Dogs vs. Cats: Which Are Smarter? Scientists May Finally Have Found An Answer

Dog and cat snuggling
Dog and cat snugglingKimberlee Reimer / Getty Images

It’s a debate pet owners have been raging about for years. Are cats smarter than dogs, or is it the other way around? While the debate has likely riled up some arguments among friends and family members, a group of scientists have put together some evidence to answer the question once and for all.

As part of a study put together by a group of international scientists, researchers analyzed the brains of different animals, including cats and dogs, to see which animals had the highest number of neurons in their cerebral cortex. The reason being that the amount of neurons can correspond with “goal setting and planning.”

M0916_hf_dog_a b838862c 7f9f 4ad8 8325 451ba088b9e1

MORE: Why Owning a Dog Adds Years to Your Life

Read article

The result? Sorry, cat owners, but the study posits that dogs are smarter than cats because dogs have “about 530 million cortical neurons,” while cats have “about 250 million.”

“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,” said Suzana Herculano-Houzel, associate professor of psychology and biological sciences at Vanderbilt University who worked on the study. “Our findings mean to me that dogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can. At the least, we now have some biology that people can factor into their discussions about who’s smarter, cats or dogs.”

Gettyimages 142892450 b5811e0c 34aa 4f7d 9323 4b2b841f7e56

MORE: 5 Reasons Life’s Just Better With A Dog

Read article

The study also looked at the brains of other meat-eating species, including hyenas, lions, brown bears, mongooses, raccoons, and ferrets.

The report was published on the Frontiers in Neuroanatomy site, and broke down how the researchers analyzed the brains of the animals. From the data, the scientists were able to “predict that, with their larger numbers of neurons in the cerebral cortex, dogs of the sizes examined here should have more complex and flexible cognition than cats.”

If you want more details or arguments to throw at your cat-owning friends, check out the full study here.

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!