the door with a martini if only he had opposable thumbs.
The Ragamuffin is known for his docile nature. He loves to be held like a baby and will completely relax into your arms. Ragamuffins like to play but are good about limiting their attentions to their toys and scratching posts, not your furniture. It is rare to nonexistent for them to lay a claw on a person.
This is a mellow cat but one who craves attention. Don’t get a Ragamuffin if you will have to leave him alone for many hours every day.
Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Ragamuffins are generally healthy, but be sure to ask a breeder about the incidence of health problems in her lines and what testing has been done for any that are genetic in nature. It’s also smart not to let this big cat overeat. He is large, to be sure, but he shouldn’t be fat.
The Ragamuffin’s soft coat is long, but its texture is tangle-resistant. Weekly brushing or combing is all that’s needed to remove dead hairs and keep it looking beautiful.
Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails every couple of weeks. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection.
Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.
Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene.
The Ragamuffin has a fearless personality, so it’s never a good idea to let him go outside. He has no notion that other people or animals might mean him harm and is not “street smart” in the least. Ragamuffins who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it.
Coat Color And Grooming
The Ragamuffin’s breed standard describes him as a cuddly feline teddy bear. He is characterized by his large size, large walnut-shaped eyes that can be any color, sweet expression, and variety of colors and patterns. One of the interesting facts about the breed is that kittens are born white, then develop their color or pattern as they mature.
Some of the differences between the Ragamuffin and the Ragdoll are seen in the face. For instance, the Ragamuffin has full cheeks and the eyes are walnut-shaped rather than oval.
The Ragamuffin has a broad, modified-wedge-shaped head with a rounded appearance. It’s supported by a short, heavy, strong neck that is especially apparent in males. Mature males are known for their jowls, giving them something of the look of a crusty old brigadier general. The broad-chested body is muscular and heavy, often with a pad of fat on the lower abdomen. A long, fully furred tail looks as if it would make a nice, soft bottlebrush.
Medium to medium-long fur is rabbit soft, dense and silky. It’s slightly longer around the neck, on the sides and belly, and on the hind legs. The paws and ears are furnished with tufts of fur as well. The coat comes in every color and pattern.
This is a large cat, and they mature slowly, not reaching their full size until they are four years old.
Children And Other Pets
The calm and even-tempered Ragamuffin is an ideal family cat. He doesn’t mind being held or carried around by a child or dressed up and pushed in a baby buggy. He is playful and smart, one of those cats who enjoys playing fetch and learning tricks, and his energy level means he won’t wear out before the child does.
Always teach children how to hold the cat properly, supporting both the hind end and the front end, and have little children pet him while they are sitting on the floor or on a sofa so they can be on the same level as the cat without trying to hold him. After all, he may weigh more than they do.
The Ragamuffin is also friendly toward other pets, including dogs, other cats, birds, rodents and lizards. To this gentle giant, everyone is his friend. Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to introduce pets slowly and in controlled circumstances to ensure that they learn to get along together.
What else is Carroll University going to study other than the various characteristics of those who choose dogs over cats? And vice versa.
I fear I may have found a more emotive subject that Apple vs. Samsung. Or Apple vs. Microsoft. Or just Apple.
For one of the world’s top academic institutions, Carroll University in Wisconsin, decided to tread into that cauldron of high dudgeon: cats vs. dogs.
I understand that, though some people have pets of both types, many take sides on this issue.
I can now say, with hand raised as if under oath, that those who say dogs make for the better pets are plainly lacking in intelligence.
Please, this is not my opinion. I have very few of those. This is the conclusion of a study that plumbed deep into the psyches of pet owners.
As Live Science reports, it seems that cat lovers scored higher than dog lovers on measures such as introversion, open-mindedness and a term used far too loosely in society, sensitivity.
Dog lovers are, on the other hand, just frisky little conformists looking for a good time. They were deemed more energetic and outgoing, as well as more likely to follow rules.
As with all the research, this piece needs to be a taken with a very salty dog biscuit.
