Are raccoons smarter than cats? People want to know. It may be important because raccoons can and do attack outside domestic cats, sometimes. Raccoons are smarter than cats. A study has confirmed this. The study looked at a variety of species such as ferrets, mongooses, hyenas, lions, brown bears and raccoons. It was published in late 2017.
It is an interesting diversion because the usual conversation is about whether dogs are smarter than cats or vice versa. We are told that dogs have twice as many neurons as cats. However, we are also told that you can’t really compare the intelligence of cats to dogs because it’s a bit like comparing a hammer with a screwdriver. Brian Hare, the founder and director of Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center, says that each “tool is designed for a specific problem, so of course it depends on the problem we are trying to solve”.
Are raccoons smarter than cats? Yes. They have more brain cells
However, the findings of the study that I have mentioned surprised some people. The brain of a raccoon is similar in size to that of the cat. However, the raccoon has as many neurons as a dog. The ratio of brain size to neuron numbers is similar to that of primates. Brain size is not a true measure of intelligence. A neuroscientist, Suzana Herculano-Houzel believes that intelligence comes in any sized package.
The raccoon can be considerably bigger than the domestic cat at 11 to 57 lbs. He is also smarter. Therefore this animal is quite dangerous to a domestic cat outside the home.
Raccoons are very ingenious and good at problem solving when finding food. The raccoon is an omnivore and normally nocturnal. Their diet consists of 40% invertebrates, 33% plant foods and 27% invertebrates (occasionally the domestic cat). I have some gruesome stories about hordes of raccoons attacking domestic cats in America.
The home range of the raccoon is from 3 to 5000 hectares for males on prairies. This is considerably larger than the domestic cat wandering outside. In captivity they can live to 20 years but in the wild their lifespan is from 1.8 to 3.1 years. The most important predators of the raccoon are bobcats, great horned owls and coyotes. Rarely, a domestic cat will kill a raccoon.