Are Dogs Smarter Than Cats?

shellycheval said:
This whole dog cat dichotomy mystifies me—why does it have to be either or for so many people?

I agree. It's sorta like comparing apples and oranges.


shellycheval said:
So, from a lifetime of living with cats and dogs and horses, I do not think that one species is more intelligent than another—I think they all have very different ways of perceiving the world.

I believe there are potential lessons here for humans when we try and grasp what a particular animal's perspective might be. Appreciating their function, assets and limitations assists in our understanding.
That was a good summery shellycheva, and as Annette1 said; “It's sorta like comparing apples and oranges.”

Experience for me is that whether Dog, Cat, Horse’s or even the birds to some extent I take care of through the winter, all here relate with me on different levels and have sensitivities of moods and interactions and it seems that it is not just food that they enjoy.
dant said:
Also - does one wonder why there are more 'dog trick shows'
than there are 'cat trick shows', and yet, I have never, not
even once, seen a 'cat trick show'? Does this say that dogs
are more obedient and trainable than cats? Has anyone seen
a 'cat trick show'? Just wondered.

I've seen this on TV before, pretty impressive for cats! But I agree that responsiveness to tricks is not necessarily a sign of intelligence, cats are after all hard wired to be completely independent with the lion being the only exception I'm aware of.
-a dog = more obedient = a more complex set of emotions and needs - thus judged to be more intelligent (but this is different for every dog)

-a cat = more independent - more in the need to serve self then to offer a service and get rewarded (it doesn't have to be the same for all cats)

A cat requires a lot less maintenance ; you can go to work without any worries ; you don't need to go for a walk every morning and afternoon (assuming you'r living in a small place/town) a cat requires a lot less but it also gives back a lot less .

In the end , they both ''can't hold a spoon'' and that's a real limitation to what extent intelligence can grow(from human perspective).

We as humans recognize other humans because of the similarities : 2 legs 2 arms etc. but we know there are many races of humans- some are shorter, some better resist to cold or hot and so on . It could be said the same thing for animals : some have 4 legs , fur , long ears etc. ..some are cats and some are dogs . In the end is the being that matters ..right ? :)

Personally i prefer dogs , and probably that could reflect my own needs ...others cats ... ;D
The Afghani "poet", Sayid Bahodin Majrouh has written something about cats and dogs.

In his book, "le rire des Amants", "the lover's laughter", he describes an absolute dictatorship where the absolute Dictator bans all cats of the society, they should all be killed and dogs only should prevale. Indeed, cats are prone to lazyness, they don't obey, they are indecent since they wash their anus in public and with great ease. They are a bad exemple for the dictature. Dogs are servil, faithful, they can be given orders and be use to work, they are a good exemple for the people."
One of the character had taken the duty as a mean of resistance, to shelter a beautiful cat... :)

The best relationships with 2D beings I have ever had, were with cats (one was called Lune). Some cats are remarquably more interactive than others, and it seems that cats are somehow more...telepathic.
Ben said:
dant said:
Also - does one wonder why there are more 'dog trick shows'
than there are 'cat trick shows', and yet, I have never, not
even once, seen a 'cat trick show'? Does this say that dogs
are more obedient and trainable than cats? Has anyone seen
a 'cat trick show'? Just wondered.

I've seen this on TV before, pretty impressive for cats! But I agree that responsiveness to tricks is not necessarily a sign of intelligence, cats are after all hard wired to be completely independent with the lion being the only exception I'm aware of.

Interesting - but too bad there is no 'show' to watch
for ourselves. Seems to me it is an exception to the
general rule - and that is to be expected? I think so,
as "no [two cats/dogs/]snowflakes are exactly alike"? :D

ava said:
I wouldn't say dogs are necessarily smarter, just think they are a whole lot more willing (and adapted) to react on human demands (or whims), while cats don't really care for anything but themselves (in most cases).

That is exactly the part that bakes my noodle...

Many people seem to think that dogs are "better", but the reason often has to do with the fact that a dog's world is basically centered around its master - i.e. the human. The human says "sit", the dog sits. The dog "wants love", and the human is the all-powerful Dispenser of Lovies. Well, that's kind of narcissistic when you think about it. And I don't think most pet owners actually DO think about it. I mean, we even project our own warped understanding of what love is onto our dogs, who may every well not even be capable of either love, or warped love, or either.

