Are domestic cats smarter than toddlers?

I am afraid that the question is unworkable. It is not practical or possible to compare the intelligence of a domestic adult cat to the intelligence of a toddler in the age bracket 1-3. There are two variables: animal versus human and toddler versus adult. It just becomes chaotic and ridiculous.

I can’t think of anything else to say. I have rambled on long enough just to say one thing: the question should not be asked ?.

Toddler Loves His Cat

Toddler Loves His Cat

Also, it depends how you measure intelligence. If you measured intelligence on the capabilities of a sentient being to survive then the domestic cat would beat the toddler. Cats are great survivors. There have been some extraordinary stories of cats surviving the most impossible conditions. If there’s one thing that they are good at it is survival which is why they say cats have nine lives. Toddlers are hopeless at surviving. They just perish if they are left alone in the wild.

RELATED: Can cats be protective of babies and toddlers? – cats can sometimes relate to toddlers as their kittens.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

But if you measure intelligence on the number of neurons in an animal’s brain and number of neural connections and synapses or the size of their brains then clearly the toddler beats the cat hands down. So, the toddler has a much greater potential for intelligence then the domestic cat.

And toddlers soak up all kinds of information very quickly. Four-year-olds begin to read and can express their wants and needs pretty well. They begin to learn to understand what’s wrong and right. Cats can express themselves in body language and vocalisations. They don’t understand morality but they are very adaptable and they understand the human home in terms of how to get along and survive and make the best of it. But I don’t believe that they can be self-aware. That’s a big obstacle to intelligence. Toddlers are self-aware.

It is a struggle to find a way to compare intelligence between a cat and a toddler. The two just don’t really connect. It’s not the same playing field. People have attempted to do this but in the comments that I’ve seen, every one of them has rejected the question for various reasons. The most obvious being the one that I’ve mentioned.

Tabby cat is protective of toddler

Tabby cat is protective of toddler/ Screenshot.

RELATED: Cat appears to attack baby-sitter to defend toddler

To return to the ability to survive; this can’t be a measure of intelligence and a way to compare toddlers and cats because as somebody said on the Guardian website, if that was a measure then an acorn would more intelligent than the late Professor Stephen Hawking. You get the point. You can get a person who has a huge disability as Professor Hawking had and therefore require lots of support without which they can’t survive but they are still hugely intelligent.

There is one quite neat answer to this question. You put a toddler or an 8-month-old baby in the same room as a domestic cat. If the cat learns to keep out of the way of the baby or toddler then that’s an indication that they are smarter than the young human. This is a reflection of the disrespect for handling that toddlers tend to have of domestic cats. Actually, cats and toddlers can get along well and cats can be protective of them which is indicative of a greater wisdom by the cat than the person.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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