Are Cats Smarter Than Dogs?

The age-old debate of whether dogs are smarter than cats or if cats are smarter than dogs will go on for years to come. The answer will most likely depend on who you ask because a dog lover will give you a list an arm long of why they feel dogs are smarter and the same will go for a cat lover defending the honor of cats. But really, are cats smarter than dogs? Or dogs smarter than cats?

If you take a step back and study the actions and abilities of dogs and of cats, it would seem as if dogs are smarter than cats. Why? Because dogs seem to act in a more structured and thought-out way. Dogs can easily be trained to do tricks and in some cases are even trained to assist humans with disabilities. Cats on the other hand act more on a whim and seem to not think much through while going about their day in a carefree way. When last did you see a blind person being led by a cat? Cats can be trained and even taught to do a few tricks but nothing too complex. When analyzing it this way dogs definitely seem to have the upper hand.

In my mind, I can already hear all the cat lovers screaming their opinions at me and trying to convince me of how wrong I am. But am I really wrong? You don’t need to take my word for it as there is no scientific proof that dogs are smarter than cats.

A team of researchers from six different universities in the U.S., Brazil, Denmark, and South Africa got together and contributed to the research in an attempt to end the debate once and for all. They studied the brains of two different sized dog breeds and a cat brain. In each of the dogs' brains, regardless of the varying in size, about 500 million neurons were found, more than double the 250 million neurons that were found in the cats’ brain.

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No matter how much scientific evidence is found to show that dogs are smarter than cats, cat lovers will never agree and will always argue the cat's case. Regardless of how many neurons they possess compared to dogs, some may argue that it is not enough. It is argued that comparing the number of neurons is only part of the test and cannot be used on its own to come to a conclusion. If this is true, we may never really know the answer and will have to revert back to the it-depends-on-who-you-ask formula.

Cats are very difficult subjects to work with in order to evaluate their intelligence as they seem to have a mind of their own and have no intention of partaking in the tests.  Dogs are able to follow instructions and obey order, cats … well, not so much. The inability of cats to take part in the test again leaves us back at step one with no real data to go on.

Can Cats Be Trained?

Cats may be a lot cleverer than what you thought and just because most people believe that cats can’t be trained, this does not make it true. It would seem that cats can’t be trained is purely a myth and has very little truth to it. While some cats are untrainable, many cats are trainable and will surprise you. Training a cat and teaching it to do all those cute tricks we all love may not be as easy as training a dog, but it is far from impossible.

Training a cat takes a lot of patience and perseverance, but with the correct techniques, you could eventually train your cats to do almost any trick that a dog can do. Cats do not respond well to shouting and screaming and learn more through positive reinforcement and being rewarded with treats. Cats also respond well to clicker training. When training a cat, it is best to start with the basics and then work your way up to the more difficult tricks.

A good place to start when still a kitten is to teach your cat to use the litter box. When it comes to potty training, cats are certainly faster learners than dogs, with the correct approach and technique, your cat kitten will start using the litter box as quickly as within a day or two. Puppies, on the other hand, take much longer to be potty trained and you will find yourself cleaning up a lot more after your puppy than your kitten.

Below is a short video of how to train your cat:

Cats do not understand being punished and by punishing your cat you are only ruining the bond that you have with your cat. A cat cannot connect punishment to bad behavior, so it would be totally useless to punish a cat when it doesn’t respond during training. Rather opt for rewarding with a treat. Also, cats do not have a very long attention span, so you will need to plan your training sessions accordingly, as long training sessions will only leave you frustrated. Two short 5-minute training sessions a day is about as much as your cat can handle; any more, and you will be wasting your time.

If you are a patient person and you are willing to put in the time to train your cat, it may just surprise you. Cats can be trained to come when you call, they can be trained to use and even flush the toilet. You will be able to train your cat to beg for food and treats and even to walk on a leash. So it seems cats aren’t as stupid as some like to think.

In the debate of whether cats are smarter than dogs, it is safe to say that no one really knows, and it depends on the animal. With limited research and scientific facts to give a definite answer. Overall it may seem that dogs have the edge over cats when it comes to brain power, however, that will depend on who you ask.