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Welcome to this ultimate guide on training your Maine coon cat
Whether you want to train them to use the litter tray, to keep off kitchen counters or you want to train them to perform tricks this is the guide for you!
I have studied and trained many cats over the years and have made this series of posts to not only show you how to train your Maine coon but to also have fun at the same time while strengthening the bond you have with your cat!
Within this post, I not only aim to answer your questions but I will also link out to other posts in this series to give you a more detailed answer (Dont worry all the links in this post open in other browser windows so you won’t lose this page)
Find out more about the interesting personality traits of a Maine coon in my ultimate guide! Click the link to take a look
Is A Maine Coon Easy To Train?
As a general rule, Maine coons are quite easy to train due to their naturally high levels of intelligence. Maine coons are playful, so any form of training should be beneficial and fun for them and help to not only prevent boredom but also strengthen the bond you have with your cat.
Maine coon cats are super smart and curious so any training should be easy for them to pick up, that’s not to say it won’t require patience because it will. All training with cats requires patience on your part as their parent because some days your Maine coon cat may just not be in the mood.
If you are wanting to teach them how to do tricks then some of these tricks are quite complex and require several steps that can take time to achieve.
Like anything in life if you are consistent and you approach this with a mindset of having fun then you will achieve great results.
Because Maine coons are naturally more playful than some breeds, training should be enjoyable and not stressful at all.
If you would like to read the full article in this series ”Are Maine Coon Easy To Train” then click here to take a look!
Benefits of Training Your Maine Coon
Training your Maine coon can be rewarding and there are many benefits to keeping up with a regular training routine for you and your cat so let’s explore some of these benefits below.
Training helps burn off extra energy
Maine coons are very playful and active cats and they love to play. If you don’t play with them they may start to get mischievous and begin to knock items over in the home or start running around from room to room.
A bored cat is a naughty cat!
This is where regular training sessions come in handy because to your cat they are a form of play and attention. Maine coons LOVE attention so if you train them frequently they will love you forever!
Let’s not forget the importance of exercise too. When your cat is training or playing they will often be jumping, racing around and stretching which are all good for building muscle tone and also for their cardiovascular health too.
Exercise will also help to increase their stamina, flexibility and also improve their mood and general health in the same way it does for humans!
Training helps build a bond between you are your cat
Training your cat can become part of your routine. Your Maine coon is a very sociable breed and the more time you spend with your cat the more your bond will grow.
In our current lives, we can be so busy and often find it hard to fit in the time to do the things we want to do. Training your cat to do tricks only takes 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day which even the busiest of people should be able to accommodate.
Training your Maine coon is fun for humans too!
As we will discover throughout this post it’s not all about training your cats to stop doing things you don’t want them to do, there are so many tricks we can teach our cats too!
Engaging in this process of learning and mastering various techniques is not only fun for your cats but it can provide hours of entertainment for humans too. Once your Maine coon successfully learns to perform the tricks it also brings a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment too.
I guarantee there will be plenty of laughs along the way! Maine coons can be so funny and docile at times!
Check out this cute little Maine coon I found on Youtube (Cuteness overload)
Items You Will Need For Cat Training!
There are a few essential items you will need when training your Maine coon, especially when teaching them how to perform tricks!
To make things easy for you I have included some links to the items you will require and items that I use to make training easy and fun for my feline friends!
1) – The Clicker
The clicker is a very important item you will need when training your cats to perform any trick.
What is a clicker I hear you say?
A clicker is a device that is used to assist with positive reinforcement training. Cats learn by association and when we are teaching them tricks we need to make it worthwhile for them, we need to include treats and a reward.
The clicking device makes a clicking sound and the first thing we do is what I call ‘Charge the clicker”. We do this by building up an association between the sound and a treat. So every time we click we give a small treat.
This teaches your Maine coon that once they hear that sound they are going to expect a tasty treat and when they successfully perform a trick we click straight away and they associate the trick with a click and reward.
The clicker is a way to let your cat know they have done something correctly.
There was a study conducted by science direct which showed that primary reinforcement or rewarding with something that meets a biological need such as feeding, is the best way to train a cat!
I recommend this clicker set off Amazon, it is the one I use and it comes with an instruction booklet with some handy tips and a target stick (Which is used to direct your cat’s attention)
Click on the image below to check out the price on Amazon!
2) – A big box of treats
I would recommend stocking up on treats, yes they can be easily bought from any pet store but it’s best to buy a big box of them as you will need them throughout your training sessions.
All cats LOVE temptations and the one thing I find annoying is when they come in those tiny little bags and your cats end up ripping them open, this is why I prefer a big box of temptations.
This is the massive 30-ounce box I buy, check them out here or click the image below!
Additional items I recommend for your Maine coon cats
When it comes to training your Maine coon they must be happy and content cats. In my experience of training cats and learning about the behaviour of felines what I have found is that common behavioural issues can be solved very easily by making sure your cat has an enriching environment that stimulates them mentally and physically and keeps them entertained.
The two things they need are plenty of interactive toys and vertical space!