Cats, on the other hand, have their own agenda. In my experience, they seem to think that they are a human, or maybe that humans are just big cats. Since they have their own agenda, they are sometimes perceived as "cold" or "aloof" or whatever. They want everything on their terms, which is kind of "narcissistic". That makes them clash with humans sometimes, because the humans are like, "NO! *I* am the center of the universe, darn you!"

Personally, I love both dogs and cats. Different dogs and cats have different personalities, and some are smarter, and some are dumb as logs. Sometimes I love them, sometimes they drive me crazy. Kind of like humans and every other animal, really... ;)

On the other hand, I have experienced both cats and dogs coming up to me and just sitting near me or whatever when I'm feeling down, and it doesn't seem like they want anything. It almost seemed like they were there to comfort me, as if they sensed that something was wrong.

So, I'd have to say that it doesn't really matter to me which is smarter. I love ALL of the good lord's marvelous creations! :halo:

But seriously, in the end, maybe the most important part of having pets is not what they do for us, but what we do for them and the learning process that entails. Maybe in a way, our pets understand pure love better than we ponerized humans do!
In Beelzebub's Tales, Gurdjieff talks about 'self-consciousness' instead of 'smartness' to compare cats and dogs:

Beelzebub's Tales said:
Every being, according to its nature and the gradation of Reason attained by its ancestors and transmitted by heredity, occupies a definite place among beings of other forms.

To clarify what I have just said, a good example is the difference between the presence, already definitely crystallized, of the psyche of your dog and your cat.

You have only to pet your dog a little and get it used to anything you please, and it will become affectionate and obedient to the point of abasement. It will follow you around and cut every sort of caper just to please you. You can take liberties with it, beat it, be thoroughly mean to it; it will never turn on you, but only grovel still more at your feet.

But try this sort of thing on your cat. Do you think it will respond to these indignities as your dog did, and cut the same humble capers for your amusement? Never in the world! Even if the cat is not strong enough to retaliate at once, it will never forget how you treated it, and sooner or later will get its revenge.

There are stones of cats that have pounced on a man while he slept and bitten his throat, and I can well believe it, knowing what the cat's reasons may have been.

No, the cat will stand up for itself, it knows its own value, it is proud, and this is simply because it is a cat, and its nature is at that gradation of Reason which belongs to it according to the merits of its ancestors. In any case no being, not even a man, should be angry with a cat for this.

Is it the cat's fault that it is a cat, and that owing to the merits of its ancestors its presence occupies that gradation of "self-consciousness"? A cat must not be despised for this, nor beaten, nor humiliated, on the contrary it should be given its due, as occupying a higher rung on the ladder of evolution of 'self-consciousness'.
Well, I found this show.....


Interestingly he says it's common in russia to see cats perform.....
It reminded me more of watching monkeys perform than dogs, perhaps that is just the circus format, or some subtle similarities?

I thought about this a while ago.... it is just a fundamental difference in the way an animal sees the world. I always thought of dogs and cats as day/night, sun/moon, etc., just an interesting dualism in our psychological world.
I do think if it was not cats and dogs, it would be two other similarly contrasted animals domesticated. Cats have a much better athletic intelligence, IMO.

Two examples of cat-dog oddities: one family dog, one family cat.
1. The dog, a whippet, would sit on windowsills, like a cat.
2. The cat would sit between 2 or more standing ppl while conversing. He would look up just kinda thinking, then randomly jump up and mount his paws on one's shoulders, with his head all up in your face, cat-smilin....guess he just wanted to join in the conversation, but freaked a few ppl out who didn't know the cat.
Having two dogs and a cat they keep us well entertained. In relation to our dogs intelligence, we have a boxer and a puggle (half pug, half beagle).
Down here in SW Florida we have fire ants. Terribly mean ants that will bite you (to protect itself and the nest) even to the point where they shake their little tush in what appears to be anger for the intrusion. Both dogs have been plagued by these ants by walking through the mounds. The boxer has learned to steer clear away from them. Probably picking up a scent and knowing where they are. The puggle, can never quite get it to stay away. She will walk right threw it and wonder why she is getting bites. She will look up at me for help, which I usually have to go and brush off the ants for her and then she is so grateful. Yet at the same time if she has found something outside that she likes, a pile of pooh, garbage or some other item that I won't let her have at the moment, for two or three days she will go back to that very spot and look for it. Forgetting that I as well know the spot and won't let her have it. At times I have thrown away the item of pleasure and she will go back to the spot and be so confussed as to "where did it go?" sniffing around looking for it. The puggle hunts for lizards, has eatten poisen on three occasions, loves to eat eye glasses,etc... and just does not seem to get that it is not good for her. No lesson learned. We have to be very vigilant and watch what is left out for her to get at.

