If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Man, my cat is stupid,” and wondered if it’s just him or her and whether all cats are that dumb, chances are high (in my opinion) that the answer is a bit of a coin flip.
What I mean by this is that there’s likely a 50/50 chance the answer you’re looking for is, “It’s all cat, they’re all a little dumb, quite special little things,” versus “Nope, it’s definitely your cat, he’s extra challenged even for a feline.”
I’ve got two types of cats living under my roof – one (Avery) is the smartest cat I’ve ever met.
Not most cleverest, but the smartest. And yes, there is a difference, I believe.
I’ve met a couple extra-snaky cats that I would label more clever than Avery, but while Avery hasn’t got that element (probably because he isn’t so curious and trixie), Avery is mad intelligent, in my opinion.
My two other cats, Bjorn and Athos, I’ve had friends describe as “looking like they share a brain cell.”
And honestly they are not wrong.
Here’s the photo evidence because who doesn’t need photographic proof…
Yeah I would have to agree.
Sure looks that way at least.
They’re often even making the same expression AND facing the same way (weird AF??), so further evidence of a shared brain cell?
To be honest, these two are probably related. Okay almost certainly.
I’m guessing one of them (Athos, the long-haired grey one with the white belly) is the other one’s (Bjorn, the brownish, tabby-style longhair cat) father, though there’s no way of knowing since all three of my cats are strays who found their way to our gardens and we ended up bringing into our homes after falling in love.
But I’m sure genetics is a factor in intelligence (like with humans). And I’m pretty sure their breed and the cute and cuddly nature (they are Persians) makes them more likely to be dumb?
If it is true, it’s definitely a very loose rule, because I’ve met some incredibly smart Persians, too.
Far, far smarter than these two “Dwebbles”, as I like to call them.
For some reason I feel like cats that are “cuter” are also a bit more on the thick side? Or maybe I just find those “doh,” somewhat spaced out looks on their faces to be crazy levels of endearing and cute, so it’s a bias thing.
Avery’s sugary sweet as high heaven, and so are the others, so sweetness and being nice to humans has nothing to do with intelligence in my experience. At least I personally don’t think they are co-related.
Every so often, Avery will do some regular cat dumb things. Usually these are in an attempt to get something he wants, or when he’s being playful.
Or when he’s not able to physically do things I believe he should be able to do from my oh-so-skewed perspective as a human.
But I’ll get into that. And what exactly I think the difference is between “regular cat stupid” and “my cat is probably stupid in comparison to other cats.”
What Kind of Stupid Is Just Regular Cat Dumb?
There are a number of things Avery has done over the years that have made me think he was quite thick.
They’re usually fairly innocuous things, there’s one in particular that pops into my mind as something that came up a lot, actually.
It’s that, sometimes I would put cat food on the palm of my hand, and put that hand right in front of his face, and he would struggle to find it to eat it.
And yes, he loves food. He’s obsessed. Mega good eater.
Mega weird eater as well, to be honest. He’s had everything from cheese (string cheese in particular is his favourite; we used to dangle it in front of him and he’d go on hind legs to reach it to nom on) to watermelon.
He absolutely adores eating bits of lettuce, like it’s super weird but he does.
One time when we first brought him home, in his first month he even went through our trash can overnight and dug out hot chili peppers from an empty takeaway box that had some Chinese rice in it, and he ate those.. and we were like, “Dawg? You ok?” was totally fine.
We wouldn’t even have guessed he did it, but we saw the evidence all over our kitchen floor. Needless to say, garbage can was covered from then on out. We learned our lesson.
Anyway back to the food on our hands that he like couldn’t find for the life of him.
“What an idiot!” Thomas and I would say to each other.
Sometimes I even wondered if something was wrong with him, like he had issues with vision or something like that.
Nope! Cat things. They don’t see close up, based on my experience, and no if something is that close to their face they really don’t know it’s there and have to search, but don’t back up to look.
So now I will place the food in the center of my palm, show them visually, and then bring my palm closer to their face and that seems to help more than changing the food’s location each time and not giving them a good look before I bring the food in closer…
I think a lot of idiot cat things that happen are like this. Where we believe it’s “So easy obviously!” because we wouldn’t have trouble with that thing as a human.
But cats aren’t made like us, they have different goals. They evolved differently than we did to suit their needs.
Think they’re out here calling us idiots in their heads for us not knowing how to clean ourselves with our own saliva?
Okay, bad question, because they probably are, but that illustrates the point quite well.
If your cat’s doing something really stupid, but you don’t think it’s typical of your cat to do stupid things, chances are it’s just a cat thing that they can’t really do easily like we would.
They probably have physical limitations because they didn’t need to evolve super keen abilities to do a certain thing.
Like honestly what cat needs to “figure out” where the food is, they literally murdered a bird or insect or fish to eat it, they obviously know where it is.
They’re not out there scavenging for treasure when they’re looking for food.
So why would I think this would be something a cat should do?
Anyways, it’s easy to imagine the world from your own perspective only until you take a step back and think about how illogical it would be for a cat to need to see super up close to themselves.
Also would love to know if you can think of more examples like this, where you were like, “Wow u dum…” but it turned out to just be, cat thing cause they different.
