Lots of studies have been performed on dog intelligence, and the research has
proved that dogs can learn
words, understand human gestures, and might even be capable of abstract thought. But
what about cats?
“We did one study on
cats — and that was enough!”
animal cognition expert
Ádám Miklósi laughed as he
discussed feline intelligence
tests with author and science
journalist David Grimm. This
wasn’t because cats are stupid,
Adam explained — it’s simply
that they refused to cooperate
with the researchers.
Somehow, I’m not surprised. As a person who grew
up being taught the importance of critical thinking and
questioning authority, cats’
refusal to cooperate for the
sake of cooperation strikes
me as a measure of higher
intelligence. It also helps me
understand why I like cats so
much: Like them, I’m highly
aware when people are trying
to play head games with me,
and I deliberately refuse to
You know those clickbait
headlines you see on Facebook?
The ones like “INCREDIBLE!
This person saw something,
and you’ll never guess what
happened next! This video left
me in tears! Watch it now!” I
really don’t care how relevant
that video or photo or website might be to my interests; I
refuse to take the bait and click
Cats don’t exactly salivate
over being toyed with, either.
In fact, I’m of the totally
unscientific opinion that cats
are probably offended by the
research done to date because
it’s an insult to their intelligence. After all, how challenging is it to find food hidden
under a stool? And why should
they even care if scientists
believe they can count? If people can’t understand their fundamental awesomeness and the
way their intelligence manifests
itself, they don’t care.
“Go ahead and think we’re
stupid,” they say. “If you
humans are too dumb to
figure out the way our brains
work, it’s your loss.”
But it seems that scientists
have a lot more respect for cats
than that. Having acknowledged
that they don’t have enough
understanding to effectively
measure feline intelligence,
they don’t just dismiss the cat
out of hand: They’re just waiting
for the development of new
technology to assist them in
understanding the feline mind.
Really, though, all they need
to do is spend a year in the life
of a cat-owned household to
understand just how intelligent
our feline friends are. My cats
have figured out how to open
the refrigerator to get food
they want. They’ve discovered
how to get me to wake up by
walking on my bladder. They’ve
learned how to open my closet door so they can scale my
dressy clothes and leave little
claw marks on my sleeves.
They’ve figured out just what
gestures and vocalizations I
respond best to. Yes, they’ve
got me quite well-trained!
And that’s just the tip of the
Sure, this isn’t the stuff
of scientific research. But it’s
pretty obvious to anyone with
eyes to see and the patience to
observe without bias that cats
are highly intelligent creatures
with a keen sense of community and social awareness.
JaneA Kelley is a punk-rock cat mom,
science nerd, animal shelter volunteer,
and all-around geek with a passion for
bad puns, intelligent conversation, and
role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status
as chief cat slave for her family of feline
bloggers, who have been writing their
award-winning cat advice blog, Paws
and Effect, since 2003.
Do You Think Cats are
Smarter Than Dogs?
BY JANEA KELLEY
Finally, someone agrees with me. Yes, cats are absolutely
smarter than dogs!
— Wanima Hoover
We don’t need a study to know that cats are smarter
— Vicki Mainard
Are apples sweeter than oranges? Cats and dogs each
have their own unique set of skills.
— Ernie P. Tucker
It’s just a different kind of intelligence.
— Carol Gillilie
I think the best saying I have ever heard regarding the
difference between cats and dogs is: “When you call a
dog, they come without question; when you call a cat,
they take a message and call you back later.
— Louise McCloud