However, the most painful conclusion was surely the one that declared cat lovers more intelligent than dog lovers.
You might be floored by the logic that Denise Guastello, an associate professor of psychology at Carroll University, offered.
She said: “It makes sense that a dog person is going to be more lively, because they’re going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog. Whereas, if you’re more introverted, and sensitive, maybe you’re more at home reading a book, and your cat doesn’t need to go outside for a walk.”
People still read books, professor? Perhaps only at Carroll University. And the notion that people have dogs in order to force themselves to go outside is a curious one.
Could it be that a lot of cat lovers like to go outside, but don’t really like the idea of dragging a pet with them?
It’s a peculiar definition of companionship that makes you want to drag a dog on a leash. The French poet, Gerard de Nerval, had an excellent riposte to those who walked their pets.
He preferred to walk his pet lobster. He described lobsters as “tranquil, serious and they know the secrets of the sea.”
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Of walking other pets, however, he said: “What could be quite so ridiculous as making a dog, a cat, a gazelle, a lion or any other beast follow one about?”
As seems so often happens with university research these days, the guinea pigs were actually 600 students. Though some might wonder whether students are representative of anything other than themselves, these results replicate those of previous research.
However, should cat lovers suddenly experience a smugness beyond even their own superior intelligence, might I offer a word of intellectual caution?
John Bradshaw, a British anthrozoologist, has a different take on the human-cat relationship. He believes that cats see us as just big, stupid cats .
So much for cat lovers’ alleged sensitivity.
The competition between dogs and cats go back probably as long as humans have been keeping dogs and cats as pets. We want to know which animal is smarter, which is more affectionate, and which makes a better pet. Of course, we know the answer is, all of the above, because we love both cats AND dogs.
But when we’re talking about competition, we have to think about the ultimate challenge: racing. Who would win in a race between a dog and a cat? Which animal is fastest, cats or dogs?
Scientifically, the world’s fastest cat is faster than the world’s fastest dog.
The world’s fastest cat is the cheetah, and these quick cats are also the fastest land animal. Cheetahs run up to 75 mph for short bursts, so they can sprint as fast as a car traveling on the average freeway.
The fastest dog, on the other hand, is the greyhound. These dogs can sprint up to 43 mph, making it the second fastest land animal. which even though it’s still impressive, is just over half as fast as the cheetah.
The reason both greyhounds and cheetahs run as fast as they do is thanks to their rotary gallop, where their legs hit the ground in a circular pattern. They also elongate their body, stretching as far as they can, and then contract to help cover the greatest distance.
Check out this video to see a comparison of the cheetah and greyhound.
However, cheetahs aren’t exactly the same as house cats. These wild cats are quite a different genus and species from domestic cats, so it’s not exactly a fair comparison. When we consider specifically our domestic animals, the facts are a little different.
Domestic dogs are, on average, faster than domestic cats.
Because there are so many different breeds of domestic cats and dog, there are definitely certain domestic cats who are faster than domestic dogs. However, on average, dogs are faster. Fast domestic dogs can get up to 35-40 mph. After the Greyhound, here are some of the fastest dog breeds.
Particularly when she pretends not to understand you
W hen Dr. Sophia Yin, a pioneer in force-free positive-reward-based training, passed away in 2014, the world lost a tremendous advocate for the humane treatment of animals. Her legacy lives on, however, not only in the training, behaviour, and veterinary communities, but through many lives she touched by helping people better understand animal behaviour. A core group of her dedicated employees stayed on after her passing to manage the company and continue her work, and it remains an invaluable resource. Through her website, drsophiayin.com, her free training advice and videos are still available. Here we share two spot-on answers from Dr. Yin addressing two common cat questions.
What’s special about cats?
