These Are the 11 Smartest Cat Breeds

Cats are among some of the most intelligent animals on the planet, despite what some people may think about felines. How else could you explain this cat, who plays a tiny piano to notify his owners that it's feeding time? Or this cat who, somehow, actually called 911 when his disabled owner was in need of emergency services?

They may be deemed untrainable, but the level of intelligence and capability of some cats ring high on the IQ meter. Cats in general have a brain structure that resembles that of the most intelligent animals in the ecosystem, including human beings. In fact, a cat's cat's cerebral cortex—the part of the brain that manages rational decision making and complex problem solving—boasts some 300 million neurons, according to Psychology Today. Dogs, one of the most intelligent animals with the highest number of neurons, have about 429 million neurons in the cerebral cortex, according to the science journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.

Just like any animal species, there are some cat breeds that are smarter than others. We've rounded up a list of the 11 smartest cats of them all.

1. Abyssinian

These Are the Smartest Cat Breeds
An Abyssinian cat during the 5th TICA international cat show at the Aoshan Shiji Plaza on October 22, 2016, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Wang He/Getty Images

-Small to medium in size

-Females typically weigh between six and eight pounds

-Males typically weigh between seven and 10 pounds

-Coat: Medium hair length; shades of ruddy, red, fawn and blue

-Lifespan: 9 to 15 years

The history behind their origin is a bit muddled. Some believe the Abyssinian cats were the "sacred cat of Egyptian Pharaohs" while others think the breed was created in Britain when silver and brown tabbies with "ticked" coats mated, according to Purina.

Regardless of where they come from, Abyssinian cats are known as the smartest cat breed due to their inquisitive nature and top-notch detective skills. They are incredibly independent, and they enjoy mind-stimulating activities like puzzle toys. Natural busy-bodies, Abyssinian cats do tend to slow down when they want the affection of their owners. They are typically kid-friendly and are easy to get along with other animals, including dogs and large birds.

2. Siamese

These Are the 11 Smartest Cat Breeds
A Siamese cat is seen during the "Valencia Cup" international cat exhibition in Moscow on November 18, 2017. MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images

-Medium size

-Females typically weigh eight to 12 pounds

-Males typically weigh 11 to 15 pounds

-Coat: Shorthair; shades of seal point, chocolate point, blue point and lilac point

-Lifespan: 11 to 15 years

The Siamese cat is believed to have originated in Siam, which is known today as Thailand, in the 1800s—although it didn't receive Cat Fanciers Association recognition until 1934.

The Siamese cat is known for being particularly talkative, and they enjoy being social. However, they have a penchant for getting into mischief, which is in part due to their inquisitiveness and natural desires to occupy their minds, according to Purina. Siamese cats are very active, and they prefer to be in the company of others, which makes them a good breed for someone with multiple cats.

3. Burmese

These Are the 11 Smartest Cat Breeds
Black Burmese cat in Burmese Cat Village at Inle Lake, Myanmar. iStock / Getty Images Plus

-Medium size

-Females typically weigh six to 10 pounds

-Males typically weigh eight to 12 pounds

-Coat: Shorthair; shades of sable, champagne, platinum and blue

-Lifespan: 10 to 16 years

Believed to be a hybrid of a Siamese cat and Burma's Copper cat, the first Burmese cat to come to the U.S. was brought by Dr. Joseph Thompson in 1930, according to Purina.

Burmese cats have a reputation of being very energetic and active as a dog. They like playing games that keeping their compact bodies on the move in addition to toys and games that challenge their intelligence. Although they are just as social as Siamese cats, Burmese kitties have a softer tone and an even sweeter temperament. They enjoy snuggling just as much as they like to investigate things that capture their attention.

4. Singapura

These Are the 11 Smartest Cat Breeds
Singapura cat lying on the floor. iStock / Getty Images Plus

-Females typically weigh five to six pounds
-Males typically weigh six to eight pounds
-Coat: Shorthair; sepia
-Lifespan: 11 to 15 years

As its name suggests, the Singapura hails from Singapore. It first arrived in the U.S. in the 1980s.

Although it's one of the world's smallest cats, the Singapura is considered to be a high energy pet. Often referred to as "little lions of love," Singapuras have a very playful temperament and are "keenly observant," according to Purina. Incredibly extroverted, these cats thrive off of attention and can be very social. However, they are known for disliking loud noises so may not be the best fit for busy households.

5. Bengal

These Are the 11 Smartest Cat Breeds
A Bengal cat sits on a bed. iStock / Getty Images Plus

-Medium to large size

-Females typically weigh six to 12 pounds

-Males typically weigh 10 to 18 pounds

-Coat: Medium hair length; shades of bright orange, light brown, often with dark spots or marbling pattern

-Lifespan: 12 to 16 years

Bengals emerged in 1963 after California breeder Jean Mill first crossed a domestic cat with a wild Asian Leopard Cat, according to Purina.

These natural athletes enjoy climbing and jumping, so you can count on them to find an indoor adventure to get into. The breed is also a trainable one and can even be comfortable walking outside on a leash if the owner takes the time to train it. Bengals are very alert and are social cats, and while they usually have a playful personality, they're prone to developing destructive habits—like turning light switches on and off—if they get restless, according to the experts at Learning tricks comes easy for Bengals and they especially enjoy a game of fetch and splashing around in water.

