Too Clever For Their Own Good: Pets That Leave No Doubt That Animals Are Smart

By Ruby M

People get pets for many reasons – some people have animals for company, some just love having furry friends in their lives, and others get pets for protection. Most people, however, don’t expect their animals to have such a high IQ – but as it turns out, there are animals out there who are apparently more competent than their owners. From knowing how to use the toilet instead of the litter box to figuring out how to bamboozle a human long enough to sneakily get that last slice of pie or sit in their favorite chair… Here are 40 animals who are so intelligent that they put the rest of the animal kingdom, and many of their owners, to shame.

He Sniffed Out the Bad Guy Before Anyone Else

It is widely known that many dogs are naturals at sniffing out a bad guy better than the best detectives, and that’s why we have police dogs and even sniffer dogs to detect dangers like bombs and drugs. Golden Shepherds are known to be the best breed in the field.

Image courtesy of Meli_and_cain/Instagram

This protective pup knew before anyone else to kick this creep to the curb – for those unsure of the term “CP,” it refers to child pornography. This dog had a hunch that the tiniest human in his pack might have been in danger.

Bird Brain Bigger Than Your Brain

People often refer to silly people as “bird brain,” which is not the case with this charming little fellow. This little bird knew exactly how to say the words “it’s ok,” and he proved that he could understand them, too. 

Image courtesy of Meiniao6/Instagram

He knew that his human says these words to him when he’s afraid and flapping about, so he decided that he would comfort his crying human by saying the words back to him – and we’re pretty sure it worked.

Protect the Whole Pack

Doggos must protect all family members – that includes – most importantly – the other pets as well. When one of the koi found its way out of the pond and faced peril, the doggos sprung into action to save the day. 

Image courtesy of _b.and.m_aquatics_/Instagram

One tried with all its might to guide the fish back to the water with its nose while the other barked nonstop until their humans arrived to help. Once the day was saved, both dogs went back to bed – knowing that everyone in their “pack” was safe.


Some doggos are smart in adorably helpful ways, like knowing how to open and close the door or barking to wake their owners up for breakfast because they overslept and forgot to set the alarm – but this doggo was smart in a superdog kind of way.

Image courtesy of Ms_clover/Instagram

Kali, a self-proclaimed trusty neighborhood watchdog, came to the rescue of an older man in his time of need after getting lost outside his home and falling on the icy cold steps. He might not have survived the night if it wasn’t for the dog’s actions.

A+ Smart Kitty

This brilliant cat would probably take over the world if given the opportunity – and opposable thumbs. This kitty isn’t known for only one smart thing, but many wise things – making her one of the smartest on this list!

Image courtesy of Capethecat/Instagram

One of the most impressive things that this feline friend can do is not only recognize her reflection in the mirror, but she uses it to groom herself the same way that a person would – how clever is that?


It takes a smart kitty to deceive a human – or at least that’s what they want the cats to think. This kitty was able to trick her human into getting out of her favorite chair by pretending she was hungry – and it worked!

Image courtesy of Kira.therussianblue/Instagram 

As soon as this sneaky kitty could, she ran as fast as her little paws would carry her and took her rightful place on her throne. Tough luck, human – but kitty has permitted you to use her bed in exchange (for now).

Good Boy Doggo

We’re going to skip right past the jealousy that we have for this woman who had a closet big enough to get dressed in or the fact that she has the budget for decorators and get straight to the point of this one. 

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This trusty dog knows that the tiny human needs to be looked out for, especially when the little human is left alone for even a moment. Luckily, momma human was informed by this good boy that the baby was in danger just in time.

To Have Your Cake AND Eat It Too

This sneaky mutt knew precisely how to get what he wanted – he wanted to have his cake and eat it – even though it wasn’t his cake to eat. He even set the perfect trap to trick his human into leaving the cake alone.

Image courtesy of Mollie_wt/Instagram

He knew that whenever he wanted to alert his owners that someone was at the door, all he needed to do was bark. So he barked and barked, but this time – as soon as his owner left the cake, the intelligent little dog licked his lips.

The Finder of Lost Things

Kitty Two-paws needed to find a way to tell his saddened human that he knew where her precious watch was, but because humans don’t understand cat language, he had to find a way to get to the watch all by himself. 

Image courtesy of Katten.katt/Instagram

Weeks and months went by until eventually, after almost a year, the kitty finally completed his mission and was able to pull the watch out from under the depths of the loud, cold closet thing where human keeps the milk.

Bad Boy (But Still So Clever!)

