Maine Coons are amazingly smart … besides being cute, cuddly and sociable. While there are not many studies done on the realm of cat intelligence, there are several telltale signs that Maine Coons as a whole are far from dim-witted.
Maine Coons are very sociable, easily trainable, and instilled with an innate hunter’s instinct. They understand cues and are even able to solve problems. On top of that, they learn how to communicate with humans easily and are able to pick up human emotions.
Fur-real! It’s certainly wonderful to have companions that don’t just laze around in their own little world. On the contrary, Maine Coons are acutely aware of their surroundings and are able to remember information for years.
Let’s look into the traits of Maine Coons that disclose these furry creatures’ intelligence:
1. Maine Coons have top-notch survival skills
Have you noticed your Maine Coon stalking for prey? While stay-at-home Maine Coons are domesticated, they hold on to their hunter's instinct and can be found practicing by playing with toys or catching rodents.
In fact, Maine Coons are among the top cat breeds for hunting mice and are known to be able to assist with rodent troubles.
Believed to have originated from seafaring cats that accompanied the first settlers in the U.S., Maine Coons were held in high regard by farmers in Maine (where this breed hailed from) as a mouser.
Maine Coons can hunt on the ground and on trees. They have strong, athletic bodies to accompany their excellent predatory senses. Aside from exhibiting hunting abilities, Maine Coons are physically adapted to survive harsh winters.
Its striking feature, its fur that is longer and more voluptuous around the neck leading down to the underside, provides extra warmth while trudging on snow and ice. The fur between their paw pads protects their feet from the elements.
Maine Coons have bushy tails that can be curled around its shoulders as an added protection against the wind. Their magnificent multi-layered coat is water-resistant, tying in well with the fact that many Maine Coons love water (and even swimming).
Yes, your Maine Coon may wait for you to fill its food bowl, but there's undoubtedly a capable hunter inside it.
If you find that your Maine Coon is street smart and able to rely on itself just as a hunting cat would, chances are, it has an above-average intelligence level for cats.
2. Maine Coons are incredibly sociable
Being the gentle giants they are, Maine Coons are sociable felines that enjoy the company of humans.
Demonstrating social behavior requires a measure of intelligence, and while cats typically display their affection towards humans by purring, rolling, and kneading, Maine Coons are able to go the extra mile.
These cats are known to greet their owner at the door and “join in” daily activities. They might even offer you gifts (albeit unwanted ones) to show their appreciation or bring you toys to coax you into a play session.
They enjoy meeting other people and are great adventure cats; they will happily ride in a cat backpack and join you on walks. Regardless of their age, Maine Coons are known to enjoy playing. Just like dogs, they love a game of fetch, and this is partly how they earned their reputation as the “dogs of the cat world.”
Another quality that Maine Coons display which is typically associated with dogs is loyalty to its human family. Maine Coons make excellent family cats because they are good-natured and affable.
They rarely show aggression and for this reason, they can live alongside children. These cats love the attention of the young ones and might even tolerate silly games like dress-up! On top of that,
Maine Coons also get along well with friendly dogs and other pets. Learn more here about how Maine Coons and dogs are a perfect match!
All that said, Maine Coons are usually independent. While they are sociable, they are not needy and will not demand attention.
3. Maine Coons can be trained and they learn easily
It’s common knowledge that dogs are easier to train than cats. In fact, training cats is almost an impossible task… or is it?
Some people believe that cats are trainable, but unlike dogs who are generally eager to please and collect rewards, most cats just choose not to comply.
The truth is, there are cat breeds that are more trainable than others, and Maine Coons are one of them. This is partly attributed to its wide memory capacity.
Maine Coons might run to you when it hears a can of food being opened, and it might hide when it sees you with a cat carrier. They are also sensitive to changes in a schedule or breaks in a routine precisely because of their good memory.
Memory, combined with intelligence, is how Maine Coons learn to associate actions with rewards. These curious cats can be taught through positive reinforcements to come when called by name and to sit upon command. They also can be easily trained to walk on a cat harness.
As Maine Coons love to interact with humans, they make great feline trainees.
Want to teach your Maine Coon to give a high five?
Try this: Float your hand above its paw. When it touches your hand, use a clicker to make a clipping sound and then reward it with a cat treat (note that petting as a reward does not cut it for cats). If it does not respond, initiate contact by tapping its paw.
Your Maine Coon will associate the clipping sound as the prelude to getting a reward, and it will soon understand that it is being rewarded for hand-to-hand contact.
Hover your hand higher and higher, palms towards your Maine Coon’s face, and throw in a phrase like “give me a high five!” as you progress along the training.
With perseverance, your Maine Coon might just be giving you high fives daily!
Even more remarkable are Maine Coons that learn to do tricks without your help. Some of them demonstrate problem-solving ability by opening doors with a lever handle to get out of a room.
Others are able to turn off a light switch or even flush a toilet by emulating a human’s behavior.
4. Maine Coons easily learn to communicate with humans
As a Maine Coon owner, you may be used to opening the door when your cat keeps meowing near it, or feeding your cat when it comes pawing at you in bed.
While these responses to your cat’s actions come naturally, it’s worth stopping to ponder the many ways that your Maine Coon is able to communicate with you.
A smart Maine Coon knows how to be persuasive, using their repertoire of communication tools to get you to do its bidding. Usually, this involves getting food, being let out or into the room or house, or even getting the litter box cleaned.
Maine Coons can be so persuasive, you might even wonder if you own the cat… or if the cat owns you.
5. Maine Coons are attuned to human feelings
Of course, cats are not wholly selfish creatures who always take and never give. Maine Coons, in particular, are often attuned to their surroundings and receptive to their owners.
They know they are a part of the family, and within the family, they recognize who dotes on them the most.
They will express their affection to their favorite humans and are often aware when their owners want some company.
On the flipside, a Maine Coon can identify and learn to avoid someone who often pesters it. It could also understand when their owner is upset with it, especially if you “punish” it with a scolding or by putting it out of sight.
They might even learn from their mistakes.
Even rarer but not entirely unheard of are Maine Coons that can sense a human’s emotions. These lovable creatures are able to gather when their owner is feeling distressed and even offer some comfort through physical interactions.
6. How to test your Maine Coon’s intelligence
While there are no formal tests to determine a cat’s IQ, you can get a measure of its intelligence through observation and Q&A.
To get you started, go through the list below:
- Does your cat hunt for rodents?
- Do you feel reluctant to leave your cat by itself for a day even with food?
- Does your cat wait for you to come home if you usually do so at a fixed timing?
- How does your cat react to you when you come home?
- Does your cat respond when you call its name?
- Does your cat come to you when it hears you open a can of food?
- Does your cat enjoy playing games?
- Can your cat play a game of fetch?
- Does your cat hide at the sight of a cat carrier?
- Is your cat able to perform a trick?
- Is your cat able to learn how to perform a trick?
- What would your cat do when it is hungry?
- Has your cat ever woken you up for food?
- Has your cat ever signaled for you to open a door?
All these questions are related to the five points mentioned above. Upon answering them, the gauge of your Maine Coon’s intelligence would come to you instinctively.
Now, answer this question: Are you surprised by how intelligent your Maine Coon is? Let me know in the comment section below!