“Because cats often have their food out at all times and have not been exposed to many different foods you often have to first add treats to their meal so they learn to like the treats. Then, you often have to cut back on their regular meal because they are getting too much and train them during mealtimes until their food becomes a valuable resource. Another peculiarity of cats is that they are good at pretending they have a low attention span or don’t get it. They may meow and meow or walk around aimlessly until you just walk over and give them the treat or reward. In these instances, rather than walking over to them when they really want your attention, walk away so they know that if they don’t play your game, you’ll remove all chances of a reward. Usually they will follow you and try harder to do what you want them to do to earn the reward. If they don’t, then stop the session and resume a little later.”
Are some species, such as dogs, smarter than others such as cats?
“This depends on how you define intelligence. If you define the most intelligent animal as the one that gets its way, then cats are hands down much smarter than dogs. People tend to think that animals that don’t learn what they are teaching must be stupid rather than considering the fact that maybe they themselves are bad teachers or that they are using the wrong incentives or motivators. When animals are trained using positive reinforcement and behaviours are shaped in a stepwise fashion, cats and many animals one might consider dumb can learn as fast as dogs.”
Lead Image: Hemi submitted by jill; inset: cash submitted by Makenzie
The age-old argument between dog people and cat people may finally be at an end.
A new study, done at Vanderbilt University, claims that dogs are actually the smarter of the two animals.
The study, titled “Dogs have the most neurons, though not the largest brain: Trade-off between body mass and number of neurons in the cerebral cortex of large carnivoran species,” focused on the differences between the number of cortical neurons in the brains of carnivores.
Though it seems like a mouthful, the concept is a relatively simple one. Every mammal’s brain contains a cerebral cortex. That cerebral cortex contains cortical neurons. The cortical neurons are associated with thinking, planning, and complex behavior, all of which are considered hallmarks of intelligence.
Thus, the level of intelligence in these mammals depends on the number of cortical neurons present in the cerebral cortex. See? Science can be simple.
The study, which confirmed that dogs have significantly more cortical neurons than cats, focused not only on the two beloved pets but on carnivorous mammals as a whole.
“In this study, we were interested in comparing different species of carnivorans to see how the numbers of neurons in their brains relate to the size of their brains, including a few favorite species including cats and dogs, lions and brown bears,” said Associate Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences Suzana Herculano-Houzel, who created the method for measuring the number of cortical neurons.
According to Herculano-Houzel and her colleague’s findings, dogs have around 530 million cortical neurons. Comparatively, cats have only 250 million (just for reference, humans have around 16 billion.)
“Our findings mean to me that dogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can,” Herculano-Houzel said.
Along with findings of the intelligence of cats and dogs, the study also challenged a few existing notions about carnivore’s intelligence.
Previously, it was assumed that carnivores would be smarter than herbivores, as it takes more cognitive planning to hunt than it does to flee. However, the study revealed that the number of cortical neurons in small and medium-sized carnivores was pretty much equal to that of herbivores. That suggests that evading predators takes just as much planning as being a predator does.
Though this may not truly sway those who are resolute cat people, one thing is for sure — dog people now have a little more science behind their arguments.
After learning if dogs are smarter than cats, read about the Texas woman who hoarded 111 dogs and cats in her home. Then, read about the seven most terrifying experiments ever conducted.
Dog lovers now have confirmation of what they have known all along.
Sorry Grumpy Cat, it’s science.
Dogs are smarter than cats, a new study by researchers at Vanderbilt University has found.
Dogs like this adorable golden retriever puppy are smarter than cats, a Vanderbilt University study has found. Alamy
The study found that dogs have twice as many neurons as cats in their cerebral cortex, which is associated with thinking, planning and complex behavior.
TODAY knows all about smart dogs after seeing our own puppies with a purpose, Wrangler and Charlie, complete their training to become service dogs. We also watched a group of Connecticut prison inmates train dogs to open refrigerator doors, turn on light switches and pick items off the ground so that they could help wounded military veterans. Plus, there is also the K-9 partners assisting law enforcement across the country.
Dogs have twice as many neurons in their cerebral cortex as cats, the study found, making them better at complex tasks. Alamy
Dogs have about 530 million cortical neurons compared to 250 million for cats, the study found. Humans have 16 billion, so don’t expect Spot to be doing your algebra homework.
