Sorry (not sorry) to all those who insists their cat is smarter than a dog— YER WRONG. A new study from Vanderbilt University confirmed what every dog parent already knew, which is that dogs are actually the more intelligent creature. And doubly so!
And also sorry (not sorry) if I sound gleeful; The only cats I’ve ever liked are ones that act like dogs. The rest are fickle creatures with hideous mouth contraptions. Moving on: Researchers discovered that dogs possess 530 million cortical neurons in their cerebral cortex while cats only have 250 million. (For context, humans have 16 billion.) More neurons logically means a larger capacity for thinking, planning, and complex behaviors— all hallmarks of intelligence.
Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Associate Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University, developed the method for accurately measuring the number of neurons in cats and dogs’ brains. “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,” she said.
Although she is a little biased being a dog person herself, she says the findings mean dogs have “the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can.” To be clear, this doesn’t necessarily mean every single dog is smarter than every single cat— just that all dogs have the potential for greater intellectual capacity.
But here’s something cat people can store away for their knowledge arsenal: Interestingly enough. there may have been a point in time when cats were smarter than dogs. A 2010 study from Oxford University asserted that dog brains are continually evolving while cat brains have barely changed since their domestication over 8,000 years ago. Researchers credit the fact that dogs are more social than cats, since navigating social relationships requires more gray matter.
Who run the world? Dogs.