While it’s pretty unlikely that any cat is ever going to land a scholarship to Yale or Harvard, there are some pretty intelligent cat breeds out there!

The smartest cats are usually the ones who are very curious and excellent explorers.

They often use what they learn from their explorations in some really unexpected ways!

Here are some of the most intelligent cat breeds.

24 of the Most Intelligent Cat Breeds

#1 Abyssinian

The Abyssinian is one of the cutest big-eared cat breeds

Abyssinian cats are known for being intelligent, athletic, and silly. And even though they are named after what used to be called Ethiopia, they are not from Ethiopia at all. 

In fact, according to specialists, they originated from some parts of Southeast Asia and the coastline of the Indian Ocean. 

In terms of personality, Aby cats are the happiest when they’re the center of attention and will do all kinds of silly things to make you admire their athletic bodies. 

The Aby always seems in motion – climbing, running, or chasing after toys. It’s a high-energy cat with boundless curiosity and a penchant for stealing things. 

This cat breed is also known for watching humans interact, and it often trains their human family to do things their way.

As such, these short-haired cats aren’t the best choice if you want a lazy cat. However, they get along well with other pets, and their short coat is easy to maintain. 

#2 Sphynx

sphynx with wide eyes and ears

Sphynx cats are the most popular hairless breed of cats. And while the Sphynx won’t win any beauty contests, many cat owners fall in love with its unique appearance. 

This cat breed originated in 1966 in Toronto, Canada, when a bald kitten was born due to a natural mutation. 

The Sphynx loves attention and likes to snuggle with its humans to keep warm. Cat owners also describe it as affectionate, curious, and funny.

However, the Sphynx is a social cat and doesn’t do well alone during the day. It can also be a bit clingy and demand to nap in your lap at the most inconvenient times. 

This domestic cat is also quite energetic and requires plenty of mental stimulation, such as teaser and puzzle toys to keep it happy.

READ MORE: Black Cat With Black Eyes and Blue Eyes

#3 Somali

muscular somali cat lying on the black floor

Somali cats are athletic, smart, and energetic. They’re very similar to the Abyssinian cat, sharing the same origin – Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean coast.

The Somali is quite intelligent, energetic, and mischievous. It’s fond of playing with challenging puzzle toys, climbing scratch poles, and learning tricks.

Since the Somali is among the smartest cat breeds, it can excel at feline agility courses, and you can even teach it to walk on a leash or fetch things. 

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#4 Burmese

Black Burmese cat in Burmese Cat Village at Inle Lake, Myanmar

Burmese cats are among the most sociable cat breeds you can find, giving guests and visitors its full attention. 

This cat breed originated in Southeast Asia but was bred in the United States, using Siamese cats and Burma’s “copper cats.” 

As such, the Burmese cat is brilliant, charming, and affectionate. It thrives on human attention and actively seeks it.

Expect your Burmese cat to stay by your side like a silent shadow, no matter what you’re doing, and climb up in your lap when you’re idle. 

It’s not the right cat for you if you value your privacy or can’t find the time to spoil and admire your Burmese.

You can teach it cool cat tricks, and it gets along well with children and other pets, as long as they know who the boss is. 

#5 Siamese

Have you ever watched the Lady and the Tramp? Then you might remember a pair of conniving Siamese cats.

For ages, color-pointed cats have been around Thailand (formerly Siam, hence the name). But the Siamese cat debuted in the West in 1871 at the Crystal Palace Cat Show in England.

apple head siamese cat, one of the

Indeed, Siamese cats are intelligent, demanding, and curious. They bond with a single person and aren’t shy to express their displeasure when you ignore them.

Moreover, the Siamese really love singing the song of its people. So, if you value a quiet home, the Siamese will drive you crazy with its constant chirping. 

Siamese cats are excellent learners, especially learning new tricks. They can figure out how to open doors and manipulate people to do their bindings with their cuteness.

#6 Balinese

If you’re in love with Siamese cats and longhaired cat breeds, the Balinese will smite you with its cute appearance, striking blue eyes, and fluffy coat. 

We don’t know how the Balinese appeared. Some specialists speculate that this smart cat breed is the result of a natural mutation, while others suspect a cross with Persians or Turkish Angora.

