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Are cats smarter than dogs?

Christina Haller works full-time in marketing, is a mom, wife, freelance writer, and lover of cats, coffee, ethnic food, and traveling, and is currently living in Minneapolis.

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.
Boxer dog and cat

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!

More on cats and dogs

Cats and dogs not getting along? 5 Tips to help your pets get along
Top 3 signs you should hire a cat behaviorist
How to successfully incorporate dogs in weddings

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