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June 18, 2012 at 3:21 PMComments: 16 Faves: 0

The Top 5 Smartest Cat Breeds In The World

By Bri Luginbill More Blogs by This Author

A cat’s intelligence has previously been measured by their ability to learn and adapt to their environment. New research has shown a social nature also points to a more intelligent cat. These top 5 smartest cat breeds meet all this criteria!



#5. The Cornish Rex

cornish rex kitten

Photo Credit: Shinzui

The fifth most intelligent cat is the Cornish Rex breed. Their most striking characteristic is their wavy, curly coat that needs no grooming. A large area to play is the Rex’s dream. They love to roam in wide-open spaces. Being the center of attention is one of their favorite pastimes and they will pounce around just for your entertainment! Their playful spirit makes them to be a great choice for families with children.

Compatible With This Breed: Households with children. Active people. Families with other pets.

Learn more and check out pictures of the Cornish Rex on Feline 101.

#4. The Sokoke

sokoke cat

Photo Credit:

Next up is the Sokoke, originating from Kenya. Their independent nature means they're okay having alone time. Don’t be fooled though, these cats aren’t loners. They are very social and get along perfectly with other cats and dogs. Ever seen a cat on a leash? There's a good chance it was a Sokoke! These are one of the few felines that can be trained to walk on a leash. They are very active cats that have a hard time sitting still for long.

Compatible With This Breed: People looking for a trainable cat. Families with school-age children. Families with dogs or other cats.

#3. The Sphynx


Photo Credit: Niklas

Placing third is the Sphynx, nickednamed “Love Mooch” for their undying loyalty to their owners. These felines love being the center of attention and are extremely friendly. You’ll find them a great for entertaining guests. They aren’t afraid of new people and will jump at the chance to show off their talents. The Sphynx has an abundance of energy – they're go go go, but when they tire, they like a warm, cozy spot to cuddle up and rest.

Compatible With This Breed: Experienced owners, families with children, single people and people with other pets.

Learn more and check out pictures of the Sphynx on Feline 101.

#2. The Bengal


Photo Credit: Michael Carian

Coming in as the second smartest would be the Bengal. They have a  three A’s personality – active, agile, and alert. Because of that, they are extremely curious and mischievous. Don’t be surprised when you open your cupboard for some morning cereal to find a set of eyes staring back at you! These smart kitties learn how to open cabinets and doors quickly. Bengals love and even demand attention. The right owners for them will have a lot of time on their hands to play and cuddle.

Compatible With This Breed: Experienced cat owners. Active cat owners. Households with other pets – even dogs.     

Learn more and check out pictures of the Bengal on Feline 101.

#1.  The Savannah


Photo Credit: Shay Hass

Stealing the number 1 spot is the Savannah breed. Savannah’s are known for their dog-like personality. You’ll see these felines following their owners around the house. If you’re lucky, they’ll even play fetch! Very friendly to other cats and even dogs, this active breed loves to play, play, play. They are extremely active! Also, they are avid escape artists and will try tricky tactics to get what they want and where they want.

Compatible With This Breed: Experienced owners. Owners with an active lifestyle. Families with older children. Families with other pets.

Which one is your favorite? Do you own one of these cats?


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  • I'm not sure if I agree that the breed is what makes the cat smart, but rather a healthy environment and caring, interactive people. Could it be that these cats are listed as intelligent because they're somewhat rare and expensive? Who buys a cat like that and doesn't spend time with it?

  • That's a good point, sprouty. And like the research says...a cat being social is deemed as smart. So if the owner makes sure to socialize the cat, then every cat should be fairly smart!

  • I see what you're saying Sprouty, I'm sure playing with your cats consistently and working on training will make any cat more intelligent, but in addition to appearance similarities, I do think there are certain commonalities in temperament among cats of the same breed. For instance, my Cornish Rex cat is exactly as described here!

    Compared with our other cats, he is super vocal, persistent and very clever about getting into things. Despite all my cats being in the same environment with me, I would pick out a few as being smarter than the rest. Only two of our cats are able to recognize movement on our TV screen for example. The others look at it as though I was showing them a mirror. Their playfulness and hunting prowess also points toward a higher level of intelligence to me. Our Cornish Rex which I got from my mother who was moving to an apartment, was completely declawed - front and back (Not something I would have done, but it wasn't my decision!) and he still manages to bring home little dead critters all the time!

    And then we have a "special" kitty boy who was the runt of his litter and does all things a little different. He gets nervous about being picked up, but he's insanely easy to catch. Just go behind him - he only ever tries to back up. lol He's probably the dimmest of our cats, but I love his weirdness. :)

  • I love and have always been intrigued with the Cornish Rex! Although all my kitties are rescues, maybe some day I will get a purebred, if I do, you bet it will be a Rex!

