Learning how to train a Maine Coon cat is a great way to deepen your bond with your cat, and it can also be very useful.
Maine Coons are intelligent cats that take readily to training, and you can easily teach them all sorts of tricks!
There are a variety of ways to train a Maine Coon cat, but every method involves patience and persistence. You should set up a schedule to train your Maine Coon daily or every other day. Avoid using negative reinforcements or punishments, as cats learn best through positive reinforcement, such as praise or treats.
While training is easiest when you start young, even older Maine Coons can learn all sorts of new tricks and behaviors.
Read on to learn new ideas for training your Maine Coon, as well as what tips and tricks work best for training.
How To Train A Maine Coon Cat
The Maine Coon is an enormous, gentle breed that has become incredibly popular for its doglike personality and extreme intelligence.
With patience and perseverance, you can teach your Maine Coon to do all sorts of tricks, such as walk on a leash, play fetch, or even roll over!
Of course, training requires no small amount of work, so why would you want to train your Maine Coon in the first place?
There are a lot of different benefits to training your cat, including the following points:
a. Discourage Bad Behavior
While you can train your Maine Coon to do fun tricks, you can also use training to discourage undesirable behaviors such as scratching or jumping on the counters.
A well-trained Maine Coon will be much more likely to listen to you.
b. Provide Enrichment
Because Maine Coons are so intelligent and active, it can cause them to be troublemakers if their needs are not being met.
Simply providing a few toys for your Maine Coon will not allow them to exercise their minds and bodies.
Training is hard work for a little kitty, and it will help your Maine Coon feel entertained instead of bored or under stimulated.
c. Strengthen Your Bond
Spending scheduled training time with your Maine Coon every day or so is the perfect way to strengthen your bond.
You will both learn a lot about each other in the process, and you’ll end up being much closer because of it!
d. It Is Cute!
At the end of the day, who does not want to teach their cat a few adorable party tricks?
Maine Coons can learn to:
- Roll Over
- Shake Paws
Where To Begin
Once you have decided why you want to train your Maine Coon, it is time to begin training them.
Here are the steps you should take to train your cat:
1. Set Reasonable, Simple Goals
To start, you should only try to teach your cat one thing at a time. Decide on a simple goal, such as teaching your cat to sit.
If, after multiple training sessions, your cat is still unable to perform the task, and seems confused or frustrated, then it is best to switch to a different goal.
Constantly trying to teach your cat the same trick with poor results will only discourage your cat.
2. Set A Scheduled Training Time
If you are teaching your cat tricks, then you will want to provide a structure your cat can anticipate.
Schedules and rituals are very important to cats, and by having a set training time every day, your cat will eventually know when it is time to focus.
3. Gently Discourage Bad Behaviors
A set schedule for training is perfect for learning new, positive behaviors.
If you are trying to discourage bad behaviors, however, then you won’t be able to rely on a schedule in the same way.
For example, if you are trying to teach your cat to stop biting, then training will have to occur whenever your cat engages in undesirable behavior.
Instead of providing negative reinforcements or punishments, however, you should instead focus on gently refocusing your cat’s attention.
Cats do not respond well to punishment; it only makes them anxious, and they do not actually associate punishments with the behavior you are trying to correct.
Instead, they respond best to positive reinforcement, such as praise, pets, or treats.
If your cat begins biting you, you should never yell or hit them. Instead, find a nearby toy and allow your cat to bite that, instead. This is a gentle way to show your cat that toys are for biting, not arms!
4. Use A Clicker
Clicker training is a popular method for training both dogs and cats.
First, you should train your cat to associate the clicker with treats. You can do this by clicking the clicker, then giving your cat a treat.
It is also a good idea to say something like “Good boy!” or “Good girl!” so that your cat also associates verbal praise with doing a good job.
You will know your cat is ready for the next step of clicker training when they expect a treat after you press the clicker.
Now, you can begin using the clicker while training for a certain behavior or trick, such as:
- Rolling Over
As your cat learns tricks, you can eventually stop providing treats every time you use the clicker.