One dog-like way to get attention is by deliberately misbehaving – because whether or not it’s negative attention – all eyes are still on you – the star of the show, the naughtiest doggo of them all, the one that’s walking where he shouldn’t…

Image courtesy of Bimbathejack/Instagram

In fact, intentional bad behavior might even get a chuckle out of the guest because they seem to think that a doggo being self-aware is adorable and maybe even worthy of a treat? (do it, we know you want to).

Quite the Pair

First, can we acknowledge these names – Epo and Popokie. They sound like some sort of Pokemon-related duo or stars in a show called The Adventures of Epo and Popokie. Whatever the story behind the names is – they are adorable.

Image courtesy of Iamsqueaks/Instagram 

These two are quite the pair – one is smart, and the other – well, “dumb as a bag of rocks” according to the owner’s daughter. At least Popokie had Epo to go fetch him for dinner or he may have gone hungry!

A Cheeky Senior Kitizen

Have you ever met a kitty (or senior kitizen, according to his owner) who hated his medicine so much that he pretended to take his pills and then spat them out and hid them under the closet when his owner wasn’t looking? 

Image courtesy of Thechroniclesofnarwhal/Instagram

Strangely enough, the cat seems to know that his owner isn’t being cruel – but he truly disagrees with the fact that he needs medication. He may be old, but cats have nine lives and are therefore invincible – so he doesn’t need the medicine.

Cat and Mouse

Sometimes our pets can be so clever, but also so dumb! Take this cat, for example, who was able to reenact a scene that was probably in Tom and Jerry by using a slice of bread as bait to catch a mouse in hiding.

Image courtesy of Callmethebubs/Instagram

That same cat is not always so clever. In fact, this cat apparently repetitively licks lightbulbs and hisses at them when they give her an electric shock, but she continues to lick the lightbulbs for no apparent reason that we can understand.

Walk Time!

Dingos are known to be highly intelligent creatures and this half dingo half doggo is no exception. Knowing that he should be the one doing the walking and not being walked, he decided to take matters into his own – mouth? 

Image courtesy of_nelliemiller_/Instagram

By unclipping his favorite canine companions and walking them himself, he quickly became the most famous doggo in the neighborhood and became incredibly close to a Jack Russell living next door – it’s the norm now, but it was quite the surprise the first time the dog’s owners saw another dog taking their dog for a walk.

Tiny Human and Her Cockapoo

Every kid needs their very own role model. Usually, that superhero comes in the form of mom or dad – but for this special needs kid, her superhero was her dog, who knew that keeping this little human safe was a number one priority.

Image courtesy of Rocket_acd/Instagram

The dog had followed her outside and protected her while she dug around – and while her family frantically searched for her. Eventually, the little girl was cornered by police and taken home, but the dog kept her safe all along.

The Goodest Kitty

This kitty is the goodest boy – and not only because he takes his daily injections so well. Kitty knew that he needed his medicine to be healthy and knew that it was time for his medication even when the alarm wasn’t set. 

Image courtesy of Abbybengal_soboroexotic/Instagram

He was probably also hungry for breakfast and his morning brushes, but if his human hadn’t woken up, the kitty wouldn’t have had his medicine. He might not know what diabetes is, but he did know that it wouldn’t be good.


This savvy boy knew exactly what to do when his tennis ball got stuck under the couch – he just needed another tennis ball. He discovered that by using one ball to knock the other, they both would roll out and be back in the dog’s reach.

Image courtesy of Schmiddi_0912/Instagram

This smarty-pants pup was highly pleased with herself when it worked, and we’re confident that it’s a nifty life hack the dog always uses when her precious balls get stuck under the furniture, and there’s no human around to help get them out.

No Need for a Litter Box, At Least!

By far winning the title of the most hilariously blunt entry on this list, someone walked into the bathroom and, to their shock, discovered their cat sitting on the toilet, doing their business – and the owner was surprised the cat wasn’t reading the newspaper, too. 

Image courtesy of Pushkin_the_cat_/Instagram

On the plus side, this cat owner no longer needs to fuss with cleaning a litter box – the cat seems to be doing perfectly fine without one! We wonder if he can flush the toilet on his own as well.

Caught in the Act

Doggo knows that he has to take his medicine, even though he really doesn’t like it, and even tried to be sneaky and waste the other half after accidentally eating the first one and realizing that it tasted nothing like his kibble.

Image courtesy of Wearesofia/Instagram

He knew, however, that to be a good boy, he had to make sure his human was happy, which meant eating the gross medicine that his human wanted him to eat. So like the goodest boy, he went back to his bowl and finished it.

