Feline intelligence is not a matter of understanding complex human ideas, but how to get the food, attention, play and care they need and desire. Cats know how to “work the system” and use their natural survival skills, even in a domestic environment.
There are no scientific tests to measure Cat Q. You can, however, get a pretty good idea of how smart your cat is just by observing him. Here are some questions to help you assess your cat’s intelligence:
1. When you open a can of cat food with an electric can opener, what does your cat do?
a) Runs and hides under the bed
b) Looks up briefly, then gets back to napping
c) Immediately races into the kitchen
2. When you get out the pet carrier, what does your cat do?
a) Gives it a quick glance
b) Runs away, but will come back if offered a treat
c) Hides and won’t come out
3. How often does your cat persuade you to get out of bed early to fix her breakfast?
b) Once in a while
c) Every day
4. Has your cat ever learned to do something just by watching you do it, such as how to open a cupboard door or turn off a light switch?
b) Yes, one or two easy procedures like how to open the box of cat treats
c) Yes, there are many things my cat has learned to do just by observing me
5. If you come home at the same time every day, does your cat wait for your arrival, apparently aware that you have a regular return time?
b) Yes; he’s usually waiting for me by the door
c) Yes; as soon as I walk in, he escorts me to the kitchen so I can get him dinner
6. If your cat sees a bird outside the window, what does he do?
a) Bangs his head against the glass, trying to reach the bird
b) Paws madly at the window and yowls until I shut the blinds
c) Races to the door and meows until I let him outside
7. Does your cat ever get bored with her toys and create her own amusements using your socks, the goldfish bowl, the tassels on your drapes, etc.?
a) My cat’s not very interested in toys
c) Almost daily
8. If a guest teased or pestered your cat in the past, does your cat single out that person as trouble — for example, by avoiding that person but allowing other guests to handle him?
a) No; my cat acts the same toward everyone
b) He does prefer some people over others, but there’s no clear reason for his preferences
c) Most definitely; my cat remembers who gave him grief and does not forget
9. What happens when you try to teach your cat a trick?
a) My cat never figures out what I’m trying to teach him
b) After several training sessions, my cat is pretty good at it
c) My cat masters the trick after one short training session
10. How does your cat react when the litter box needs cleaning?
a) Goes in the same spot until I notice the mountain inside the litter box
b) Starts using the planters for a litter box or goes outside the litter pan
c) Goes outside the litter box and meows loudly to get the point across
Cat Q Test Results
Give your cat one point for every “c” answer. Deduct one point for every “a” answer. A “b” answer is a neutral response and doesn’t affect the score. Tally up the total number of points, and grade your cat according to the scale below.
0-3 points: Smarts aren’t your kitty’s strongest suit, but chances are that your cat is a wonderful companion, even if he bangs his head against the window thinking he’ll get the bird!
4-7 points: Your cat has average intelligence and can learn a few tricks, but has no desire to take apart and reassemble the cat water fountain.
8-10 points: You may just be living with a feline Einstein!