Barking blondes: Who’s smarter – cats or dogs?

Joanne Good and Anna Webb

Grem Book 300x225 Barking blondes: Whos smarter   cats or dogs?It may have been coincidence that led to the BBC on Thursday transmitting a cat programme the very same night as Paul O’Grady’s successful ITV dog series.

Or it could have been that the schedulers realized what the two of us, with a radio show, a book and a blog to our names, have been banging on about for years… “You want an audience? Watch and learn from our four- legged friends.”

According to Horizon’s The Secret Life of the Cat, an average moggy kills ½ a mouse a week. It also revealed that our cats are becoming less wild. Cats are cleverly adapting to modern life where all their creature comforts are catered for. Despite their solitary nature they are adapting to home life with owners.

Compared to dogs, however, they are still pretty self reliant.

This led us to ask the question: What is the more intelligent? Cat or dog?

A cat could survive on its own whereas a dog most likely would not because it’s not as athletic as a cat. Many believe cats to be more intelligent because of this, after all, the old adage says: Dogs have masters, cats have servants. They both can tap into a sixth sense -some cats are naturally better at this than others, in the same way as dogs know when their owners are coming home, and have an in-built sense of direction.

Those who trust their cats, letting them roam free are complimented every time the cat returns home – cats will often choose their owners – like Gremlin, who arrived in our garden from nowhere as a tiny kitten – like a messenger. He is the only cat mentioned in our book!

Both cats and dogs have cleverly fitted in with domestication, adapting their lives to fit in with ours. Dogs are unique in understanding the act of pointing from birth, something not even a chimp can figure out. Dogs can be trained to cooperate with us on command, something a cat is not good at.

But we needed a closer bond with dogs to guard and herd our livestock and protect us from danger too. Some say without the dog, we’d never have built a capitalist society. Without our trusty hounds how would we have got our livestock to market, guarded our property and so on?

Although, cats were originally domesticated to deal with mice invasion, dogs possess attributes cats do not and vice versa. Both have managed to wrangle into our hearts and become Furkids. Cleverly cats have learnt over thousands of years that when they purr at the same frequency as a crying baby, they are more likely to get food from us. This special purr pulls at our nurturing heart strings so that we give in immediately and the cat gets what he wants – dinner. Dogs similarly will whine to have the same effect.

Stroking a cat or a dog releases the same happy hormone in our brains called Oxytocin, so cats like dogs are good for us, they de-stress us and make us smile. Do they know this? Do they really all think they are the same size? Do any of them really care about us or is any kind of obedience or affection just a means of getting food? Do they know how humans are making a living out of feeding them, filming them analyzing them and blogging? Do they follow the monumental rise of the “hound pound” or “cat currency”?.

Let’s just hope they don’t, any more than they hear the words “Dumb creatures”

The Barking Hour, every Thursday, BBC London 94.9FM

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  • Franklin_Delano_Roosevelt

    Dogs adopted us to feed them.
    We adopted cats to kill our vermine.

  • Jeremy K.

    What on earth is this cr*p doing in a “serious” newspaper?

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