The Olympics just finished and the world is still full of competitive energy and in the spirit of this, I decided I would write about one of the longest rivalry’s going in the world of domesticated animals: Cats v Dogs.
In the UK alone there are 8.5 million dogs and 7.4 million cats living in households as pets and these animals and their personalities along with their long-running feud are ingrained into our culture – pet dogs are coined as loyal yet blundering while cats are snobbish but agile.
Whos house you gonna spend new year at?
People often theorise that the personalities of these animals bleed into their owners, the saying” the internet is full of cats because dog owners are outside” perhaps reflects this.
Who is smarter?
It is hard to establish a metric for intelligence – for example, primates score high on cognitive tests and are considered to be the most intelligent group of animals, but they are bested in certain areas such as empathy by some species of birds and in some cases even dogs.
To give a general overview of how you can roughly assess the intellect of a species there are two points to consider.
1)Neurone density and neurone capacity of the brain.
Neurones are electrical cells that send information to our brain and are a useful physiological based metric for rating an animals intelligence. Dogs have larger brains proportional to their bodies, and this corresponds to them having a higher neurone capacity than cats, however cats have a significantly higher neurone density. This leads us to a bit of a dead end as it is currently not clear which of these variables is the best metric for intelligence and further study is needed.
In an experiment where they gave both dogs and cats an impossible task to complete for the motivation of food, cats constantly attempted to finish the challenge whereas dogs tried a few times and then looked to a human for help. This is a clear win for the dogs as it seems they realise the futility of their effort and signal for help whereas the cats keep on trying even though it’s impossible.
However all you dog people don’t go celebrating just yet as it should be considered that dogs have been domesticated for around 10,000 years and are reckoned by many to be the first ever tame animals, this means they are very much in tune with the human frequency of thinking (probably as a result of both micro-evolution and selective breeding). The ancient Egyptians are the first known society that domesticated cats around 4,000 years ago however this was nowhere near as wide-spread as with dogs. My point is this ability to ask humans for help may be due to an almost symbiotic relationship between dogs and humans and might not reflect intellectual reasoning. Dogs are certainly easier to train to perform complex tasks than cats but it is possible that cats could do it if they give half a fuck about what humans wanted them to do.
Who would win in a fight?
Ok, let’s put the books down and look at who is going to win in a good old fashioned dust-up. In general, domesticated dogs are larger than domesticated cats which give’s them an advantage but in an encounter between a dog and cat that are the same size the cat will always nearly always FUBAR the dog.
Dogs only have one weapon – their face, they essentially use their jaws to clamp hold of the victim and shake violently to inflict damage. Cats do this as well but in a much more precise manner and they also have two paws with retractable claws to swipe and tear its opponent/prey.
And it doesn’t end there, cats are walking biological weapons – they have parasites that can interfere with the nervous system of other animals and there is even evidence to suggest that their urine is also capable of this.
I said at the start that we are talking about pets not wild animals but just as a side note remember that a Siberian tiger weighs around 360 KG whereas a rottweiler weighs around 60 KG. I have also never heard of a country declaring war on an individual dog whereas this happened with a tigress in Nepal.
These combative credentials give cats the edge in a 1v1 Pokemon style duel but fair fights don’t exist in nature, dogs hunt in packs while most species of cats are solitary, also size does matter and a larger dog will beat a smaller cat wich is more likely to be the scenario in the world of pats.
Whos more useful?
In terms of utility to humans, both have their uses – cats are killing machines and while dogs can survive on a vegetarian diet cats can’t ( a group of vegans tried to feed their cats on a diet of tofu and they went blind and started walking into walls and shit). If you want to rid your house of rodents cats will happily oblige and also engage in sadistic torture of the poor furry bastards for good measure. Check this video of a leopard torturing a newly born gazelle before killing it – be warned though it’s pretty horrific.
While cats are good as a clean up crew I don’t think you would have much luck trying to train one to heard sheep, guide the blind or dig people out of avalanches. But again this goes back to the long history of domestication of dogs by humans and maybe given enough time we will be able to train cats to do our bidding.
Or judging by this feline regularly seen in a Brockly Sainsbury’s maybe the other way around.
In summary it’s hard to pick a winner so I am going to defer and leave you with 2 clips of a cat and a dog going #Thug on their owners in their own style and you can pick your favourite.
Personally I gotta hand it to the cat.