It’s an age old question and one that every pet lover has an answer to. We set out to discover who comes out on top in the intelligence stakes – cats or dogs.
The first challenge was finding a fair test. It’s difficult to compare the intelligence of different animals with different physical advantages. For example, cats naturally have better paw control giving them the advantage in tests requiring moving, pulling or pushing things with paws whereas dogs are usually stronger and better runners, giving them the advantage in tests requiring more movement.
However, it can be done and the results are in…
Encephalization Quotient (“EQ”) test
EQ was developed in response to the suggestion: the bigger the brain the more intelligent the animal. That theory falls apart as animals such as elephants and sperm wales have large brains, but aren’t necessarily smarter. The reason bigger animals need bigger brains is to help control and monitor their larger bodies.
EQ is a sophisticated measurement of brain size that compensates for the size of the animal and basically asks whether the animal has a bigger or smaller brain than what is required for the size of the body. Based on EQ, humans are the most intelligent animals followed by apes and elephants. Dogs are a little down the list, but higher than cats!
****The Score: Dogs 1, Cats 0****
Social skills test
Interaction with another animal involves reasoning, problem solving and understanding of complex social behaviours. Generally animals like dogs that live in social groups are smarter than solitary ones. The more socialising and teaching that’s happening (such as dog training), the more that animal will continue to evolve over time. Research of fossil samples has actually shown that dogs’ EQ has noticeably risen since they were domesticated by humans – a trend you would expect to continue when training your dog while your cat relaxes at home!
****The Score: Dogs 2, Cats 0****
Now before you write cats off altogether
Cats have almost twice as many neurons firing in their cerebral cortex than dogs giving them the greater capacity for information processing.
****The Score: Dogs 2, Cats 1****
Unlike dogs, cats also naturally fend for themselves and don’t depend on others for hunting or grooming.
****The Score: Dogs 2, Cats 2****
And the Winner is…
There are solid arguments both ways, however we’ll leave you with this question:
When was the last time you heard of a ‘seeing eye cat’? What about a ‘police cat’? Maybe a ‘search and rescue cat’?
And it’s dogs ‘by a nose’…