Cats are more than just a cute face, the smartest cat breeds can make some of the best pets.
Each year, the Cat Fanciers Association puts out the most popular pedigreed cat breeds of the previous year based on cats registered. In 2020, a few of the smartest cat breeds made the list.
We love our smart felines and can see that there are a few other smart cat people that feel the same. Smart cats, in our experience, are those that are so curious that they thrive around people and in places where there’s a lot of action to investigate and interact with.
We say smart cats are those that are more curious than cautious in new places, that wisely deal with other animals in a way that works best for them, and learn quickly when you try to teach them something.
For all these reasons, smart cats make the best companions!
10 Smartest Cat Breeds
So which cats are the most intelligent cats, you ask, since I’d like a brainy feline?
To answer that, here is a list of 10 of our top picks for smartest cat breeds in the world. Keep reading to learn about some of the smartest cats, then go out and start meeting some potential cats for you!
These ancestors of ancient Egypt are wise and elegant like Cleopatra herself. Then again, some say they’re ancestors of ancient Ethiopia, once called Abyssinia. Already, their mysterious past makes them intriguing!
They are so clever you can teach them to walk on a leash, but don’t let them fool you into thinking you’ve got them on a leash. They are their own cat! They love to be around you but won’t sit still.
They will play with you, however, fetching a toy. They climb, jump, run, and play with joy. This is one of the most fun-loving and athletic of cat breeds.
The Bengal’s lineage is that of the Asian leopard cat and a domesticated short-hair. They’re beautiful with their leopard coats, full of energy, and smart as a whip.
Brains and beauty — it’s the perfect combination. You can easily train your Bengal! They also love the water and hunt marine creatures with their dexterous paws, and they swim, too!
Their ancestors stem from the same line as Siamese cats, and they live long lives, like up-to-24-years-old long. That’s old for a cat!
Maybe it’s because they’re so social and love to spend time with their humans. They’re friendly and have a lot of energy. They also love to talk.
Show them love and attention and your Burmese will be in heaven. Also, these cats love to play and act like dogs. In other words, they’ll be happy to see you, wait for you to come home, and sit in your lap, like a regular lap cat.
4. Cornish Rex
The Cornish Rex’s name gives away this cat breed’s ancestry. Can you guess?
Yes, Cornwall, England! See, you may be as smart as this wavy-coated, arch-backed feline.
Like the Burmese, Cornish Rexes are extra friendly lap cats. They love to be around humans. They also love to be patted and are brainy enough to be trained for duty as therapy cats!
Their soft coat makes them scrumptious to hold. It’s a win-win for cat and human.
5. Havana Brown
This cat has a stunning chocolate-brown coat with green eyes that look gorgeous against it. It’s a mixed smarty pants of the Siamese-crossed-with-domestic-black-cat variety originally bred in England.
Playful, curious, and active, this breed naps a bit more than some of the other brainiacs.
6. Savannah Cat
A mix of the African Serval and domestic breeds, this exotic feline brings its smarts from the Savannah, its spotted-coat beauty, and its wild playfulness.
This cat loves to sport about and needs lots of space to do so. At the same time, even as wild as they are, they love their humans and do well with plenty of affection and time spent with you. They’re curious and will be happiest if you keep them busy.
7. Scottish Fold
Another ancestor of the British Isles, this breed first came to be known in Scottland. They’re known for their folded ears that go from straight to folded around 21 weeks. Their unique looks landed them on our list of the cutest cats around.
But these distinctive-looking felines are also distinctively quite clever. They even enjoy puzzles and other games! They play fetch and watch TV. There’s even a Scottish Fold YouTube sensation!
Like the other smarty pants cats, this breed loves to be around humans, is social, and does well in new places. They’re playful while also being quite calm, a well-rounded cat if we’ve ever seen one.
Ancestors of Siam, today’s modern Thailand, this cat breed lived with the monks and the royals. They love attention and will let you know vocally.
They love to get into things and are full of mischievous curiosity. They easily make our top 10 smartest cat breeds. You definitely will need to be stimulating them on a daily basis. So if you want a more engaging cat they are a great option.
Doubly bred, doubly smart? Well, the breeding part is true. The Tonkinese comes from Burmese and Siamese lineage intermingled.
Like their cousins, they’re talkative lap cats that love to be around humans and play games. Fetch and puzzles are among their favorites for these curious smarties. Tonkinese tend to have larger than normal litters, one being a litter of 19, which is the largest recorded litter ever!
10. Turkish Van
Their name gives away their heritage once again. Can you guess? Yes, the Turkish Vans are from the Lake Van region in Turkey.
They’re some of the smartest cats around, and they swim and love water. Must be that Lake Van. They’ll even swim in your tub and explore your toilet bowl.
They’re athletic, acrobatic, and love to play. Get ready for brains and a blast with these white-coated, semi-longhaired felines.
The Smartest Cat Breeds Make Smartest Pets
Now that you know our picks as the smartest cat breeds, you’re ready to start looking for a cat for you. Did any of these felines pop out of the brainy bunch?
Start there! Go out and meet some kittens or cats of that variety and find your next feline friend.
On the fence about getting a cat? All about cats, especially brainiacs, but having cold feet? Check out our blog post How to Take Care of a Cat — A Guide for Experienced, Potential, and First Time Cat Owners for inspiration!