Nothing gets dog and cat owners more agitated than discussing which animal is better asking Are Dogs Better Than Cats?. It’s a debate that has raged throughout time and may never end. But what if science could give a clearer picture?
Table of Contents
- Criteria for Showing Whether Dogs are Better than Cats
- Science Shows Dogs have Greater Intelligence
- Dogs Provide More Service than Cats
- Dogs Pose More Health Risks and Benefits Than Cats
- Are Dogs Better than Cats? A Review of the Facts
Nothing gets dog and cat owners more agitated than discussing which animal is better. It’s a debate that has raged throughout time and may never end. But what if science could give a clearer picture?
Dogs are better than cats because scientific research has shown that dogs have more neurons in the brain, making them more intelligent. Dogs are also more helpful than cats in performing tasks for humans, such as acting as service animals.
Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll give you the facts and tell you what science has to say about the age-old debate over whether dogs are better than cats. We’ll also go into greater detail on the strengths and weaknesses of each animal.
Scientific answers require objectivity, so we decided on criteria that research and data support.
In this debate, we’ll compare dogs and cats based on:
- Service to humans
- Physical health impacts of owning dogs and cats
- Mental health impacts of owning dogs and cats
- Safety of humans
You can measure intelligence in many different ways.
For example, one possible way to measure human intelligence is with the theory of multiple intelligences, which claims that people can display intelligence in everything from music to emotion.
Since comparing the violin skills of dogs and cats probably won’t result in much, it’s simpler to look at the makeup of the brain.
Research has shown that dogs have twice the number of neurons in their brain as cats. That makes dogs more receptive to stimuli than cats. That’s why dogs are so receptive to commands and have higher alertness than cats.
Even when comparing a golden retriever to wild cats with bigger brains like the lion, the dog still comes out on top in terms of the number of neurons.
In this regard, dogs are the clear winner.
What is an animal’s extra brain capacity worth to humans if it’s not put to use?
The Americans with Disabilities Act only includes dogs in its definition of what a service animal can be, excluding cats completely. These dogs do things like provide assistance to the blind and deaf and even give medical services to people with diabetes or those that experience seizures.
That’s not even considering dogs can do other tasks such as joining the police force and sniffing out bombs or managing a farm and protecting herd animals.
Cats may play a role in helping humans, but it’s mainly in the form of emotional support – a position that dogs also fill.
So, that’s another point in favor of the dog.
Physical health casts a wide net, covering things like internal and external medicine. On top of that, there are hundreds of subcategories.
This section will look at three more well-known health impacts of owning a dog or cat. Some have clear winners, but others are more of a toss-up.
Dogs are more likely to harm their owners with bites or tripping, but they also offer many health-improving benefits. Meanwhile, cats are less hazardous to your health, but they don’t provide any real benefits. So, let’s unpack that.
Impacts on Allergens
10-20% of the world’s population is reportedly allergic to cats or dogs.
And according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, while the science isn’t conclusive because dog allergies are more difficult to diagnose, “cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies.”
This high rate of people is concerning because every year in the US, the average person loses $593 in productivity due to allergic diseases.
Impacts on Immune System
Living with either a dog or a cat from a young age may benefit a child’s allergy resistance.
However, it seems to be dogs alone that offer potential benefits to the immune system. Not only that, but owners of dogs also have fewer infections and are prescribed antibiotics less.
Injuries Due to Falling
This one is a clear point in favor of cats over dogs.
Because of the difference in size, owners tend to trip over their dogs more often than cats. The CDC says that dogs cause 7.5 times more injuries to their owners than the smaller feline pets, primarily due to tripping.
Mental Health Effects
As mentioned earlier in this article, cats and dogs can act as emotional therapy animals.
However, when removing the training that goes into being a therapy animal, dogs do better at improving their owner’s life.
According to one study, dogs score better across the board when it comes to improving their owner’s well-being.
Dog and Cat Attacks
Finally, when comparing dogs to cats, it’s essential to look at how safe each is.
There are approximately 4.5 million dog bites per year in America, 800,000 resulting in medical care. On the other hand, we have about 400,000 total bites with 66,000 requiring emergency medical care with cats.
Another study in Italy showed 58.4 people per 100,000 sustaining injuries to dog bites compared with 17.9 from cats. Other such studies have been conducted worldwide in countries like China, with similar results.
So, there are more dog bites than cat bites annually, and dog bites are significantly more destructive than cat bites.
The answer to this question depends on how the criteria are weighted.
Science and statistics show that dogs are more intelligent and provide better service to humans. There are also other intangibles to consider, like the fact that a dog forces you to be more active, yourself.
As a result, dog owners, on average, have lower cholesterol and are less likely to have high blood pressure. However, those walks may simply seem like an added responsibility. In that case, a cat may be better.
Then, owning a cat means less risk of tripping on your pet or sustaining a severe injury from bites.
While the severity of cat bites is generally less than that of dog bites, that factor alone isn’t enough to outweigh all of the benefits that dogs provide.
Not only that, but you can train dogs who bite out of the habit in many instances.
When you add that to things like higher intelligence, helpfulness, and physical and mental health benefits to their owners, dogs have a lot going for them.
Science seems to have declared the winner, and that’s dogs!
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this story, you may want to checkout What to Feed Dogs with Upset Stomach and How To Tell if Cat is Sick – 10 Alarming Signs & Symptoms.
- PBS: Which are Smarter, Cats or Dogs?
- American Kennel Club: Are Dogs Really Smarter than Cats?
- University of Melbourne: Why Dogs are Better than Cats
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Allergic to Your Pet?
- Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research: Dog and Cat Allergies
- Emergency Medicine Journal: Incidence of Injuries Caused by Dogs and Cats
- Help Guide: The Health and Mood-boosting Benefits of Pets
- Anthrozoos: Pets and Happiness
- US Service Animals: Service Cat
- Legal Match: Animal Bite Accident Statistics