Are Tabby Cats Smart?

Are Tabby Cats Smart?

A tabby cat is not a breed but a coat pattern that is observed in almost all of the official cat breeds. Most of these felines are affectionate, feisty, intelligent and get along well with kids and other pets. 

Are tabby cats smart? 

Yes, tabby cats are smart and tend to have high intelligence compared to other pets. Surprisingly, cats in general have a brain structure that is almost 90% similar to that of a human brain. A cat’s cerebral cortex, where complex problem solving, rational decision making and interpretation of language are processed, has more or less 300 million neurons. 

Tabby cats tend to learn by doing as opposed to seeing and they are capable of short and long term memory. They display unique survival skills, are capable of complicated social interaction and can process information quickly. Most of all, tabby cats are trainable and can retain information from past events. An example of a very smart tabby cat is Nora who learned to play the piano while observing her owner who is a piano teacher. 

These are some of the smartest cat breeds with the tabby coat pattern:

1. Siamese

This breed is considered as the most intelligent among cats with tabby coat patterns.  These felines are inquisitive, sociable, vocal,  mischievous and love to explore every corner of the home. They respond well to training and have dog-like traits as they can be taught tricks like play fetch and giving high-fives. Check out our earlier article on Siamese cat personality traits to learn more about this cat breed. 

2. Abyssinian

This breed with the distinctive ticked tabby coat loves to interact with their humans and is perfect for families with kids. This intelligent breed can easily learn tricks like playing fetch. They are also playful, inquisitive and talkative.  

3. Bengal 

This intelligent breed likes to explore and enjoys human interaction. They tend to communicate with their chirpy meows and they are very active. These cats are playful, affectionate and also have dog-like qualities like learning to play fetch. 

4. Scottish Fold 

These cats demand constant attention and are very attached to their humans. They respond well to training and enjoy interacting with their owners. This intelligent breed enjoys teaser toys and puzzle toys since they challenge their mental capacities.  

5. Cornish Rex 

This smart breed loves to explore every nook and cranny of the home and is extremely inquisitive. They are clever,  enjoy human interaction and love to play games with their humans. 

6. Burmese 

This highly sociable breed with a tabby coat pattern has dog-like qualities and they adore human interaction. They are very intelligent and seek the attention of their favored humans. They also get along well with kids and other pets like dogs. 

7. Savannah

These cats have a wild side to their temperament, they are very active and demand play sessions with their humans to keep them mentally stimulated. They are extremely smart and very aware of their surroundings. They have a watchful stance and they tend to mimic people when doing tasks like unhooking a latch or opening the faucet. You may also check our earlier article on Savannah cat care for a detailed discussion about this breed.

How to test and train your tabby cat’s intelligence 

You can test and train your tabby cat’s intelligence by introducing her to various cat toys. This will help stimulate social interaction in cats. You will be able to observe and learn how your cat will react to various situations. 

Another way to assess your cat’s intelligence is by testing her memory span since cats that easily remember are easier to train.  You can observe a cat displaying memory span by how she reacts to repeated situations. If your cat often tries and fails at a certain task, it may mean she was not able to grasp the process. 

A smart cat will easily associate water in a tub with bath time or the sound of a fork against the food bowl as dinner time. Felines can store memories in their brain and may actively recall many things and remember people. This also explains why it is essential to interact and train a cat in the first two months of her life.

Smart cats have superior survival skills and you can test and assess if your cat possesses these skills by hiding a toy mouse in a room and by observing your cat’s actions. You may notice that your cat will tiptoe around and check various corners from where she can attack the toy.  Smart cats are said to carefully plan and calculate their actions when given this test. 

Testing the trainability of a tabby cat may be done by teaching your cat tricks like sit, fetch or giving a high five. Providing treats to her while giving the test is a good way to motivate her. If your cat accomplishes and can follow the tricks, you have a smart cat. 

Finally, you can test your cat’s ability to show unhappiness and express displeasure.  You can do this by observing how she reacts to new changes at home like a new carpet or furniture or by altering the location of her litter box. If you notice that your cat shows displeasure it is very likely that you have a smart cat. 

Final thoughts 

Tabby cats are unique because of the striking coat color patterns regardless of breed. They are friendly, affectionate, inquisitive, sociable and extremely smart.  Their eagerness for human interaction, their curiosity and sense of adventure make them great pets and they also respond well to training.

Image: istockphoto.com / anobis

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