Boxer dog and cat

The age-old question

It is definitely going to depend on who you ask, but are cats smarter than dogs? If you're a cat person, you probably think so. We analyzed the behaviors of cats and dogs to figure out which species wins the title of most intelligent.

Dogs are straight-forward pets. You know where you stand with a dog. Cats, however, are mischievous and curious.

They don't greet you at the door when you come home or lick you good morning. Is this because they have a mind of their own? Or is it because they're not smart enough to know the difference?

Physical limitations

Comparing cats and dogs is like comparing apples and oranges. They are trained and expected to do different things. Dogs are built to be more efficient runners, while cats have greater speed and super-hero reflexes. Cats have the ability to maneuver things with their paws, such as pull strings or hold a toy while playing; dogs are more capable of moving things from place to place with their mouths. While larger dogs can protect you from intruders or aggressive animals (and even a small dog with a big bark can ward off an enemy), cats are fierce hunters with the aptitude to capture bugs, birds and rodents with killer instincts. This category ends in a tie.

Social skills

Another factor usually associated with intelligence is social skills. Social animals are always smarter than anti-social or solitary animals. How so? Because animals that live in social settings have to use problem-solving skills every time they interact with other animals or humans. Problem-solving skills involve reasoning. For example, a dog has to understand that when he rolls over on his belly, he will get a tummy rub. Or, if he barks at the door, someone will open it for him so he can go outside. So, because dogs are much more social than cats, and thus have more problem-solving and reasoning skills, dogs win this category.

Survival of the fittest

Let's face it, cats are more independent and self-suffient than dogs. They don't require nearly the amount of work or attention as dogs. Cats can survive for days with just a bowl of food and water. So go ahead — take that weekend vacation. Lilly is fine!

Cats don't need to be walked or exercised either. They don't need to be let outside every time they have to go to the bathroom nor do they have to be bathed. So, cats exercise, potty train and bathe themselves. Dog's can't. Sorry, puppy lovers, this one goes to the cats.

Listen to commands

You can train a pooch to fetch, shake, sit, dance, speak... the list goes on. You can't really teach a kitty to do many, if any, of these things. However, is it because cats aren't smart? Or is it because cats are bright enough to do as they please and just prefer not to obey commands? Cats do know their names — if you call a cat, she will definitely look your way. She just prefers not to get up and do what you're asking her to do. Dogs are very motivated by the treat they are sure to receive when they complete the requested task. Maybe they just have a one-track mind? This one is a toss up.

Beggars aren't choosers

Canines will eat and play with anything set in front of them. They will chow down on everything from table scraps to feces! Felines though, sometimes won't even eat the cat food set in front of them. It can take several bags of food before your cat will decide it is suitable to eat. Dogs will also play and chew on clothes, shoes and every other household item they can get their teeth on. Cats don't usually even like the expensive toys made and purchased especially for them. Does turning your nose up at the undesirable make you smarter or just a snob?

We are going to play nice here and say that cats and dogs are each smart in their own ways.

Tell us

What do you think: Are cats smarter than dogs? Share in the comments below!

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Comments on "Are cats smarter than dogs?"

Linda April 05, 2014 | 4:18 PM

Our cats greet us when we come home. They do obey the few commands I insist they learn and they come when I call unless they don't think it's safe to do so. You have to get them to want to please you with positive reinforcement to train them. Punishment doesn't do much good with a cat. Most people don''t want to take the time to properly train their cats. I agree though, that dogs and cats are both smart in their own ways.