Without these essential items, cats can begin to misbehave and attention seek because they are not getting their needs met.
The first item I recommend is a really good cat tree, one that is made for big cats like the Maine coon. Your Maine coon has an instinct to climb and jump and a good cat tree will last you for years.
Cat trees also provide areas where your cat can comfortably claim territory and this is important for your cat’s mood and general sense of wellbeing.
This is the cat tree I have for my cats and it is 3 years old and still, in great condition – Click the image below to take a look on Amazon!
Next, I would advise creating an environment for your cats that is full of vertical space. A small apartment can be made into a large space for cats by utilising the space you have not only on the ground but the space above you.
You could make a cat superhighway that runs around your living rooms walls with various exit points and wall mounted cat beds or maybe just invest in a small set? The world is your oyster when it comes to wall-mounted furniture – Check out this wide selection of furniture by clicking here to get some inspiration!
When Should I Start Training My Maine Coon?
It is a good idea to start training your Maine coon as soon as you get them.
Some people say that training them when they are still young is the best option and in some ways, this is correct because they will not have had a chance to learn any bad habits that will need to be un-learned.
However in my experience Maine coons can be trained at any age.
Your first training with your cat will be getting them used to their environment and also getting them used to regular handling. Their training will have begun before you even picked your cat up from the shelter or the local breeder.
Kittens learn how to interact and socialise from not only their mother but also from their littermates. That is why it is so important to let your kitten stay with its mother until at least 8 weeks old, I recommend you wait until they are 12 weeks old. Kittens who are separated from their siblings too early can develop behavioural issues in later life.
What Can I Train My Maine Coon To Do?
You can train your Maine coon to do lots of different fun tricks!
Training can be split into two categories first we have the essential training and then we have Non-essential ”fun” training!
- Handling with confidence
- Using the litter tray
- Preventing them from biting or playing with toys and not with hands
- Introducing them to the outdoors (If you wish to have an outdoor cat)
- Training them to interact with other household pets
- Not to jump on certain surfaces such as kitchen counters
- Sit down
- Give me a ”High 5”
- Come to you when called
- Play fetch
- Walk on a leash
There are probably many more tricks you can teach your Maine coon but the ones above are the most popular.
This post will teach you how to train your cats to do most of the above. Some of the tricks are a little more complex to learn so I have included links to full blog posts that I made which guide you step by step on how to get them to perform the tricks!
Have a great time!
Training a Maine Coon Kitten To Use The Litter Tray?
The litter box is the part we all hate! What if your new cat won’t use the box? Am I gonna have to clean up cat poop off my carpet?
Luckily most cats will instinctively know to use the litterbox once they have been inside because cats have an instinct to dig, bury and hide their poop plus they are quite clean and respectful animals (Unless they go outdoors where they tend to do a poopie on the next-door neighbours garden)
First of all, you want to make sure that you have a suitable litterbox for your Maine coon. There are so many varieties of litterboxes you can buy such as –
- Open litter boxes
- Covered litter boxes
- Self-cleaning litterbox
- Top-entry litterboxes
- Corner litter boxes
- Large litterboxes
- Litterboxes that hideaway in cupboards
Okay, Okay! So you get the picture there is a lot of choices!
If you don’t mind spoiling your cat and spending a little money I would certainly recommend the Litter robot!
This is the absolute king of all litterboxes! It is self-cleaning and there is no need to ever scoop again. All you need to do is pull out the draw and empty it. What is even more impressive is it comes with an app where you can monitor litter box usage, view waste draw levels and start a clean cycle remotely.
The best purchase I ever made for my cats! Click the image below to take a look!
Once you have your litterbox ready and your cat is in its new home place the litter tray in an area that you can observe when your cat uses it.
If your cat automatically goes to the tray that is great news! Make sure you reward them and give them a treat and lots of attention once they have been inside the litter tray to do their business.
This will build up a positive association and encourage your cat to use the litter tray every time they need to go.
If however, your cat goes to the toilet in a different location then you must never tell them off or scold them in any way. Yes I know it can be frustrating but you don’t want to scare your new cat as this may cause more stress which could result in anxiety, destructive behaviour and cause them to have more frequent accidents.
Always clean up any urine and poop straight away after with a good cleaner that eliminates and neutralises odours fast otherwise you may find that they want to keep peeing in that same area.
Instead, place the litterbox in the area where they are going to the toilet, they may just prefer that location. Whenever they have finished eating pick them up and place them inside the litterbox to encourage them to go to the toilet and also be aware if they look like they are wandering around seeking a place to go to the toilet then pick them up and place them inside the box.
Whenever they successfully go to the toilet inside the box always reward them with cuddles and treats!
Litter training should be quick and easy and most cats learn this quite fast!
Training a Maine Coon To Use The Toilet?
Personally, this is not something I train my cats to do.
The natural cat or the instinct inside your cat does not want to poop on a toilet.
If your cat could choose they would probably bury their poop in a private area outdoors such as your next-door neighbour’s garden. The reason they bury their poop is to disguise their smell and to ward off predators.
