Cat intelligence is a topics that has always fascinated the scientists around the world. Our kitties are without a doubt very intelligent. They are extremely curious, which is a quality associated with intelligence, and they recognize their names and your voice. They can be trained as well, provided they want to, of course.
Here, we look at our cats’ intelligence and what makes them so sharp. We even take a look at a few studies that assessed the general intelligence of cats as well as the breeds with the highest intelligence levels.
Cat Intelligence Overview
There aren’t many research that have tested the intellect of cats, compared to the number of studies that have done so for dogs.
David Grimm, the online news editor for Science Magazine, is an authority on canine and feline science. Grimm claims that while numerous publications on canine intelligence had been published by various labs worldwide by the year 2004, there had been no research on cat intelligence up to that point.
There have been a few cat-focused studies since 2004, but unquestionably the world needs more! Cats’ independence is the main barrier to research, according to the studies that have been done.
Dr. Dám Miklósi, a Hungarian ethologist, published a report on his investigation into how animals interact with humans. Working with cats, according to Miklósi, can be difficult because they frequently don’t collaborate, follow instructions, or participate in activities in the same way that dogs do.
Cats’ unwillingness to cooperate is the reason why there has been little research on their intellect. Anyone who has a cat should fully comprehend this. Most of the time, if not always, our cats prefer to complete tasks in their own way. But isn’t that the reason we adore them?
The Social Cat
Kristyn Vitale is a researcher and educator who specializes in animal behavior. She has studied social cognition, cat behavior, and interactions between cats and people. In a study, conducted by Vitale, it was determined if cats would prefer playing with toys, eating, or associating with people. 55 cats total, including some from animal shelters, were employed by Vitale. These cats were all given the choice to select one of the three options for this study. A little over half of the cats preferred human contact over the other two, but it is not surprising that food came in second.
The findings of this study may be explained in part by the distinctive personalities and behavioral characteristics shared by all cats. While some cats prefer to play, others just want a treat or to curl up on a warm lap. Perhaps some of these methods should be employed in future studies on the intelligence of cats.
The Independent Cat
Cats can be quite secretive, and they are only occasionally willing to help us out. They are often more impetuous and lack the same patience as dogs. The majority of dogs are loyal and will go to great lengths to please their owners, especially when praise and treats are involved.
Cats are intelligent and trainable, but even if they adore their owners, they only obey commands when they feel like it.
A 2013 study found that cats can identify their owner’s voice, albeit they may choose to ignore it, according to an article in Smithsonian Magazine. Owners of cats are presumably not shocked by this. The general finding of the study is that cats have a considerably higher degree of independence than dogs do because they have never been educated to obey humans’ commands in the same manner that dogs have.
Additionally, Miklósi thinks that because of the stressful setting and having to engage with unfamiliar humans, cats perform less well in lab tests than their canine counterparts. Miklósi came to the conclusion that cats can successfully complete these studies if they have been well-socialized and are relaxed because some cats have passed the lab tests.
Furthermore, because of that renowned feline independence, ethologist Péter Pongrácz performed a study with 99 cats but only obtained data from 41 of these cats.
The Most Intelligent Cat Breeds
While most cats are fairly intelligent, several breeds stand out. The more clever cats are usually the ones who are naturally curious and want to get into mischief, especially since they like a challenge.
The top five intelligent cats are listed below in alphabetical order:
- Balinese: These Siamese-related cats are chatty and prone to mischief, especially if they aren’t sufficiently challenged.
- Bengal: Because these tiny jaguars are so active, they require mental exercises to prevent boredom.
- Burmese: Burmese people tend to act inappropriately when they are bored. They are playful, trainable, and like spending time with their owners.
- Savannah: These cats are lively and huge because they were originally bred from African servals. They are easily bored, therefore you must give them opportunity for physical activity and cerebral difficulties.
- Siamese: Among the most well-known breeds worldwide. They are noted for their chattiness and their warm personalities and are very bright.
Just How Intelligent Are Cats?
It’s really challenging to say given how challenging it is to study cats. We can all agree that they are intelligent, yet it has been shown to be challenging to quantify their intelligence in a scientific study.
According to Vitale, when researchers run into difficulties while researching cats, the issue isn’t with the cats themselves but rather with the research methodologies. Therefore, until scientists can figure out a means to use the right techniques to get the answers they need, the cat’s famed mysticism will persist. We cat owners only know that our felines are intelligent in the interim.
When you call your cat’s name, does she or he appear to respond? Can they distinguish between your voice and that of a stranger? Can they figure out how to retrieve a toy or treat if it’s hidden behind something, like furniture (unless it’s impossible, of course)? You probably have a smart cat if you can say yes to these questions!
Cat Intelligence Conclusion
Cats can be intelligent, but only in their own right. They are incredibly independent, which speaks volumes about their intelligence, and they are able to make decisions that are in their best interests and not always those of their owners.
We are also aware of our cats’ propensity for unusual behavior. Why does your cat repeatedly knock the remote control onto the floor? While it may appear that your cat is acting inappropriately, keep in mind that this behavior always draws your attention.
While science and study try to figure this out, we only know that our cats are bright, sensitive beings that we adore. It’s more than likely that our cats are smarter than we realize.
Read more: Exactly Why do Cats Sneak Around?