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13 Most Intelligent Cat Breeds

Kristin Hitchcock

June 30, 2021

While cats typically aren’t thought of as intelligent in the same sense as dogs, there are many breeds out there that are very bright. Many of these felines can be trained, though most of them are also experts at getting into things.

Owning an intelligent cat means there’s never a dull moment with your feline. These cats require mental stimulation, which usually translates to plenty of toys and lots of playtime. They often require a bit more work than other felines due to their higher intelligence.

Here are some of the most intelligent cat breeds around.divider-cat

Top 13 Most Intelligent Cat Breeds:

1. Abyssinian

Abyssinian kitten
Image Credit: Dmitry Tsapenko, Pixabay
Medium size
Weighs 6-10 pounds
Comes in red, fawn, and blue
Lives 9-15 years

The Abyssinian is athletic and very affectionate. They get into their families and enjoy their people. They like to be involved in what their people are doing. They are pretty intelligent and like to climb, so they tend to get into things that should be out of reach. They can be trained and learn tricks with some ease. Many are quite good at running cat agility courses, which helps them stay busy and entertained.

They are quite active and not typically lap cats. When introduced at a young age, they can get along well with other pets.


2. Balinese

Seal Point Balinese
Image Credit: Jenni Ferreira, Shutterstock
Medium size
Weighs 5-10 pounds
Comes in chocolate, blue, lilac, and seal
Live 12-20 years

This fluffy cat is the longhaired Siamese. They are also brilliant, like the Siamese. Curious and active, these cats will end up in places they aren’t supposed to be. These cats need plenty of toys to keep them busy. Climbing trees are necessary to keep them entertained.

This breed is quite dog-like—able to walk on a leash, fetch, and tricks. They’re affectionate with their families, but they aren’t exactly lap cats. They need a lot of mental stimulation.


3. Burmese

Burmese Cat
Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock
Medium size
Weighs 6-12 pounds
Comes in sable, champagne, platinum, and blue
Lives 10-16 years

Burmese cats are one of the more intelligent cat breeds. They are energetic and friendly. They like to play with their people, though they aren’t the typical housecat. They usually don’t like to be held and don’t seem to sit still for very long. They need lots of stimulation, which usually translates into lots of activity. Toys and climbing structures are necessary.

They need plenty of socialization and prefer to be around people most of the time. They can get lonely, so they aren’t suitable for families that are gone often.


4. Bengal

close-up of a Bengal kitten
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock
Medium to large size
Weighs 6-18 pounds
Comes in orange or brown, with marbling patterns
Lives 12-16 years

Bengal cats are most well-known for their exotic coat. They look a bit like a leopard. However, they are also brilliant and energetic. They are pretty active and highly active. They need a lot of space to run around and climb. Catios are highly recommended. You’ll also need to provide puzzle games and plenty of toys. The toys will need to be switched out often to provide plenty of variety.

These cats are exquisite and good with their paws. Often, they learn how to turn light switches off and on, pull food out of bags, and open drawers.


5. Havana Brown

Havana brown cat
Image Credit: Joan Wozniak, Shutterstock
Medium size
Weighs 8-10 pounds
Comes in Brown
Lives 15-20 years

The Havana Brown is best known for its chocolate-colored coat. They have silky fur and are very soft. They are a bit rare, as they are a newer breed. Siamese cats were crossbred with other breeds to create this unique cat.

They are very social and enjoy being around their family. Interactive toys are necessary, and you should switch out the toys often to ensure your cat doesn’t get bored. Tricks and other mental challenges are necessary.


6. Cornish Rex

Bi-color Cornish Rex_Shutterstock_Jenni-Ferreira
Image Credit: Jenni Ferreira, Shutterstock
Small to medium size
Weighs 5-9 pounds
Comes in many different colors
Lives 10-16 years

This sleek and athletic feline has enormous ears. They’re often described as very dog-like. They engage in many different canine behaviors, including following their people around and enjoy lots of playing—even into their twilight years. Many enjoy playing games like fetch and learning tricks. They have unusually long toes, which allows them to be very handy.

They are incredibly athletic and excellent jumpers. They can get into just about everything. Climbing structures are highly recommended.


