Listen, do you want to know a secret

Cats can befriend other cats. Here, one cat grooms the other.

Cat intelligence is the considered capacity of learning, thinking, problem solving, reasoning, and adaptability possessed by the domestic Cat.

Brain Size and Surface AreaRectify

Cat brain

The brain of a cat

The Brain size of the average cat is 5 Centimeters in length and 30 Grams. Since the average cat is 60 cm long and 3.3 kg, the brain makes up 1/12 of its Length and 1/110 of its Weight. Thus, the average cat's brain accounts for 0.9 percent of its total body weight, compared to 2 percent of total body weight in the average Human. Ultimately, however, there is no conclusive proof of Correlation between brain Mass and Intelligence. The surface area of a cat's Cerebral cortex is approximately 83 cm². The modern human cerebral cortex is about 2500 cm².[1]

The Learning Cat Rectify

Cats learn by Trial and error, Observation and Imitation. Cats' learning abilities are aided by their good Memory, recalling certain information much longer than dogs. In one study, it was found that cats possess visual memory ability comparable to that of monkeys. However, for short term Working memory, at least one study showed that dogs outperformed cats for periods of time up to 60 seconds.

Intelligence by BreedRectify

Ranking the intelligence of cats by breed is popular among pet owners, veterinarians and others, but the practice tends to run into difficulties. The Animal Planet website, for instance, ranked cat breeds' average intelligence on a 1-10 scale; 1 being the lowest, and 10 being the highest. Animal Planet goes on to define "intelligence" as: "the general amount of "smarts" the breed tends to exhibit", which, aside from being vague is in fact circular (that is, it amounts to saying that intelligence is being defined in terms of intelligence, which is not helpful if one wants to know what "intelligence" means in this context). Moreover, the website does not discuss how intelligence (or "smarts") was measured, which if any tests the cats had to perform, etc. Animal Planet's approach therefore does not represent a scientific investigation, and in general the subject of cat intelligence rankings tends to be a subjective business.

For example, some cat breeders consider the exotic shorthairs smarter than Persians, but cat breeder Norman Auspitz states the following: "As a rule, people seem to think the more active breeds have higher intelligence than the less active breeds. I will tell you that in feline agility, all breeds have done very well or very poorly as the case may be. Having said that, there is no certified measure of cat intelligence and this general rule may be very anthropomorphic... until there is a credible definition of what might be meant by cat intelligence and a way to measure it, any comment anyone will make about the subject is, at best, speculation."

Nevertheless, for the sake of interest, here are Animal Planet's cat intelligence rankings by breed:

Intelligence for Recognized Breeds by Animal PlanetRectify

Category 1
Category 2
Category 3
  • Exotic Shorthair
  • Himalayan (cat)
Category 4
  • Persian (cat)
Category 5
Category 6
  • American Shorthair
  • Birman
  • Bombay (cat)
Category 7
  • Abyssinian (cat)
  • American Curl
  • American Wirehair
  • British Shorthair
  • Cornish Rex
  • Cymric (cat)
  • Maine Coon
  • Manx (cat)
  • Ragdoll
  • Scottish Fold
  • Snowshoe (cat)
  • Somali (cat)

Category 8
  • Burmese (cat)
  • Chartreux
  • Devon Rex
  • Egyptian Mau
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • Korat
  • Norwegian Forest Cat
  • Ocicat
  • Russian Blue
  • Siberian (cat)
  • Singapura (cat)
  • Tonkinese (cat)
  • Turkish Angora
  • Turkish Van
Category 9
  • Balinese (cat)
  • Bengal (cat)
  • Colorpoint Shorthair
  • Havana Brown
  • Javanese (cat)
  • Oriental Shorthair
  • Siamese (cat)
Category 10
  • Sphynx (cat)

Cat abilities & tricks Rectify

Cats are traditionally hard to train as Circus animals. While this is usually true, a human with a good relationship to a cat, where there is trust and good communication, can find a cat to be as trainable as a dog. Like dogs and people, many cats have active minds that thrive on stimulation, exploration and learning. Many of the same basic methods of training a dog-- shaping behavior, giving treats for correct responses, and lavish praise and attention-- work extremely well when training a cat. Teaching a cat to "sit" for treats or meals is quite easy and gives a good base for further training. When training a cat, it is important to remember that like humans, cats will not continue to obey commands if their attention is elsewhere. They may become frustrated or bored, as humans do when trying to learn something new or difficult. When the cat's attention starts to wander, training time is over. However, their fine memory ensures that further training can compound. Cats are social animals, usually living in family packs. In a domestic situation, the human family becomes their 'pack'. If the cat has a good emotional relationship with their owners, training can be a fun "game".