“Our findings mean to me that dogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can,” associate professor of psychology and biological sciences Suzana Herculano-Houzel, an admitted dog lover, said in a news release.
Sorry, buddy. Science says dogs are smarter, but that doesn’t mean you’re not cute. Alamy
“At the least, we now have some biology that people can factor into their discussions about who’s smarter, cats or dogs.”
The Vanderbilt study follows one conducted by researchers for a BBC documentary last year that found dogs love their owners five times more than cats, so dogs are on a roll in the endless debate with cats.
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- I was a smart home reviewer for years, testing everything from smart bulbs to door locks to cameras.
- Even though I don’t review smart home products anymore, there are some I still use every day.
I tested and reviewed smart home products for over five years, so my apartment was always stuffed with the latest tech. I had smart locks on my doors, cameras all over the place, and connected pet feeders.
When I moved on to writing about other topics, I ditched a lot of these gadgets. Some, like the smart pet feeder, became useless when their companies shut down.
But there are still a few smart home gadgets that continue to make my life easier. Nothing is fully automated or works without a hitch, but these are the products that have lasted for years and still earn a spot in my smart-ish home, making them easy to recommend.
Here are the 6 smart home products that I still use regularly:
A camera for making sure my cats aren’t causing chaos
Indoor security cameras make me anxious, but I love being able to check on my cats when I’m not home. For that purpose, Nest’s camera is perfect. I set it up to record in their usual haunts, namely the cat tree and food bowls. When they saunter into frame, I get an alert.
To use the Nest as a proper security camera, you need the $6-per-month Nest Aware subscription. But for occasional use and peace of mind, the Nest camera is a helpful stand-in for a weekend kitty-sitter.
Smart and sophisticated light switches
My home’s original light switches were dingy little nubs I had to rock up and down to operate. When I was replacing them, I wanted something sleeker. Lutron’s Caséta line of wireless switches look amazing. They work with dimmer bulbs, and you can control them with a voice assistant or included remote. You’ll also need a starter kit, which includes a puck-like bridge that connects to your router, to operate them. While they’re expensive, the Lutron switches are the most reliable smart home equipment in my home.
A smart thermostat I don’t have to think about
My 1960s space requires two types of thermostats. The Mysa was the only smart thermostat I could find for electric baseboard heaters. Nest says its Learning Thermostat works with 95% of 24V systems. Neither is perfect — the Nest has kicked on unintentionally, and the Mysa has lost connection before — but I like their controls and insights.
You can use an app or voice assistant to control either, but both devices are intuitive enough to control directly. That’s ideal for when in-laws are visiting who want control over the thermostat.
Vibrant LED lights that make my living room look incredible
My living room has no overhead lighting, so I have four lamps instead. Unfortunately, some switches are on the cords behind bookshelves. Rather than turn on each light, I outfitted them with automated Philips Hue light bulbs. Their color-changing abilities come in handy for holidays.
I also have Philips Hue light strips under my kitchen cabinets. And mostly for fun, I put my Nanoleaf panels under some of my Lego sets. The light patterns are eye-catching, always intriguing guests.
A voice assistant so I don’t burn my pizza
While my smart home is a bit of a hodgepodge of brands, Google definitely runs things. I have a smart display in my kitchen that I use to set timers, listen to podcasts, and perform other tasks. The display is helpful because it can show the timer (or three of them) counting down and while playing videos or displaying recipes. You can’t find my JBL display anymore, but the Google Nest Hub runs the same system and is one of our picks for best smart display.
A smart stovetop that makes me feel like a chef
I’ve been skeptical of smart appliances because complicating these devices with computers can lead to issues. But, as I’ve been updating my kitchen, I knew I wanted an induction range to pair it with smart cookware from Hestan and thus better keep food from burning.
Plus, GE started releasing genuinely useful updates to its connected ovens, like air-fry and turkey modes. I recently added a smart over-the-range microwave that automatically turns on the vent and lights when I start using the stove.
