Study: Dogs are smarter than cats

iStockphoto Looking cat and dog in a friendly pose. White background.

(WPRI) — It probably won’t settle the debate. But, a new study by researchers at Vanderbilt University has found that dogs may be smarter than cats.

Researchers found a dog’s cerebral cortex contains twice the neurons of a cat’s brain. Neurons are the cells that help with thinking, planning and other complex behaviors.

The study found that a cat has 250 cortical neurons and a dog has about 530 million. To put it in perspective, a human has 30 times the cortical neurons compared to a dog.

The study looked at eight species of carnivores, including cats, dogs, ferrets, mongooses, raccoons, hyenas, lions and brown bears.

Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Vanderbilt associate professor of psychology and biological sciences, said the findings show dogs are more capable of behaviors related to intelligence than their feline counterparts.

“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,” Herculano-Houzel explained.

The study also found that even though raccoons have brains the size of cats – they have the same number of neurons as a dog.

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