One of the most incredible discoveries a Maine Coon owner can make is learning how to train Maine Coon to play fetch.
These clever, doglike cats love learning new tricks, and fetch is one of the most popular skills for Maine Coon owners to teach their cats!
Begin training your Maine Coon to play fetch by throwing one of its favorite toys and saying “fetch!” Your cat will not understand the command at first, but as you reward your cat for bringing the toy closer and closer to you, it will begin to understand the game. Use lots of positive reinforcement such as treats and praise.
Teaching your Maine Coon to fetch is a great way to strengthen your bond, and it will exercise your cat’s body and mind.
Fetch is a relatively simple trick, so it is ideal for anyone who is new to training.
Read on to find out how you can combine fetch with clicker training, so your cat can learn even more tricks!
How To Train Maine Coon To Play Fetch
The Maine Coon is a huge, majestic breed that developed in the wild before it became domesticated in the 1800s.
These cats have always been popular for their enormous size, but they are even more treasured for their loving personalities and incredible intelligence.
Maine Coons are so obedient and clever that this breed is known as the dog of the cat world!
Maine Coons are famous for their ability to learn all sorts of tricks, and fetch is one of the most popular among Maine Coon owners.
So, why might you want to learn how to teach your cat to fetch?
Deepen Your Bond
Cat training is good for both the cat and its owner.
As you explore the training process together, you will both learn a lot about each other!
Your cat will learn to trust you more as you provide treats and positive reinforcement.
In addition, you will learn more about your cat’s unique behavior and personality as you overcome the many challenges that come with training.
Maine Coons are very active, and if they do not get enough playtime or exercise, they might begin zooming around the house at dusk and dawn to let off some of their pent-up energy.
Fetch is a great game that requires lots of running and chasing, and it is sure to tire out even the most active of Maine Coons!
Maine Coons are one of the most clever and active cat breeds out there.
They are incredible hunters and climbers, and they like to engage in activities that make them think.
If your Maine Coon does not have enough stimulating and puzzling toys, it may feel bored, restless, and even destructive.
Teaching your cat different tricks is the perfect boredom buster for Maine Coons.
Step By Step Guide
If you think that your Maine Coon could benefit from training, then here is an in-depth guide to teaching your Maine Coon to fetch:
Step 1: Clicker Training (Optional)
Clicker training is not necessary for teaching a cat to play fetch, but it is useful if you plan on teaching your Maine Coon lots of tricks.
Clickers are very cheap, typically less than $5, and you can find them online or in just about any pet store.
Before teaching your Maine Coon to fetch, you must first teach them to associate the clicker with positive stimuli.
Click the button, and immediately give your cat praise and provide a treat. Continue to do this until your cat turns expectantly at the sound of the clicker.
Once a cat has been clicker trained, you will be able to train it to do a task without expecting a treat in the long run.
Over time, you can gradually replace treats with pets or praise, until your cat learns to respond to commands without expecting a treat every time.
If you do choose to clicker train your Maine Coon, make sure your cat associates the clicker with treats and praise before moving on to the next step.
Step 2: Find The Right Time And Location
Training is a two-way street – just because you are in the mood to play fetch does not mean your Maine Coon will be, too!
If you want to teach your cat to fetch, it is best to wait until your cat seems active and playful.
Your Maine Coon certainly will not appreciate being woken up from a nap for a training session!
However, keep in mind that the right training time can vary from cat to cat, and even from task to task.
For example, some cats are more productive during training sessions if it is close to feeding time.
Alternatively, if you are teaching your cat commands such as sit or stay, it might be best to wait until they are calm, such as after a nap.
A restless, playful cat probably will not want to learn how to sit!
The schedule is another important factor to consider. Cats love routine, so if you can find a set time to practice every day, your cat will eventually anticipate training time, which can lead to more productive sessions.
Finally, consider location, as well.
Practice in a clean space without any distractions like toys, noise, or lots of people moving around.
If you can practice in the same spot each time, it will also help create structure and routine for your Maine Coon.
Step 3: Begin To Play
While most cats do not know to fetch right away, they do love to chase toys that have been thrown.
Get some treats handy, throw your cat’s favorite toy, and say “fetch!”
Since Maine Coons have strong hunting instincts, they tend to pick up their “prey” and carry it to a second location.
If your cat brings the toy near you, press the clicker (if you are using one) and provide a treat and praise.
You should start with a wider radius at first, praising your cat if it brings the toy within a few feet of you, and gradually reduce the size as your cat gets the hang of it.
It may take a lot of tries before your cat brings the toy anywhere near you, but do not get frustrated!
Your cat has no way of knowing what you want at first, but it will learn through patience and repetitive patterns.
Make sure to always reward your cat for accomplishing the desired behavior, but never punish your cat or become angry if your Maine Coon does something wrong.
Cats respond well to positive reinforcement, but become distrustful and confused by negative reinforcement.
Step 4: Keep It Short
While it may be tempting to stretch out your first training session until you feel you have made good progress, this can actually hurt progress in the long run.
Cats do not have particularly long attention spans, and they become bored and restless if a training session runs too long.
Five minutes at a time is a good place to start, although you may find your cat needs more or less time.
Try not to set any specific goals, because your cat will ultimately go at its own pace.
It is okay if you have to cut a training session short, too. If you or your cat are having an off day, it is better to only practice for a bit before ending.
Step 5: Repeat!
The key to teaching your cat tricks is to practice consistently.
You do not have to practice every single day if that does not work for you, but at least aim for a few times a week. This will keep your cat sharp and interested.
Sporadic, infrequent training sessions simply will not lead to much progress, and it will only end up frustrating both you and your cat.
Even practicing for a few minutes each day or every other day will make a huge difference.
