10 Most Intelligent Cat Breeds

Brown Burmese cat with light blue eyes laying on white seat

The Spruce / Kristie Lee

Generally speaking, cats are highly intelligent pets when compared to some other animals. It's not too difficult to identify smart cats—they can be trained, interact well with other animals, and can adapt to new situations and surroundings.

Here are 10 of the smartest cat breeds if you're looking for a clever kitty.


Environmental enrichment, such as food puzzles, can help prevent boredom in all cats and is especially beneficial to intelligent cats. Without some kind of outlet to challenge them mentally, smart cats can develop behavioral problems.

Breed Characteristics

Commonalities among intelligent cats are that they usually have a lot of energy and a mischievous streak. That naughtiness is more about how inquisitive they are. Most brainy kitties enjoy challenges, learning tricks, and playing interactive games. These felines also understand household routines, like when you usually get home, mealtimes, and when to expect certain activities.

  • 01 of 10


    Abyssinian cat standing on a tree stump

    Thomas Leirikh / Getty Images

    This sleek-looking cat is athletic, agile, and affectionate toward humans. Abyssinians are very intelligent and highly in tune with the activities of their families. This breed enjoys heights, perching above the room, surveilling everything. Of all the cat types, this one learns tricks quickly and will enjoy running a feline agility course. Generally, they're not lap cats but love getting petted or brushed. They also tend to enjoy the company of other animals and adapt well to most living arrangements.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Tall, pointy ears; wedge-shaped head; slender and muscular body

  • 02 of 10


    Chocolate Balinese cat lying by a window

    aleishaknight / Getty Images

    The Balinese is the longhaired version of the Siamese cat breed. They tend to be active cats that love to investigate everything their humans are doing. They're also chatty cats, often vocalizing their opinions. Keep this kitty active with puzzles or teaser toys and a big cat tree for climbing. This breed can learn to fetch, walk on a leash, and figure out tricks quickly. They're typically affectionate with their families but can get into mischief exploring their home if left unstimulated for too long.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 6 to 7 inches

    Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Wedge-shaped head; slender body; blue eyes

  • 03 of 10


    Bengal cat outdoors

    Seregraff / Getty Images

    The Bengal is perhaps best known for its exotic coat that resembles a jaguar or leopard. This breed originated from crossing a domestic cat with an Asian leopard cat. Bengals are highly intelligent, athletic, and still a bit wild. They love to run, jump, climb, and play. They require ample space for exercise (especially vertical space) and mental challenges, such as puzzle games and toys. Its nimble paws are almost as good as hands. Some can turn light switches on and off, pluck out pet fish from aquariums, and pull out small items from drawers.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 16 inches

    Weight: 8 to 15 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Sleek, muscular body; striped and spotted coat

  • 04 of 10


    Brown Burmese cat with light blue eyes laying on white couch

    The Spruce / Kristie Lee

    The Burmese is an energetic and friendly breed that loves to engage with its people. These cats are clever, adaptable, playful, and trainable. Besides sit, roll over, wave, and come, this breed can fetch a small toy or walk on a leash. With early conditioning, car rides and vet visits will be a breeze. They thrive on socialization and prefer company, including other animals. A companion at home prevents loneliness and the boredom that often leads to mischief.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 12 inches

    Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Round golden eyes; compact, muscular body

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Cornish Rex

    white cornish rex cat wearing a harness

    wildcat78 / Getty Images

    These cats are active and friendly, and some say they're rather dog-like in their play, even into their senior years. Many enjoy games of fetch or performing tricks like playing the piano. This kitty's long toes enable it to open doors and cabinets with ease, which means child safety locks might be an option to consider. This spry creature has the uncanny ability to vault to the highest point in the room. The most unique physical feature of the Cornish rex is its wavy coat.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 14 inches

    Weight: 6 to 10 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Curved body; high cheekbones; large ears

  • 06 of 10

    Havana Brown

    Havana Brown cat on pet bed

    Cavan Images / Getty Images

    The Havana brown is a beautiful cat with a silky, chocolate-colored coat. This is a relatively rare cat breed that originated from crossing the Siamese with several other breeds. They're typically intelligent, inquisitive, and chatty cats that love socialization with their families. They're moderately energetic and prefer interactive toys like teasers and puzzles to challenge them mentally and physically.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 11 inches

    Weight: 8 to 10 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Deep brown color; green eyes; large ears

  • 07 of 10


    Adult Korat cat sitting

    Nynke van Holten / Getty Images

    The Korat, named for a province in Thailand, is another rare breed; it is considered good luck in its homeland. They're brilliant and attentive to the world around them. Korats are moderately energetic, enjoying interactive games, but they also love their naps. This breed can learn tricks, like playing fetch and walking on a leash. You can easily teach this cat the household rules if you reward it with praise or treats. This kitty loves its toys, and it's sometimes too stubborn to share with others. If you have plenty of toys, that should solve the problem. They thrive on attention and are typically affectionate with their families.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 12 inches

    Weight: 6 to 11 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Heart-shaped head; somewhat stocky body

  • 08 of 10


    Savannah cat sitting

    Volchanskiy / Getty Images

    The Savannah is a rare and exotic breed with high intelligence. Developed by crossing wild African servals with domestic cats, this large hybrid kept some of its wild side in appearance and attitude. They need lots of space to run, jump, and play. And they get bored quickly; they require sufficient interaction and environmental stimulation. This breed will take walks on a leash; seek out water to play in; and rummage through nooks, drawers, cabinets, and boxes. It can even turn on the faucet! Make sure you protect fine china and other breakables on shelves since this leaping kitty loves to climb and explore.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 14 inches

    Weight: 20 to 30 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Tall, lean body; erect ears; golden coat with dark spots and bars

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10


    Siamese cat sitting on a bed

    Sasha L'Estrange-Bell / Getty Images

    One of the world's most popular and recognizable cat breeds, the Siamese is known for its beautiful coat, curious nature, and chatty tendency. These cats are intelligent, affectionate, and energetic. They love to play and crave attention and company. Keep this kitty's brain busy with puzzle and teaser toys. If you can, get it a big cat tree for climbing; this kitty would appreciate it. If bored, a Siamese will entertain itself by turning on faucets, opening cabinets, or rummaging where it shouldn't.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 8 to 10 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Sleek body; almond-shaped eyes; wedge-shaped head

  • 10 of 10


    Singapura cat with big eyes

    Viktor / Getty Images

    As its name implies, the Singapura originated on the streets of Singapore. The breed came to the U.S. during the 1970s and is still considered rare. These small cats are generally playful, outgoing, and curious. And they love to be involved with what their humans are doing. They're rather active and love to climb, so make sure to provide plenty of vertical space. This mischievous kitty will climb curtains or leap up to your shoulder as you walk by for a ride. They can also chase small balls down the hall and tickle the ivories, too.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 7 to 8 inches

    Weight: 5 to 8 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Light beige color; compact body; eyes can be yellow, hazel, or green

Breeds to Avoid

Generally speaking, all cats are smart creatures, but some breeds are a little less impressive in the brains category, including Birmans, Persians, Himalayans, exotic shorthairs, and ragdolls. Still, most of these felines are affectionate, playful, and easygoing companions.