We don’t employ felines for investigation and police work or bomb-sniffing. Most people might say kitties are intellectually unfit for such complicated tasks, but could they perhaps be as clever as dogs? The answer may amaze you. One thing we do know is that felines are not stupid by any stretch. Just because felines have a distinct skill set than dogs doesn’t imply they aren’t as bright—and perhaps even more so.
Some, particularly die-hard cat lovers, believe felines are even more intelligent than dogs because they don’t find comfort in frustrating circumstances like practicing gimmicks or other unnecessary social pastimes that puppies are enthusiastic to demonstrate. And just about everyone in animal study knows that intelligence or not, felines are no cake-walk to do with.
Kitties are not just adorable and cute but also clever and smart. But just how intelligent are felines? Are they smarter than dogs?
Several studies have been accomplished to date on cat cleverness. Still, a 2009 research aimed to determine whether cats could recognize different quantities of objects established they weren’t as adequate at it as other animals, like fish or pups, were. Another research found that felines can interpret pointing indications similarly to dogs and discern simple riddles to get food. Still, if the puzzle is unsolvable, dogs look to their holders for assistance while cats persist trying. Of course, in the end, aside from ascertaining cats’ boredom to participating in the surveys themselves, none of the experiments proved much about cats’ intelligence.
Well, experts have sought to find explanations to these questions with many types of research. Let’s look at some of them.
Studies and Scientific Evidence
Many surveys assert the fact that felines are intelligent. A group of scientists in Japan has executed memory trials on cats. This study involved 49 domestic cats, and they were tested to see if they can recall memories of an enjoyable experience such as munching a favorite food. It is unique for each feline, just like how it is different for humans when they remember some of their previous events, like a wedding. This type of memory is scientifically known as episodic memory. Another study shows that felines have extended bouts of episodic memories, which implies, they can remember items and their directions for relatively extended periods. They could even search for food in their meal bowls and in the usual spots where the meal bowls were placed while feeding.
Cats are assumed to match dogs on several mental tests such as reacting to humans, facial expressions, and gestures. These researches demonstrate that cats are smart. But what is it in their brains that give them this ability?
What Makes Cats Smart?
Several aspects of our brain infer our level of intelligence, and the same holds true for felines. Let’s now look at some of the distinct elements that lend cats this level of intelligence.
- Neurons in the Cerebral Cortex
One good pointer of intelligence is the total number of neurons present in the brain’s cerebral cortex. This cerebral cortex is liable for rational decision-making and for figuring out many complicated problems. Also, this is the part that comprehends languages and stores rememberings. All this suggests that the more developed this area of the brain is, the more intelligent individual tends to be.
In felines, this area of the brain is well-developed and has several neuron connections. It tells why kitties have many long-term recollections. Their rememberings may even outlast that of the pups, particularly how long they can remember incidents.
- Social vs. Cognitive
When you compare dogs and cats, pups tend to have a higher social IQ, whereas felines can unravel complicated cognitive problems. If you have both these animals as pets, you’ll understand the difference. Dogs will do absolutely anything to bring a smile to your face or for that particular reward. But, kitties will take their time to come and, in some cases, will not do what you expect them to do. In this sense, they are stubborn and difficult and follow their intellect. Cats will perform an activity only when awarded for them and not because you will appreciate it. This distinction is possible because dogs have been domesticated for extended periods than cats, which has expanded their social IQ.
A more scientific assumption is that one part of the brain in the feline is not as well matured as the dog. It is the spot that regulates emotions of empathy and infers the social nature of an individual. It is why, if you see, felines have a shorter tolerance for aggravating circumstances than dogs. They are more spontaneous, impulsive, and less patient, and they are likely to be more self-centered. It is why you’ll always find a feline walking away from you if it finds you too monotonous and boring!
In a way, these emotions are a fundamental requirement for survival, so felines are smart enough to understand and do only what is helpful. Thus, their cognitive aspect is sufficiently developed than their social aspect.
- Brain Size
One thing we do realize is that felines are not foolish by any stretch. The brain of a kitty, though small, occupies about 0.9 percent of its total body mass. A feline’s complicated cerebral cortex, the area of the brain responsible for knowledge processing, comprises nearly twice as many neurons as that of pups. It is the region of the brain that comprehends rational decision-making, language, complex problem-solving, and information. Cats have smaller brains than pups. But, brain size alone is not a pointer of smartness. When the feline’s brain development is assessed, scientists were amazed to discover many similarities with human brains.
Feline’s brain is neatly categorized and is adequately connected with the other parts. It means kitties can comprehend their surroundings and even use them to their benefit, a characteristic that is well developed in humans. The functioning of the brain and the distinct areas in it indeed demonstrate to us that felines are rational and intelligent animals.
