Turns out dogs are smarter than cats according to a new study at Vanderbilt University.
Dogs have twice the number of neuron connections in their cerebral cortexes – the larger lobes of the brain. This finding suggests dogs may be twice as smart or intelligent than cats. Dogs have about 530 million cortical neurons while cats have about 250 million – humans have 16 billion.
This is the first study to actually count the number of cortical neurons in the brains of a number of carnivores, including cats and dogs, has found that dogs possess significantly more of them than cats.
This new finding will be published in the journal Frontiers of Neuroanatomy from six different universities in the U.S., Brazil, Denmark, and South Africa.
The researchers also tested a hypothesis to find if carnivores had more neural connections in the brain than herbivores. However, that was not the case. The researchers determined that the ratio of neurons to brain size in small- and medium-sized carnivores was about the same as that of herbivores, suggesting that there is just as much evolutionary pressure on the herbivores to develop the brainpower to escape from predators as there is on carnivores to catch them.
The good news for cat lovers is that cats have about the same number of those neurons as bears even though a bear’s brain is about ten times larger.
The researchers analyzed the brains of other animals like lions and hyenas as well, comparing the number of neurons in their brains compared to the size of their brains.