Cats instinctually dig and bury when they need to do their business so expecting them to use the toilet in my opinion is wrong. That is just my opinion and as we know opinions are like assholes, we all have them.
You do what’s right for you and your little fur babies!
There are a few other reasons I don’t recommend toilet training your cat and these are –
- Toxoplasmosis – a nasty disease caught when your cat eats a raw dead animal like a rat or mouse. Your cat will then begin to shed what’s called Toxoplasma oocysts in their poop which cannot be destroyed by water treatment and when this goes into rivers and lakes it can affect wildlife.
- You need to make sure the toilet door is always open and the lid of the toilet is always up otherwise if your cat needs to go they may end up using the carpet
- Just because your cat doesn’t go outdoors doesn’t mean they dont retain their natural instincts such as burying their poop.
- Sometimes you need to examine your cat’s poop or urine for health problems such as diabetes, bladder stones, blood in poop/urine or worms. You can’t really do this when they use the toilet.
Due to the reasons above, I won’t show you how to toilet train your cat and I dont recommend you train them to do this either but the choice is yours.
Can You Train A Maine Coon To Walk On a Leash?
You certainly can train your Maine coon to walk on a leash and it is so fun.
What I must say first though is that not all cats will want to go outdoors and walk on a leash. You can try to train them but if there comes a point where it is clear they do not want to be outdoors then we need to respect their wishes.
My two cats are predominantly indoor cats and one of them loves to go outside but the other one enjoys his home comforts too much and he likes his safe space which is indoors.
Getting your Maine coon to go outdoors, however, can be a great form of exercise for them and keep them fit physically and mentally. How great would it be for your Maine coon to get a close up of the birds they stalk every day out of the window? They will be in their element!
As with any training take your time when training them and please be patient, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
To find out why you should walk your Maine coon, what you will need and an informative step by step process of how to do this check out my post ”Can I train my Maine coon to walk on a leash” – Click the link to take a look!
Do Maine Coons Play Fetch?
You may or may not have heard that the Maine coon is called the ”Dog of the cat world” and this is so true.
Their personalities are very similar to a puppy especially the male Maine coon who loves to play and demands attention frequently.
As we know dogs like to play a game of fetch and your Maine coon is no different!
Cats have natural instinct to chase and to pounce on their prey so why would they not enjoy chasing a little toy around and bringing it back to you? Most cats will not do this instinctively so this is where positive re-enforcement and training come into play!
Playing fetch can be great exercise for your Maine coon but it will also help to strengthen the bond they have with you.
To discover what you will need and exactly how to train your cat to play fetch in an easy step by step guide then head over and take a look at my post ”How to teach your Maine coon to play fetch” – Click to take a read now or bookmark for later!
Can You Teach a Maine Coon To Sit Down?
Training your cat to sit down has to be one of the easiest tricks in the book to learn!
This is a trick your Maine coon should pick up very easily and this is where most cat owners start when they begin to teach their cat tricks.
Don’t get me wrong sometimes it still requires patience and persistence like any training but it should be one your cat learns quicker than more complex tricks.
How do you train your Maine coon to sit down the easy way? Discover exactly how to do this and what tools you will need by clicking here and taking a look at my dedicated post!
Can I Teach My Maine Coon To Do a ”High 5”?
This is a great trick that you can teach your Maine coon! Every time they see you they will give you a little high 5!
To execute this trick first you need to get your cat used to touching a target and if you purchased the cat training clicker with a built-in target stick you can use that. (See the section on essential items you will need earlier in this post)
The idea is to click your clicker and reward your cat with a treat every time they touch the target to slowly build up touching the target with a positive association.
Using the target stick will be helpful for some tricks but for the ”high 5” you can use a sticky note as the target and just your clicker!
I have included a video below from a great channel on youtube (Give them a follow if you like the video) It explains step by step how to train your Maine coon!
Can I Train My Maine Coon Not To Jump On Kitchen Counters?
I don’t have a problem when my cats want to jump onto the kitchen counters but that’s not to say that everyone feels the same way.
Some people think it is unhygienic and there are other potential hazards to look out for like any rotting food and hot oven stoves that your Maine coon may jump up onto and burn its paws on.
You may have heard that tinfoil on a surface can repel your cats and stop them from jumping on kitchen counters and furniture but did you know that there are numerous ways you can tackle this common problem?
To find out how to go about training your cat to keep off kitchen surfaces and furniture and discover a variety of interesting methods then check out my post called ”Do Maine coon jump onto kitchen counters” – Deffo one worth bookmarking if this behaviour bothers you!
Conclusion : Training a Maine Coon Cat
I hope you have enjoyed this post on how to train your Maine coon. Just remember to have some fun along the way and I hope you enjoy the training as much as your Maine coon does.
Once your cat knows how to perform tricks you will realise just how intelligent Maine coon cats are.
If you want to find out more about Maine coons or other popular cat breeds then please navigate to my home page and check out my menu and have fun learning!
As always take care of yourself and your little fur babies!
Mark (The Crazy Cat Man)