If you have ever seen your cat do something insanely clever, you might be wondering, are Maine Coons the smartest cats?
Maine Coon Cats are widely recognized as one of the smartest cat breeds out there. However, the title for smartest cat breed actually goes to the Abyssinian, a breed that’s famous for its curiosity and love of puzzle toys. Still, intelligence can vary among individual cats, and a Maine Coon might be more or less smart than average.
These dog-like cats often impress their owners with sudden feats of intelligence, and they often seem much smarter than the average house cat.
Even though Maine Coons aren’t considered the smartest cat breed in the world, they’re still famous for their intelligence.
Read on to find out some of the reasons why Maine Coon Cats are so smart!
Are Maine Coons The Smartest Cats?
The Maine Coon is a highly popular cat breed that is well known for being affectionate, friendly, and highly intelligent.
These cats have a variety of unique personality traits, such as a tendency to chirp or trill rather than a meow, as well as an affinity for playing in the water!
Read more on Maine Coon Personality Traits in my article.
Maine Coons are also quite expensive, as a result of their high breeding costs, as well as their beautiful appearance and high intelligence.
Maine Coons are famous for being smart, but they aren’t actually considered the smartest cat breed in the world. That achievement goes to the Abyssinian, an active, dog-like breed that can learn all sorts of tricks.
Even though they may not be the smartest cat breed in the world, are Maine Coons intelligent? Absolutely!
These cats are incredibly smart and can learn quite a few tricks of their own, as well!
Here are the top ten things that Maine Coons do that prove they’re among the smartest cat breeds out there:
1. Maine Coon Cats Can Be Trained
Many owners are shocked to learn that Maine Coon cats can be trained to do a variety of tricks.
Most people assume that learning tricks are something only dogs can do, but cats are also highly intelligent.
The reason most cats are unable to learn tricks is that they are highly stubborn, and are less interested in pleasing their owners than dogs are.
The Maine Coon’s mix of extreme intelligence and just enough people-pleasing instinct means these cats are the perfect candidate for learning tricks.
Countless owners have taught their Maine Coons to roll over, give high fives, and even jump through hoops!
Teaching Maine Coons to do tricks is often much harder than training a dog, but with enough patience (and treats), you can teach the average Maine Coon to amaze guests with their arsenal of tricks!
Teaching your Maine Coon tricks is also a great way to give this cat breed plenty of enrichment.
These cats aren’t just satisfied by playing with normal toys like most cats, and spending time to teach your cat tricks is the perfect way to exercise your Maine Coon’s mind.
Another way to keep your Maine Coon’s brain switched on, is to buy sturdy cat toys that are suited to the Maine Coons intelligence.
2. They Can Learn To Turn The Faucet On
Maine Coons have an extremely odd personality trait compared to most cats – this cat breed loves water!
You might find that your Maine Coon splashes in its own water bowl, or jumps onto the counter to play with the sink while you’re doing dishes.
These cats are also confident swimmers, and just might join you in the backyard pool during the summer!
Another benefit to the Maine Coon’s love of water is that it makes bath time much easier. Make sure you read my article about ‘How to keep a Maine Coon clean‘.
Some Maine Coons love water so much, though, that they end up getting into all sorts of trouble because of it.
In fact, determined Maine Coons even learn to watch their owners turn the faucet on and off! After an observation period, these cats are willing to try it out on their own, and they often learn how to turn on the faucet just so they can play in the water!
3. The Maine Coon Is Highly Social
One thing that sets humans apart from many other animals is our social nature.
Our social tendencies are what helped us become intelligent in the first place, and intelligence is often observed in other social species, such as parrots.
While big cats like tigers and leopards are solitary, the domestic house cats we know and love today actually evolved from communal desert-dwelling creatures that were eventually domesticated.
Not all cat breeds are exceptionally social, however.
The Maine Coon really stands out because they crave companionship. These cats love their owners so much that they often follow them from room to room!
If you’ve noticed your Maine Coon doing this, here’s the reason your gentle giant follows you!
Another positive feature of the Maine Coon is that, while these cats do love their owners, they aren’t clingy. They might follow you around, but it’s usually from a distance.
These cats like to be near their owners, but they aren’t known for getting under your feet or distracting you from work.
