The cats vs. dogs debate continues! This time, researchers in Japan wanted to find out which popular household pet is smarter – our feline friends or their canine counterparts?
The study, published in the science journal Behavioural Processes, reveals that cats may be just as smart – and trainable – as dogs. Researchers used food to test the memories of 49 domestic cats. In one experiment, they were given bowls of food, and then after 15 minutes away, the bowls were replaced with empty ones. Researchers found that the cats were able to remember which bowls they had already eaten from and which had remained untouched. This suggested that the cats had episodic memory, like humans. And they suggest that the cats memory may last much longer than the 15 minutes tested in the experiment.
Researches also said cats performed equally to dogs in tests about understanding human gestures and facial expressions.
One of the researchers, Saho Takagi, a psychologist at Kyoto University, told BBC the research may have practical applications:
“Understanding cats more deeply helps to establish better cat-human relationships,” she said. “Cats may be as intelligent as dogs, as opposed to the common view of people that dogs are much smarter.”