You can purchase logo and accolade licensing to this story here.
We often say that cats are almost like the humans in terms of behavior. Yes it is completely true and it can be again proved today by discussing about their nature and behavior. We say that felines are much more smart and intelligent than any other animal and similarly they are very anxious like the humans. Cats are actually great explorers and very curious about a thing that they see for the first time. They can make out their own thing from any object you give them. Better to say that they can use any object in their own style. But after reading all the above lines here, you can conclude that they are mostly like us. Yes they are one of the smartest pet animals in the world and here we are going to discuss about smartest of the smarts.
Turkish Van Cat: Turkish Van Cats are very big breed of cat and loves to climb all the time. They are not so graceful in nature and have a great ability to perform various types of tricks and fetching. So if you can train them well you are going to get good results. And lastly it is worth mention that they have a great love for water.
Siamese: First of all Siamese are very loud cats and they are really talkative. They will love to talk with you all the time. Actually, if their brain isn’t stimulated they get completely bored. They are very smart and social as we have told earlier. Perhaps these are the reasons that Siamese cats are famous among the celebrities.
Tonkinese Cat: This cat breed is generally said as the mixture of Siamese and Burmese. Tonkinese have a habit of following you all around and will mostly stay above your shoulder all the time. They can be made happy easily and they can stay with any type of companions. Tanks are usually very good in any type of games and so just you will have to make them learn. Why thinking more when you get such a complete package.
Cornish Rex Cat: Cornish Rex cat really have a unique long toes that help them to hang easily from any type of object. Apart from these they are very intelligent and people looking for active cats should always go with it. House where guests are very frequent should obviously go with this option as they love people very much.
Abyssinian cat: They are known as very good learners of everything you will make them learn. They are great in jumping and climbing. Next they are very much curious about anything and will never mind to investigate anything. You have to give them a lot of time as they want to stay in the center of attraction. Constant stimulation is a must need for them.
Scottish Fold Cat: The ears of this cat breed are flopped and that’s the reason they are named as fold cats. You can easily recognize them because of the ears. The main characteristics of this cat are that they always love to imitate humans and that’s the reason you will find them in various awkward position in the internet. Even when you will watch television they will also watch with you. But they can’t live without humans for a long time.
Burmese Cat: Siamese is said as the ancestor of Burmese cat and that’s the reason they carries that level of intelligence. They get attached to humans very easily and so they shouldn’t be left alone for a long time. They just need a companion all the time and so it can be also done by keeping a second cat or dog in house. They can learn a lot of things from you.
Bengal Cat: they just look like leopards and are real beauties. They have all the intelligence, smartness and good behavior that a cat needs. In other words, they are like a complete package of cats. They will like to play with a lot of things and climbing over here and there. They love water very much and so if you have aquariums at home be careful about that. You should keep them apart.
Singapura Cat: SIngapura Cat is a mixture of Burmese and Abyssinian and in terms of nature and form it is slightly different from the Burmese. It is one of the smartest and smallest cat breeds in the world. They are very curious in nature and will always remain busy with their own work. But they love people and other pets in the house. It is a very popular cat breed in North America.
So you want to make your household with one of the most smart cat breeds in the world? Just one of the breeds from here and your wish will be fulfilled.
They interact, communicate, or take the leading role
Cats are very clever animals. If you have a cat at home, they will surely have surprised you on more than one occasion by their occurrences or how they solve challenges or setbacks. But there are races that stand out more than others for their intelligence. There are kittens that are distinguished by their ability to communicate, make themselves understood or interact with other animals.
Although they tend to be very independent, with the exception of some breeds that prefer company and do not tolerate loneliness, they are very loyal animals and great protectors that provide a lot of love and loyalty to their owners. Having a cat at home is an excellent initiative that will bring you many benefits. If you aren’t sure which breed to adopt, any cat will communicate perfectly with you and they will let you know what they want. However, it is true that some stand out for their skills. These are some of the most intelligent races.
