Are Cats Smarter Than Dogs? The Ultimate Guide!

This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

Cats are not smarter than dogs! Studies have figured that cats have lower reasoning and analyzing potential than dogs. Larger brain size is no proof of a dog’s intelligence. But, Dogs have a higher neuron count in their cerebral cortex. Thus giving them the more mental capacity. But are both these animals differently intelligent?

As an expert in the Veterinary field and a cat parent, I researched and made countless observations on cat and dog behaviour to finally answer “Are cats smarter than dogs?”. It is not exactly fair to compare intelligence among species but I have found an even playing field. Hence, a measurement of neural capacity is still possible.

There is no doubt that cats are sophisticated creatures. Hence, We need to how their intelligence is measured and what attributes make these animals unique in their own way.

How is Intelligence Measured?

Dogs or cats are judged based on their cognitive ability, cognitive function and how they behave in front of us. But let’s dig deep into understanding how their brains operate and what it accounts for!

Brain Size?

Bigger Brain ≠ More Intelligence!

When you are trying to find an answer to “Are cats smarter than dogs?”, You can’t just look at one’s brain size and come to a conclusion.

Dog brains are more significant in mass than cat brains. Yet, this is not what makes them more intelligent. In fact, Brain size does not matter at all!

In the conducted studies, the activity in the cerebral cortex was the structure of interest. This is because it is the part of the brain responsible for reasoning, memory and emotion.

Dogs have a larger cerebral cortex, but it’s not about the size. It’s about the neuron count. The higher the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex, the better the analysis and reasoning.

BTW, a bigger cerebral cortex does not mean a higher number of neurons. 

Neuron Count?

By now, I’m sure you know that the neuron count matters. But what are “NEURONS”?

Neurons, also known as nerve cells, are the fundamental element of the brain and nervous system. Their purpose is to receive sensory information from the outer world and transmit that information to the brain. Thus enabling the brain to take several voluntary or reflex actions.

A higher neuron count means more ability to process information.

Cats have a lower neuron count than dogs. Generally, Half of it.

Research proved that a golden retriever dog has almost 627 million cortical neurons. Cats have an average of 250 million. 

The numbers might seem rational if you consider the sizes of the two species, but it’s irrelevant. This is because a large number of neurons can be packed even if the surface area of the cerebral cortex is small.

Does Different Brain Mean Different Smart?

Dogs and cats have different brain capacities. Imagine comparing your intelligence to your dog’s. Seems irrelevant, right? This is the case with comparing the IQ of two differently evolved species. 

Although dogs have a more brain capacity due to a higher neuron count, cats have behaviours that distinguish their intelligence. 

One such behaviour is to be highly responsive to your emotions and gestures. Dogs however are much better at social intelligence and problem solving.

Comparison Between Cat and Dog Intelligence

If you look at a broad spectrum of intelligence, humans lie at the beginning of the line. Dogs are in the middle, and cats towards the end. But again, this spectrum does not emphasize each creature’s distinguished mental skill. Each of these species has a unique way of expressing intelligence. 

Dogs, for example, have significant social memory and analysis skills. They can understand human wording, gestures and reactions. They tend to excel at everyday tasks if appropriately trained. It is suggested that dogs have more vital social skills because they were domesticated thousand years before cats were. 

On the other hand, cats are distinguished by a different kind of intellect. In regards to hunting, for example, cats are glorious hunting creatures. They tend to display hunting behaviours even when they have a full stomach. Thus making them more independent from us humans when it comes to feeding.

Comparison Between Cat and Dog Character

Cats are known to be the sassiest, most egoistic creatures! They mostly enjoy activities that work out their hunting instincts and allow them to feel a sense of accomplishment. 

Dogs, on the other hand, enjoy more interactive socializing activities. And while cats couldn’t care less about human attention, dogs always fish for our approval. They love nothing more than completing some tasks and getting praise for them. 

Whose Memory is Stronger?

As mentioned previously, the cerebral cortex is the site of memory formation in the brain. For this reason, it is suggested that the species with higher neuron capacity will have a stronger memory. But memory among cats and dogs is far more sophisticated than that. 

Dogs, for instance, have a more substantial long-term memory, especially regarding social bonds. They can remember their owners even if they haven’t seen them in years. This is why they also excel at recalling orders and which behaviour should be accompanied by this order. 

Cats, on the other hand, have better short-term memory. They also tend to remember everything related to food or hunting. Their mental capacities promote their survival and their ability to get nutritional support.

Similarities Between Cats and Dogs

Among these two fluffy creatures are several common characteristics. Both tend to look for love and affection from their owners. Additionally, they are both such curious creatures that want to inspect everything. And lastly, they both make great family members and house pets.

FAQs: Are Cats Smarter Than Dogs and MORE!

Are other animals smarter than dogs?

Animals such as dolphins, chimpanzees and elephants are more intelligent than dogs.

Are cats or dogs better?

Cats and dogs are great house pets; choosing among them depends on your preferences. Dogs are better for you if you are looking for an active, loyal, social animal. But cats are the best for you if you want a calm, more sophisticated pet.

Cat brain vs Dog brain?

Both size and neuron count vary among these two. Dogs have larger brains and more significant neuron counts in their cerebral cortex.

Are cats more intelligent than humans?

If you are wondering about the cat’s ability to do the math, Then humans surely are more intelligent. But when it comes to hunting and survival, for example, cats have the upper hand on this.

Do dogs have memories of previous owners?

Yes, dogs have long-term memory and can easily remember previous owners.

To Sum It Up!

Now when your friend asks, “are cats smarter than dogs?”, Always Keep the following key points in mind:

Dogs have bigger brains, but brain size does not contribute to intelligence. The number of packed neurons in that brain does.

Dogs generally have a higher neuron count and therefore are considered more intelligent. Although the comparison does not necessarily seem fair, the result is deducted from factual knowledge.

The higher the number of neurons in the brain, the better the reasoning and analysis.

Each of these 4-legged furry creatures have its mental skills and capacities. Dogs are smarter than cats in somethings and cats are smarter in others, each of which is easily detectable and distinguished. It would not be un fair to say that both animals are differently intelligent and able.

However, If you have to pick one based on intelligence only, It should be a DOG!

You might also be interested in knowing why cats purr.