February 2010 Issue

How Smart Is Your Cat?

The structure of the feline brain is similar to the human brain. But can we truly measure our catsí intelligence?

Humans are very biased in assessing the intelligence of our cats (or dogs). Thatís because we tend to judge them according to traits that we can relate to as humans. When cats do something entertaining or "display their independence, we think of them as intelligent," says Julia Albright, MA, DVM, animal behavior resident at Cornell Universityís College of Veterinary Medicine. But there is actually far more evidence for catsí intelligence than just our perception of it. According to researchers at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, the physical structure of our brain and that of cats are very similar; they have the same lobes in the cerebral cortex (the "seat" of intelligence) as we do. Our brains function the same way, conveying data via identical neurotransmitters.

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