- Survival Skills
It hinges on how you like to define smart. If it infers survival skills, then felines are hands-down champions. When you see a kitty walking around on the road, do you stop and say, “Oh My God, let me get it and take it to a safer place? It must be lost.” Perhaps not. But many would agree that a puppy requires aid to find a protected place.
If you take a kitty and a puppy and place them outdoors to watch over themselves for ten days, the kitty will probably come back thick and happy. The puppy, on the other hand, if it survives, might not come back because it endeared itself to some strangers. Does that imply dogs are foolish when it comes to enduring on their own? Not plausible. It just means that kitties have a more autonomous nature.
How Smart Are Cats?
To understand how intelligent cats are, we have to describe them with another creature to compare. The closest other animal is the dog, not in terms of smartness, but in terms of comparison. Most pet holders either possess a dog or a cat or sometimes both, so this question often asks which of the two is more intelligent. Dogs are social and can comprehend several things going on around them, comprising human feelings and behaviors. On the other hand, felines are not as social as pups, which could be domesticated as long as the pups. So, they are still in a survival mode and likely to concentrate more on themselves than those around them, including human beings.
It is why you’ll often find a dog obeying you, but a cat would walk away. This social IQ could be the distinction. But felines are capable of solving more complicated problems, particularly those about their protection and survival, and in this sense, they are more rational than dogs. A study published November 2015 in Animal Cognition reports that most cat intellect study concentrates on one of the following categories:
- Item Permanence and Memory: Object permanence generally implies animals can comprehend that an item still prevails even though it may be hidden from its sight. Recollection is usually tested as short-term, indicating a kitty has a ball in a basket, distracting it for up to a minute, and then asking it to call back that information with action. Felines perform well on recollection tests up to about 30 seconds.
- Cause and Effect Action: Knowing that if I do this thing, it will lead to another thing. Anyone who has been awoken by a simple, ‘let me hit your phone off to get your interest move’ has seen this in action. Felines can evaluate cause-and-effect activities.
- Comprehending Amounts and Time: Through several studies, it has been found out that cats can differentiate charges and timings. And anyone who is a few minutes late reaping food into the meal bowl knows felines have internal biological clocks to compete with the Japanese Train system.
- Communication: How many different noises and sounds does your feline make? Can you say what they want? Have you ever thought so?
- Attachment to Humans: Cats are often compared to dogs, and mainly unfavorably in the attachment department. Pups, it seems, are the golden lab criterion for attachment to human beings. However, several new studies have indicated that cats show affection in different manners. For instance, they have been known to calm a person who is stressed or anxious by spending time with them and purring to help heal.
- Personality and Behavior: A lot of this merely depends on the individual to the individual cat. Some species are thought to classify higher in the intellect category, such as European Burmese, but there is no proof to support such assertions.
How To Test your Cat’s Intelligence?
Do you ever wonder just how clever your cat is? After all, any kitty parent will let you know that felines are intelligent even compared to dogs. And while it is enjoyable to discuss for hours on end who are more intelligent, there are trivial exercises you can do with your kitty to assess their IQ. There is no official scientific IQ experiment for felines, but this is a way to distinguish your cat’s intelligence level from a human being. Here is your cat’s smartness experiment!
- Experiment 1: Do this exercise in a tidy and uncluttered place where your feline can concentrate exclusively on you. Grab your cat’s beloved toy. Let your kitty get a nice long look at the toy and then hide the toy behind a solid object, such as a piece of cardboard or a massive piece of paper. Your kitty will then perhaps go searching for the toy behind the chunk of cardboard instead of believing that the toy vanished. It implies that your feline has at least the intellect of an 18-month-old toddler. Kittens have the IQ of a 2- or 3-year-old kid.
- Experiment 2: Pick up a mechanical mouse toy, making sure it’s provided to your kitty. Position it in a way, so it ends up moving underneath a piece of furniture, like a stool or your table. Oversee your kitty as they gawk at the mechanical mouse. How your feline behaves is a measure of its smartness. Your kitty will most probably observe the movement of the mouse. Does your kitty predict with precision where the mouse appears from underneath the piece of furniture? If so, this ascertains that your feline has at least the understanding of a 2-year-old kid.
Of course, how your feline performs on these experiments is just a measure of basic IQ. These activities don’t indicate how much you and your kitty love each other, how affectionate your feline is, or how adequate your cat is at other activities like cuddling or being an incredible best friend. Nonetheless, give your cat these tests to assess their general IQ.
To Wrap Things Up
We can tell that cats are brilliant because they possess good brain composition and development that enables them to comprehend their environment and read human signs.
Understanding their environment requires constant stimulation and can help make intelligent and independent judgments, regardless of the consequences. Sounds a little bit like a human being? Well, they are! Some of their brain areas resemble that of human beings.
So, if, next time your feline walks away or seems to appear quite distant and ignores you, view it as a mark of exceptional cleverness and not as stubbornness or pride!