This is one of the most intelligent cat breeds. It is an animal that has great confidence in itself. It is attentive, playful and very curious. In fact, it is a great observer. The Abyssinian cats love to interact with different members of the household and are happy when they are stimulated with games and attention.
The bengal cats are great when it comes to interacting and socializing with humans, with whom they communicate so that their needs are attended to. This breed is also very adventurous. One will always find them investigating and browsing, something that can work against him if you do not ensure an environment that does not endanger the kitty.
Domestication of animals was an amazing feat that changed human relationships with the natural world.
But while a Pomeranian looks nothing like a wolf, a thoroughbred jump horse looks nothing like a wild pony, and a potbellied pig looks nothing like a black boar, ‘domestic’ house cats look pretty much exactly like wild cats.
That’s because they domesticated themselves—not through form, but through function, and research reveals that wildcat ancestors share essentially the same genetics as house cats today.
The two lineages of cats—the European forest cat (felis silvestris silvestris) and Southwest Asia/North African wildcat (felis silvestris lybica)—are solitary hunters that lack any strong social hierarchy, which would make them poor candidates for domestication by humans, to start with.
It was the cat, itself, who came to prize the territory around the homes of the ancient farmer, or the wharf of the ancient mariner. They were drawn to a plentiful supply of prey in the form of rodents—which brought their species and ours to be inseparably linked.
A study from 2017 looked at the genetics of over 200 cats, from all five wild subspecies, along with cat remains from stone age Romania, and even Egyptian cat mummies, and found that f. lybica in the Near East in 4,400 BCE, and in North Africa around 1,500 BCE, gave rise to the domestic cat, likely because it was here where the earliest agricultural civilizations occurred.
European wildcat -felis silvestris by Cloudtail the Snow Leopard, CC license, Flickr
Still, cats existed unchanged through thousands of years—essentially until the Middle Ages, before selective breeding, the typical activity of domestication, began to give rise to more unique types of cats.
“I think that there was no need to subject cats to such a selection process since it was not necessary to change them,” said evolutionary geneticist and study coauthor Eva-Maria Geigl to National Geographic. “They were perfect as they were.”
Rather than merging social hierarchies and breeding selectively like humans did with wolves—cats simply existed in close proximity to humans, without ever fully entering societal processes.
Rise of the Tabby
The first domestic cat genes the scientists identified were the blotch pattern on the tabby cat—the first truly domesticated, if such a word can be used, house cat.
Striped tabby cats were found in the European gene set of wildcats back before 6,500 BCE, and there they stayed for 3,000 years before emerging in the Near East genetic profile.
Tabby cats evolved their characteristic blotches in the Ottoman Empire in 1,300 CE, and it wasn’t until the 18th century that the tabby pattern began to be associated, societally, with domestication.
Not until the 19th century, thousands of years after dog diversification, did Europeans begin selecting certain characteristics to breed together in cats, resulting in the Russian Blue, perhaps around 1875, and the Maine Coon around the same time.
While not being truly domestic, cats are a celebrated part of our lives, and exist in 74 million homes in the United States alone. Their lack of selective breeding means that for the most part, genetic susceptibility to disease, typical of hyper-specialized dog breeds, is mostly absent in cats, and it’s not uncommon for them to live past 20 years old.
IF You’re Feline It, Paw This Fasinating Story Over to Friends…
Pictured is the Cat compact track loader with Grader Blade Smart attachment.
Three new Cat Smart attachments, the Dozer Blade, Grader Blade, and Backhoe, are designed to add versatility to a range of D3 Series Cat skid steer loaders, compact track loaders, and multi terrain loaders. The control systems for the new attachments allow operators to easily adapt the machine’s standard controls to precisely match the recognized Smart attachments’ control needs.
