Cat people are smarter than dog people, study says

What else is Carroll University going to study other than the various characteristics of those who choose dogs over cats? And vice versa.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

A symbol of your advanced intelligence? IGTV/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I fear I may have found a more emotive subject that Apple vs. Samsung. Or Apple vs. Microsoft. Or just Apple.

For one of the world's top academic institutions, Carroll University in Wisconsin, decided to tread into that cauldron of high dudgeon: cats vs. dogs.

I understand that, though some people have pets of both types, many take sides on this issue.

I can now say, with hand raised as if under oath, that those who say dogs make for the better pets are plainly lacking in intelligence.

Please, this is not my opinion. I have very few of those. This is the conclusion of a study that plumbed deep into the psyches of pet owners.

As Live Science reports, it seems that cat lovers scored higher than dog lovers on measures such as introversion, open-mindedness and a term used far too loosely in society, sensitivity.

Dog lovers are, on the other hand, just frisky little conformists looking for a good time. They were deemed more energetic and outgoing, as well as more likely to follow rules.

As with all the research, this piece needs to be a taken with a very salty dog biscuit.

However, the most painful conclusion was surely the one that declared cat lovers more intelligent than dog lovers.

You might be floored by the logic that Denise Guastello, an associate professor of psychology at Carroll University, offered.

She said: "It makes sense that a dog person is going to be more lively, because they're going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog. Whereas, if you're more introverted, and sensitive, maybe you're more at home reading a book, and your cat doesn't need to go outside for a walk."

People still read books, professor? Perhaps only at Carroll University. And the notion that people have dogs in order to force themselves to go outside is a curious one.

Could it be that a lot of cat lovers like to go outside, but don't really like the idea of dragging a pet with them?

It's a peculiar definition of companionship that makes you want to drag a dog on a leash. The French poet, Gerard de Nerval, had an excellent riposte to those who walked their pets.

He preferred to walk his pet lobster. He described lobsters as "tranquil, serious and they know the secrets of the sea."

Of walking other pets, however, he said: "What could be quite so ridiculous as making a dog, a cat, a gazelle, a lion or any other beast follow one about?"

As seems so often happens with university research these days, the guinea pigs were actually 600 students. Though some might wonder whether students are representative of anything other than themselves, these results replicate those of previous research.

However, should cat lovers suddenly experience a smugness beyond even their own superior intelligence, might I offer a word of intellectual caution?

John Bradshaw, a British anthrozoologist, has a different take on the human-cat relationship. He believes that cats see us as just big, stupid cats.

So much for cat lovers' alleged sensitivity.