Dogs vs cats: The great pet showdown [Dogs Win!]

THE world is divided into “dog people” and “cat people”, each passionately believing that their preferred pet is superior. Until a decade ago, there was very little scientific evidence either camp could muster to support its claims. Then animal behaviourists became interested in dogs and unleashed a pack of ingenious experiments testing canine capabilities and cognition. Recently, researchers have started doing similar work with cats. Could it be time for that showdown?

There are obvious pitfalls in trying to use science to resolve this perennial dispute. Every pet-owner knows their furry family member is special - a unique being with its own talents and foibles. Yet scientific research tends to look at species as a whole and deals in averages and trends when attempting to quantify their characteristics. Then there is the thorny issue of comparing two very different animals. Some might argue that the whole venture is doomed to failure, but here at New Scientist we like a challenge. So we have pitted cats against dogs in 11 categories. It’s a winner-take-all competition with “best in show” being awarded to the pet that prevails in the most categories. Let the fur fly…

So, at the risk of putting the cat among the pigeons, dogs come out on top. Unhappy with the final score? Think you have a better way to separate the dogs from the cats?

Now proven scientifically!

Well I’m a dog person ans because my little one wouldn’t get along with cats we don’t have one… DH likes cats…

I’m a cat person. I like their independant attitude…and when they give you affection it’s heart felt…unless you’re holding a tuna can…then they just want the tuna and know they can manipulate you into giving it to them by pretending to be affectionate.

If they poop or pee on the rug…there’s a problem…or they’re mad at you for some reason…so don’t make them mad. My Mainecoon will poop next to the cat box in protest if I leave him alone for more than a couple days.

If he bugs me, I can throw his little fanny outside and he’s fine being outdoors for extended periods of time…plus he’s in a good mood when I let him back in…a dog pouts and whines…a cat just glares at you and turns his back when he’s ticked.

On cold Saturday mornings it’s nice to hear the purr and feel his weight as he’s snuggled next to you in bed…content to feed himself or use his cat box if he has to go potty…then climb back in bed and snuggle down and go back to sleep…no whining to be let out or anything.

Dogs are nice…but cats are people.

I’ve owned cats in the past. But I’ve since gone to the dogs.

Cats are nice. But when is the last time one blood tracked your bear for you?

I guess I’m a cat-lover really despite rather liking dogs.

I think the real difference between them from a human perspective is that dogs adopt the agenda of their owners, something cats never do - I don’t think it’s really ‘independence’, so much as cats living in another logical dimension, something that makes judging ‘cat intelligence’ difficult (though some cats are far brighter than others) - we may be judging them as supposedly thinking about one thing when they’re thinking of something else entirely.

Cats love things that dogs do, fuss, cuddles, treats, comfort but always when cat agenda says ‘I need fuss/cuddles/treats/comfort’ not when we do.

One of my cats rather sums it up for me, really. There’s a place she loves to sit that’s rather difficult to get to. I can see her thinking ‘how do I get there?’ and used to pick her up and put her there - she’d promptly get down but then immediately scramble her way back up, now I leave her to her own devices. She has to do things her way.

Perhaps the only way humans can judge pet intelligence is by how well their pet manipulates human beings!

I never realized how much of a dog person I was until we got one. My friends always had dogs but the big ones scared me (they were just a little to enthusiastic when I walked in the door) and the little ones were always just yappers. But one day my dad went to the store to get some oil and came home with a chocolate lab puppy. We’ve had him for three years now and I can honestly say theres nothing like the love you get from your dog. He’s always happy to see you and always wants to be by your side. Everyday when we get up and get dressed he runs and gets his collar so he can get dressed too. He knows that he cant go anywhere if he’s not dressed. He’s very gentle with the four year old little girl that I babysit and puts up with all her poking and pulling.
I love dogs now and honestly think they’re a gift from God.

My sammy

Totally off topic on my point…but I wish i could just get over my fear of dogs. Your dogs seem like beautiful animals, but my first view of the picture caused me a feeling of fear. :frowning:

I try…I watch the Dog Whisperer, I like dog shows, I’m interested in different breeds…but I’m still scared.

Odd thing, I was actually attacked by a cat growing up. A stray cat got into my yard, I tried to pet it, and it scratched the entire length of my arm. But I’m not afraid of them. Go figure. :shrug:

Mary Gail. My guys are as friendly as they come. They have the sun in their eyes and that causes them to squint. At first I thought with the burned-out school in the background. It was funny that they looked like a couple of hoodlums. But I can see where to someone not comfortable with dogs. They may look menacing.

There used to be a cat when I lived in Detroit as a child. That would hide in the shrubs and jump out biting kids in the anchillies area. The cats name was love believe it or not.
What am I afraid off? Spiders, go figure.:shrug:

To get more comfortable with them. I could only suggest more exposure. with well behaved dogs on leashes. Hey, you could come walk mine if you want!:wink:


Simple test for me:

I walk into a home and I can smell it if there is a dog.

I walk into another home where they own a cat, and rarely can I smell it.

Case closed

What does that have to do with anything? Different breeds have different odors. Husky’s for example have no smell at all.


In general, the overall scent of a dog is more likely to leech onto the house. You can’t deny that!

Huskies might be an exception. And a cat home can stink if the owner doesn’t scoop the litter. But in general…

My best friend in the whole world. I go nowhere without her. The second picture came with a ransom note.

Well obviously the reason the cats lost was due to the incompetence of those giving the test.:nerd:


Don’t be so sure.:cool:

Dogs drool. They slobber on me when I go visit the house. They sniff my crotch. The owner has to be seen by the whole neighborhood scooping up the poop. They need to be bathed regularly. They bark, and tick off the neighbors.

None of these apply to cats, do they?

I recently read that having a slobbery dog that loves kids in the family enhances the immune systems of the kids. I guess (ulp) the dogs give them little doses of various bacteria (perhaps half disabled by the slobber) and the kids gain immunity from it.

One has to wonder about the contest, though. I have two Great Pyrenees and a big tomcat. When it’s really cold, the tomcat curls up within the curl of one of the big dogs. They both seem to think it’s a fine arrangement. Cat helps keep the dog’s tummy warm, I guess, and the dog helps keep the cat’s whole body warm. So perhaps there can be a dog/cat symbiosis at times?

I admit dogs win in the loyalty division, but my whole thing is cleanliness.

But an excellent way to defuse the conflict, Ridge!

There’s no conflict. Your just having a little trouble adjusting to being on the loosing side.:smiley:


So to you loyalty is a bigger factor than cleanliness! Suit yourself…

We have been married for 30 years. We have always been dog people, mostly spaniels. Then one halloween eve, our grandkids told us that there was a black cat in our garage. It was below freezing, and the kitten looked to be in pretty bad shape. The only cat type food we had was tuna, which she ate promptly. We made a makeshift bed for her, and the next day my wife took her to the vet to be checked. She passed with flying colors, and knowing my wife as I do, I knew we had our first cat. Through the years, she was a joy to have around, and was a great housecat who tolerated the two spaniels. Just after her fifth year of being here, she developed a small bump right between her eyes. We watched it for a few weeeks, and it kept getting bigger and bigger. She didn’t seem to have any pain, but started not to eat, and acting very unusual. I took her to our vet, and he said that the tumor was cancer, and there was nothing he could do for her, so I told him to euthanise her. To make a long story shorter, I shed just as many tears for our cat, as I did for any of the dogs we had. Even after a week, we still really miss her, and in their own way, the dogs miss her too. So my opinion, we have loved all our pets and will miss them whether they be dogs, or our first and probably our last cat. They have all given us good company and joy.

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