Click here to learn more.
A. When we produce rankings of dogs based on how “smart” they are, what we’re often really ranking is how interested a dog is in learning and doing what we want him to do. When you think about it that way, it’s not a surprise that cats don’t seem that “intelligent” overall.
But think about it another way: Dogs who rank far down the list when it comes to "smart" actually excel at the tasks for which they were developed. Afghan Hounds, for example, are often placed at or near the bottom when it comes to intelligence, but their brains can often outthink fast-running prey in the field, making decision after decision instantly … and at 40 mph. That seems pretty smart to me!
Cats are extremely efficient hunters — so efficient that they can sleep some 20 hours a day and still catch enough vermin to survive. They’re not lazy, and they’re not stupid. What they are ... are cats. And they’re very, very good at being cats. That's pretty smart, too!
Remember that the overwhelming majority — more than 90 percent — of cats are random-bred. That explains why interest in pedigreed cats isn't anywhere near as high as it is for purebred dogs, which count for roughly half of all dogs. Remember, too, that there's a fairly small range in appearance, size and behavior traits among cat breeds. That's sure not true among dog breeds — think Chihuahua, and then think Great Dane. That kind of explains why there's not as much evidence-based information on cat breeds — and their intelligence — as there is on dog breeds.
As for rankings of intelligence by cat breed, again, what’s being ranked (as in dogs) is often the interest a cat has in interacting with us and doing what we want. The cat breeds who are anecdotally considered better at interacting — and therefore are considered smarter — are those lighter, more athletic breeds known for being more “busybody” than other cats, primarily the so-called Oriental breeds such as Siamese and Burmese, and also the Bengal.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Jax, who trained to be a K9, sprang into
action when a man being chased by
police hid behind the dog's home.
Did you laugh at Paper Cat or tear up
during Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” ad?
Here are our favorite clips of the year.
Ever wonder why your cat goes into a
crouch and then suddenly leaps? Our
veterinary behaviorist has the answer.
A reader has heard that his puppy risks
getting parvo if she leaves the house or
yard before her last shot at 16…
Think big dogs are more aggressive? Or
that they can’t live in apartments? We’re
here to dispel these…
In his home country of Thailand, the intelligent and attention-loving Korat is a living symbol of luck and prosperity.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.