The Smart Dozer Blade attachment — available for Cat 279D3, 289D3, 299D3, and 299D3 XE series compact track loaders — are designed for cutting, moving, and grading virtually any material used as a base. The blade features a curved moldboard to keep material rolling and a trapezoid design with angled end bits that allow flush-cutting against vertical surfaces when the blade is fully tilted. The D3 Series host machine recognizes the attachment and unlocks special display screens that allow the operator to select how the blade is controlled.
The new Cat GB120 and GB124 Smart Grader Blade attachments are available for Cat D3- Series skid steer loaders and compact track loaders. As with the Smart Dozer Blade attachment, the D3 host machine recognizes the grader blade and unlocks special display screens that provide options for attachment control, allowing the joysticks to be repurposed to perform attachment functions. Selecting the attachment-control mode allows the right joystick to operate blade functions — tilt (moving the joystick side-to-side), angle (rotating the thumb wheel forward or rearward), and lift (moving the joystick fore and aft). In the advanced display, the home screen shows the cross-slope of the blade, as well as the blade angle.
Standard blade width is 78 inches for model GB120 and 96 inches for GB124. With optional wings extended, width is, respectively, 85 inches and 103 inches. Blade tilt for both models is 15 degrees, blade lift is 6 inches, and maximum cut depth is 4 inches. Independent caster wheels rotate 360 degrees and provide support for forward and reverse grading.
The Cat BH130 Smart Backhoe Attachment is designed for Cat D3 series skid steer loaders, compact track loaders, and multi terrain loaders. The attachment allows these machines to take on a range of tasks, including utility trenching, digging footings, and forming and maintaining drainage ditches. In addition, the backhoe is compatible with Cat 3-ton excavator attachments, and its auxiliary-hydraulic system allows pairing with hydro-mechanical work tools, including hammers, thumbs, augers, and vibratory compactors. The backhoe also hydraulically shifts side-to-side to allow digging adjacent to buildings and footers, and integrated stabilizers provide a solid digging platform.
Maximum digging depth with the BH130 is 9.75 feet, and reach at ground level from the swing pivot pin is 13.25 feet. Stabilizer spread in the working position is 71 inches, and total side-shift travel is 33 inches. Operating weight of the backhoe is 2,325 lbs.
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Everyone has had at least one debate about whether cats or dogs are superior. One of the long-standing arguments cat-lovers use is that cats are just as smart as dogs, they simply don’t care to entertain humans by learning tricks. While it may be true that cats don’t care, a team of scientists might have found a biological reason to think that dogs are the smarter species.
For decades, the standard way to gauge intelligence was to look at the brain-to-body-size ratio. “The smaller the ratio, the smarter the animal.” However, this metric leaves much to be desired. For example, a human’s brain-to-body ratio is 1:60, but a mouse’s is 1:40, which would suggest mice are smarter. Modern technology has allowed researchers to count the number of neurons an animal has in the part of the brain called the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for complex skills, social behavior, and language. While cats have 250 million neurons in their cortex, dogs have roughly 530 million.
While the complete study hasn’t been published, this research suggests that dogs have the capacity to learn much more complicated skills and behaviors than cats ever could. The link between neuron count and intelligence is only just being flushed out. However, this study could help reshape the way we approach animal intelligence and help disperse notions from past decades that a smaller brain immediately means an inferior creature.
Managing Correspondent: Zane Wolf
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There are two kinds of people in this world; people who love cats and people who think the entire feline population is plotting against them. While dogs are man’s best friend, cats often seem to be your aloof pal who sits in the corner, silently judging you. But the problem might not be them; it could be us. Scientific research is revealing more and more about the species that casts it in a much better light than we previously thought. So if you’re a feline denier, this piece may change your mind. If you’re already super into cats, your heart is about to explode.
Cats are totally into us.
A recent study from Oregon State University claims that cats not only enjoy human interaction, they may even enjoy it more than food. 50 cats were denied human interaction, food, toys and scents for a few hours. They were then re-introduced to the four stimuli and 50% of the felines chose human interaction over the other three possibilities. These findings not only suggest that cats are more social than we thought, but also has ramifications on how we can train them; the old treat method might not be that effective. This also proves that they’re nicer than us; what human would choose talking to someone over a slice of pizza?
