Feline Intelligence: How Smart Is Olga?


Hi, I’m Christopher! Read my introduction to learn more about me and my silly Russian Blue cat, Olga.

Cats are incredibly intelligent, and although they’re more difficult to train than dogs, their long-term memory and problem-solving skills are impressive. Their ability to sense your emotions and avoid situations that previously caused them harm or stress is also commendable, but sometimes, I’d prefer a dim cat to a smart one. I’ve read research articles on canine and feline intelligence, but this article will focus on my observations of Olga and how her intelligence amazes and annoys me.


Olga is a fast learner. It didn’t take her long to learn how to catch a paper ball with both paws and open a door from the inside. I have latches on the doors instead of knobs, but I think she would eventually determine how to open them, also. It’s easier for her to open a closed door from the outside since she can grab the latch and push forward, but holding it and pulling backward took her longer to learn.

When Olga feels neglected, she runs into a bedroom or bathroom, squeezes herself behind the door, gets on her hind legs, and pushes forward. If she’s riled up, she uses more force and slams the door. I’m used to hearing her slam the doors, and since I think it’s funny, I’ve never discouraged her from doing it. However, it can be irritating when she does it repeatedly.

I’m trapped in the bathroom, but I don’t feel like opening the door again…

Learning From Her Mistakes

When Olga was younger, she often jumped on the headboard of my bed and walked back and forth on the narrow wooden beam. One morning, she wasn’t as graceful on her balance beam, and her back leg slipped. I was half asleep below her, and I yelled when one of her back claws slashed my lip. The scream scared her, and she ran off and hid.

I’m not suggesting that yelling at your cat will help them learn or prevent them from injuring your face, but in my situation, it prevented her from jumping on my headboard again. She has learned other valuable lessons from getting hurt or stuck.

She doesn’t try to retrieve paper balls from underneath the refrigerator anymore after her claw got snagged and she couldn’t get it out. I helped her remove her paw, and another time, when I heard her screaming, I ran to find her dangling from one claw on the top of the blinds. After I helped her down, she stopped leaping from the chair to the blinds. She still charges the blinds occasionally and grabs onto them, but she’s more careful.

What's that doing here
What’s that doing here?

Admirable and Annoying

Olga can sense when I’m preparing for a trip, even if she doesn’t see the suitcases, and if I don’t feed her in the morning, she hides under the bed when I’m in the shower because she knows she’s heading to the vet’s office. I have to be stealthy when I grab her ear drops since she knows where I keep them and recognizes the bottle. Life would be much easier if I had an ignorant feline, but I’m glad that even though she’s a pain sometimes, she never ceases to amuse me.

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