Cat Intelligence: Are Cats Smarter Than They Let on to Be?

The intelligence and cognitive abilities of cats is something that is often underrated or misinterpreted by their human owners. Cats are definitely smarter than they are given credit for. But is that a part of their intelligence? Hiding how smart they really are from their humans? 

Cat owners: Don’t you ever find yourself acknowledging that your cat must know how cute they are, and are using it against you so they can get away with anything they please? This is a common thought among cat owners because to some degree it is the truth. 

What Makes Cats Intelligent?

Take a moment to consider all of the things that your cat has been doing with minimal house training involved. For instance, going to the bathroom in the litter box is something they seem born to know how to do. Most pet owners would agree that cats are so much easier to potty train than dogs are, by a long shot. 

Cats perform many acts of intelligence on a daily basis. Because they picked up on these things so easily, with little to no training from us, it's almost as though we write it off. We dismiss their intelligence as just something that they naturally do.

You may have noticed that your cat learned their name and maybe even their nickname rather quickly. You may have also noticed that they have picked up on certain words/commands that you say around them frequently. Sometimes cat owners are even able to train their cats to do tricks or to walk on a leash. 

If you really are curious about how to determine how intelligent your cat really is, taking a cat intelligence quiz is always an option.

What Breeds of Cat are Considered the Most Intelligent?

There are several breeds of cats whose intelligence shines above the rest. Their intelligence could be determined by their ability to be trained and follow commands, or purely on their personality revealing how aware and focused on their environment that they are. Those outstanding breeds set the bar for intelligence for all other cat breeds, and even some dog breeds at that. 


The Abyssinian cat is a breed that is so well known for their intellect and even their confidence levels. These adorably curious and adventurous little cats love to play and typically look as though they are on a mission of some sort and thinking a lot about everything they do.

Many Abyssinian owners will tell you that these lanky cats love to take part in mentally stimulating activities, such as exploring new areas or playing with a more complex cat toy


The Bengal cat shows some real signs of emotional intelligence especially. This is noted in how sociable they are with their human owners as well as new humans they come to befriend over time. Bengals also love to interact with their surroundings. You will often find them jumping and climbing around, usually making a sort of chirping sound as they go. 

Scottish Fold

Much like Abyssinians and Bengals, the Scottish Fold loves to be mentally stimulated. Give them a complex toy or even a puzzle made for cats, and they will have the time of their life playing with these toys all afternoon long. They also very much enjoy interacting with their owners rather than just playing alone. This is why, if you own a Scottish Fold, or intend to, it's important that you make time to interact with them each day.


If you recall the two mischievous Siamese cats from the famous movie, “Lady and the Tramp” you can see a realistic depiction of the intelligence that this breed holds through those characters. Some will argue that the Siamese are the most intelligent breed of them all, saying that they were able to teach their Siamese cat to do tricks. The Siamese cat definitely ranks very high on the feline intelligence scale no doubt. 


Cat parents will always think that their fur baby is the brightest and most talented of them all, this is just expected. However, some breeds are born with an especially high level of intelligence about them. Breeds such as the Abyssinian, Scottish Fold, Siamese, and the Bengal are just a few of the more notably intelligent breeds. So, if you have a cat that you aren’t entirely sure of the breed, but are noticing that they are rather intelligent, it’s very possible that they have a part of one of these breeds in their bloodline. 

You may think that your cat just likes to look around and play with their toys, but if you watch closely you may begin to notice that they are in fact observing and taking in their surroundings as well as interacting by jumping and climbing all over the place. Cats are definitely smarter than they let us believe they are at times, which makes them that much more interesting and mysterious. 

How intelligent are cats?

Cats are incredibly intelligent. They’re definitely a lot smarter than they lead us on to believe. Their long- and short-term memory is great, and they are capable of understanding more than their owner may think they do. This is mostly due to the fact that they don’t often listen or obey. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t understanding. Cats are just notoriously independent and lazy more often than not.

Are cats more intelligent than dogs?

Biologically speaking, cats can be considered to be twice as smart as dogs. Or at least have the capacity to be. One study went on to show that cats have, on average, 300 million neurons, while canines typically only have 50% of that number of neurons.

What is the most intelligent cat breed?

The Abyssinian breed of cat is undoubtedly one of the most intelligent. Their intelligence shines bright in their personality, as they love to communicate with their humans and are always analyzing the environment around them.

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Written by Leo Roux

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