Are British Shorthairs Actually Dumb? Separating Fact from Fiction in Feline Intelligence.

To determine a cat’s intelligence level, there are various tests that can be conducted. One popular test is the puzzle box test, where cats are placed in a box with a treat inside and must figure out how to open the box to get the treat. Another test is the string test, where a string with a treat attached is tied to a doorknob and the cat must figure out how to untie the knot to get the treat.

The Role of Breed in Feline Intelligence

While every cat has their own intelligence level, some breeds are known for being more intelligent than others. This can be due to genetics, upbringing, and other factors. However, it’s important to note that intelligence can vary greatly even within the same breed.

Debunking the Myth of British Shorthairs Being Dumb

The History of British Shorthairs

British Shorthairs have been around for centuries and were initially bred for their hunting abilities. They were commonly used to control the rodent population in homes and on farms. Over time, they became more domesticated and were bred for their appearance rather than their hunting skills. Today, they are known for their round faces, stocky bodies, and affectionate personalities.

Studies on British Shorthairs and Feline Intelligence

Contrary to popular belief, British Shorthairs are not dumb. In fact, studies have shown that they have average to above-average intelligence levels. One study conducted by the University of Edinburgh found that British Shorthairs were able to learn and remember new tasks just as well as other breeds. Another study conducted by the University of Helsinki found that British Shorthairs were able to solve puzzles just as well as other breeds.

Personal Anecdotes from British Shorthair Owners

Many British Shorthair owners attest to their cats’ intelligence. They describe their cats as being curious, playful, and capable of learning new tricks. One owner shared that their British Shorthair was able to learn how to open doors by turning the doorknob with their paws. Another owner shared that their cat was able to learn how to play fetch with a toy mouse.

Factors Affecting Feline Intelligence


Genetics play a role in a cat’s intelligence level. Some breeds are naturally more intelligent due to their genetic makeup. However, it’s important to note that genetics are not the only factor affecting feline intelligence.

Upbringing and Training

Upbringing and training can greatly affect a cat’s intelligence level. Cats who are given plenty of opportunities to learn and play are more likely to develop their problem-solving skills. Training can also help cats learn new tricks and tasks.

Health and Wellness

A cat’s physical and mental health can also affect their intelligence level. Cats who are in good health and have a balanced diet are more likely to be alert and curious. Mental stimulation, such as playing with puzzle toys, can also help keep a cat’s mind sharp.

Understanding Your Cat’s Intelligence

How to Gauge Your Cat’s Intelligence Level

There are various ways to gauge your cat’s intelligence level. Observing your cat’s behavior and problem-solving skills can give you an idea of their intelligence. You can also try conducting intelligence tests, such as the puzzle box test or string test.

Ways to Stimulate Your Cat’s Intelligence

There are many ways to stimulate your cat’s intelligence. Providing puzzle toys, hiding treats around the house, and training them to perform tricks are just a few examples. It’s important to keep in mind that cats have different learning styles and preferences, so it may take some trial and error to find what works best for your cat.


In conclusion, the myth that British Shorthairs are dumb is simply not true. While every cat has their own unique intelligence level, studies have shown that British Shorthairs have average to above-average intelligence. Factors such as genetics, upbringing, and health can all affect a cat’s intelligence level. Understanding your cat’s intelligence and providing them with mental stimulation can help keep their minds sharp.

ThePetFaq Team