What Is the Smartest Type of Cat?

by Elle Di Jensen, Demand Media
    Some cats are smarter than others, regardless of their breed.

    Some cats are smarter than others, regardless of their breed.

    If you have a cat or two in your household, you already know what intelligent creatures they are...and possibly a bit manipulative, too. You'd probably put your cat up against a fifth grader any day. Maybe you're wondering if you can attribute your kitty's intelligence to her breed.

    The Claims

    Depending on which book you read or which expert you listen to almost any breed of cat has been touted as "one of the most intelligent". Siamese usually make most lists of smarty-pants cats, mainly because they are so active and curious, often intrigued by puzzles and other challenges. But other breeds like the Turkish angora, Sphynx, Abyssinian and Main Coon have all at one time or another been hailed as the smartest breed of cat.

    The Reality

    The fur will fly if you tell any cat parent that her clever Savannah isn't brighter than any other breed, but the truth of the matter is that, just like some people are smarter than others, some cats are smarter than others, regardless of their breed. One mixed breed stray is supposed to have been the smartest cat ever based on accounts that he could remember and perform 75 tricks.

    Measure Of Intelligence

    It can be argued that a cat's smarts can be measured by how willing she is to learn and how quickly she does so, as well as how well she adapts to change. But cat behaviorists are starting to realize that social nature can also indicate intellect. That puts friendly, outgoing cats like the Cornish Rex and the bengal in the company of the other breeds who claim to be the smartest.

    Cat Intelligence to Rival a Bird's

    When you think of smart animals in general, Alex the African grey parrot is one of the first to come to mind. It was actually Alex and his work with Dr. Irene Pepperberg who motivated one human to teach her Main coon -- who had lived his first life as a feral cat with no permanent home -- the same skills that Alex had learned, like identifying shapes and colors, counting, adding and recognizing the number "0" and even saying "good-bye". Well, maybe not literally saying it, but Sullivan knows how and when to wave.

    About the Author

    Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.

    Photo Credits

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