You can provide pets or verbal praise, instead, and gradually wean your cat from treats altogether.
This is useful because you can then give the command at any time, even when you do not have treats available.
5. Be Patient
Suppose you are trying to teach your cat to sit…
At first, your cat will have no way of knowing what you want it to do!
When you give the command, your cat might choose to play with a toy instead, or it might just stare at you, confused.
However, once you give the command several times, your cat will, eventually, sit down because it wants to.
Whenever your cat sits down after you give the command, immediately press the clicker, give your cat praise, and provide a treat.
Over time, your cat will realize that, when you give the command to sit, you are asking it to sit down.
This can take days or even weeks, but do not be discouraged!
All cats go at their own pace, and you have to remember that it is always possible to train even the most stubborn cats (source 1).
Maine Coon Tricks
A lot of people read about this cat breeds intelligence and wonder, are Maine Coon cats easy to train?
Maine Coons are so intelligent and obedient, they are often referred to as the “dogs of the cat world,” and they are one of the easiest cat breeds to train.
They can be taught to do all sorts of tricks and tasks.
So, what can you train a Maine Coon cat to do?
Here are some popular Maine Coon cat tricks that you might wish to try:
- Sit: Teaching your cat to sit is one of the easiest tricks, as cats sit naturally all the time! If you are still learning how to tame a Maine Coon, then sit is a great beginner’s command to teach your cat before moving on to more advanced tricks.
- Play Fetch: Many cats love to chase toys, but these stubborn creatures rarely bring them back. However, many cats, particularly Maine Coons, can be taught to retrieve toys after they have been thrown.
- Speak: While Maine Coons cannot actually speak, of course, you can teach them to make sounds on command. The adorable Maine Coon is known for making chirps or trills instead of meows, so it is no wonder Maine Coon owners love to teach their cats this trick.
- Roll Over: You can easily teach a Maine Coon to roll over at home, but if you are still learning how to teach a Maine Coon tricks, then it is probably best to start with simpler tricks first, such as sit.
- Shake: Another advanced trick is to shake, where you can teach your cat to touch its paw against your hand like you are giving each other a handshake!
Maine Coon Training Tips
Training is a long process, and your cat will not be the only one with new things to learn.
Many owners struggle with training because they use a lot of bad habits that are not commonly talked about.
Here are some of the things you should and should not do when training your Maine Coon.
Things You Should Do
1. DO Offer Positive Encouragement
Cats love positive encouragement.
Treats are, of course, the most effective method for rewarding your cat, but even offering verbal praise or head pets can encourage a cat to learn tricks more quickly.
2. DO Keep Training Sessions Short
Cats do not have very long attention spans, and if you keep training sessions too long, they can become antsy, and they may even begin to dread training!
Instead, try to keep sessions between 5 to 10 minutes, and only go longer if your cat seems focused, attentive, and happy.
3. DO End On A Positive Note
If you are trying to teach your cat a new trick, it might be a while before it finally learns.
If it has been a while since you have given your cat a treat, do not just give up and end the training session.
Instead, it is best to go back to an old trick your cat knows well, so your Maine Coon can get a reward at the end.
Ending on a positive note will make your cat more likely to associate training with positive feelings, and it will likely make your next training session more productive.
Things You Should NOT Do
1. DON’T Yell At Or Punish Your Cat
Yelling, hitting, or other “punishments” will cause your cat to become fearful and distrustful.
You should never hurt your cat or attempt to train them using fear and control. Not only is this abusive, but it is also ineffective!
Negative reinforcement only solidifies bad behaviors and makes cats less likely to learn what you want them to.
2. DON’T Train When Your Cat Is Excited
Before you begin a Maine Coon clicker training session, you should make sure your cat is in the right mood.
If you decide to start training when your cat is busy playing or running around, you will find that your cat is unfocused and difficult to train.
It is best to train when your cat is calm, like after a nap.
3. DON’T Train If You Or Your Cat Are Frustrated
It is much better to end a session early than continue training if either you or your cat are in a bad mood.
We all have rough days, and if you have made little progress over the past few days, you might become grumpy or frustrated.
