Stop the presses!

We’ve got the answer to the question that vexed the ancients: Which are smarter, dogs or cats?
The answer is dogs.

Before you cough up a hairball, we’ve got scientific evidence to support this outrageous (if you’re a cat lover) claim.

Oxford University scientists have studied the brains of 500 species of mammals, both alive and extinct, going back 60 million years, and have discovered that the brains of social animals such as monkeys, horses, dolphins camels and dogs have grown faster than the brains of solitary mammals, like deer, rhinos … and cats.

They appear to have a lot of time on their hands at Oxford University.

Of course, if you’re a cat, you won’t care. You’ll just stare that cat stare, then walk away, refusing to return until somebody feeds you. It doesn’t matter who, as long as it’s your favourite food. And only your favourite food.

If you’re a dog, you’ll jump up and down, and by wagging your tail and barking, you’ll signal your enthusiastic assent to anything humans come up with, even pointy-headed Oxford scientists, as long as it involves going out and chasing something. It’s also good if it involves snacks.

It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re a dog or a cat or a camel, for that matter, snacks are good.
You should know I’m a dog person. Oh, and I’m also a cat person. I’m pretty good on monkeys, horses, dolphins and deer, too, but I draw the line at rhinos. My house is a rhino-free zone. We don’t allow camels, either.

Seriously, why does it matter? My grand-dog Shorty is an English bulldog, and on that list of canine intelligence, English bulldogs rank No. 104 out of list of 108 breeds. Yet, we all love Shorty, who makes up for his lack of RAM by being the most single-minded animal in the household. He can have hours of endless fun pulling at the other end of anything in his jaws. And because he’s bred to pull down 1,500-pound raging bovines, he always wins. But he still wants to play and will still want to play at 3:30 tomorrow morning.

You have to admire his complete dedication, even when you’re begging for relief.

This debate will never be resolved, as most people have documentary evidence that Fluffy the Cat or Bailey the Dog is smarter than your average Oxford University scientist.

And like Shorty, they never get tired of playing the game.

Paul Sullivan is a Vancouver-based journalist and owner of Sullivan Media Consulting; vancouverletters@metronews.ca.

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