Whatever the truth, the Balinese made its official appearance as a breed in the 1940s and quickly won people’s hearts.

In temperament, the Balinese is the same as the Siamese – it’s crafty, social, and chatty. It’s smart enough to learn how to walk on a leash, play fetch, and figure out puzzle toys. 

As such, the Balinese is best for people who don’t mind the constant chattiness and are ready to provide enough mental stimulation.

#7 Bengal

bengal kitten looking at the ceiling

It’s easy to mistake the Bengal for a wild cat since it comes from the Asian leopard cat. Just look at its muscular body, large ears, and shrew eyes! 

Despite their wild looks, Bengal cats are sweet domestic cats, affectionate with the family, full of mischief and curiosity. 

Whenever your Bengal isn’t perching somewhere high or playing with the hardest puzzle toys, you’ll find it snuggling in your arms. 

Moreover, these felines are highly-energetic, intelligent, and alert. They can learn tons of tricks and commands with plenty of positive reinforcement and bribery. 

And don’t be surprised if this smart cat breed learns how to operate the light switches to make you get you up in the middle of the night for a snack.

Still, some people consider Bengal cats dangerous, and the breed is banned in some USA states. So, check the regulation before you attempt to adopt this smart cat. 

#8 Havana Brown 

Look at that stunning brown fur, unique head shape, and intelligent blue eyes! If you think this cat looks like a Siamese, you’d be right! 

The Havana Brown is a mix between a Siamese carrying the chocolate gene and a black shorthaired cat. It has a complicated history, and it almost disappeared back in the 1920s.  

Like the Siamese, the Havana Brown is a smart cat with an inquisitive nature. It enjoys puzzles and can be quite demanding when it wants attention or food.

The Havana Brown isn’t as talkative as its Siamese ancestors, but you’ll still hear its soft voice many times throughout the day. 

Unfortunately, the Havana Brown is a rare cat breed. But it makes an excellent lap cat, and its short coat is easy to maintain with regular brushing. 

#9 Cornish Rex

tuxedo cornish

The Cornish Rex is bound to attract attention and admiration no matter where it goes. Just look at those adorable large ears and long toes!

Cat owners often describe the Cornish Rex as dog-like. As such, it’s no surprise that it makes the list of the smartest cats in the world!

Cornish Rex learns tricks with pleasure and will do many silly things to bring a smile to your face. You can even teach them to fetch with enough treats and patience.

However, the Cornish Rex is quite an athletic cat with superb climbing abilities, who enjoys playtime so much it can turn the house upside down.  

And those long toes are perfect for manipulating objects, such as doors and light switches. You’ve been warned. 

On the bright side, Cornish Rex has such fine cat hair that you’ll barely notice it around the house. And brushing this wavy coat is a piece of cake! 

# 10 Korat

Korat cat meowing

Do you know that the people of Thailand consider Korat cats to be a good luck charm? It’s not hard to believe it when you see their emerald-green eyes and striking silver coats.

Besides its stunning appearance, the Korat is one of the most affectionate cats. It likes to sit in your lap whenever possible and can be a bit possessive and clingy. 

This silver cat is so social that it doesn’t do well alone and can develop separation anxiety or exhibit aggressive behaviors. That’s one of the reasons people used to give them in pairs. 

Moreover, the Korat doesn’t always play well with others, especially when sharing toys and people. And it bonds with one or two people, ignoring those that don’t have its trust. 

Still, the Korat is quite bright, and you can teach it plenty of amazing tricks, such as walking on a leash, retrieving objects, or opening doors.

#11 Savannah Cat

Savannah cat

The Savannah Cat owns its tiger-like appearance, large size, and fierce temperament to its wild African cat roots.

Still, the Savannah is a domestic cat with an adventurous spirit, affectionate nature, and an athletic body. 

These striped cats are also excellent climbers, preferring to observe the world from a high perch and knock over your valuables.

Thanks to the Savannah’s agility, intellect, and energy levels, life won’t ever be boring with these large cats around.  

However, owning a Savannah in some states and countries is not legal since some people consider them too dangerous, especially first generations. 

And most Savannah cats do best with an outdoor enclosure so that they can burn off some of their boundless energy. 

#12 Turkish Van Cat

If you’re looking for a fluffy cat with a friendly personality and superb intellect, the Turkish Van won’t disappoint you.

