I love the Persian cat. I wanted to make that clear from the outset as sometimes when you write an article that could be considered negative, people form the wrong impression. When I write about any cat there is, of course, a personal element involved (otherwise it would read like an encyclopedia.) When it comes to questions like this, I reference as many authoritative texts as possible.
I just want to make it transparent that what I consider an authoritative source is not just another pet blog. To get to the truth, I turn to experienced owners and reference scientific studies. It would be easy for me to just write my own uninformed opinion down and be done with, but instead, I include a general consensus of opinion.
If you’re wondering how intelligent your Persian cat is … then read on.
Is the Persian cat smart? Persian cats are not overly smart but they are extremely adorable. Known for being gentle and sometimes goofy, Persian cats get along with everyone and cope well with environmental changes. They may not be as smart as some breeds but this doesn’t affect their ability to make wonderful pets.
What do we consider as intelligence in a cat?
When we’re talking about intelligence within a cat, we are referring to the feline’s ability to solve problems and make changes according to its local environment. We are talking about whether it is able to communicate (albeit in its own way) and makes changes to its behavior after acquiring new skills.
The cat’s brain is quite small, in fact, it is only about 2 inches long! Despite this small size, the actual physical structure of their brain is similar to ours, according to Richard Gross who produced the book Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour. However, there’s no getting around its small size.
Apparently, the memory of cats is excellent and has also been demonstrated to span up to 10 years (source). I found this information quite incredible and really didn’t think their memories were quite this good!
I think we’re getting a little too technical though. When we’re talking about a cat being smart we are thinking about the following:
- Response mechanism – does your cat acknowledge you when you call its name?
- Concept of time – not an understanding of time but they will know when it’s time for dinner!
- Logical processing – for instance when you hide one of their treats behind something will they look behind to find it or just think it has disappeared?
- Understanding of reality – when you play a video of birds or mice on your television, will your cat think they are real or will they know it’s not?
Of course, these are some ways that you might be able to get a feel for how intelligent your cat is. It’s not exactly scientific though and I could find no scientific papers that have tested individual breeds of cats against each other.
Why is the Persian cat considered to be dumb?
The Persian cat is considered to be not the most intelligent breed of cat for two reasons:
- Its appearance – some cats just appear more intelligent than others and the Persian just doesn’t look clever – hardly fair but it’s how we humans partly judge intelligence.
- It’s actions – sometimes the Persian cat can just do things that seem a bit…stupid.
It’s very harsh to judge anything on its appearance but unfortunately, it’s just part of human nature. Also though, it’s not just this. The few tests that can be performed on cats to measure intelligence don’t yield good results from this cat, at least when it comes to intelligence.
Anyway, if you’re asking me – which I guess you are, I would say that the Persian cat isn’t dumb – it’s just different. If you only ever had Persian cats in your family then you wouldn’t know any different so perhaps look at it in a different way. It’s not that the Persian cat is dumb, it’s that some other cat breeds are very clever!
Are all Persian cats considered stupid?
Personally, I don’t think any Persian cats should be considered stupid. But as any owner of cats will appreciate, no two cats are ever the same. Each will have its own distinctive personality and each will have things it does that are different from others. You wouldn’t expect all humans to have the same intelligence and nor should you expect the same from cats, whatever breed you’re looking at.
Can you improve the intelligence of a Persian cat?
There are some things you can do to possibly improve the intelligence of your cat. The first thing is something I hope we’re all doing anyway – interacting with them. A happy can has often been described as a healthy cat and by spending time with them and playing with them, they will be happy – that’s the easy bit!
I’m no expert when it comes to feline nutrition so you should absolutely look elsewhere to find a definitive answer about this but I have read that diet can certainly influence cognitive power within a cat. These diets seem to include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, for instance in fish. We’ve given our cats a piece of pure cod with nothing added from an early age and they’ve always been healthy. Obviously, there’s a lot more to it than that and at the end of the day, you’re going to need some luck as well.
So, my advice – interact and play with them as much as possible!
Why are some cats more intelligent than others?
Let me turn this around a little – try and answer the question as to why some humans are more intelligent than others? Why aren’t we all as clever as Sir Isaac Newton or Stephen Hawkin? We are all different and the same can be said for cats.
However, what we’re talking about here is a whole breed and indeed there can be, as we all know, personality differences between different breeds in the same way as there are physical differences. We see it more with breeds of dog where it’s more noticeable. There are some dogs that (for instance) make great guard dogs and others that don’t. This is more obvious with a dog but the differences in breeds of cats, which are still there, are more subtle.
Okay, so the Persian cat might not be the smartest breed of cat in the world but does that matter? Well, no – it doesn’t matter in the slightest. The Persian cat is a loving, gentle breed that will want to spend as much time with you as possible.
Finally, if your Persian cat has become a little bit smelly – find out why by clicking on the article.