Deb April 05, 2014 | 1:02 PM

I am a cat person so I am a bit biased. As I was reading through the traits attributed to dog that cats don't have I must say I have to disagree. I have a cat who has many of those traits. Hence, we call her the dog/cat. She will greet you at the door and make sure you understand she is not happy that you left her. Not that you left her alone, because she was not alone. It's because I left. She will do the same with other household member. When my niece's boyfriend stops by, Lovey is right there to great him. She is very human oriented and can be dog clingy at times. She figured out that if she is trapped in a room with one of those spring door stops she only has to use her paw to "twang" it and someone will let her out. She lets you know when she wants to play. It is up to us to figure out if she wants to chase the string or run after balls tossed from one end of the room to the other. She really likes it if you make them bounce. She is also trainable. She knows sit, stay, jump among a few others. Nissi, my other cat gives kisses on the nose. She knows what kisses means.

Charity December 17, 2013 | 7:49 AM

i think dogs are not smarter but cats are not either and that's why people get dogs as their pets cats are just lazy like seriously whats the use of having a pet that does not love their owners . In conclusion cats are lazy............

kuli October 01, 2013 | 11:16 AM

many people prefer dogs, but i really think cate makes better pets. first of all,cats do not bother people. cats will never jump on people and bark. they just sit back and sleep on cay around.

Cosminlungu June 08, 2013 | 2:44 PM

Like I sayd the scientific explanation is wrong just a quater right yeah dogs at smart but cats are cleverer and I'm a scientist by the way dogs are bigger so is no fair cats independent de and cleverer like most people say but don't judg cats like there are there lazy but there cleverer I e seen enough I don't want to make dog lovers sad but is relly rude dog lovers and I heave I say now and ill say cats all the way

Liza June 06, 2013 | 2:24 AM

My favorite thing about cats is that they tell you when they are happy, or if they are annoyed, something humans and dogs tend to lie and fake. When they need something they ask by looking and or meowing, without having to beg. In that way they are more communicable then humans; its often impossible to know how people feel, they don't tell you. I have a cat . My mom brought her as a baby kitten. At first she thought I was a big cat mom because she slept by my stomach and thought my belly button was a nipple. My cat is social. She played tag with a ferret, but she chases anything that moves. I took my cat hiking on a leash, but i had to follow her, otherwise she got mad, naturally.

peter April 16, 2013 | 7:14 AM

Comparing cats to dogs is really like comparing apples to oranges. There isn't really better "pet" Both has pros and cons. You can't compare apples to oranges, neither you can't really compare cats to dogs.

Bel January 22, 2013 | 6:21 PM

this was written by someone who never ever interacted with a cat. first of all the cat's brain is much more like the human brain than the dog (you can google it) Cats DOOOOOO learn tricks!!! youtube it! you will find cats than even eat using a fork!!!! they're just harder to teach cause they do not have that unhealthy desire to please humans...if they don't want they don't want!!! period and cats are the only animal who has been able to train humans without being trained! think about that! the way domestic cats evolved is incredible they trained themselves!! wild dogs were trained by humans. I have a cat who's the best example, he was a feral cat and trained himself watching my cats every day... now he's a house cat!! he amazes me everyday If you've had a cat and a dog... you know cats are way way smarter. "This exchange of sensory information allows the brain to construct a complex perception of the real world and to react to and manipulate its environment"

kool lu January 06, 2013 | 5:34 AM

owned dogs in the past (got rid of them cause they got on my nerves),own a cat now problem solved

Ann December 29, 2012 | 10:26 PM

I love both, and I have a 2 smart cats (siblings) and 2 sweet dogs, I must say cats are waaaay smarter. Cats knows reasoning and logic! I guess :) My lovely cat would cry out his and her heart out in my bedroom door for breakfast or if He wants attention or because my folks are eating and they were calling me to eat too!! If I did not open it theyd go out the front door and boy!! you wont be surprised in a minute or two hes inside your bedroom. went in using the window. and done lots of thing that proves to me they are such a smart animal. Dogs are smart too of course I have had one hes name is Sebastian, very smart dog he was. had him for 15 lovely years. But I can Honestly say based on my observation Cats are Smarter. Have a lot of cats and dog tails but ill leave now my Cat is calling me..