6. Cornish Rex

These Are the 11 Smartest Cat Breeds
Brown cat Cornish Rex on orange coverlet. iStock / Getty Images Plus

-Small to medium size

-Females typically weigh five to seven pounds

-Males typically weigh six to nine pounds

-Coat: Shorthair with fine curls; variety of shades including white, cream, chocolate, black, lavender, silver, smoke, blue, red and tabby

short-haired with fine curls

-Lifespan: 10 to 16 years

The Cornish Rex came about after a British Shorthair birthed a kitten with a genetic mutation in the Cornwall region of the U.K. in the 1950s. The cat's owner Nina Ennisomore bred the curly-coated cat with its mother and thus, the Cornish Rex was born. The cat first arrived in the U.S. in 1957, according to The Spruce Pets.

This cat breed has an unforgettable personality. Although Cornish Rexes have a rather easy-going and relaxed temperament, it lands high marks in friendliness, playfulness and loyalty. They enjoy physical exercise, so you will often catch them running, jumping and climbing. They're not the most vocal of cats, but they enjoy being in the midst of all the action, which makes them good for large families and households with children.

7. Scottish Fold

These Are the 11 Smartest Cat Breeds
A Scottish Fold cat lounges. iStock / Getty Images Plus

-Medium size
-Females typically weigh six to nine pounds
-Males typically weigh nine to 13 pounds
-Coat: Longhair; variety of shades including white, black, blue, red, cream and silver
-Lifespan: 11 to 15 years

Scottish Folds, which come from the Tayside region of Scotland, have been around since the 1960s. However, they didn't make their way into the U.S. until the 1970s, according to Purina.

The lop-eared cats are friendly and outgoing and particularly enjoy playing with puzzle toys and games that force them to think outside the box. They are attention seekers and have no qualms making it known when they need some interaction with their humans. In fact, they'd rather spend most of their time around their owners and people as opposed to other cats and animals.

8. Korat

These Are the 11 Smartest Cat Breeds
A Korat cat sits on a table. iStock / Getty Images Plus

-Medium size

-Females typically weigh six to eight pounds

-Males typically weigh eight to 10 pounds

-Coat: Short-haired; shades of white and silver

-Lifespan: 10 to 15 years

The Korat cat is native to Thailand and has been long been considered a symbol of good fortune, according to Purina. While still a relatively rare breed to find in the U.S., it arrived to North America in the 1960s.

This breed of cat is known for being loyal to its owners and super affectionate. Although Korats can be friendly, they have to warm up to new people and new places before they are comfortable enough to show off their true personality in unfamiliar settings. The Korat is a cautious cat, and it isn't a fan of sudden, loud noises. And it's also known for being very alert and observant and is believed to have superior senses like hearing, sight and smell.

9. Turkish Van

These Are the 11 Smartest Cat Breeds
A Turkish Van mother cat and her kitten. iStock / Getty Images Plus

-Medium to large size

-Females typically weigh seven to 12 pounds

-Males typically weigh nine to 20 pounds

-Coat: Semi-longhair; shades of red, cream, black, blue, tabby, tortoiseshell and brown patched

The Turkish Van is a rare cat that is native to central and Southeast Asia, according to Purina.

Unlike its relative, the graceful Turkish Angora—which is also a considerably smart cat breed—the Turkish Van cat is supremely clumsy. But don't be fooled—sometimes this breed of cat knocks things over just to see what might happen, according to They are curious and enjoy playing games, learning new tricks and turning faucets on and off. Although they are friendly, they aren't fond of being held. Turkish Vans enjoy solo playtime and having the freedom to figure things out on their own.

10. Japanese Bobtail

These Are the 11 Smartest Cat Breeds
Stray Japanese calico bobtail cat in a park in Kagoshima, Japan. iStock / Getty Images Plus

-Medium Size

-Females typically weigh five to seven pounds

-Males typically weigh seven to 10 pounds

-Coat: Varies in long and short hair; colors range from white, black, blue, red, cream and various tabby patterns

-Lifespan: 9 to 15 years

Considered one of the oldest breeds of cats, the Japanese Bobtail is believed to have first appeared in Japan around 600 to 700 A.D. The breed didn't arrive in the U.S. until Elizabeth Freret brought one over in 1968, according to the Cat Fanciers Association.

With its stubby little puff tail, Japanese Bobtail cats are known for being playful and endearing. They are highly interactive with the humans in their household and like to participate in all aspects of daily life from watching TV with their owners and sitting alongside them during reading time to greeting guests when they hear the doorbell ring. These cats enjoy using their mouths to tote things around, which makes them easy to train for a game of fetch. They're also active and like to run around with other cats as well as dogs. They are known for their athleticism as they are keen on jumping and leaping and, if given the time, can even learn to jump through hoops and over hurdles.

11. Tonkinese

These Are the 11 Smartest Cat Breeds
A beautiful litter of 5 chocolate point, mink and solid tonkinese kittens, sitting piled up in a bed. iStock / Getty Images Plus

-Medium size

-Females typically weigh six to eight pounds

-Males typically weigh eight to 12 pounds

-Coat: Medium to short hair; range of colors including solid champagne, platinum and blue; natural mink, champagne mink, platinum mink and blue mink; natural point, champagne point, platinum point and blue point

-Lifespan: 15 to 18 years

The Tonkinese cat is a spawn of the Burmese and Siamese breeds. They were initially pressured to be a Siamese cat and were first described as the Chocolate Siamese in the 1880s. It wasn't until 1984 when the Cat Fanciers Association recognized them as their own breed, Tonkinese, according to

Tonkinese cats are just as intelligent and social as the Siamese and Burmese cats, but perhaps not as loud. They have a warm and loving personality and require a lot of attention from their human. Although it's considered a lap cat—because it mostly enjoys being close to its owner—Tonkinese cats like to play with toys that challenge their thinking. They are easily bored with puzzles, so it is recommended that owners of Tonkinese cats rotate their toys to keep them mentally stimulated.