A Proud Momma

Some dogs have to be trained to understand the words “sit”, “stay” and “rollover” and then there are some dogs who understand what you want from them straight away – this proud momma dog is the latter. What a smart guy!

Image courtesy of Scott.thetoller/Instagram

A proud mother and smart doggo understood the words “show us your puppies” like she’d been born to do just that. Very happy to oblige, she gathered her pups and took them to the humans to proudly show off her babies.

Flooded With Emotion

Imagine waking up to a flood, being blamed for being the cause of the flood, paying a ton of money to have the damage repaired only to discover that it wasn’t you who flooded the basement – it was your dog.

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Apparently hell-bent on getting you into trouble, your dog figured out how to turn the water faucet on and loved doing it but as we’re pretty sure you’ve guessed by now – the dog never knew how to turn it back off.

A Fantastic Duo

The most well-known stereotype is the ongoing feud between cats and dogs – and this duo is only continuing to prove that the feline vs. canine battle has only just begun, and it looks like cats have won this round. 

Image courtesy of The.real.king.hugo/Instagram

Not only did this conniving kitty know exactly how to upset the dog, he even managed to outsmart his owner by collecting every last tennis ball and guarding them with all its nine lives to keep the dog unhappy. He is too savvy for us!

Hide the ‘Hide

This intelligent boy knew exactly how to outsmart his human when playing their favorite game – hide and seek. He did such an excellent job hiding the rawhide that his owner searched all over the place and eventually gave up. 

Image courtesy of Barkinlikebeckham/Instagram

The following day, the man discovered that his dog had really gotten one over on him after figuring out that a drawer was open, and the dog even knew how to push it closed afterward so as not to give the hiding spot away.

Doorbell Doggo

Molly really was a dog with whom you could make memories – some of those memories were probably funnier to joke about in hindsight, though, because we can’t imagine the events of this particular night being fun at the moment. 

Image courtesy of Bo_the_maligator/Instagram

Imagine being at your friend’s house and hearing a ring on the door, but when you go to open the door, eerily no one is there. Then, hearing the doorbell again, you go outside, look down, and see the dog that your friend forgot to mention can ring the bell.

Are You Meowing Me?

To the people who believe that cats are stupid: we doubt you’ll be saying that after letting you in on this hilarious feat. Imagine having pain in your feet that causes you to limp like this pet owner and then having a pet like theirs as well. 

Image courtesy of Nino_and_nacho/Instagram

This little rascal of a cat not only understood the fact that his owner had an injury, he would mimic his owner limping to mock them – definitely not a funny moment, but hilarious to look back on. Naughty kitty!

She Made Herself Useful Alright

Whoever said that cats couldn’t understand English never met this kitty, who did exactly what her human daddy said she should – she made herself useful and caught a mouse. She probably got an extra bit of milk for that. 

Image courtesy of Umasiberian/Instagram

Most cats won’t do what they’re told, but this cat did exactly what her owner told her to do – but probably less because she is obedient and more because she wanted to prove to her owners that she could speak human.

Clever Cat

Here’s a little-known feline fact, cats are big birders. In fact, bird watching is an avid hobby of the kitty community – and this cat knows what’s up. Every day, he spends a reasonable amount of time watching his future prey.

Image courtesy of Adele.ragdoll512/Instagram

On this day, he knew that the birdies wouldn’t come because the birdfeeder wasn’t appropriately attached – and the kitty couldn’t have that. So, he mewed and mewed until his human rectified the issue and waited in anticipation for his feathered friends to arrive.

The Cat Who Can Open Doors

This needy kitty not only figured out how the door opens and closes but also worked out that with enough weight, he could open the door himself. Being the separation anxiety basket case that he was, he needed to be with his human at all times.

Image courtesy of Sansacatofficial/Instagram

Being with his human at all times meant being able to open the door that was the only barrier between him and his precious person – so he figured out what he needed to do to open the door and succeeded, too.

Fake Injury

This pup should feel guilty for his lazy actions, but then again, how can anybody stay mad at that face? This naughty pup didn’t want to have to use his (perfectly healthy) paws to carry him around the house – so he concocted a plan.

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He somehow figured out that if he pretended to be injured, his human would feel guilty and carry him around the house. However, the pup wasn’t smart enough to continue his charade after the visit to the vet, where it was determined that there was no injury after all.

Street Smart

This doggo was lucky enough to be given a home by an elderly gentleman, and even though his life is somewhat more comfortable than it was as a street dog, he knows he can’t depend on the older man for food.