In regards to our cat a lilac siamese, she gets along great with the boxer, a very slow relationship is developing after three years with the puggle. We call the cat kung pow kitty, She was adopted from a local shelter at 4.5 years old and had been declawed by previous human. So when the puggle comes to her she will use both paws in a very fast one two to the face. The puggle doesn't even know what hit her and you could barely see the cats paws move. Yet again the puggle has not learned and continues to go over to the cat and gets her punches.

I remember reading a long time ago that in Asia, cats used to guard the temples. So yes I agree, they are apples and oranges metaphorically speaking and each having their own intelligence in relation to the breed. And each individual has their own personality and smarts in their own way.
I love both dogs and cats, although I have a fear of dogs. Could we just say that they are different, one from the other? ;D
Thank you, Salleles, for posting Beelzebub's Tales/Gurdjieff quote.

I also thought Mr. Scott made some excellent observations regarding pets and their human companions. And I wholeheartedly agree with his ending paragraph.

I recall observing our pets’ behavior when we lived out in the country (3 cats and 2 dogs). They all had “jobs”. The dogs were expected to guard the chicken coop against predators (raccoons) and the cats were to defend against mice. One lazy summer afternoon, all five were peacefully napping on the front porch. A car drove up the long driveway. Immediately, the dogs began barking and made their way toward the car. The cats looked up and decided it was “exit, stage left” time. I remember wondering to myself as I watched this if the cats thought, “You morons, now you’ve alerted them to our exact location! You have no idea what’s going on. Couldn’t you just be quiet and watch and see what action you should be taking instead of just jumping the gun and jeopardizing us all?” It seemed the cats scurried away rather annoyed with the dogs' antics. The poor dogs were just doing what was expected; to ward off potential predators in their fashion.

But, there I go projecting my thoughts onto the critters. But like Mr. Scott, I appreciate all of them and learning about them.
Thanks shellychavel for those excellent points. Thanks also to others who basically summed up why it's absurd to compare dogs with cats in such a competitive manner. Compare, yes, but don't make any absolute conclusions based on those comparisons. The first thought I had when I read that "study" was how can you define a test which you believe to be an objective measure of intelligence? You can't! It is therefore arrogant and ignorant in the extreme to conclude "Dogs are smarter than cats because this test resulted in dogs getting higher scores than cats". Let's not forget the extensive tests done on horses and rats using various mazes. Far and away, rats fare better than horses at finding food in the heart of some of the most complex mazes. Horses can only manage the same feat if the maze has only three different paths to choose from! Does this make horses dumber than rats? Of course not. It just means that rats are better at locating food.

dant said:
Some cats are self-cleaning, but for dogs, are they cleaner
than cats? Cats shed hairballs everywhere you look and you
can never get rid of the hairs, but can the same be said for dogs?

Having owned (and loved) both cats and dogs, I can say from experience that ALL cats are self-cleaning, unless they're so old that they can't manage on their own any more. Also, I have never once had a problem with cat odour, whereas all dogs I've had always stank to high heaven unless given a wash every few weeks. Merely petting dogs (any dogs, not just mine) always leaves a disagreeable smell on my hands. Not so with cats. In fact most cats I've had have had a very pleasant smell on their coats, as if they use perfume or something! ;) About the furballs -- actually cats don't "shed furballs everywhere". It's rare, and it's only a problem with long-hair types. I have a long-hair and she only vomits furballs once every couple of months at the most.
I thought this was interesting

One dog saves another on the freeway
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