I’m sure the examples are limitless, but they are SO entertaining and I’m sure I’ll have thought the same about so many behaviours, so please let loose in the comments below, already can’t wait to read!
Okay back on track, we’re gonna talk about smart cats vs stupid cats now, and how to tell which end of the spectrum yours is on.
Smart Cats vs Stupid Cats: Is My Cat Stupid in Comparison to Other Cats?
Under my roof – currently – I have just one wicked-smart cat.
Avery – our first cat – who Thomas and I brought with us across continents.
We found him in our garden in Canada when we were house sitting for a friend (okay he found us). Then we took him to the UK, and finally when we flew to Portugal we also brought him with us, and we’ve been here a while and are probably going to live here a long time, maybe forever.
And this cat – as I said – wicked smart. But you can kind of tell just by looking at him and the way he carries himself. It’s quite peculiar.
My late grandmother who never, ever liked cats – not one tiny bit – even though my grandfather spent his life obsessively feeding cats who came to his store and to his back garden, yeah my grandma loved this cat.
She would say, “He is like a king!” and obsess over the way he’d poise himself like an incredibly classy Egyptian royal, chest puffed up a little, eyes kind but squinted and always giving a knowing look.
He hasn’t changed one bit, still got that same intelligent look to him.
And he is very knowing and understanding, and absolutely always finds ways to be more efficient, like whining at me incessantly until I go to pet him because he just won’t be bothered to come to me most days.
He’s one of those cats who you give an intelligence puzzle to and he won’t bother to engage at all, until you put some food in it and then *MoTiVe*, and he will figure out that puzzle and in 2-3 times he can have all the food out in a fraction of the time it’s supposed to take.
This cat is a whizz.
The Catit Design Sense Food Maze is the best puzzle feeder I’ve tried thus far (you can see my thoughts on it here), and he can clear it out sooo quickly if he wants. He learned to eat from the feeder and not need to make the food drop.
He learned to swipe in such a way that almost all the food on one entire level drops to the next level.. he just crazy intelligent. When he wants to be. When he’s motivated.
The other two? They’re so thick sometimes they can’t walk straight.
To be honest, I have ADHD and sometimes I wonder if cats can have it, and if they do, at least one of these two, Bjorn, in my opinion has it because, oh my goodness can he never just walk straight.
And he ALWAYS falls on his back legs. At this point I have to believe it’s on purpose because there’s no other way he falls.
And he is also so clumsy I don’t even understand how he’s a cat sometimes?
Maybe it is possible to have ADHD as a cat, and maybe that clumsiness is also a feature of theirs? And makes them look dumb? I am not sure, but sometimes it feels like it’s not just intelligence there.
Why do I think these two are dumb? They just do like 30 times more stupid things in a day than Avery has ever done in a month.
And it’s just a bunch of little things.
Like trying to jump onto my lap on the couch and struggling and falling over when they could have just jumped onto the couch easily and then onto my lap. Now I have to pat next to me on the sofa or they might fall or get confused. No planning ability.
It’s just a bunch of such tiny little silly things like that.
Obviously they act dumber when they are playing, banging into walls, skidding across the flooring, not realizing how far they’re jumping and being wobbly, even running into each other if I’m playing with them both at the same time.
But every cat is going to be more of a werido and act more silly and stupid when they are playing, so if this was the only time they acted like idiots, I would give them a pass.
It’s all the other times, and in comparing their behaviour to Avery’s that I think they’re pretty lacking.
Which Is My Cat? Regular Cat Stupid or Stupid for a Cat?
So how to tell if it’s your cat who’s just extra special sauce?
In my opinion, if your cat’s doing stupid things sometimes, like less than once a day, you’ve probably got an ordinary cat.
If they rarely ever do stupid things, like Avery, or they spend a lot of time doing things that are clever, like getting into places they shouldn’t (opening doors.. Jesus Weiss..), opening drawers to sit in them (my brother’s cat Kalista does this, so easy to lose her in her own home!), you probably have a smart cat.
If you have a cat that makes you wonder how the heck they even managed to survive up until this point, that you believe firmly without you is so dumb they probably could not survive in the real world, if you hadn’t taken them in, that you are multiple times a day wondering how the heck they function and if there is ever even a thought in that spaced out looking face of theirs…
Maybe, okay probably, it’s a your cat’s a little low on the feline IQ charts thing.. Because there is a MASSIVE difference in intelligence between cats, in my experience.
Your Thoughts on Cats Being Stupid?
Okay please oh please take a moment to leave stories and thoughts on this.
While I love reading comments about cats in general, this is one topic I absolutely must hear your experiences about because it’s so fascinating!
What are some behaviours you think are just “regular cat stupid”? I.e. probably just things we can do easily that they can’t because they never needed to evolve the ability to do those things.
What are some behaviours you’ve seen that make you firmly believe you’ve got a low-IQ-for-a-cat feline on your hands? And do you find these behaviours endearing? Because god, I definitely do.
I think they’re so funny and entertaining and cute and somehow the stupid things these cats do just makes me smile and fall in love with them even more (maybe they evolved this way because heaven knows I’d be ever-so-much more inclined to take in a cat that I’m in love with).
What have your experiences been with smart vs definitely-not-smart cats?
And how do you think you can tell the difference.
Again, cannot wait to read your thoughts in the comments below!