What’s unusual about the Turkish Van is that these cats love water to such an extent that you often find them in the sink, bath, aquarium, or toilet. 

They also enjoy pouncing on teaser toys, climbing as high as possible, and causing general mischief in the house. 

These cats remain playful well into their golden age, so don’t expect them to calm down past kittenhood. 

Moreover, the Turkish Van needs plenty of mental stimulation to stave boredom. Fail to entertain your Turkish Van, and you won’t like the results.

And while athletic and muscular, the Turkish Van isn’t very graceful and often breaks things or doesn’t land on its feet. Put any valuable away if you wish to keep them. 

The Turkish Van is also one of the largest cat breeds, so they don’t make the best lap cats. Still, they’re quite affectionate with the person who earns their respect and trust.

#13 Japanese Bobtail Cats

With its short, bunny-like tail, the Japanse Bobtail is next on the list of the smartest cat breeds in the world.

In the past, Japanese Bobtails were imperial pets and guarded the grain and silkworm against pests. It’s no surprise that people even regarded tricolored Bobtails as good luck charms. 

Today, Japanese Bobtails are still a popular breed, thanks to their mellow temperament, intelligence, and adaptability. 

They enjoy playing with toys and running around the house, but they say no to a nap in your arms. And they don’t mind traveling in cars.

However, being smart means that Japanese Bobtails don’t like to be lazy around the house. They need a companion and enough stimulating toys to keep them out of trouble. 

And these short-tailed cats can be quite stubborn once they make their mind. Still, they’re excellent family companions for the right person.  

#14 Singapura Cat

Don’t let Singapura’s small size deceive you. This cat is as curious and energetic as cats can be and capable of great mischiefs. 

Even if it weighs less than 7 pounds, the Singapura doesn’t have a problem climbing up the curtains, running across your keyboard, and pouncing on you from the fridge.

The Singapura is also very small, figuring puzzle toys with ease and looking for adventure whenever possible. 

It’s one of the friendliest cat breeds, greeting your guests with a happy purr and a demanding meow for attention.

Moreover, this small cat is a perfect bedwarmer, snuggling with you under the covers at night or warming your lap when you’re busy. 

Due to its social temperament and small size, the Singapura is a great apartment cat and a family companion. And it’s smart enough to figure out how to 

#15 Tonkinese Cat

very cute tonkinese cat

Look at this muscular body, almond-shaped eyes, and soft fur! The Tonkinese is a mix of Siamese and Burmese cats, impressing with its adorable appearance and intellect.

In general, the Tonk is active, playful, and affectionate. It’s not shy to express its opinions with a Siamese-like stubbornness and demand as much attention as possible.

Since Tonk cats take the best from Siamese and Burmese breeds, you can expect them to master puzzles quickly, learn tricks, and enjoy retrieving objects.

However, the Tonk is a social cat, and it doesn’t like to stay home alone all day long. These smart cats do best with a companion and plenty of mental stimulation.

On the bright side, the Tonks has a short coat, easy to maintain with occasional brushing. And their fur comes in 12 unique colorways!

#16 Scottish fold cat

Scottish fold cat, one of the unhealthiest breeds

If you want a gentle, loving, and quirky cat, this is the breed for you! Although it gets along with everyone (even children and other pets), Scottish Folds do have a favorite person.

They will follow you around since they enjoy being around you! Scotch folds are extremely laid back and do not require constant attention.

#17 Persian cats 

orange persian cat

Persians are known for their laidback and easygoing demeanor, yet they also exude a sense of nobility. They may not hiss or scratch, but they will grow irritated if they are harassed by loud youngsters or dogs.


Persians are loving, but they are quite picky. They focus their attention on family members and a few guests they believe they can trust.

#18 Maine Coon

shaded Maine coon cat

Maine Coons are incredibly huge cat kittens, gentle giants that play well into old age, and jumbo-sized parcels of loving affection.

Maine Coons can also be hesitant towards strangers, which is likely related to their jumbo-sized brains. However, even the most careful adapt with time.

This early time of adjustment is essentially a decision-making process; Maine Coons are determining whether or not these new people have proved themselves worthy of trust.

However, once they have made up their choices, they create deep relationships with the entire home and become affectionate and dedicated.

