Sunday 23 March 2008

Intelligent Cat Breed

Chausie cat and Macaw

One domestic cat that is an intelligent cat breed is the Chausie. This is a cat that is similar in appearance to the Abyssinian as she is a wildcat (Jungle cat)/domestic cat (Abyssinian) hybrid. Indeed the Jungle cat is similar in appearance to the Abyssinian so they are perfectly matched. The intention is to produce the look and physical attributes (to a certain degree) of the wild cat with the socialization skills and personality of a domestic cat. This is the objective for all breeds of this type.

Abyssinian Cat
Abyssinian cat photograph copyright key lime pie (Anna Wiz)

At the first generation level hybrids such as the Chausie can be a bit of a handful.

My research indicates that all cat lovers thinks that their cat is an intelligent cat breed. My research also indicates that of all the cat breeds it is the wildcat/domestic cat hybrids that are more likely to be more intelligent, on the face of it. But let's be honest it is all guesswork.

We are not conducting scientific tests. It is simply that people who have lived with certain cat breeds (and there aren't many who have lived with wildcat/domestic hybrids) are able to make a gut feel judgment about intelligence which is supported by the behavior of the cat, for example, if the cat is easier to train or dog-like in behavior. Some intelligent cats learn from the person keeping the cat and can become a little sneaky - a demonstration of intelligence.

Jungle Cat photograph copyright bv_madhukar reproduced under creative commons.

The Chausie is a cross between the Jungle cat and Abssinian as mentioned. Wild cats are more finely tuned in respect of survival skills and this it seems gives the impression that they are more intelligent. They may be more intelligent. This in any event is the consensus. This intelligence is passed on to the Chausie.

There you have it - an intelligent cat breed. If you were searching for one your search is over. It is advisable to read about Helmi's experiences of living with a Chausie - they are enlightening.

The other wildcat/domestic cat hybrids are the Bengal and the Savannah. The Safari and Serval are tamed wild cats. They're smart too.

Update: I was going to leave it there but since posting this I have noticed the Wikipedia article on cat intelligence. This is a nicely written article but all it is saying is that there are no scientific certainties as to the most intelligent cat breed. I agree with that and have used experience gained through reading many articles from breeders and cat fanciers to gauge that it is the wildcat hybrids that at least give the impression to us that they are more intelligent.

It is, however, worth remembering that the variation between individual cats in intelligence will be greater than between breeds. We don't, after all, normally think of a nation of humans as being more intelligent than another.

That said, I have met and seen a Sphynx boy cat (a young cat) at a cat show and I sense that the Sphynx may be more intelligent than some other cat breeds. He was very active, alert and climbed the cage like a monkey literally, using those long limbs and fingers to clamber all over the place. It is perhaps the degree of inquisitiveness and alertness that indicates intelligence. This is demonstrated by the wildcat hybrids and by Casper the Sphynx cat in the photograph above (copyright Michael at Pictures of

See another post on intelligent cat breeds and a list of the most intelligent and least intelligent cats breeds.

There is also the alpha male and alpha female indicators. I think that cats that are inclined to be alpha cats will generally be more intelligent. They have to be to be alpha cats. Once again the wildcat hybrids have this propensity.

Heading Photograph of Chausie cat this is the cat that lived with Ken and Helmi Flick - photo copyright Helmi Flick

From Intelligent Cat Breed to Chausie cat breeders


  1. Is the Chausie Legal in Australia?

  2. Hi Maggie, Good question. As I think you know the government has banned another wildcat hybrid, the Savannah, so the Chausie would have to be banned too. I have not yet seen anything on this. The question for me is whether the Aus Gov. has drafted legislation to ban wildcat hybrids or whether the current situation is that some sort of secondary legislation has been enacted by an Aus Gov. minister to ban the Savannah.

    I suspect that no one has yet tried to import or breed the Chausie in Australia and wouldn't try now. Although I could be wrong.

    It would obviously undermine the Australian Gov stance if they allowed Chausies and banned Savannahs.

  3. Thank you for that information, I was going to Import a Chausie (not for breeding purposes) in 2 or 3 years, because I read that f4+ are considered domestic here in Australia...

    I find it very stupid that Savannah (and maybe Chausies) are banned but Bengals are legal, just because they're smaller, it doesn't make the Asian leopard cat any more domestic than the jungle cat and Serval.

    There are a few Savannah breeders already here though, and they are having litters in 2009, would they be f4+ kittens?

  4. Hi Maggie, I don't know if you've seen this page:

    Savannah cat ban in Australia is wrong

    but a lot of Australians get upset on this subject. I think the Aus Gov are in a mess on this, with Bengals bred in Australia already as you say. I didn't know Savannahs were being bred in Australia.

    The Savannahs from A1 Savannahs that were to be imported were F5 SBT Savannahs. I don't know if the kittens born in Aus are F4+.


    These are the only two Savannah cat breeders that I know of in Australia, but hopefully there's more to come, and with these breeders ready to go, hopefully the Australian Gov. will understand that they can't keep the Savannah banned forever... I look forward to one day owning my own Savannah and Chausie.


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