Do you know what a neuron is? I didn’t either until this morning while reading the paper. I stumbled on an article that attempts to answer the burning question of who is smarter, a dog or a cat. I’m sure I now have your attention because everyone has an opinion on this one.
It seems that neurons are cells that communicate via electrical charge and populate the brain and central nervous system. They are the units that process information, and a recent study has concluded that they are the most accurate tool for judging the capacity for complex thought.
OK, enough of the scientific stuff. Let’s cut to the chase. It doesn’t take a neurologist to know that with cats and dogs, it’s all subjective. The cat lovers will point to a cats independence, how they instinctively clean themselves, can be trained to a litter box, maintain primal instincts like hunting, hissing, swatting, and remaining vigilant by sharpening their claws on the sofa. The dog lovers will mention their faithfulness, willingness to eat anything, chase sticks, ride in pickup trucks, chase cars, and their uncanny ability to lick their butt.
Over the years, my wife and I have had about 13 stray dogs and cats and each had their own strengths and foibles. We’ve had cats that showed amazing prowess when playing with toys, then again we had one that flew into a wall because they overshot the chair they were aiming at. On the other hand, we have had dogs that would do nothing if it required standing up while we had another that could sniff out a beer, even if I had placed it in the crook of a tree while I was mowing. My point is that none of them were giants among felines or canines, but each had their redeeming characteristics.
I must admit that I kind of lean toward dogs being smarter. Have you ever seen a seeing eye cat, or a drug sniffing cat? And don’t even try to tell me there was one that responded to commands. But, as it turns out, Team Cat was the winner. I’m not sure why other then the fact it was a very small sampling. It apparently has something to do with how many of those neurons are in the cerebral cortex, whatever that is.
I guess, for me at least, it doesn’t make a lot of difference how smart my pets are. They all bring something to the party and I suspect most are probably more intelligent then I. I have never had my tummy scratched by a dog, nor have I ever been fed by a cat,or had one clean my toilet. They have all been blatantly unconcerned about what and when I eat, or whether I go out several times a day. That should tell you something.