Are dogs really smarter than cats?
There is an ongoing debate between dog and cat owners about which of the four-legged pets is smarter. Many claim that dogs are smarter than cats. Is this really the case and how can it be proven? To find an answer to this question, it is important to understand what criteria should be used to evaluate a pet's intelligence level.
The questions that are often asked:
- How can one evaluate the intelligence of pets when they are so diverse and show ingenuity in their own ways?
- What key criteria can be used to claim that one type of pet is smarter than another?
- Can one rely on one's own experience? Or is it better to turn to the results of scientific research?
Even considering the most credible scientific results, it is too early to draw the conclusion in this interesting discussion.
Why is it commonly believed that dogs are smarter than cats?
Most cognitive tests conducted with cats have failed. Cats either ignored the researchers' instructions or ran away and hid from them. The researchers judged cats' disobedience as a demonstration of their lower intelligence. In similar tests, dogs were more lively, responded actively, and mostly completed test tasks correctly. Gradually, it became accepted that dogs were smarter than cats.
However, scientists later found out that the organization of such tests was wrong. With correct test administration, when cats are interested in something to solve the test tasks, cats are not inferior to the intelligence of dogs. Because of the specificity of cat character, it is much more difficult to force cats to do something against their will. This was the reason why many tests with cats failed.
When comparing the intelligence level of different animal species, the innate learning ability of animals is often taken into account. There are many impressive examples that show how easy and fast it is to teach a dog certain skills or correct its behavior. You can achieve this with just a few training sessions. Later, the dog will use the learned skills correctly in similar situations.
Although dogs are more adaptable to complex tasks than cats, this does not mean that cats are dumber. The complexity of a comparative study is that the behavioral characteristics of cats and dogs are too different. Dogs and cats have high, but situational intelligence. Depending on the situation, each species uses its intelligence in a different way.
How does the behavior of cats differ from that of dogs?
The sensorimotor intelligence of a predator is highly developed in cats. In dogs, this ability is less pronounced. The ability of cats to maintain balance at any height and always land on four legs is amazing. Cats can hunt dangerous prey many times their size.
Unlike dogs, cats are more alert and cautious. In an unfamiliar environment, a cat will first carefully examine and sniff everything. Only after making sure that there is no danger, it will choose a warm, cozy and safe place. Unlike dogs, cats do not normally run towards an unknown object or stranger. With various tricks, cats get everything they want. In some situations, a cat behaves more sensibly than a dog. If a cat, unlike a dog, doesn't react immediately and doesn't throw itself at your feet, it doesn't mean it's dumber, it means it has character.
Cats are very selective about information. They only pay attention to objects that seem interesting to them, but show indifference to everything else. Dogs are more curious and active in this respect.
The intelligence of cats is hidden from humans and is not always revealed in tests. Nevertheless, cats can replace dogs in some search tasks. For example, cats can:
- Find drugs in luggage
- Find living people under the rubble of a collapsed house
- Detect early COVID-19 or cancer in humans
Only appropriate training methods (such as clicker training) need to be used to teach these skills to a cat.
Cats love a secluded, quiet lifestyle. Dogs, on the other hand, have a more developed social intelligence. Dogs are social animals that adapt to people, actively communicate with people, and require constant contact with their masters or mistresses. For this reason, it is generally believed that dogs understand people much better than cats.
Does this mean that either type of pet is smarter? No. Although dogs and cats are very different, the two species have developed intelligence. Dogs and cats use their intelligence differently, in their own ways.
The question about your pets' intelligence fades into the background when you love your four-legged friends. Then they will be loyal to you and respond to your attention and care with mutual sincere affection and love. If you can't decide for either of them, like we did, then it will work out together without any problems. We also have a dog and a male cat at home. It took a few hours to get them together and they have been inseparable ever since.