    My Casey-boy has a few of these purebred traits, he can open doors (like the Bengal), he is "bell-trained" to let us know when he wants to go outside, he fetches (yes, he brings his milk-ings back to us and waits for us to throw it again), like the Savannah. I swear he is a lot like the Savannah, very dog-like characteristics. Love that cat!

    Great Blog! ~Victoria~

  • To Erin~ Casey is declawed in the front only (I agree with you on the declawing and would never do that again and regret that I did), but he brings little critters home all the time, birds, mice, chipmunks (a live baby one into our house through our doggy door), and even a rabbit. He can scale on top of roofs of our neighbors home and they are shocked that he is able to do all this without his front claws. Smart kitty! Very well socialized but we didn't spend an overabundance of time and we never trained him (he trained us).

    Like your last kitty you mentioned, our Oliver has been nicknamed "short-bus". We believe he isn't "all there". Sometimes he tries to meow at us all sweetly and a big ol' hiss comes out and he even shocks himself when this happens and runs and hides. LOL! He is a giant goof-ball that just doesn't get it, he never climbs our fence to try to get out of our backyard, he is happy to stay safe and I think he is scared to go beyond the fence. We love that kid!

  • Victoria - Cornish Rex cats ARE really fun. They're super vocal and playful and they know how to get what they want from you - which is typically attention - he ALWAYS wants to be with us. He's super affectionate and social. Even with large groups of friends which can kind of spook our others cats he's making the rounds asking for love from everyone there.

    Though - some people ARE more willing than others to pet him with his funny appearance (ours is a skin-toned cream color so he's even odder than most.) When we got him, I honestly don't think our other cats had any idea what he was. My mom even told me after he got in a fight with a neighbor's dog one day and the neighbor called animal control, the animal control people weren't exactly sure what kind of animal they were dealing with. lol

  • I have the pleasure of being entertained by a variety of cats. My wife and I operate a feral cat colony with all kinds of domestic short hairs. However, two of our “inside cats” are a Sokoke and a Bengal. Both are EXTREMELY intelligent however, our Sokoke was stolen 3 months ago. Tango, I hope still is, one fantastic cat who came when he was called, performed for guests – he loves to jump HIGH, and wants loving from just about anyone. The loving part got him in trouble and someone took him from us. I believe that intelligence is based on many factors, much as human intelligence is. Our feral cats are extremely street wise – and I am domesticating one of them, and cat pet a couple more. Because we live on an acre of land smack dab in the middle of the city, we have been blessed with these little joys in our life. Intelligence, yep they all have a great deal, with some have more in one area than another. I have learned one thing about cats and that is you never own a cat, you befriend them. I guess that makes me intelligent in that area. Regardless of breed, love your cats and let them love you back.

  • Sprocket has always been the oddball, to say the least. I remember when mom brought him home, and Jojo would beat him up so badly we thought he was going to kill him. I guess it didn't really help that he was a Cornish Rex with male pattern balding, thus making other animals look at him as less-than-cat. But he is endearing, with his quirks. The odd, chirpy meow, and incredibly affectionate attitude he has toward everything with a face (even if it doesn't quite reciprocate). Mom certainly misses him, and makes comments all the time to such effect.

    Haha, Erin. I remember that. He escaped into the neighbour's yard and went a few rounds with their husky. He spent the weekend in the pound, plus Monday, because that was a holiday. He came back with little tooth shaped punctures on him, just as friendly as ever, and just as skittish.

  • My tortoise-shell Seffie was the smartest cat I ever owned. Incredible communication skills! Gregory - sorry to hear about Skoke. Can I assume that y'all have heard of Alley Cat Allies?

  • My Devon Rex is amazing. She goes everywhere with me. She stands or lays in her stroller always perfectly happy being dressed in one of her adorable dresses. Never ever needs to be harnessed into the stroller.Just stays there througout any store, craft show, election line etc. Happily letting people pet her and withstanding tons of people taking her picture. I can't imagine any cat smarter than her.

  • My Devon Rex is amazing. She goes everywhere with me. She stands or lays in her stroller always perfectly happy being dressed in one of her adorable dresses. Never ever needs to be harnessed into the stroller.Just stays there througout any store, craft show, election line etc. Happily letting people pet her and withstanding tons of people taking her picture. I can't imagine any cat smarter than her.

  • Love cats! They are in tune with their environment. I think all cats have smarts, some have better gene pool.

  • cats are smart cookies!

  • Is the sokoke cat a tabby cat too? It has the m between the eyes that look like a tabby.

  • The sokoke is basically a Wilder version of a tabby. They are one of the rarest breeds and there are only about 100 currently in North America ( Canada included) since they are only native to sokoke forest in Kenya

  • Here is all the information about cats rn

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