Are cats smarter than dogs?

There are few communities more at odds than cat and dog lovers. Everyone thinks that their preferred pet is smarter and, let's be real, at least fifty percent of them have to be wrong. So, are cats smarter than dogs? We looked at the fodder.

These distinguished gentlemen are about to fight it out for most intelligent. Who'll win?
These distinguished gentlemen are about to fight it out for most intelligent. Who'll win?  © Collage: Unsplash/Chris Barbalis/Shubham Sharma/Jamie Street

One of the most contentious debates to ever cross the animal lover community, and one that keeps cat and dog enthusiasts divided, is a question of intelligence.

Cat owners will always fight for their feline friends, while dog owners will spend their time defending the brain capacity of their darling doggos with every inch of their being.

But what's the truth?

Grieving cat tries to dig up dead kitty sibling in heartbreaking TikTok video
Cats Grieving cat tries to dig up dead kitty sibling in heartbreaking TikTok video

In this cat guide, TAG24 dives into whether dogs or cats are smarter. Are dogs smarter than cats or are cats smarter than dogs, and does it even matter anyway?

Let's find out!

Are dogs smarter than cats or are cats smarter than dogs?

There are many heated debates on the topic of cat and dog intelligence, specifically on the comparison that naturally occurs between these two adorable species. While doctors and scientists surely have more definitive proof, there is rarely any conversation that'll look squarely at the data, with most discussions revolving around anecdotes and vaguely-constructed opinions.

It's not such a surprise, though, if you think about it. Cats and dogs are both wonderful and curious creatures, yet respond to things in very different ways. What some perceive as intelligence and smarts in a cat will be seen by others as a sign of simplicity, and the same goes the other way around.

So what are the arguments on both sides of this debate? We're going to take a look at why cat owners think cats are smarter than dogs, and at why dog owners think dogs are smarter than cats. After that, we'll look at the actual science! Are you ready?

Cats are smarter than dogs: An argument

Cat lovers will go to any length to protect the dignity of their fluffy friends. They'll argue at length about how their favorite animals are far cuter, far funnier, and - most importantly - far smarter than their canine cousins.

Here are the main reasons why people think cats are smarter than dogs:

  • Cats are far more independent and will often want to solve problems themselves
  • The humble house cat is far more solitary and doesn't necessarily want to be around their human all the time. In comparison, dogs are often very clingy.
  • While dogs are often very similar to each other, every cat has a very distinct and specific personality. There is a lot more variation between cats.
  • Cats have a lot of practical intelligence, and are likely much better at surviving in the wild than your average domestic doggo.
  • It's a generally accepted fact that sass equals intelligence and, let's be real, are there any creatures more sassy than a tabby cat?
  • Kitties have more complex motor skills, are more precise, and more agile than dogs.
  • Cats have more advanced problem-solving skills.

So the argument for why cats are smarter than dogs is centered around their ability to solve problems and probably survive in the wild for longer, as well as their independence. The problem with this argument, though, is that these are natural and instinctive traits and not necessarily a sign of intelligence.

Cats might be more independent, but that doesn't mean that they're smarter. Still, it takes a lot of brains to stay that sassy!

Dogs are smarter than cats: An argument

In much the same way that cat owners argue the case for the furry fellows who wander their hallowed halls, dog owners are equally convinced that their canine companion is the smartest animal of the two. Their arguments are also pretty solid, we've got to admit, but do they take the ticket?

Here are the main reasons why people think dogs are smarter than cats:

  • Dogs have bigger brains and are larger in general
  • Our canine companions are easily trained, can learn a variety of words and tricks, and will follow your orders
  • Dogs are closer and more clingy to their human, always trying to look after them. Comparably, cats on the whole couldn't really give any less of a crud about their human.
  • There's a kindness to a dog that goes unparalleled when compared to cats.
  • Dogs tend to be more socially intelligent than cats.

So, are dogs smarter than cats? It's time to reveal the truth...

So who comes out on top, who's the smartest? The cat or the dog?
So who comes out on top, who's the smartest? The cat or the dog?  © Collage: Unsplash/Olga Zakharchenko/Jamie Street

The verdict: Are cats or dogs smarter?

No matter your personal opinion, your anecdotal evidence, or the views that you are emotionally attached to, scientists have weighed in: Dogs are smarter than cats!

According to Britannica, dogs are nearly twice as smart as cats due to their much larger and more cognitively complex brains. The research is pretty conclusive, showing that dogs have more neurons in their cerebral cortex than cats, at around 530 million as opposed to our feline friends' 250 million. This is a clear sign of heightened intelligence.

These factors clearly explain why many believe dogs to be smarter. After all, this added brain power allows them to be trained, and makes them far more capable of complex emotion.

Sorry, cat lovers, but the verdict appears to be in.

Does it really matter whether cats or dogs are smarter?

Ultimately, it is completely unimportant whether cats are smarter than dogs or the other way around. It's all about the love you feel for your pet, and that love can be real whether you've got a cat, dog, guinea pig, or snake as a pet.

While there are a variety of benefits depending on what you choose to adopt, it isn't about the intelligence of the animal, but more about your preferences and needs.

Sure, dogs can be trained to do far more things than cats can be trained to do. On the flip side, cats are way better at looking after themselves and are much lower maintenance, so it's a balancing act in the end. Heated debates over cat and dog intelligence can get toxic quickly, so be wary.

Just choose the animal you love the most, take a look at a few known smart breeds, find a doggo or a kitty you gel with, and dive-on in to pet ownership. It's an amazing journey either way, so which one's smarter is not as essential!

Cover photo: Collage: Unsplash/Chris Barbalis/Shubham Sharma/Jamie Street

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