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Dogs are better pets than cats, by a Whisker, study finds

Study: Dogs Are Better Than Cats

The New Scientist is resorting to science to try to find the truth about cats and dogs.

Using a wealth of recent research to measure pets in 11 categories, the magazine has come to the reluctant conclusion that dogs are better pets than cats, by a whisker.

The four-legged tug of war was tied going into the last category: utility. A British Journal of Health Psychology study that heralded dog walking as good exercise and a good excuse for social contact put dogs over the top.

Here’s a breakdown of the categories and the rationale:

1. Brains. Cats are smarter, with 300 million neurons compared with a pooch’s 160 million.

2. Shared history. Dogs were domesticated from 16,000 to 50,000 years ago, according to two studies, long before the discovery 9,500 years ago of a kitten buried with a human on Cyprus.

3. Bonding. An Eotvos University study in Budapest found dogs became distressed away from their owners. Scientist Adam Miklosi said he thought cats might react similarly, but he couldn’t persuade them to take the test.

4. Popularity. There are 204 million cats in the top 10 cat-owning countries (the top 3 are the United States, China and Russia), but only 173 million dogs (top 3 are the U.S., Brazil and China).

5. Understanding. Dogs over cats, for their larger vocabulary and their instinct to get humans to help them find hidden food. Cats, says Miklosi, will try to figure it out themselves.

6. Problem solving. Hard to determine, the magazine admits, because dogs have been tested frequently. Cats, not so much. But a Seeing Eye dog’s ability to take over and solve problems when his master can’t, gives this point to dogs.

7. Vocalization. Cats, mostly because of the finding this year that they have a specially pitched purr when they want food.

8. Tractability. Dogs, because they play by the rules.

9. Supersenses. While cats can sniff things out just as well as dogs, cats can see clearly in lower light and hear in a far wider range.

10. Eco-friendliness. As anyone who has to lug bags of dog food home will agree, cats have far less of a ecological footprint. Even a chihuahua has twice the footprint of a cat, the magazine contends.

Just One More Pet feels that choosing dogs, over cats, over birds, over reptiles, over fish, over amphibians, over pocket pets, over rodents, etc etc is completely subjective.  Pets and which ones are the best really depend on the their human’s perspective.

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animals, Just One More Pet, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , | Leave a comment