Similarly, your cat may have a day where it is less focused than usual, or does not seem in the mood.
On days like these, it is best to practice a few tricks your cat already knows well, then wrap things up quickly.
How To Train A Maine Coon To Walk On A Leash
When owners learn about this breed’s doglike intelligence, many wonders, can you leash train a Maine Coon cat?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes!
Maine Coons are highly active and intelligent, which means they can become bored with the usual cat toys.
Taking your Maine Coon out for walks is a great way to provide exercise and enrichment, without putting your cat in danger by letting it roam outside freely.
Cats are great escape artists, though, so it is essential that you use a harness and leash instead of simply clipping a leash to your cat’s collar.
The most popular harness option for Maine Coons is the Voyager Harness, which you can find here from Amazon.
However, because many cats can become overwhelmed by new sensory stimulation, harnesses can make a cat feel distressed at first.
It is best to begin harness training at a young age because kittens are more likely to adapt to a harness quickly.
You should begin by putting your cat in its harness for just a few minutes at a time until your cat seems comfortable with it on.
Once your cat is comfortable with its harness, you can take it outside.
You should start small at first, in a quiet, enclosed space where your cat will not be too overwhelmed.
Let your cat explore at its own pace, and take it inside immediately if it appears distressed or begins growling or yowling.
If your Maine Coon seems to enjoy going outside, you can begin going for short walks around the block, just five to ten minutes at first. Then, you can gradually increase the time as long as your cat is comfortable.
You can even take your Maine Coon cat hiking if they enjoy going on long walks! Just make sure to provide lots of water to prevent dehydration.
How To Train A Maine Coon To Play Fetch
If your Maine Coon likes to chase after toys, then this is the perfect candidate for learning how to play fetch!
Simply start by throwing your cat’s favorite toy.
Once they catch the toy, give the command “fetch.” If your cat brings it back to you, give lots of verbal praise and offer them a treat. This also works well alongside clicker training.
Your cat probably will not understand right away, but since cats love to carry their toys around after they “catch” them, you should not have to wait too long until your cat brings its toy near you.
Can You Potty Train A Maine Coon Cat?
Learning how to potty train a Maine Coon cat may sound daunting at first, but cats are naturally clean creatures that take easily to litter box training.
To begin Maine Coon litter training, provide a litter box without a lid on top, so your cat can access it more easily.
Make sure to keep the litter fresh at all times, as well.
Since some cats can be picky, you may need to try out a few different types of litter.
After your cat finishes eating, place it in the litter box and scrape at some of the litter. This will demonstrate to your cat what the litter box is for.
If you ever notice your cat using the litter, give it praise and a treat immediately afterward.
Make sure to never punish your cat for any accidents, as this will only make your cat anxious and distrustful (source 1).
Can You Train A Maine Coon To Potty Outside?
If you are having difficulty toilet training a Maine Coon, or you simply do not want to deal with the hassle of a litter box, you might consider taking your Maine Coon potty training outside.
However, this method does have its limitations.
Cats can’t “hold it in” the way dogs can, and if they are forced to wait too long, they will choose somewhere inside, instead.
Allowing your cat to use the bathroom outside can also cause them to use your garden as a litter box, making your herbs and vegetables unsanitary.
Still, this method works best for some Maine Coons, so it all comes down to personal preference (source 1).
Do Maine Coons Come When Called?
Most cats know their names, but that does not mean they always respond to them.
A well-trained Maine Coon, however, can be taught to come when it hears its name.
Even untrained Maine Coons might come when called because these sociable cats love to spend time with their owners.
Learning how to train a Maine Coon cat is a challenging but rewarding experience.
While Maine Coons are highly intelligent and much easier to train than most cats, it still requires patience and dedication.
If you set up a consistent schedule, though, you can teach your Maine Coon to do all sorts of tricks, including sit, stay, shake, and rollover!
Can A Cat Be Part Maine Coon?
It is possible to have a cat that is only part Maine Coon. This means the cat may have a Maine Coon ancestor, but its other ancestors are not Maine Coons.