7. Korat

Korat cat lying on the grass
Image Credit: CLAUDIA BE, Pixabay
Medium size
Weighs 6-10 pounds
Comes in white and silver
Lives 10-15 years

The Korat is another rare breed from Thailand. They are curious and attentive, which also makes them quite intelligent. They aren’t as energetic as other intelligent cats. However, they do still love toys and playing. They can learn tricks and often enjoy walking on a leash.

These cats are very affectionate with their families and love attention. They are more lap cats than other intelligent felines.


8. Siamese

siamese-cat-on-guard-pixabay
Credit: Pixabay
Medium size
Weighs 8-15 pounds
Comes in seal point, chocolate point, lilac point, and blue point
Lives 11-15 years

One of the most well-known cat breeds around, the Siamese is one of the most intelligent cats. They are chatty and curious. Their coats are unique, and they love hanging out with their people. These cats crave attention and don’t do well with being left alone for extended periods.

They like to stay busy. We recommend puzzle toys and similar opportunities for enrichment. Climbing structures are a great option, as are tricks and training. A bored Siamese can quickly get into all sorts of things they shouldn’t.


9. Savannah

savannah on the couch
Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock
Medium to large size
Weighs 12-25 pounds
Comes in brown, silver, smoke, and black
Lives 12-20 years

Savannah cats aren’t full-bred domestic felines. Instead, they’re a mix between a domestic cat and a wild African serval. For this reason, they act pretty different from your average housecat. They are incredibly active and require regular exercise, similar to a dog. Luckily, they can walk on leashes without much difficulty.

They like to play in the water and learn how to do all sorts of things, like turn on faucets and open cabinets. Nothing is safe from these felines, and child-proof locks are required. They will climb and explore anything they can get into.


10. Singapura

singapura_VictorTaurus_shutterstock
Credit: VictorTaurus, Shutterstock
Small size
Weighs 5-8 pounds
Comes in sepia
Lives 11-15 years

This cat originated in Singapore, hence the name. They didn’t travel to the US until the 1970s. Never really becoming popular, they are still considered rare cats today. They are known for being playful and curious. Toys and room to explore are a necessity. They are also instead attached to their people and love to be involved in the household.

Climbing structures are highly recommended. Otherwise, these cats will end up on top of cabinets and refrigerators. They are known for climbing curtains and leaping onto shoulders.


11. Scottish Fold

Scottish Fold
Image Credit: guvo59, Pixabay
Medium size
Weighs 6-13 pounds
Comes in white, blue, black, red, cream, and silver
Lives 11-15 years

The Scottish Fold is recognizable thanks to their “folded” ears. These cats have existed since at least the 1960s. They first appeared in the US in the 1970s. They are friendly and quite outgoing. They require attention and plenty of interaction. Like most intelligent cats, they love puzzle toys and challenging tricks.

They prefer to spend time with people instead of other pets. They aren’t great for owners that aren’t home often.


12. Turkish Van

Turkish van_Lea Rae, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Lea Rae, Shutterstock
Medium to large size
Weighs 7-20 pounds
Comes in many colors
Lives 12-15 years

The Turkish Van is native to Southeast Asia and quite rare outside of their native area. They are considered competent but also somewhat clumsy. These cats often get into things. Mental stimulation is a must, including puzzle toys and plenty of games. They can learn new tricks and will often learn how to work faucets and light switches.

They aren’t highly active, but they usually aren’t fans of being held either. They will play alone and aren’t as dependent on their people as other cats out there.


13. Japanese Bobtail

japanese bobtail
Image Credit: dien, Shutterstock
Small to medium size
Weighs 5-10 pounds
Comes in many different colors
Lives 9-15 years

The Japanese Bobtail is considered one of the oldest cat breeds. They are likely thousands of years old. They aren’t the most intelligent cat on this list. However, they are popular house cats due to their outgoing nature and friendliness. They are known for running to the door to greet whoever enters. They can be trained to play fetch and are relatively easy to train.

They are pretty active and like to run around and play. They can jump and leap extensively, so they are pretty good at climbing and getting into things.


Featured image credit: Grigorita Ko, Shutterstock

Kristin Hitchcock

Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!