. they just don’t need us!
Of course, dogs always seem more excited to see you than cats. It’s not that cats aren’t excited, they just don’t need you. A University Of Lincoln study found that cats are less dependant than dogs on their owners for safety and security. The study took cats with their owners and placed them in unusual environments to track how the cats behaved. Although the cats certainly enjoyed the company of their owner, they exhibited less reliance on their owners in this new environment. It’s quite reassuring to know that – although they enjoy your company – when something goes down, cats prefer to handle it on their own.
They can help you pick up.
A classic pickup maneuver is taking your dog to the park, because who can resist talking to someone with an adorable puppy? However, a UK survey found that 90% of single women surveyed believed that men who own cats are perceived as “nicer” than those who don’t. The majority of male and female respondents believed male affection for felines to be a positive attribute while most male cat owners surveyed stated their cats provided much-needed cuddling time, and who wouldn’t want to date a man who says that? So, if you’re looking for love, put a leash on your kitty and take it for a walk.
. but why bother when they’re so much better than dating!
Can’t find somebody you like? Don’t worry about it; your cat might be a suitable replacement. Another study from the University Of Vienna found that the cat/human relationship closely mirrors the human to human bond. Many interesting dynamics were discovered; cat behaviours mold to their owner’s personality (the bond seems most intense with female owners), both subjects can effectively communicate to each other through subtle expressions, cats can remember and respond to their owner’s acts of kindness, and cats can knowingly manipulate their owner to get what they want. Okay, the last point is a tad evil, but still impressive; that thing clawing your couch is pretty much in a relationship with you.
They prove you’re super smart.
If anyone calls you “stupid” for owning a cat, you may want to refer them to this. Research into the personalities of dog owners vs. cat owners revealed that, while dog owners tended to be more lively, outgoing and rule-abiding, cat owners scored higher in general intelligence. Now the first result seems obvious – of course dog owners are more energetic and obedient; they seek similar traits in their pet. On intelligence, a 2010 study also found that cat owners were more likely to have a university degree than dog owners – surmising that, because cats require less maintenance, they are more popular with those working longer hours. Rejoice, you’re a genius.
They keep you super healthy.
You’d think a pet who sleeps for most of its life wouldn’t provide ancillary health benefits; but your feline is doing a lot to keep you fit. A study by the University Of Minnesota found that owning a cat could reduce your risk of heart attack by 30%. Many surmise that a cat’s generally calm demeanour and interactions act as a great stress reliever for their owners. It was also discovered that, although cats have a high allergy rate amongst humans, exposure to cats at an early age can actually decrease the risk of allergies, not only to pets, but dust mites and ragweed while boosting your overall immune system. Most surprisingly, it is commonly believed that cats can act as a great social interaction tool with children who have autism.
. and they can even heal themselves!
The purr is a mysterious occurrence; often thought to indicate that a cat is happy, research has uncovered a much deeper significance than that. Cats seem to purr for a variety of reasons, but the sound frequency at which they do so seems to stimulate their muscle and bone regeneration; a most efficient method to keeping themselves healthy. This discovery has unlocked potential research for humans – could creating such a frequency within the human body prevent atrophy in a similar way? Remember that the next time your cat curls up on your lap, they might be on the cutting edge of a scientific breakthrough.
Having them take over the internet is the best thing for all of us
It’s safe to say if you have the internet, you’ve watched a cat video (some of us can be slightly obsessed). But there’s no need to feel viral feline shame, because watching cat videos can significantly boost your mood. Cat video-watching has been shown to improve viewers’ overall positivity and energy, while decreasing negative moods (like sadness and anxiety) as well as masking remorse from procrastination. So next time you don’t want to do your work, be thankful for science and cats.
RJ Skinner is an actor, writer and pro wrestler, so he rants and raves in various states of undress. Follow him on IG @rjcity and if you’re feeling crafty, behold the Cynical Crafter.