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Who’s Smarter: Dogs vs Cats

Posted on Jan 5, 2017 by in Blog | 1 comment

There has been a long standing debate in the field of animal cognition: Which is smarter, dogs or cats? Well, that and — why do cats only scratch the expensive leather on the new sofa… and not the fabric on the piece of shit futon we’ve had since college?

The animal community is divided over the answer. Cat lovers insist cats are smarter. Dog lovers insist dogs are smarter… and that cat’s are awful creatures who will scratch out your eyes just for sport.

To determine which is smarter, This vs That worked with the head of the Animal Cognition Lab at UCLA, Dr. Aaron Blaisdell, who supervised three experiments:

BradwithDogIn the first experiment, we tested how well the animal can map human language. One by one, dogs and cats are brought into an enclosed arena (give or take 50 feet in diameter) and allowed to play with a new toy. After five minutes, the animal is removed. Upon return to the arena, about 1 minute later, the animal finds the 1st toy along with a SECOND toy he’s never seen. The owner then asks the animal to go get — and he names the new toy.

Human babies are able to demonstrate this cognitive skill before the age of one. Although, science is still waiting to see this behavior exhibited by any member of Donald Trump’s cabinet.

IMG_9099In the second experiment, again dogs and cats are brought into the arena one at a time, where they are given time to bond with a stranger. After 5 minutes, the stranger climbs a ladder inside the arena (about 10 feet tall) and FALLS off, landing with a loud thud  (it’s really a stunt man and he’s wearing pads). The stunt man calls out for “help” and indicates he’s injured.

The question is, will the animal demonstrate signs of empathy or danger or an emergency? Think “Lassie” barking when Timmy falls down the well.

IMG_9351In the third experiment, one by one the animals are placed into what is known as a “T” maze. They start at the bottom… and walk to the decision point, at which point, the can go either left or right. Before the experiment begins, we put a bowl on the left and right. However, the bowl on the RIGHT has food in it. The question is, how long does it take the animal to figure out after the first try in the maze, to ALWAYS turn right to get the food?


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1 Comment

  1. To ask which is smarter cats or dogs is like asking which is tastier, apples or oranges. I have seen empathetic cats that will jump on you and lick your tears away, I knew a cat that I’m sure knew fluent English. I knew dogs that wouldn’t give a shit and dogs that would do anything to please you and were easy to train. The thing is that we want different things from each animal. They must show different types of intelligence. Who trains a cat to heel? O.K. someone, somewhere. The key to either animal is love. If the animal loves the person who wants him to do an action, he will learn to do it. That is why we had a cat who stayed off of the furniture and counters whenever Mom was around, but if I came into the room/went downstairs, there she would be, on the chair, on the sewing pile…

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