Scientists in Japan have pawed scorn on the idea that cats aren’t as smart as dogs.
A study of 49 felines revealed the species is just as able as its canine counterpart at recalling events, a cornerstone of consciousness.
“Episodic memory is viewed as being related to introspective function of the mind; our study may imply a type of consciousness in cats,” Saho Takagi, a psychologist at Kyoto University, told BBC News.
“An interesting speculation is that they may enjoy actively recalling memories of their experience like humans.”
Researchers tasked the cats with remembering which bowl they had eaten from and which remained untouched for 15 minutes.
Not only did the cats recall the “what and where” information, their behaviour suggested they may remember for much longer periods too.
The cats performed as well as dogs in many tests, including responding to human gestures, facial expressions and emotions.
While the researchers didn’t test whether cats could be trained, Takagi hinted at the possibility.
“Understanding cats more deeply helps to establish better cat-human relationships,” Takagi said.
“Cats may be as intelligent as dogs, as opposed to the common view of people that dogs are much smarter.”