Opening doors and windows Rectify

Cats that are accustomed to being let outside, or that want to get into their home, may learn to open windows and doors. They are capable of learning different routes for entry and exit; for instance a cat might find the window in its owner's kitchen easier to open to exit the house, but to get in, they might have to use the screen door in the backyard. Also, they may learn to open cupboard doors to get to food. Cats' paws are not as effective at manipulation as human hands, owing to lack of an opposable thumb, but they can for instance learn to operate door lever handles by pulling them down, even though gripping the handle is difficult for cat paws.

Some polydactyl cats have extra digits with a degree of opposability, which allow them to manipulate objects far more effectively.

Retrieving items from hard to reach places Rectify

A cat playing with a Ball may suddenly find that the ball is under the Couch. The cat will try different ways, changing Paws, position, and other elements, the way a human would. This trial and error approach to puzzle solving can be demonstrated in the laboratory using Thorndike's puzzle boxes. In these boxes, cats must manipulate series of levers in order to escape. They initially achieve this by trial and error, before committing the sequence to memory. They also use memory to reduce the amount of trial and error when encountering comparable novel situations e.g. new puzzle boxes. some cats learn on their own after watching their owners, but for most cats, it is necessary to be taught by owners. In general, however, a toilet-trained cat is a rare animal, and successful toilet training depends both on the willingness of the animal to learn as well as on the patience of the owner to teach.

As a point of general interest, a course on cat toilet training can be found on a website devoted to legendary jazz bassist Charles Mingus. It is entitled "The Charles Mingus Cat Toilet Training Program," and appears to have been written sometime in the 1960s by the bassist himself.

Playing fetch Rectify

Some cats can be trained to play fetch with a varied degree of success (which is dependent on the cat and its mood). Siamese cats and Bengals are well-regarded as a breed that naturally carries objects in their mouths. They are easy to train to fetch and carry. It is possible to get a cat to remain seated until an object is thrown. At that point, their very keen sense of Sight kicks in. As long as there is at least a remote chance of locating said thrown item, the cat will run off to find it. Once retrieved, waiting or a simple call is enough for the cat to return with the item and deposit it (usually) within arm's reach. Chasing an object in the air is a natural cat hunting behavior, and many cats will chase down a thrown toy for the sheer enjoyment of running and catching.


Cats, like many animals, communicate in a social environment in various ways. Some aspects of this behaviour are simple, such as purring to express the desire for and enjoyment of attention, meowing near the food bowl to get fed, etc, and some are more complex.

Less common skillsRectify

See also Rectify

  • Cat
  • Animal intelligence

References Rectify

Further reading Rectify

  • Bergler, Reinhold "Man and Cat: The Benefits of Cat Ownership" Blackwell Scientific Publications (1989)
  • Bradshaw, John W S "The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat" C A B International (1992)
  • Chesler, Phyllis. "Maternal Influence in Learning by Observation in Kittens" Science 166 (1969): 901 - 903.
  • Hobhouse, L T "Mind in Evolution" MacMillan, London (1915)
  • Turner, Dennis C, and Patrick Bateson. "The Domestic Cat: The Biology of Its Behaviour" Cambridge University Press (1988)
  • Miles , R C "Learning In Kittens With Manipulatory, Exploratory And Food Incentives" Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology 51 (1958): 39-42
  • Neville, Peter "Claws and Purrs" Sidgwick & Jackson (1992)
  • Neville, Peter "Do Cats Need Shrinks" Sidgwick & Jackson (1990)
  • Voith, Victoria L "You, Too, Can Teach a Cat Tricks (Examples of Shaping, Second-Order Reinforcement, and Constraints on Learning)" Modern Veterinary Practice, August 1981: 639 - 642.

External links Rectify


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