#19 Turkish Angora

white turkish angora cat with white kitten name

The Turkish Angora, while beautiful and graceful on the outside, may surprise an unwary owner with his athleticism and intellect.

No bookcase is too high for him to reach, and no locked door is secure from his enquiring paws.

While he can have exquisite manners, the Turkey, as he is sometimes referred to, has an energetic, raucous side to his temperament, as well as a brilliance that makes him constantly interesting.

He enjoys playing and will go to any length to earn and hold your attention, even if it means getting into a little mischief.

#20 Munchkin Cat

MUNCHKIN CAT

Munchkins are friendly and people-oriented, and they get along well with other cats, dogs, and people. They like wrestling and playing with their long-legged feline buddies, blissfully oblivious that they are different.

Their feline buddies also do not regard them as members of the vertically challenged. Only humans look at them with skepticism.

Munchkins, according to their fans, can accomplish everything a regular cat can do, except leap to the top of the kitchen counter. However, some fanciers regard this as a benefit rather than a negative.

Munchkins sprint swiftly despite their small legs, leaping like ferrets and taking curves at full speed.

#21 Oriental ShortHair

Oriental cat breed

An Oriental shorthair is usually in a chatty mood, with an odd scream known as a honk. 

As you may expect, these cats are incredibly gregarious creatures. Oriental shorthair cats are intelligent and loving, and they enjoy being around their family and other pets, particularly felines.

They’re complete “Velcro kittens,” and they frequently serve as your second shadow.

#22 Khao Manee

The Khao Manee cat is active and inquisitive—some would even say mischievous—but it’s all in good fun.

Khao Manee owners understand that their cat’s cheeky behaviors are always balanced with a good-natured demeanor. Even with strangers, the breed is cheerful and extroverted, and will run to greet guests with a joyous greeting.

They get along well with kids and are open to making friends with other cats and even the family dog. The Khao Manee is content to curl up on your lap for a nice cuddle in between exploring and play activities.

The sociable Khao Manee cat requires a lot of care and engagement from its human family; this is not a breed that can be left alone for lengthy periods of time every day.

#23 Lykoi

Lykoi cat

This breed is a friendly and calm cat. According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association, the Lykoi cat’s disposition allows it to get along with humans, cats, and dogs with equal ease.

Lykoi cat behavior is normally rather playful, however, they do occasionally wander out on their own for extended periods of time.

They are receptive to newcomers but may stay slightly distant since they enjoy the company of their usual human partners and may cling to them when the company is no longer around.

#24 Birman

birman cat

Birmans are friendly, kind, and reliable companions with a nobility that appears to beg family admiration. Birmans appear to have grown used to admiration as former temple cats.

They are clever and loving, and are highly people-oriented, according to some.

Visitors are usually greeted with interest rather than dread.

Birmans are simple to handle and care for due to their mild temperaments, and they make perfect pets for those looking for peaceful companions that will provide love and devotion.

 

FAQs

What is the average IQ of a cat?

While there are no IQ tests for cats, most specialists say cats have the intelligence of a two-three old child.

What is the least intelligent cat breed?

Most people consider the Persian and Exotic breeds to be the least intelligent cats. That’s because these cats are less active than other breeds and prefer napping to playing with toys.

Are cats smart or dumb?

Yes, cats are smart. According to researchers, cats have more neurons in their brains than dogs and have a similar brain structure to humans.

Conclusion

Many people consider dogs to be the most intelligent human companion. However, cats are also smart in their unique way.

Cats are just not interested in performing physical tasks when they can stay at home and have people worship them.  

tonkinese cat looking fiercely at the camera

Do you have one of these most intelligent cat breeds? Can you think of any other breeds to add to the list? Share below!

Resources

  • 1. Tonkinese [Internet]. Petfinder. 2017. Available from: https://www.petfinder.com/cat-breeds/tonkinese/
  • 2. Havana Brown Article 1998 – The Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc [Internet]. cfa.org. [cited 2022 Mar 1]. Available from: https://cfa.org/havana-brown/havana-brown-article-1998/
Deanna C
Deanna C

Deanna is a passionate cat lover and freelance writer. She lives with her Chi dog and a ragdoll cat. When she’s not writing, Deanna loves listening to country music or watching Dancing With The Stars.
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