It’s been thousands of years since man first domesticated cats. Different cat breeds have been bred for various reasons, but one thing that has remained constant and stood the test of time is the debatable question of whether or not cats are intelligent.
One cat breed that seems to stand out in terms of the IQ levels in cats is the Himalayan cats which are colloquially known as Himmies.
So, if you can’t help but ask (just like thousands of Himalayan cats enthusiasts), ‘Are Himalayan cats smart?’ then read on as I got you covered through this article. I will be providing you with a straightforward answer and factual reasons as to whether these cats are smart or not.
I will also walk you through a number of ways you can test your Himmie’s intelligence. Please make sure that you read to the end of the article to avoid missing out on some of the factors determining your Himalayan cats’ intelligence.
Are Himalayan Cats Smart? 6 Reasons Prove They Are!
Yes, Himalayan Cats are smart. These felines have an IQ similar to that of a 2- or 3-year-old kid. Our brain structure and that of the Himalayan cats (and all other cat breeds) are similar by 90%. These cats also have around 300 million neurons in their cerebral cortex.
A cat’s cerebral cortex functions to store both long- and short-term memories, perception (which controls how it interprets and reacts to its different surrounding), and also help a cat control its voluntary movement. All these work to enhance a Himalayan cat’s smartness.
Below are some of the reasons that prove that Himalayan cats are a smart cat breed;
1. Himalayans are capable of adapting to living in a new environment and conforming to the rules
These good-natured cats can adjust and live in a new environment while conforming to the laid-out rules. Domesticated Himalayan cats know when, where, and how to do things around their homes.
For instance, a Himalayan cat knows what it’s supposed to do in its litter box. It also knows when it’s time to eat, wake up, and sleep, provided that you keep the cycle of its activities regular.
2. They are able to bond and express their feelings
Himalayan cats are known to be affectionate and devoted to their owners. They are known to form strong bonds with those they value and show their affection by cuddling with them, licking them, headbutting, and also meowing when their loved ones leave.
All these things can only be done by an intelligent Himalayan cat, who knows how to make a bond and maintain it by expressing its feelings physically.
3. These felines are capable of picking on human cues and act appropriately
Did you know Himalayan cats are able to pick on human cues and act appropriately? Their heightened sense of smell and sight helps them to decipher your body language and facial expression and act accordingly.
So, the next time you come home agitated or bored and find your Himalayan cat keeps licking you, remember it knows what’s up, and it is a loving cat it’s trying to elevate your moods.
4. Himalayan cats can be trained to follow commands
Himalayan cats are smart enough to be taught basic commands such as sit, no, roll, come and execute them without a hassle.
Just make sure that you train your cat at a young age and make sure that you do it effectively. Use treats to make the training more receptive and enjoyable to your cat.
Also, make sure that you provide in-between breaks during its training. Never yell or punish your cat just because it’s not performing to your expectation.
Remember, these cats can also become strong-willed, especially when they feel that their ‘rights’ are not being respected.
5. They are able to express themselves through vocalization
These gorgeous cats are capable of expressing themselves through their melody-like meowing sounds. Himmies won’t hesitate to let you know that it’s time to feed or pet them through vocalization.
Studies show that their meows are distinct for each different thing that they want it done to them.
That is, if your cat wants to be fed, it will meow differently. And if it wants to be petted it will also meow distinctively. So, next time be vigilant when your cat is meowing, as you may end up catching a different type of meow. And won’t that be meow-some?
6. They have a mind of their own
Have you heard of the phrase, ‘Cats get the message from you and then get back to you?’ If not, this phrase simply means that cats are independent in that they have a mind of their own and will only do what they want to do and not what you want them to.
Hammies are not an exception; these cats’ intelligence makes them independent in that they won’t come running to you just because you want them to. And even when faced with a problem, Himalayan cats will find a way of solving it rather than come to you to help it!
How do you test your Himalayan cat’s intelligence?
Below are some of the ways through which you can test your Himmie’s intelligence
1. Use its favorite toy/mouse
Let your cat see you hiding its favorite toy/artificially produced mouse in a clean place that it can easily access it.
If your Himmie tries to get it out or find it, then it’s safe to assume that you are a cat parent to a very intelligent Himalayan cat.
2. Use food to test it
Place its favorite treat or food near its bowl and watch for its reaction. A smart Himalayan will react positively by looking at you and the container as if telling you to feed it. It may also meow to reinforce what it wants you to do.
3. Use media
Let your cat enjoy an animal show with you and observe its reaction. If it stays fixated on the screen as though it understands what’s going on, then it’s safe to assume that you have an intelligent Himalayan cat.
What are the factors that determine how smart a Himalayan cat is?
Nutrition plays an essential role in your Himalayan cat’s life. Not only does it determine its general physical health but also how its brain works. Studies show that cats fed with cat foods rich in antioxidants, fish oil, L-arginine, and Vitamin Bs have more brainpower than cats provided with regular cat food.
Himalayan cats’ intelligence is also determined by their age. Mature and young cats are more proficient in problem-solving than senior or aged cats.
This is so because as a cat age, its brain atrophy (shrinks and becomes small), there is loss of neurons (neurons are vital in helping a cat’s brain function), accumulation of unwanted proteins, and increased chronic inflammation in a cat’s brain tissue. All these physiological changes make a cat’s intelligence be markedly reduced.
A more socialized or exposed Himalayan cat is more intelligent than a less socialized Himalayan cat. Through socialization, these felines learn how to interact and react to different things, people, and other animals around them. This, in turn, helps the cat’s cognitive capacity expand.
For instance, a Himalayan cat socialized to living with toddlers or other pets such as dogs around will not show any form of aggression even when in a new environment.
This is because its cognitive functioning has evolved to adapt to living in such conditions, unlike in an unsocialized Himalayan cat whose chances of displaying aggression in such an environment are high.
4. Medical Conditions
Himalayan cats, just like any other cat breed, are susceptible to neurological(brain disorders), which may impair how smart they are. These neurological disorders may be acquired or genetically passed down from a parent to their offspring.
One particular brain disorder that affects Himalayan cats is the Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome(FHS), also known as the twitch skin syndrome.
FHS has its onset developing in the Himalayan cats who are around 9-12 months of age. Usually, the hallmark signs and symptoms, include; Repeated licking of the tail, back, and pelvic limb, the violent swishing of the tail, and excessive skin twitching.
These symptoms come in bouts that may last for a few seconds to minutes. Often Himalayan cats having FHS will have dilated(wide) pupils and become excessively aggressive for no reason.
If you notice any of the above signs and symptoms in your cat, I recommend that you take them for a medical checkup in order to get a definite diagnosis from the Vet. This will help halt the disease’s progress thus maintaining your cat’s brain function.
Are Himalayan cats smart? Yes, they are. These cats have an IQ level that’s equal to an average 2- or 3-year-old kid. These cuddly, even-tempered, gentle, and loving cats demonstrate their intelligence by; Exhibiting abilities to adapt to different environments and conforming to the laid-out rules, and being able to express themselves through vocalization.
These cats also form bonds and maintain them by physically expressing their affection to those they feel attached to. They can also pick on human cues and react appropriately, something that intelligent cats can only do.
Some of the factors that determine how intelligent your Himmie is or will be, include; Nutrition, medical conditions, socialization, and age. For a healthier and more intelligent lifetime companion, always make sure that you adopt your Himalayan cat from a reputable breeder.