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Are cats smarter than dogs?

 
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Jan, 2003 10:28 pm
Naaaah, my cat meets me at the door when I come home, sleeps on my belly, sits near me where ever I am, comes when he's called. AND, I can't leave him alone, he's diabetic.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Jan, 2003 10:29 pm
I love both cats and dogs. I think both are smart, generally, with some individuals of each veering into the realm of "no one home". Margaret, for example, a tortoise coated cat, was not a clever girl. I think that is scientific observation on my part, but I could have a bias. I still have a long hairline scratch on my right forearm from the day I grabbed her fast off my recently finished construction drawings.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Jan, 2003 10:34 pm
I very much agree with osso. There are smart cats. There are dumb cats. There are smart dogs. There are dumb (DUMB!) dogs. Between my pets, friend's pets, and a lot of time volunteering at animal shelters, I've come across a fairly good cross-section of both species, and neither holds a monopoly on intelligence. (Or idiocy.)
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 12:32 am
Dumb dogs show it more though.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 02:16 am
yes - they are more extroverted about stupidity....
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 02:23 am
I had sister siamese - Phoebe and Emma - Phoebe was THE animal of my life - incredibly clever, passionate, funny, loving - divine -(waaaaaaaah- still miss her). Emma was sweet, loving, beautiful - and the stupidest critter I have ever seen.

Phoebe loved me, people, tomcats, mischief, television, dancing, moving, parties, games (she played hide and seek - she DID! - and took a turn as seeker), theft, teasing, silliness, storms, walks, demolishing dogs, and long talks. Emma loved me, sleeping, mild games and hiding under the bed when a tomcat called.

So it goes.
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matsi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 05:05 am
Most things that are "intelligent behavior" of cats is inherent, in dogs taught.

Cats ability to hunt, air-righting, judging the exact amount of force needed to jump from one point to another, climbing. etc. are examples of this.
Dogs are wonderful companions and workers, guard dogs, Seeing-eye dogs, search and rescue dogs, tracking dogs, etc. are examples of that.

There is documented proof of both cats and dogs warning people of fire, protecting children, etc.

For many elderly people their cats are the only source of comfort. Even if they owned and loved dogs all their lives, dogs need so much attention (being let in and out, walks, evercise), that cats become the pet of choice by necessity. I know this because it describes me.
I don't know if there is scientific answer to this question. Cats just won't cooperate with being "tested" for us to know.

I will say that they each, in their own way, are loving and devoted. Anyone who doesn't like cats, doesn't know cats. Again, from personal experience. I had no feelings for cats one way or the other, had never been around any. I had dogs all my life. When my last dog died, I realized I was getting too old to handle a dog's needs. I got a kitten. I had to ask what I needed to have for him and what to do with him. Now that first one and three more give me one of the only purposes I have in life. Taking care of them and in return their devotion, love, humor (cats are hilarious) keep me feeling needed, loved and laughing.
Mine appear to do smart things. Katie can open doors and drawers. Mr. Murphy looks up at the ceiling and turns his head all aroung when I ask him to "Find the spider". I could go on, but won't bore you with more.


When dogs are called, they come -
when cats are called they say "Leave a message, I'll get back to you.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 05:24 am
Awwwwwww Matsi - your cats sound lovely!
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gezzy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 06:22 am
Matsi
Your cats do sound sooooo cute. I use to have a cat that could open doors and fetch ;-)
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gezzy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 06:22 am
Matsi
I'd also like to welcome you to A2K :-D
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Heeven
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 08:28 am
[When dogs are called, they come -
when cats are called they say "Leave a message, I'll get back to you.]

Matsi, I LOVE your quote. It is spot on! While I dislike cats it is not from lack of knowledge. We have always had cats at home and I've just never warmed to them nor they to me. I'm convinced I need a pet that will suck up to me and that definitely is not a cat!
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matsi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 03:29 pm
To all I've not thanked for welcoming me-consider this my big Thanks. Thank you for the compliments also.

Heever you verify a belief I have. I do not mean this in a detrimental way, only what appears to me to be so. Dog owners are more in need of the adoration dogs give to their owners. Cat owners tend to be, much like cats, more autonomous themselves.

I've seen a cartoon that shows two images - the first shows a dog being fed & petted on the head by his owner. Dog is thinking- He feeds me, loves me, fills all my needs. He must be a god!
Second shows a cat being fed, petted by his owner. Cat is thinking- He feeds me, loves me, fills all my needs. I must be a god!
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Heeven
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 03:58 pm
You got that right matsi. I do need the adoration of my pet, or I'm likely to forget all about it. If I know I am needed and lavished with affection, it will be foremost in my mind to be there for my pet - get toys, food, home on time. If my pet does not need me then I'll be absorbed by something else and be lax about bonding with it.

