Animal minds Intelligent Design

If you think dogs are smarter than cats, this will surprise you

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Cats have nearly twice as many neurons as dogs and a bigger and more complex cerebral cortex:

The cat brain vs. the dog brain. Cats have smaller brains for their size than dogs. The cat’s brain accounts for 0.9 percent of its body mass. The brain is about 1.2 percent of an average dog’s body mass and about 2 percent of the average human’s body mass. But that’s not the whole story:

“Surface folding and brain structure matter more than brain size. Unlike the brains of dogs, the brains of cats have an amazing surface folding and a structure that is about 90 percent similar to ours. The cerebral cortex of cats is greater and more complex compared to that of dogs. The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain responsible for cognitive information processing. A cat’s cerebral cortex contains about twice as many neurons as that of dogs. Cats have 300 million neurons, whereas dogs have about 160 million. In fact, cats have more nerve cells in the visual areas of their brain, a part of cerebral cortex, than humans and most other mammals. – Berit Brogaard, “How Smart is Your Cat?” At Psychology Today (February 23, 2013)”

These structural features are not a definitive argument about intelligence but they are better indicators than mere size. To whatever extent that intelligence depends on the sophistication of the nervous system, the cat has the means to be intelligent.

Denyse O’Leary, “In what ways are cats intelligent?” at Mind Matters News

Cats are generally better than dogs at solving their own problems. That said, interspecies comparisons are difficult.

But if we are going to compare, a better matchup would be between cats and wolves because both species have generally had to solve their own problems, as opposed to dogs which are bred to wait for human guidance.


You may also enjoy these stories on cat intelligence and emotions:

Cats do bond with people. Both cats and kittens showed about the same level of attachment to caregivers as children and dogs did.

and

Cats do recognize their names. They recognize them as signals but not as abstractions.

2 Replies to “If you think dogs are smarter than cats, this will surprise you

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Any cat owner knows cats are smarter than dogs. Given time and an opposable thumb they’d take over the Earth. Maybe they already have without our noticing it.

  2. 2
    asauber says:

    I love cat posts.

    FYI, my cat Hazel has been in good health since the trip to the vet. She’s on a kidney health diet now.

    Andrew

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