Image courtesy of Miluju_te_/Instagram

He must have learned his street smarts from growing up as a stray because this dog knows when to check for cars and when it’s safe enough to cross the street. He also somehow gets in and out of his locked yard with ease.

Making Me Crazy

Then there was the time when a cat managed to convince a woman in her 60’s that she might have early-onset dementia or that she was simply losing her mind when the cat was let out of the house – only to be seen back inside a few minutes later. 

Image courtesy of Umhundeswillen/Instagram

The poor woman even started writing down every time she let the cat out – and every time she saw it back inside until one day she found the cat’s secret way of coming in and out in the basement – along with the bloody entrails of many of the cat’s rodent victims.

Flushed Away

This kitty decided that it was time to dispose of her prey, and so, like her humans did so many times before, she tossed the body of the dead mouse into the toilet bowl and waited with excitement for it to be flushed away.

Image courtesy of Bear.milo/Instagram

Sadly, the cat hadn’t figured out how to make the mouse go “flush,” so she gave up – leaving the body floating in the toilet for her humans to find and finish the job. Still, it was pretty impressive of the cat to toss away the mouse on her own.

Knock Knock, Who’s There?

This one was a team effort indeed, and we still want to know who the instigator was – the cats or the dog? Whose idea was it for the dog to create a distraction by barking at the door, giving the cats enough time to knock over the food?

Image courtesy of Zeus.and.achira.gsd/Instagram

How long did it take these furry friends to come up with a plan that was so crazy that it just might work? Were there a few failed attempts at dinner before the successful one? Do cats and dogs understand each other’s languages? We have so many questions!

Creepy Cat

This kitty is creepily obsessed with mirrors – and yes, he knows exactly what a mirror is and how to use one to see the reflection of everything going on behind you – including watching people in the shower apparently. 

Image courtesy of Tyddynretreat/Instagram

It takes true intelligence to be able to recognize your own reflection, but an even more brilliant level of intellect to be able to stalk your owners with their own mirror creepily. This round goes to you, creepy cat. You are the real MVP.

Team Effort

It seems that working together to get food out of the humans is a common theme amongst intelligent pets, like these two cats who not only knew exactly how to exploit the people but, also concocted a plan that worked perfectly. 

Image courtesy of Ethanmcfarren/Instagram

One cat acted as a distraction while the other grabbed the fudge, and the two of them quickly started eating it before their misled humans, and their friends could stop them. Now, that’s teamwork, alright! We are thinking of inviting them to our next work bonding event.

One Smart Boy Indeed!

This is a genius dog. First of all, he could tell the difference between two human languages (Thai and English) and piece together the fact that English was the language that his momma would use when talking to his dad. 

Image courtesy of Josefinhamrin/Instagram

He also figured out exactly when his dad was coming home versus when he was just calling to say hi – which is something we are pretty sure not even most humans would piece together unless someone told them directly.

Rocking Dog

This dog probably didn’t realize the anxiety that he was causing his human when she heard the creeks of the rocking chair in the late hours of the night. His owner must have thought that the house was haunted because who else would be rocking so late in the night?

Image courtesy of Nicola_andgeorgethelab/Instagram 

It turns out, the person rocking in the chair was not a person at all, nor was it a spirit from beyond the grave. It was just the dog, enjoying the ups and downs of the rocking chair as he slept through the night.

Nap Time

This kitty doesn’t want interruptions during her required daily nap (which takes up most of the day), including the unwanted sunshine rays that constantly wake her up – but this kitty is too smart to be fooled by the sunlight. 

Image courtesy of Scott_thecat/Instagram

She cleverly knew to cover her eyes with a pillow to block out the sun’s rays, and to the shock of her human witnessing the entire thing, she went back to enjoying her nap using the pillow like a person would a hat on the beach.

Happy Hammock Doggo

Another ongoing theme on this list is animals and their ability to use human objects for their own pleasure. Much like the cat using the toilet and the dog and his rocking chair, here’s another one just like his friends.

Image courtesy of

This outside dog loves his life, but he loves his hammock even more. He’s even figured out how to swing on it all on his own, and he enjoys the relaxing feeling that comes with it. His owner was pretty surprised that the dog figured this out, though.

Cat Finding Doggo

They say that cats and dogs are sworn lifelong enemies, but that’s not the case with this doggo and kitty. In fact, the dog tried to help the cat, and would an enemy help a little fellow out like this?

Image courtesy of Jonathan Adato

This adorable good boy wanted to help a kitty in need by telling his human with a rather large amount of urgency that a cat was hiding under the deck by looking at the cat, then at the owner, and then back again.