Dogs Smarter than Cats?
As we discussed in Part 1 of our review, we think the claims made that dogs are smarter than cats in a New Scientist article are flawed and we continue on with our explanation of why we think so here in Part 2.
When we left Part 1 we had reviewed five of the eleven categories: 1)Brains, 2)Shared History, 3) Bonding, 4) Popularity and 5) Understanding. The score:
Human Study Winner: Cats-2 Dogs-3 The Lazy Leopard Research Institute Score: Cats-2+ Dogs 0-
Let’s continue now with category six.
6) PROBLEM SOLVING
The human study claims that both cats and dogs do fairly well at finding bits of food hidden from them, even though cats hunt for the food on their own and the dogs cheat by asking their pet parents for help as reviewed in category 5-Understanding.
The humans go on to say that not much else is known about the cat’s ability to solve problems. Dogs on the other hand, have been tested ad nauseum. And guess what? The dogs have failed their testing and compared to their wolf cousins, should be wearing dunce caps.
Wolves were able to open a door with a complicated catch simply by watching another wolf do it and the dogs could not figure it out even after years of watching the door open and close. Cats were not tested, so The Lazy Leopard Research Institute* would like to inject an example of a clever cat solving a problem without the help of humans. If you would please direct your attention to this short video:
Notice how Oscar was able to do the math to calculate the leaping distance to grab the handle and then uses his back legs to push off gaining the leverage needed to open the freezer door. Then carefully jumps down and recalculates the distance to leap up into the freezer to snag the fish sticks. Oscar did not need to observe one of our brilliant wildcat cousins either, he just figured it out on his own.
Now the human study claims that, “dogs are not poor problem solvers, per se, but tend to favor a collaborative approach” meaning a dog surrenders its power of independent thought and action to the pet parents. And for this, the human study voted in favor of the dogs! Try to remain calm, we know our tails are fattening too and we can hardly hold back the hisses.
Human Study Winner: Cats-2 Dogs-4 The Lazy Leopard Research Institute Score: Cats-3+ Dogs 0-
Cats and dogs use their history of mammalian mutual understanding in their vocal interactions with humans (also mammals). The study states that dogs have more “vocal flexibility” and that even a human that has never been a pet parent can tell from the dog’s bark whether it is lonely, angry or happy. Wolves rarely bark, so the thought is that dogs have evolved their vocal range to communicate (ask for help) from their pet parents.
Cats are more subtle than the bark, bark, bark of the dog. A study published by Karen McComb from the University of Sussex shows that cats are able to embed an urgent high-frequency meow into a purr that brings out the nurturing side of the human. In fact, cats have figured out how to work their pet parents on a subliminal level by using a similar frequency range as a baby’s cry. G-E-N-I-U-S!
For being able to communicate on a subliminal level, we award the Cats 2 points.
Human Study Winner: Cats-3 Dogs-4 The Lazy Leopard Research Institute Score: Cats-5+ Dogs 0-
8 ) TRACTABILITY
The study says that dogs are easy to train because humans have selected them to be so and that dogs meet the needs of humans by obeying the rules. Then goes on to say that no one has really tried training cats, so the full extent of their ability is not known. Even so, the humans award the dogs with another point!
We threw this category out due to the outrageous bias in favor of the dogs.
Human Study Winner: Cats-3 Dogs-5 The Lazy Leopard Research Institute Score: Cats-5+ Dogs 0-
Stay tuned for Dogs Smarter Than Cats Study Claims Flawed Part 3
*The Lazy Leopard Research Institute is a 100% fictitious feline biased facility