Dumbest Cat Breeds

The Persian cat is the dumbest cat breed with its associated breeds: Himalayan and Exotic Shorthair. The Persian is sometimes referred to as a piece of fluffy furniture.

Contemporary flat-faced Persian cat

Contemporary flat-faced Persian cat. Photo copyright Helmi Flick

The smartest is the Sphynx and Siamese. I could prattle on but it would be misleading because it is dangerous territory to claim with confidence which is the dumbest cat breed.

How do you measure cat intelligence? And it is very tricky to state that all the thousands of cats of one cat breed are dumb. It is dumb to try to do it. You won’t find the serious books on domestic cats and breeds discussing cat intelligence or if they do it’ll be with tongue in cheek.

So we have to take this sort of topic with a large pinch of salt. But people are interested in popular cat information. So websites try and please.

Years ago Animal Planet did try and rank cat intelligence. In descending order of intelligence – smartest at the top and the dumbest at the bottom – this is how they ranked the cat breeds:

Bengal (see video of Bengal cat “Hunters Moon” below)
Colorpoint Shorthair
Havana Brown
Oriental Shorthair
Devon Rex
Egyptian Mau
Japanese Bobtail
Norwegian Forest Cat
Russian Blue
Turkish Angora
Turkish Van
American Curl
American Wirehair
British Shorthair
Cornish Rex
Maine Coon
Scottish Fold
American Shorthair
Exotic Shorthair (short haired Persian)
Himalayan (pointed Persian)

As you can see the bottom three are cats in the Persian family. You’d probably find similar results from many websites. That does not mean they are correct, by the way.

But I’d have to pick holes in the list. There is no logic in it but there is some credibility. Somali cats are longhaired Abyssinians yet they are at opposite ends of the spectrum on intelligence. I don’t get that unless Somali breeders botched the breeding and created dumb cats while Abyssinian breeders did not. However, Siamese cats are considered by many to be smarter than other breeds. The Abyssinian too. I have seen the Sphynx and they do act smart. The Persian has been described as a piece of furniture. This means static and inactive which equals dumb. I have seen this when being photographed by Helmi Flick. While the Persian cat was inactive in front of the camera and would not become animated and therefore photogenic, the Bengal cat (one of the smart breeds) was all action and acrobatics. They interact better with humans.

However, I think it is far to say that it is more a fun list than a scientifically accurate list. Individual cats do vary in intelligence in my view. I also believe that poor breeding cat have a negative impact on intelligence. My sister adopted two British Shorthairs who must have been inbred. They were terribly slow and lacked interactability. However, it is better to assess the intelligence of individual cats rather then entire breeds of cat.

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Dumbest Cat Breeds — 8 Comments

  1. Yeah, I gotta say, my definitely-purebred Himalayan is the smartest cat I’ve ever had, and I’ve had around 30. He’s just smart in a way that doesn’t look like “dog smart”, which is what I think people are looking for in “smart” cat breeds. He has immense social intelligence, an extraordinary ability to predict and remember, and a deep interest in watching things unfold, rather than engaging himself personally. (He also learns tricks easily, which is dog-like, so there’s that.) Unfortunately he uses his powers for evil, and is an atrocious bully. He’s on anxiety medication which helps immensely (he is smart enough to have an anxiety disorder, ffs) and we do our best to keep things calm, but he’s still a handful. I love him to pieces, but he is not an easy cat to live with. Don’t bank on Himmies or Persians being stupid. They’re thinkers. Thinkers can be a real pain in the butt.


    • I literally came here looking for a list of “stupid cat breeds” because when we adopt again, I really do want a stupid cat. The smart ones I have now are a real handful. It’d be nice to have one that was pleasantly stupid, not one that, like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, is always “working things out.”


      • The concept of stupid or smart cat breeds is tongue in cheek. The consensus is as stated in the article but there is a big debate about feline intelligence. What is stated above is very debatable. Thanks for commenting.


    • Yes, I think you are right 😉 I just had to respond to the title which is a question that people put into Google search. I like doing that because I am responding to direct questions asked by real people. This should make the post meaningful and useful.


      • I enjoy your posts as they often touch on what can seem silly but are really common questions. I think in this case intelligence was judged by activity level.


        • Good point. Perhaps some people do equate activity with intelligence in cats because it is very difficult to measure cat intelligence.


          • Her favorite place is wrapped around my arm. I think the Persian aside from being ruined by flat facing was selectively bred for the calm disposition. And as people oriented as she is she is every bit a lion. The stuffed animal wrapping is very deceiving.



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