You know I've just realized what my screen-saver is. It is so 'on the subject' that I have to post it here.

http://www.webwombat.com.au/entertainment/humour/images/cattongue.jpg
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 04:08 pm
What about those of us who have or have had a considerable number of both dogs and cats? Schizoid?
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quinn1
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 04:48 pm
less monotheistic perhaps?
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 04:58 pm
Patio - such people are mature, complex, able to tolerate contradiction and difference, at peace with themselves, far more intelligent than average, great lovers....did I mention that I love dogs too.........?
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matsi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 05:04 pm
Heeven, that looks just like my "Amber".

My cats wait in the window for me and when I come in the door all 4 are sitting there. If I have bags they start "talking" as if saying "anything for us?". If I've bought catnip or a catnip filled toy they go ballistic as soon as I get in the door.

I also wanted to mention that I think many people believe cats do not need much attention. As a result they treat them different. Since I had never owned kittens I treated them exactly as I treated puppies. I held them constantly, played with them, talk to them all the time. Now they come when I call, each one knows their own name, if the doorbell rings I say "Stay" and they sit down, they do try to please me. Jason was about to help himself to my lunch one day when I was distracted, I yelled and he jumped and went slinking away looking guilty, even ashamed. About 5 minutes later he came over meowing and pushed my hand with his nose as if saying "I'm sorry, forgive me."
I treated them as dogs, they act like dogs-who knew?
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 05:31 pm
dlow -- I think you're way off base. I was describing myself, and you are definitely not.



Had a deaf cat for most of my childhood, so talking to them ain't something I do. Lived with half a dozen of them in college. Some needed attention, some didn't. Personalities were highly individuated. Also, they pretty much ran the gamut in intelligence. One was very dumb, one was very smart, and the rest were ranged between them. The very smart one was also very large and generally (and cruelly) beat the hell out of all the other cats. Any correlation between feline intelligence and cruelty? If you choose to answer, please keep in mind that they are evolved to be solitary hunters.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 05:50 pm
You know, Patio - that is the the usual story - that they "evolved to be solitary hunters".

Interestingly, several ethological studies have been done of communities of feral cats - I am aware of one done on communities of "barn cats" (semi-feral, I grant you) in England, and the Coloseum cats (sp?) in Rome.

I understand that these are not the original, wild cats - however, the observations are interesting.

The barn cats - which live in barns and are tolerated by farmers for obvious reasons - may be thrown the odd scrap of food, but generally are self-supporting.

They formed reasonable stable communities of females which had a pecking order, of course, but lived pretty happily together, with roaming toms who fought for territory visiting a little circle of these female communities, looking for females in heat. They were regulars, too - and drove off male kittens.

The Rome cats - who do get fed by people, but also live off the land, as it were, also formed stable female communities - often with mummies and daughters maintaining a relationship into adulthood, and assisting each other with kitten-rearing. The toms - again - fought a lot for territory.

I love Siamese, and have had a number of them. The mummies often pool the kittens when two or more queens at a breeders have kits reasonably close to each other - or even if they don't - and raise them as one big, rambunctious litter. Even non-breeding queens will join in kitten care.

My current pair are a ten year old male and an eight and a half year old female - both neutered - she worships him and treats him as her mother - even suckling (yecchhh) - which appears to embarrass him, but which he tolerates for a while. He also adores her - although he can be a little dominant at times, since she is tiny - as he ages this is changing a bit. They play and sleep and do everything together - kissing, licking, even stroking each other - often she sleeps with her arms around his neck and her head under his chin.

I originally bought him with his sister - and when she was killed he spent the month it took to get him a new kitten sitting in a corner staring at the wall and wailing mournfully all the time when he could not get into my lap. I think he would have died. He accepted the new kit totally within two hours.

I have had other pairs of cats - some related, some not. Some loved each other, some seemed indifferent - all tolerated each other and did not fight, except in play.

I take your point, Patio - but I really do not think the modern puddy is essentially solitary.
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jan, 2003 05:56 pm
Hmmmm, very interesting. I was going off my picture of wild small cats -- lynxes and the like -- which are very different than the big cats. Didn't even occur to me to note the observedly social behavior of domesticated cats! This might very well have been a prerequisite of domestication, of course, just like it was likely the omega wolf who was brought into the human clan. Very, very interesting (especially as my bio class is just getting into population genetics). Spent the holiday break reading about that very thing, and am feeling smugly ahead of the curve.

Second thought... the stable female community is in fact similar to a big cat thing: the lion pride. There's one adult male around, but he really doesn't do a whole hell of a lot. It crossed my mind occasionally, when I see big-cat cubs on tee-vee (telly to you) that behaviorally they seem to have quite a bit in common with dogs. Not based on any sort of scientific observation though; likely a 30-pounds-and-fuzzy association.
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