Chuck December 25, 2012 | 11:14 PM

Don't own a cat and never have. I can't personally say what they'd be like, but i do know about dogs. I have a little 14 pound Sheltie who is extremely intelligent. He understands so many of my conversations with people and is in zinc with my every mood. He is kind and loving and makes few demands on me. He is loving and kind, not only when looking for treats, but always! It took less than a week to train him to go outside when he was 9 weeks old. He is naturally smart and i have never trained him to do tricks. Many times i have watched him solve problems by a certain reason and logic. Seeing is believing and i see it every day!

Animal lover December 16, 2012 | 2:55 PM

I think cats are smarter because they can jump higher and survive high falls. They are more flexible and can defend easier. They learn how to take care of them selves. they can get to places easier. They can clean themselves. Cats are smarter.

Sally November 30, 2012 | 4:33 PM

As a cat and dog owner..cats for sure are smarter. I had a doggy door which I locked one way so my dog couldn't go outside, what did my cat do? She stuck her claw in the gap and opened it forward and slid her head under and snuck outside. My cats have always done very smart things and also they do greet me and I've also taught one of them tricks. But tricks definitely doesn't mean an animals smart, it just means their personality is a pleaser. I love both animals, but I've seen too many amazing things that only a smart animal could do and that's always from my cats. My dogs lovely and does tricks, but does not have the brain power of cats.

jim November 07, 2012 | 7:36 PM

My cat is quite smart. He learned how to ring a bell I tied on the doorknob when he wants to go outside and I taught him how to come and sit.

Alicia September 02, 2012 | 2:27 PM

Cats and dogs defanitly show there smarts in different ways. Dogs aim to please. Cats tend to do what they want, but that doesnt me they dont know what they are doing and why.

dave August 24, 2012 | 2:19 PM

Got both, Have a small dog,,, To me cats are like a small dog just way smarter,, get a kitten and dont stop giving it attention as soon as its potty trained (which is instant) to me dogs are like a 10 year old boy with adht that never grows up, as soon as someone comes in the door jumping all over you,, if its a stranger they will not leave them alone demanding attention, cats are chill, let you come it settle down(all though my cats come running as soon as i get home (they go out durring the day) so forget the loyalty thing, try leaving your dog out all day or night..(by by doggy) when they do want attention they come over nice and easy settle down next to me,,, they catch rats and leave them at the door as gifts, I never step in cat poop, i never wash the cats.. not to mention if im playing with the dog the cats dont get jealous,, god forbid im petting the cat the dog gets jealous..... cats stay in at night if they want , sleep in the room with me and wake me up if they need to go outside (never any accidents) the dog has to be locked in a cage otherwise there is ---- and poop on the floor if im lucky,(dog ---- on a bed sucks) give a cat the attention it deserves as a kitten and they will bond with you like no dog can!!!!!!

animallova July 26, 2012 | 3:29 PM

CATS ARE SMARTER. dog lovers only think dogs are smarter because cats dont like going doing tricks and all that .. WELL YOUR WROONG ! Cats are waaay smarter, Last itme i saw a cat open the door without anyone teaching them. Dogs in the other hand will do anything for a treat .. sooo Cats win (:

Mer July 19, 2012 | 9:33 AM

My cats come running to the door when I come home, actually. Saying cats aren't as social as dogs is mistaking neediness for socialibility. Cats are very social creatures in fact, if they are properly socialized.

Caitlin July 18, 2012 | 11:38 AM

DOGS. I'm allergic to cats and therefore extremely biased, but dogs are just...better.

Casey July 17, 2012 | 12:06 PM

I love BOTH, but when it comes to owning one or the other, I will pick the animal that does not require me dropping everything to get up and take them for a walk just to go to the bathroom, sorry. I'd rather scoop because I can do that really quickly, and just whenever necessary. Plus, cats don't yap at the door when the doorbell rings, and they can clean themselves. So, cats win!

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