As a cat parent, you might have seen your fur baby do something surprisingly intelligent at one time and something outrageous the next moment. Cats are intelligent creatures and have brain similarities to human beings. They are considered among the smartest pets that are not only emotionally attached to their owners but also understand their surroundings better.
Despite being smart and adaptable, your cat does not have a big brain (literally). If you wonder how big cats’ brains are, let us tell you that they are no bigger than your pinky finger.
Cat brains are around 2 inches in size and weigh only 30 grams on average.
The skull of your fur baby is made of thick bones containing eye sockets, mouth, and jaw, leaving little space for the brain. Having a brain small in size does not mean they are any less intelligent. While the number of neurons may vary, the cat brain is incredibly similar to the human brain in anatomy and function.
How does the Cat Brain Look?
Unlike the human brain, the cat brain is oriented front to back instead of top to bottom. Cats, humans, and dogs have some common brain structures and corresponding functions including;
Cerebral cortex – helps with cognitive memory, emotions, planning, and motor function
Brainstem – helps control vital body functions like heart rate and temperature
Cerebellum – essential for movement and balance keeping
How Intelligent are Cats?
According to Psychology Today, your feline baby’s cerebral cortex has around 300 million neurons that help with motor and cognitive function. They are good at making decisions and respond to their surroundings better than many other animals.
Better Short-Term Memory
Don’t be surprised if we tell you that short-term memory is 192 times better than dogs! In research conducted, it was seen that dogs could recall where the food was hidden for only five minutes. Whereas cats remembered the location for up to 16 hours, making them better at short-term memory than others.
They Recognize Voices
If you have been calling your fur baby and they do not respond, they are probably ignoring you. A 2013 report published in Animal Cognition shows that cats are really good at remembering the voice of their owners and tend to respond immediately. While they might not nod, they move their ears to show that they know who is calling them.
Smarter than an iPad
Your cat’s brain has better memory and can process operations faster than an iPad. An iPad processes around 170 million operations per second, while your cat can perform 6.1 trillion operations per second.
Did you know that cats also dream?
A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research showed that cats also experience a REM Sleep (Rapid Eye Movement Sleep) that we humans sense during dreaming. The next time you see your fur baby twitch their paws or sleep peacefully, maybe they are enjoying a sweet dream!
Do Brain Function Decline in Cats?
Yes, the brain function in cats also diminishes over time due to various reasons. One of them is aging and drastic changes in their surroundings. Most commonly, cats develop Alzheimer’s as they grow old, along with cognitive issues. Yet, not all fur babies develop these issues and can be taken care of better to avoid them.
The Bottom Line
Cats are curious creatures and like exploring anything that seems different to them. The curious behavior is attributed to their cognitive and reasoning behaviors that help them adapt to the environment. While the brain of a cat is only inches in size, it offers many functions similar to the human brain and is even smarter than your iPad!