Dogs vs. Cats—New Article Compares Intelligence, Stamina, Life Span, and More!

LilyBy: Lily

As a canine myself, you can probably guess where my opinion falls on the age-old cats vs. dogs debate! However, I have had a kitty friend or two in my time, and at the end of the day—we pets gotta stick together! But it is interesting to learn about the differences between us. A new article in Parade magazine turned to science to find out “which of America’s favorite pets is top dog (or the cat’s meow) when it comes to smarts and skills.”

Before we dig into the article’s findings, let’s take a quiz! Answer dog or cat to each of the questions below:

  1. Which have more stamina?
  2. Which are better hunters?
  3. Which are the hardest working?
  4. Which live the longest?
  5. Which are the fastest?
  6. Which are the smartest?


  1. The most stamina = Dogs. The article says dogs win this category hands-down, citing sled dogs that compete in Alaska’s Iditarod—a 1,100 mile run in -40 degree temperatures. Cats are more like sprinters; they use short bursts of energy but don’t have the stamina for a marathon!
  2. The better hunters = Cats. Although I thought dogs would win this category because certain dogs are bred to hunt (labradors, retrievers, etc.), it is actually more instinctive for cats to kill. Their impeccable nighttime and close-range vision helps as well. A 2010 University of Nebraska report found that feral and stray cats kill as many as 480 million birds in the U.S. each year. Yikes!
  3. The hardest working = Dogs. When it comes to multi-tasking, dogs come out on top—they can guide the blind, sniff out illegal drugs, and even alerts humans to certain medical issues (such as diabetics low on insulin or epileptics having a seizure). Although cats spend time chasing mice and birds, a recent study shows that cats spend 80% of their day just taking it easy.
  4. Longest lifespan = Cats. The average life span for a cat is 13 or 14 years, versus 11 years for a dog. Additionally, big dogs have a shorter life span than small dogs, and outdoor cats don’t live as long as indoor cats.
  5. The fastest = Dogs. The speed of a greyhound (40 miles per hour) tipped the scales in favor of canines in this dog vs. cat category. The fastest cat has been clocked at 30 miles an hour.
  6. The smartest = Dogs. I’m probably going to get hate mail from my feline friends for this one, but…scientists have studied dogs versus cats in terms of trainability, communication and complexity of thought, and dogs come out on top. Studies have shown that the average dog can learn 165 words, whereas cats are limited to 35. The brainiest dogs? Border collies, poodles, German shepherds and golden retrievers.

Check out the full article in Parade magazine for more info, including why cats have been found to be more agile and more independent. And please leave comments below to let me know what you think and which pet you prefer!

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