For all those who love their pets:)
How intelligent is your average cat? They certainly can understand a lot of things. They know when you are angry. When they sleep, they see dreams. When we start packing for vacation, our cat always understands what's going on and becomes very restless. He also has some very strange antics, comparable to those of little children. I could swear that sometimes he is naughty just for the sake of it. When he is sleeping and you walk into the room where he is lying and look at him, he will cover his eyes with one paw and then glance at you and close his eyes again and expect that you will scratch behind his ears.
Intrigued, I turned to Wikipedia and that's what I found: omitting all the scientific information about the brain size and structure of an average house cat, we can roughly compare its intelligence to that of a two-year old. That was approximately my idea, after years of observation. Cats also appear to have a good memory, and can remember things for as long as 10 years.
Now with dogs, the situation is more complicated since there exist so many breeds of them. There is a book written by a Canadian professor where he ranks the intelligence of 131 different dog breeds. According to it, three most intelligent dogs are Border Collie, Poodle and German Shepherd while Afghan Hound is at the bottom of the list.
I recall reading an article about a Border Collie who learned more than a thousand words. Wikipedia mentions it, too, in the article on Border Collies. By comparison, a three-year old child is supposed to learn about 900-1.000 words, a child of 4 will have about 1.500-word vocabulary.
I think we can safely draw the conclusion that the most intelligent dogs are more intelligent that cats, while the least intelligent breeds are probably more stupid than an average cat. All this makes me want to get a dog. If only my husband would agree...:)