Life Lines

Revenge of the Cats!

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For all of the cat lovers out there, this entry is for you! You may recall the recent post on how dogs are smarter than cats. Admittedly, I love our little feline friends as well although my cat is certainly no Einstein…more like Garfield…

Based on the ratio of brain to body size size alone, cats have larger brains than dogs, but now we may also know how so many mice and birds outsmart our furry little friends:
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Many cat owners will tell you stories of their pets being able to open windows and doors, especially if that door leads to their food or to cozy blankets and towels in a cabinet. I do not know of too many dogs that have mastered the art of opening cupboard doors, which thankfully keeps our trash cans safely hidden from Fido. Cats also have the ability to retrieve objects from difficult to access areas and can learn how to play fetch; characteristics shared with canines. One thing I wish we could teach our dog, is how to use the toilet, like many cats seem to be able to do. Imagine not stepping on “land mines” in the yard! Although this particular ability may have more to do with the relative size and dexterity of cats vs. dogs…I have not come across too many graceful dogs.

If anyone doubts whether cats can learn or be trained like a dog, just watch this video clip of the Moscow Cat Theatre and you will see how trainable a cat can be! It is a MUST SEE!!

Perhaps the reason why cats are considered to be less intelligent is that they do not communicate with humans in the same way as dogs. Their method of communication often involves body language that we may or may not understand. Cats are able to make many different sounds depending on whether they are communicating with other cats, humans or other animals. They appear to develop a wider variety of sounds when they live or interact with humans as they learn which ones we most respond to. So yes, your cat may develop a particularly “whiney” meow when it wants food as that is probably the most effective sound to make you get up and feed him/her. In contrast, interactions with other cats involves primarily body language and scent as opposed to vocalizations.

To test your own felines intelligence, just take this simple quiz published in Cat Fancy magazine.

Lastly, as a cat owner, you may appreciate a recent study that suggests cat owners are more intelligent than dog owners. The phone study conducted by Dr. Jane Murray (a cat owner) found that people with degrees were 36% more likely to own a cat than a dog. This is probably because cats are more independent and do not require as much contact time as dogs, making them more suitable companions for students or people with demanding careers, or so the study suggests…

Comments

  1. #1 m5
    January 20, 2011

    At least one of my two cats has taught herself how to use the toilet. She still normally goes in the litter but twice now I’ve walked into the bathroom to find her crouched on the seat, peeing into the bowl.

  2. #2 feralboy12
    January 20, 2011

    I’ll believe dogs are smarter than cats as soon as a cat tries to hump my leg.
    The difficulties in communication with humans is not the fault of cats; the problem is that most people just aren’t bright enough to understand what they’re saying, even when the cat is using near-perfect English.
    How many times do they have to say “me out, me out, prowl now,” before people get it?

  3. #3 Kevin W. Parker
    January 20, 2011

    Heck, anyone who’s watched Bugs Bunny or Tom and Jerry cartoons knows that mice are smarter than cats are smarter than dogs.

  4. #4 Lyle
    January 20, 2011

    My niece has a cat that can make a noise like a baby crying. A very good way to get attention since humans are programmed to respond to that. She (the cat) does not do it often but one time when visiting my niece I thought I heard a baby crying and it turned out to be the cat.
    Of course I contend that cats domesticated humans not the other way around. If a cat finds the ideal slave (human) it has then everything it needs and can engage in the ideal behavior of sleeping and hanging around.

  5. #5 megan
    January 21, 2011

    I laugh and just figure they mind-controlled me to take them in from the cold and then infected me with a parasite to do their bidding and wish to stay home more than hang out and party.

  6. #6 Domestigoth
    January 21, 2011

    The trouble with testing the intelligence of your cat (as the survey you linked to demonstrates, if only by its many flaws) is that cats, unlike dogs and humans, are not pack animals, and do not necessarily desire the same things that we do, or show intelligence in the same ways that we might.

    According to the survey, for example, a troublemaking cat shows more intelligence than a well-behaved cat does. As a life-long cat owner, though, I have to call BS on that. The smartest cat I ever owned was also one of the least troublesome, because a) he knew that causing trouble would get him smacked and lose him opportunities at getting treats and cuddles, b) he was lazy and would therefore decide that many troublesome things were simply not worth the effort, and c) he was smart enough to conceal the evidence when he did in fact do something against the rules. This cat was so smart that he would not only open cupboard doors to get at the food within — he’d CLOSE them again when he was finished, and not leave a mess behind as evidence.

    Cats and dogs can both be extremely smart, but comparing the two is difficult when they show their brains in such different manners.

  7. #7 Clam
    January 21, 2011

    Friend of mine has an embroidered cushion on her settee that reads “So what part of MIAOW don’t you understand?”
    Says it all, really.

  8. #8 Sven DiMilo
    January 26, 2011

    the ratio of brain to body size size alone

    *sigh*
    On a physiology blog?
    Allometry ring a bell?

  9. #9 Kurdele Resim
    April 24, 2011

    I’ll believe dogs are smarter than cats as soon as a cat tries to hump my leg.
    The difficulties in communication with humans is not the fault of cats; the problem is that most people just aren’t bright enough to understand what they’re saying, even when the cat is using near-perfect English.
    How many times do they have to say “me out, me out, prowl now,” before people get it?
    yes commente aynenene katımlamidır. istanbulda açılanyeni ismekkursundan kurdele nakısları eğitiminiücretsiz veriyor. kurdele resim…

  10. #10 Leena
    May 14, 2011

    LOL – Oh, that is one funny pic :)

    I’ve been owned by cats for so many years I’ve lost count. Hubby and I had Abyssinians for… 22 years I think, and they are very intelligent. Opening doors is no problem – and the two Abys we have at the moment actually love to fetch a stick.

    They bring it to our feet, and then make such a noise that we just have to lift the stick and throw it. They run like nuts to fetch it – sometimes so fast they loose their footing and slide on their sides against a wall, then bounce back to their geet and continue running.

    They then bring the stick back (running back to you) and expect you to repeat the process. It’s more likely for us to get a dislocated shoulder before they get tired LOL :D

    The sticks are such feather sticks they sell at the pet stores. It doesn’t matter the feathers have been murdered a long time ago, it’s the stick they love.

    Leena :)