4. They Can Walk On A Leash
Many owners want to let their cats explore outside, so they don’t feel cooped up in the house.
However, letting a cat roam freely outside can be incredibly dangerous, as they’ll be exposed to all sorts of threats like:
- Wild Animals
- Other Cats
Thankfully, the Maine Coon’s intelligence means there’s a way you can let your cat safely explore outside.
If you start at a young age, you can train your Maine Coon to wear a harness and leash, and you can even take your cat out for walks!
I bought this extra-large cat leash from Amazon, as it’s comfy for our Maine Coon cat, and fits Pippin’s 20lbs of weight!
It can take some time and patience to build up this skill, and you’ll have to start small, usually with little strolls around the garden.
After a while, though, you’ll be able to take your Maine Coon on long, pleasant walks through the neighborhood!
Some of the more outdoorsy types even manage to train their cats to go on hikes! This is a wonderful way to let your cat see the world, without worrying about it getting injured or even dying.
5. Maine Coons Can Read Your Emotions
Maine Coons aren’t just loving and affectionate, they also have the uncanny ability to read the mood of their household!
Many owners note that their Maine Coons can somehow sense when they’re feeling sad, and these cats will often come up to comfort a crying human.
Likewise, they often become nervous and edgy if they sense tension or anger in the household.
The highly sensitive nature of the Maine Coon is a dead giveaway of just how intelligent these cats are.
However, it does mean that Maine Coon owners have to be careful not to let their emotions affect their cats too much.
Arguments between family members can end up making a Maine Coon feel stressed and unsafe, so you’ll have to do your best to make your cat feel welcome in its environment.
So long as you treat your Maine Coon with kindness, you might be able to count on your feline friend to comfort you after a hard day at work!
6. They Are Very Patient With Children
All cats, including Maine Coons, understand that human children are just that; children.
Cats are always extra patient with their own young, and they’ve learned that sometimes, they need to be a little more patient with human children, as well.
More wary cats end up avoiding children altogether because they’ve learned they can be unpredictable at times.
Maine Coons, however, are probably the best cat breed for children.
These cats are so patient that they might even let children dress them up for fun!
Maine Coons seem to have a special soft spot for children, and some owners have even seen them exhibit protective behaviors, like preventing children from going into dangerous places.
Of course, it’s essential that you teach all children in your household to behave gently with the cat.
As patient as Maine Coons can be, they won’t tolerate having their whiskers pulled, and an unruly child could easily injure or even kill a cat.
Here’s a video of our Maine Coon cat playing with our daughter. These two have such a strong bond, and ‘Pippin’ our male Maine Coon has always been extra gentle and careful not to claw or scratch her:
7. They Get Along Well With Other Pets
The Maine Coon cat breed gets along well with children, but are Maine Coons friendly with other cats?
While some cat breeds prefer to rule the house, Maine Coons often prefer companionship in the form of other animals.
If you are away from home most of the time, then it’s actually best to get a companion for your Maine Coon.
Read my article ‘Do Maine Coons Need A Companion?‘ for more information about this breed’s social need for companionship.
Not only do Maine Coons get along famously well with other cats, but they’ve even been known to befriend dogs and other animals!
Of course, Maine Coons shouldn’t be kept in a household with small animals that they’ll perceive as prey, such as birds or rodents. Furthermore, although Maine Coons do love companionship, you’ll have to take care to introduce your cat to any newcomers very carefully.
Introducing a new cat or dog to your Maine Coon can take days or even a couple of weeks!
Even the friendliest of Maine Coons will have to learn to share their space and get used to a new member of the family.
8. The Maine Coon Is An Excellent Hunter
The Maine Coon’s excellent hunting skills are actually the reason these cats became popular in the first place.
This rugged breed developed naturally in the state of Maine, where they caught their own food to survive.
Local settlers soon realized that they were quite useful, and kept them around to rid their barns of mice, rats, and other vermin. Sailors also brought Maine Coons on ships for the same reason.
Maine Coons have a high prey drive, and they’re extremely good at catching all sorts of creatures.
Many people love to keep these cats around so mice and other animals don’t infest their garages.
The owners of outdoor Maine Coons sometimes find that their cat has even brought them a kill to “share!”
