One way to start a playful debate among your acquaintances is to ask a provocative question like, “Don’t you think that dogs are in every way smarter than cats?” or “Wouldn’t you agree that cats are vastly more intelligent and more dignified than dogs?”
Be careful. Some people have strong feelings about this topic. With people you don’t know very well, it may be just as unsafe and volatile to discuss this topic as it is to discuss politics or religion. But, as any rational mind knows, opinion cannot change fact. So, in such an important debate, we ought to yield to the findings of individuals more experienced and more learned than we are. Let’s look at what the scientific community has to contribute to this debate.
One way in which the scientific community approaches this topic is through the analysis of the relative brain sizes of dogs and cats. Obviously we can’t conclude that if an animal has a larger brain it is more intelligent than an animal with a smaller brain. By that logic, elephants would be far more intelligent than humans. Scientists use the “Encephalization Quotient” (EQ), which is a complex mathematical process that determines whether an animal has a smaller or larger brain size than would be expected for an animal of its size. Essentially it represents the relationship between brain size and overall body size. You may have heard that porpoises are among the most intelligent animals on the planet; that was determined, in part, through this process. And using this very same process, it would seem dogs are more intelligent than cats. But before we blindly accept this as true, let’s get more details on why scientists think dogs are more intelligent than cats.
Scientists have charted the history of the brains of many different mammals and determined that there seems to be a correlation between the EQ of a mammal and its social activity. This social activity has to do with the animals’ living in social groups. Considering this, it’s no wonder that we humans consider ourselves the most intelligent creatures on the planet; we have been living in groups for many millennia. But this is problematic for the cat, which has generally lead a stubbornly solitary life. Evidently the skills and abilities gained from living in groups are invaluable to brain development, and they probably contribute to the relative ease of training dogs to do tasks, which is much more difficult to do with cats.
While these findings do not absolutely imply that dogs are more intelligent than cats, there is a strong probability that this is the case. It would seem that dogs win the Cats vs. Dogs match. But regardless of which of the two animals are more intelligent, both of them can make exceptional house pets.
Liquid Health™ is here for both cats and dogs, if you feel your pet needs supplementation.
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