Do cats have more neurons than dogs?

Do cats have more neurons than dogs? I’ll assume that the question refers to the number of neurons in the brain.

Do cats have more neurons than dogs?
Do cats have more neurons than dogs? No dogs have more neurons than cats. Images: screenshots. Montage: PoC.
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Cats have about 250 million neurons in the cortex of their brain while dogs have about 530 million neurons (source: Neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel on pbs.org – the numbers cross check with other sources). For comparison the cortex of the human brain contains 16 billion neurons (16 thousand million or 64 times more than the cat).

This does not necessarily mean than dogs are smarter than cats because measuring intelligence is complicated but dogs are smarter in terms of learning and comprehension it appears. That does not mean that they are more interesting or better.

A bigger brain size does not necessarily mean more neurons but it might! Are big dogs smarter than little dogs?

Note: A neuron is a nerve cell that is the basic building block of the nervous system.

The senses of the body’s hormone-producing glands send information to the brain. The brain interprets the chemical signals and then instructs the body on how to respond to the nervous system.

The brain also sends instructions to the master gland of the cat’s hormonal system, the pituitary, which lies at the base of the brain. This information stimulates the pituitary gland to produce hormones that control functions and activities such as sexual behaviour and the metabolic rate. The brain receives 20% of the blood supply even though it accounts for less than 1% of body weight of the domestic cat.

A kitten’s brain is almost fully developed at birth. Most areas have fully matured by seven weeks of age. The skills that the cat needs throughout his or her life are acquired fastest during this development stage and learning before seven weeks of age is more important in cats than in dogs.

The brain’s capacity to store information is genetically predetermined. The cerebellum controls the cat’s muscles. The cerebrum governs learning, emotion and behaviour, and the brainstem connects to the nervous system. The limbic system is a network of cells believed to integrate instinct and learning.


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