Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats
By Bart Vogelzang
©2012 All Rights Reserved

Ask just about anyone which are smarter, cats or dogs, and you’ll probably get the answer that dogs are smarter. I’m not sure exactly why, but I think it has to do with self-interest and false pride, rather than actual reality.

Think about it; what is it that we love so much about dogs that causes us to think they are smarter? They are eager to please us, no matter what. They can be trained to come, fetch, and do many tricks to entertain us. They will work for us in rescue work, police work, and military work, without any question of their loyalty and willingness to die for us. They will take neglect, abuse, and even imprisonment in chains, not to mention too small cages or abject deprivation unto death, and still wag their tags to show their love to us when we give a moment of our interest to them. They love us unquestioningly, and we love them for that. My question however, is whether that kind of blind devotion is actually a sign of intelligence.

Now think about cats; whilst it is happy to please us by allowing us to pet its fur, it will immediately remove itself, or even hiss a warning, if it becomes uncomfortable. If we deprive it of food or loving attention it will move out, and you’ll see it sitting in the front window of a neighbor’s living room almost before you can say, “What happened?” They set their own terms of reference with us, and even though they can be trained to do things we would like, even to the point of being guards, they do it as partners, not slaves devoted to us unconditionally. Indeed, if we aren’t careful, we will find they have trained us, not the other way around, because they value their independence too much to bend very far.

So which is smarter; the ones who do what they want and when they want, or the ones which do exactly what we want when we want it, with no thought to their own quality of life? I’m not totally sure, because it is hard to divorce my thinking from the emotion of my relationship with my best friends. I guess it is up to each of us to decide for ourselves which we feel are the smarter. In the meantime, I must get away from this computer, as my cat, Demcat, is amusedly waiting to be escorted to his kitty door, and my dog, Repub, is wagging its tail, licking slobber onto my feet, and looking for yet another pat on the head.