Science, the practice that has helped the smarter ones among us accept that the earth is round and a tomato is a fruit, is at it again.
This time, scientists are studying the age-old question of which species is smarter – cats or dogs.
And according to researchers at Vanderbilt University, dogs win.
You see, the number of neurons in the brain is associated with higher intelligence, and apparently pooches have far more than pusses.
“I believe the absolute number of neurons an animal has, especially in the cerebral cortex, determines the richness of their internal mental state and their ability to predict what is about to happen in their environment based on past experience,” neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel told ScienceAlert magazine.
While we once thought cats had the clear edge here, this study showed that dogs have 530 million cortical neurons to 250 million for cats. And I’m not about to argue with anyone wearing a lab coat.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have never given this much thought because, frankly, I never cared.
I spent many years of my life as a “dog person” and mainly dealt with cats on a supervised visitation basis only. However, cats have been a major part of my world the past 10 years, so now I’m also a “cat person.”
In fact, while the cast of characters has changed much over the years due to various Rainbow Bridge crossings (and don’t ask me to read the Rainbow Bridge poem because I’ll just start to cry, dammit), my wife and I are currently parents to one dog and two shelter cats.
The dog is Charlie, a 9-year old Shetland sheepdog; the ginger cat is Thor: God of Thunder, age 3; and our gray and white long-haired tabby is Bane: Breaker of the Bat. He’s just 6 months old.
Cats and dogs cannot talk, obviously, so I couldn’t ask them a series of questions to determine their intelligence. So I had to sit them at a table with pen and paper and get them to write down what was important to them.
Here are the results:
Food in morning good.
Food in afternoon good.
Food at night good.
Olive that fall on floor good.
Dessert in sandy box for cats good.
Treats is good.
Butt of Baby Cat good.
Belly rub that makes leg move fast is good.
Man and Wo-Man that kisses top of head good.
Let’s see … where do I begin?
I sleep approximately 20 hours a day, utilizing various locales throughout the facility provided by Wo-Man and Man.
I do enjoy a good book, and am currently reading a biography of Nikola Tesla, best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system. A truly interesting Man who I understand possessed a magnificent singing voice.
The sustenance is adequate as a cylinder situated on a high, flat surface is most often filled with crunchable food stuffs. On occasion a softer, more flavorful meal is provided, but I’ve yet to determine what actions on my part initiate this activity.
Dog is harmless and mildly amusing, while Baby Cat is a weird little bastard.
Oh, you think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but blinding. The shadows betray you, because they belong to me. I will show you where I have made my home while preparing to bring justice. Then I will break you.
Ah. I’m just funnin’ with you. That’s from The Dark Knight Rises, which is a DVD Man plays a lot so I’ve had a chance to memorize a bunch of lines. I’ll sit on his lap while he watches, and occasionally he’ll give me skitches on the chin and kisses on the head.
Life is pretty chill here … plenty of eats.
Dog and I get along well. We play a lot and he licks my ears and butt. Not sure how I feel about the latter yet.
I love messing with Older Cat. He used to beat me up when I was little, but a couple of weeks ago I went Medieval on his ass and he’s a little scared of me now.
Wo-Man is cool. She combs me a lot and, like Man, kisses me on the head.
That sums it up. If you have any more questions shoot me a text and I’ll get back with you.
After reading these responses one would be inclined to believe that perhaps the research is wrong – cats do seem to be smarter than dogs.
As far as I’m concerned, though, all the science isn’t in yet.
After all, Charlie won a combined $367 from Thor and Bane playing poker last Friday.