You see articles all the time featuring reasons why dogs are smarter than cats or cats are smarter than dogs. But I came across one this week saying that a raccoon may be smarter than either the cat or the dog.
How do researchers decide which animal is smarter, anyway? One scientist says that asking which species is smarter is like asking if a hammer is a better tool than a screwdriver. The truth is that each is designed for a specific problem—so determining which animal is smarter depends on the problem you’re trying to solve.
It seems that the determining factors are the size of the brain and the number of neurons. According to Neuroscientists, dogs have twice as many neurons than cats. But a more recent study included a smattering of other animals—ferrets, mongoose, hyenas, bears, oh my! And, of course, the wily raccoon. The raccoon, they say, has as many neurons as dogs do. Makes sense. I mean, just look at how incredibly adept they are at finding what they need—food, for example. But then, they have hands as opposed to paws and hands can certainly get you into more places than mere paws can—drawers, ice chests, tents, windows, and so forth. http://people.com/pets/raccoons-smarter-cats-dogs/
Here’s an article saying that raccoons are smarter than humans because they have pretty much outsmarted every tactic we’ve used over the years to keep them out of the trash, including a rather sophisticated system in Toronto that they recently figured out. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qvxxnd/raccoons-are-smarter-than-humans-and-we-should-finally-admit-it
Here’s an article about a particular raccoon whose owner say she’s smarter than a human toddler. Melanie (the raccoon) lives in the UK and can do things most toddlers can do and maybe some things they can’t—ride a bike, for example. She also has a great memory. Here’s her story. https://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/raccoon-may-be-smarter-your-toddler
Where does your cat fit in the battle of animal smarts? Does it really matter? I think we love our pets for the unique being they are rather than whether or not they can go to the frig and bring us a tub of ice cream, meow to a tune, or become an escape artist.