It’ll be raining cat-and-dog-owners after this news gets out. A new study might be barking up the wrong tree, but they're telling anyone — who will listen — that dogs get an A+ in the ‘smarts’ department. In the journal Frontiers of Neuroanatomy, they posture the possibility that dogs may be brainier than cats. They base their position on the fact a dog's cerebral cortex has twice as many neurons — the brain cells needed for thought, planning and behavior — than those dumb cats.
The bigger the brain . . .
It appears that neuron density is what it’s all about. Overall cognitive ability increases with brain size equipping canines with the ability to outsmart those darn felines.
The results were marked. Dog’s cortical neurons outnumbered cats’ — to the tune of 530 million to 250 million! A golden retriever in the study had the most cortical neurons of all, coming in at 627 million.
Room for debate . . .
Now, we know cat owners are not going to take this news lying down. Even those brainy scientists provided a caveat, less they start to the get ‘death threats’ from cat-lovers-united. They admitted their findings cannot resolve all the old dogs-versus-cats debate pertaining to intelligence.
“While our finding of larger numbers of cortical neurons in dogs than in cats may confirm anecdotal perceptions of dog owners and animal trainers as well as unpublished reports that dogs are easier to train and therefore ‘more intelligent,’ cat owners would probably protest, and rightly so,” they write.
“Any argument about their cognitive capabilities at this point will be largely a matter of opinion until direct, systematic comparisons of cognitive capacity are performed across these and other species.”
Cats don't abide by the rules . . .
As far as the the ‘cats are smarter’ camp, they respond by saying you can’t conclude that dogs are smarter based on the fact they respond to “obey” commands better. That doesn’t take intelligence they say. In fact just the opposite. It takes a smarter-being to show ‘independence.’ Their argument is that dogs allow themselves to become subservient to humans, while cats maintain their freedom to make choices, and do not abide with blind obedience. They, more than naught, just refuse to bend to a human’s will. They're the Patrick Henry’s of the pet world: “Give me liberty or give me death!”
So despite these findings, it’s more likely this debate will continue to ensue for time to come. What’s your thoughts dear reader? Cat? Dogs? Or perhaps you’re a ‘pig person’ or a ‘bird person.’ There's definitely debates there. Let us know what tree you are barking up? Or peeing on, for that matter?
Primary Source: Frontiers of Neuroanatomy