9. Some Maine Coons Play Fetch!
There’s a reason why Maine Coons are often referred to as the dogs of the cat world.
These cats aren’t just known for doing tricks; they can also learn to play fetch!
Many owners have been shocked to discover that, after throwing a toy mouse or ball for their cat to play with, their Maine Coon has come right back to them with the toy, expecting it to be thrown again
10. Maine Coons Get Bored Easily
Finally, another sign that Maine Coons are super smart is that they can become bored quite easily.
Maine Coons aren’t satisfied with regular toys the way most cats are. This cat breed needs a lot of mental stimulation to keep from becoming bored.
After much trial and error, I found that these 5 Maine Coon cat toys are the best (in ‘Pippin’s viewpoint, anyhow!).
Maine Coon owners need to invest in sturdy toys that can withstand hard play, as well as motorized toys that require a bit more intelligence to play with.
Some owners even get their Maine Coons puzzle toys! Regular play sessions are important to keep your cat stimulated, as well.
Another way to keep your Maine Coon from becoming bored is to get a cat tree.
These cats love climbing, so a large, sturdy cat tree, as well as some cat shelves installed along the walls, are perfect for keeping your cat exercised and entertained.
Smart Cat Test
If you suspect your cat is smart, but want to know for sure, you can test cat IQ with a variety of tests.
Keep in mind, however, that intelligence is very difficult to quantify, and even animal behavioral scientists don’t have any hard and fast rules for determining an animal’s intelligence.
Here are some tests you can have your cat take to approximate its intelligence:
- Chewy Cat Intelligence Quiz: This is an easy multiple choice quiz that will score your cat’s intelligence. It takes various scenarios, such as how your cat responds to hearing its name, to indicate whether your cat is above or below average feline intelligence.
- Omlet: This cat IQ test is more comprehensive than the Chewy quiz, and scores your cat’s intelligence over a wide array of scenarios. Keep in mind, however, that this quiz is specifically aimed towards outdoor cats, and won’t be as helpful for owners of indoor cats.
- Adopt And Shop: Instead of a quiz format, this feline intelligence test offers four different exercises that you can do to test your cat’s brains. This test even measures your cat’s intelligence against humans, so you can get a better idea of how smart your cat really is.
Top 10 Smartest Cat Breeds
If you’re intrigued by the Maine Coon’s intelligence, but don’t think that’s the right cat breed for you, then here are ten other cats that might capture your attention.
These cats are widely recognized as being the smartest cat breeds out there, besides the Maine Coon, of course (source 1):
- Cornish Rex
- Turkish Van
- Japanese Bobtail
Most Stupid Cat Breeds
Unfortunately, not every cat is super smart, and some are even known for having below-average intelligence.
The Persian’s classic squashed face may look cute, but it’s actually due to a condition known as brachycephaly, which squashes the skull and results in a constricted airway.
Not only does this cause breathing problems, but it also reduces the cat’s intelligence.
This is because the Persian’s squashed skull is abnormally small, and its brain is much smaller than most cat breeds.
As a result, these cats, along with their close relatives, the Himalayan and the Exotic Shorthair, are considered the dumbest cat breeds in the world.
Despite their lack of intelligence, however, Persian cats are friendly and sweet and make great lap cats.
Like the Persian cat, Burmese cats are also brachycephalic and have unnaturally squashed skulls that limit their brain size.
This means that these cats are also quite stupid, although, like the Persians, they are docile and affectionate.
The Birman is a curious cat breed that, while smarter than the Persian, is still considered a bit stupid. These curious cats don’t often think through their actions, and end up getting stuck or in all kinds of trouble!
Birmans are higher energy than Burmese or Persian cats, but they’re also quite loving and affectionate.
A lot of owners are shocked by their cat’s intelligence, and wonder, are Maine Coons the smartest cats?
While the smartest cat breed in the world is actually the Abyssinian, Maine Coons are still recognized as being highly intelligent, as well.
These cats are able to learn tricks, go on walks, and some can even play fetch!
Of course, because they’re so intelligent, Maine Coons can become bored quite easily, so it’s important to provide your cat with a lot of stimulation so they can keep their wits sharp.
Are Black Cats More Intelligent?
The coat color of a cat does not affect its intelligence or personality, so black cats are not any more intelligent than other cats.