So long as you are patient, consistent, and determined, chances are your Maine Coon will be playing fetch in no time! (sources 1,2)
Do Maine Coons Play Fetch?
This breed is incredibly unique, so there are lots of weird things Maine Coons do.
For example, even though most cats are famous for hating water, Maine Coons absolutely love it, and even play in it!
Maine Coons also tend to chirp or squeak instead of meow.
One of the coolest Maine Coon behaviors, though, is their ability to play fetch.
While many cats can learn to fetch through dedicated practice, Maine Coons are so clever and quick to learn that fetch often comes naturally to them.
Many Maine Coons learn to play fetch without their owners even teaching them!
Cat Breeds That Play Fetch
If you are surprised and wondering why my cat plays fetch like a dog, you may be shocked to discover that Maine Coons are not the only cats that can play fetch.
Overall, if you want to know what percentage of cats play fetch, it is much lower than dogs.
Cats can be stubborn and do not take to obedience training as quickly. However, there are still lots of other cat breeds that are quick learners!
Here are some other cat breeds that are known to play fetch:
- Norwegian Forest Cat
How To Teach A Cat Tricks
Many Maine Coons learn unique skills without even trying.
For example, you may be thinking to yourself, my cat plays fetch with hair ties, what else can it learn?
These clever cats have a knack for surprising their owners with all sorts of knowledge, but with proper training, your cat can learn even more tricks than you ever dreamed of.
There are a lot of misconceptions about cat training, though, as well as lots of hidden tricks that will make training a whole lot easier.
Here are some top tips to help you become better at training your cat:
1. Reward Good Behavior, Don’t Punish Bad Behavior:
A lot of cat owners use spray bottles or loud noises to punish bad behavior, but this will only make your cat distrustful and confused.
If you are training your cat to stop doing a certain behavior, such as jumping on the counters or knocking things off the table, responding with negative reinforcement will only make them more likely to continue that behavior!
Even negative attention is still attention, after all.
Instead, ignore bad behavior and give your cat a lot of praise and treats for good behavior.
Keep Training Sessions Short
You might be in the mood to train for ten or even twenty minutes, but cats learn best from short training sessions, especially at first.
Try to only train for five or so minutes at a time, and keep an eye on your cat’s mood.
If your Maine Coon seems easily distracted or frustrated, that is a sign that you are either training for too long, or you have chosen a bad time to practice.
End On A Positive Note
If you are trying to teach your cat a new trick, but it just is not getting it, you might be tempted to end the training session right there.
However, if you end when your cat is frustrated and has not received any positive reinforcement in a while, it will cause your cat to associate training with more negative emotions than positive ones.
Try going back to an old trick that your cat has already mastered, or lower your expectations, so you can finish off the training session with a treat and some pets.
End Training Sessions Early If Needed
It is always better to end a training session early than continue while either you or your cat is in a bad mood.
If you can feel yourself growing frustrated, then that is a sign you should lower your expectations or simply end the session short.
Maine Coons are sensitive creatures that have the uncanny ability to read their owners’ emotions.
If you start getting frustrated or impatient, your cat will be able to tell, and it might make your cat less keen to practice during the next session, as well.
Starting to train your cat is incredibly exciting, there are all sorts of cool things you can teach them!
Still, it is important to keep in mind that cats can become overwhelmed if you expect too much from them.
Start by teaching one simple trick, such as fetch or sit, and only add tricks after your cat has mastered the first one!
You may want to teach your cat to do one trick, but that does not mean your cat will be as keen as you are.
Your cat might be confused or frustrated by a certain task, or it just does not feel like learning it.
As the owner, it is your responsibility to sense if your cat is simply being stubborn or if it truly does not want to learn the trick you are teaching it.
In most cases, your cat will respond better if you can be flexible and try out a new trick that your cat finds more interesting or exciting.
Once your cat has the hang of training, you can always go back and try out tricks that did not work at first.
Why Do Maine Coons Act Like Dogs?
Maine Coons are famous for their doglike behavior.
They are incredibly loyal, and intelligent, and can learn to do tricks, play fetch, or even go for walks on a leash and harness!
So, what makes these unique cats so similar to dogs?
A lot of people wrongly believe cats to be less intelligent than dogs because most of them cannot do tricks. However, nearly all cats are very smart, though they may not show it in the same way.
Dogs have been specifically bred by humans for thousands of years to perform all sorts of jobs and tasks, while cats have been bred solely for hunting pests and for their companionship.
Cats have not been selectively bred for their obedience, so even though most cats have the intelligence to perform tricks, their stubbornness gets in the way.
Unlike dogs, cats do not usually care to do things unless they feel like it.
Maine Coons, however, have a less stubborn personality, which makes them more likely to obey during training sessions.
Maine Coons are also more intelligent than the average cat, although there is no way to know for sure why that is.
Since these cats were popular in the 1800s for their incredible hunting abilities, they were prized among sailors and farmers, who kept breeding them.
Overall, this could be another reason why Maine Coons are so intelligent, and therefore more doglike.
Learning how to train Maine Coon to play fetch is one of the most popular tricks for Maine Coon owners.
These clever, eager cats love learning new tricks, and it helps keep their minds stimulated.
You should train your Maine Coon by offering lots of positive reinforcement like treats and verbal praise.
If you remember to have consistent, frequent training schedules, your Maine Coon should be playing fetch in no time!
How To Teach A Ragdoll To Fetch
Unlike Maine Coons, Ragdolls are much calmer cats that prefer lounging around to learning new tricks. However, you can still teach some Ragdolls to fetch with lots of patience and treats.
Do Maine Coons Walk Funny?
Most Maine Coons have a normal gait, but if your cat seems to limp, sway, or walk oddly, then it could be due to an underlying condition such as spinal muscular atrophy or cerebellar hypoplasia.