Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Guest Pet Blogger: "Cat Smarts Vs. Dog Smarts: a Cat's Perspective," by Sparkle

For decades, if not longer, humans have been debating whether cats or dogs are smarter. I have found this quite enlightening, not because there are any satisfactory answers (there aren't), but because it says a lot about what humans consider "intelligence." Take the latest study by scientists at Oxford University (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/pets/8151924/Dogs-are-smarter-than-cats.html): they claim that since dogs are more social, and their brains are bigger, they must be more intelligent than cats. So, according to these scientists, being social makes you smarter than if you are a solitary being. Hm. Tell that to writers, most of whom are not terribly social. I'm sure they are not exactly enthused by the implications of this study. From what I gather, most humans who pursue writing as a career tend to be more intelligent than other humans. Maybe not more sensible, but definitely more intelligent.

And as for brain size, wouldn't you say that it's not how big your brain is, but how you use it? While dogs are using their brains to figure out ways to please people and do their bidding, we cats use our brains to get around silly human rules such as "stay off the kitchen counter," or "don't go in the cabinet." Wouldn't you call that type of creative, industrious, authority-questioning behavior more intelligent than blind obedience?

Why don't we look at human beings from the perspective of these Oxford scientists: the most intelligent ones would be those who lived in large communal living conditions, had big brains and who were able to follow instructions really well (which really only uses a small fraction of those big brains). This means the most highly developed human beings are Army privates with big heads. And whether you humans are in the cat camp or the dog camp, you have to agree that that is a pretty wacky supposition. I think the real question should not be "Are cats smarter than dogs?" but "Are humans (especially scientists) as smart as either dogs or cats?"

About the blogger

Sparkle is an award-winning author, blogger, advice columnist and supermodel. She is also a cat – a ruddy Somali of champion lineage, in fact, whose father, GC Tajhara’s Miles Davis, was twice on the cover of Cat Fancy. Sparkle’s first book, Dear Sparkle: Advice from One Cat to Another, won the Wild Card category at the 2007 Hollywood Book Festival and honorable mentions in several other contests. She also recently came home with the Pettie Award — the pet blogging equivalent of an Oscar — for Best Cat Blog. Sparkle lives in Los Angeles with two humans, two feline roommates (both rescue cats), and (unfortunately) a dog.

Dear Sparkle: Cat-to-Cat Advice from the World’s Foremost Feline Columnist (Adams Media) is her second book.

You can visit Sparkle’s blog at http://www.sparklecat.com.


  1. Sparkle, you never cease to amaze us!

  2. Your blog is very creative! I love it--it made me smile A LOT!

  3. Sparkle, You make VERY good points. Although I certainly adore my blindly obedient dog, my three feisty, independent-thinking cats are equally loved. Depends upon the moment which of them I prefer.