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Pet-parent alert: Research shows cats and dogs aren’t equally brainy



woman with cat and dog Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Veavea

Sorry, cat lovers—but even if your favorite feline happens to be especially curious and intellectual, new evidence puts the whole pet braininess debate to rest, once and for all.

In a new study—the results of which were published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy—researchers used a method that counts brain cells and found dogs to be superior: While a cat’s brain has about 250 million cortical neurons, a dog’s has about 530 million, according to a press release. (But don’t worry, humans—our smarty-pants species has about 16 billion of the brain cells.)

“Our findings mean, to me, that dogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can.” —Suzana Herculano-Houzel, PhD

“It is fair to say that dogs have about twice as many neurons as cats in their cerebral cortex, and this implies that dogs have more cognitive capabilities than cats,” said neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel, PhD, in the release. “Our findings mean, to me, that dogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can.”

But intelligence aside, both cats and dogs are super lovable potential BFFs, and no one needs a study to back up that claim.

Being a pup parent increases your lifespan—and here’s the proof. Or, check out these cute it-dogs of Instagram.