Training a cat is unusual in itself, so asking how to train a Maine Coon cat must mean that you’re serious about this topic. You know that your beautiful cat is intelligent, so you want to try and teach her a couple of tricks.
You know that you can’t train a cat like you can train a dog. You’re well aware of the stubbornness of felines.
However, you’re ready for the task. You don’t think that she’ll learn everything in a matter of days, but you’re ready to give her the time and attention she needs to learn a couple of tricks.
I mean, training your Maine Coon cat isn’t just about fun party tricks. It can also help you work on some behavioral problems that your kitty may have. You can also use this to train your cat to use her sandbox instead of your carpet as a toilet.
Either way, there are so many things that will become simple once she’s trained. She’ll become even more perfect than she already is.
How to train a Maine coon cat?
1. Be patient and persistent
If you want to know how to train a Maine Coon cat, you need to understand that this entire process will need a lot of patience. At times, you’ll feel like you’re going insane because she doesn’t want to listen.
She’s stubborn and has a mind of her own. Why would she play fetch with you if she wants to attack the couch right now?
Well, that’s when persistence comes in. Trying to teach your cat a trick by simply repeating a command a couple of times and then getting frustrated won’t help anyone.
You need to understand that you’ll have to repeat the commands millions of times and not lose your focus while doing so. If you choose to give up then you’ll never be successful.
2. Strengthen your bond
How is your cat going to trust you if you don’t have a strong connection? Once you start to wonder how to train a Maine Coon cat, you’ll also have to understand that you have to bond with your cat.
Let her sit in your lap all the time, be the person who feeds her the most, help her when she has troubles, and don’t be aggressive when you’re playing with her. All of those things can make you and your cat become closer.
Once you strengthen your connection, she’ll trust you more with the commands that you’re giving her.
I mean, if your cat doesn’t like you at all, she won’t stick around for the food, much less for something else.
3. Set simple goals
If you want to teach your cat how to jump through hoops right off the bat, you’ll be disappointed and discouraged right away.
You have to set simple goals. For example, don’t put a deadline on the goal. Simply work on something with your cat to make her understand that you’re asking something from her.
For example, I would start with simple commands such as “speak.” She’ll meow anyway, but she’ll understand that you’re asking something of her, and she’ll get a treat after each meow.
4. Set time aside to train her
The best thing you can do is have a certain time every day when you’ll train her. For example, if you have certain pills that you have to take at a certain time, you can give your cat a treat each day at the same time.
Your Maine Coon is extremely intelligent and she’ll know when to come and get her treat each day. This will remind you that you have to take your pills.
If you train her at a certain time each day, you’ll see that she’ll expect you to play with her. That’s when she’s completely focused on you.
5. Don’t encourage bad behavior
If you want to know how to train a Maine Coon cat, the first thing you need to remember is that you can’t encourage bad behavior.
For example, if she does something bad, don’t try to distract her with toys or treats. If she sees that you’ll give her a treat for bad behavior, then she’ll continue doing those bad things.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to simply take her away from what she’s doing and put her in time-out. Don’t ignore her, because that’s when she’ll think that what she’s doing is normal.
6. Use positive reinforcement
We already talked about using treats to affirm your cat’s behavior. They can’t really understand praise in the sense that humans can, but treats will always be her favorite thing in the world.
You can use different treats so that she feels like she’s being surprised with something delicious each time.
If you’re concerned about weight gain, then you can use affection. If your cat is a very affectionate one, then you can pet her or let her sit in your lap afterward.
Find something that makes your cat happy and use it as positive reinforcement for her good behavior.
7. Avoid boredom
If you want to understand how to train a Maine Coon cat, you also have to know that you need to avoid boredom. Your Maine Coon is the smartest domesticated cat out there, she’ll know when you’re bored.
Cats feel their owner’s emotions, and they react to them. If you’re not invested in the task, then she won’t be interested either.
Be enthusiastic when you’re giving her a command, be playful, don’t lower your voice too much, and be constantly engaging. Boredom can only make her look for something more entertaining.
8. Use a clicker
Many experts recommend using a clicker when you’re training your cat. The sound of the clicker will let your cat know that she’s doing something good and that praise or treats are coming her way.
She’ll associate this sound with something good. This means that the absence of this sound will make her work harder to get that approval.
At one point, you won’t even have to provide any treats. You can pet your cat and cuddle her after using the clicker, but you won’t have to give her treats.
This is great because she’ll do the tricks even when you don’t have any special food with you at that moment.
Best simple tricks to teach your Maine Coon
Now that you understand how to train your Maine Coon cat, it’s time to see which tricks are the best to try and teach her.
The first one can be “speak.” You can try and teach her this trick using the methods above.
Maine coon cats are known for not really being able to meow. They mostly chirp and trill which makes them even more interesting.
Tell her to speak, then when she meows, click the clicker and give her a treat!
This is a more advanced trick. It’s not as easy as teaching a dog to sit, trust me.
However, this is still quite an easy trick, as cats sit most of the time. For example, if you tell her to sit, and she continues to jump at you, just move out of the way each time.
At one point she’ll sit, and that’s when you’ll use the clicker and give her something to munch on.
3. Roll over
If you want to know how to train a Maine Coon cat, then you shouldn’t really start with this trick, even though your cat can pick it up. Either you want your cat to walk in a circle or to roll on the floor.
In both cases, you want to hold the treat in your hand and do a circling motion. On instinct, your cat will follow the food in your hand. First, it may seem like she’s just using her head to watch the treat, but you can use bigger motions with your hand and show her that she has to follow the treat.
Don’t give her the food if she doesn’t do the trick properly. Otherwise, she’ll never learn that only good behavior is praised.
Once she does the trick, use the clicker. If she already knows some tricks, she’ll know that this means something good.
Cats are naturally driven to follow prey around. Your Maine Coon will run after the ball you throw, but the hard part will be making her retrieve it. She’ll simply continue playing with it where it landed.
Considering how intelligent Maine Coons actually are, you’ll be able to teach her much faster than any other cat breed.
This is one of the harder things to teach your cat.
What you should do is start by taking her paw by yourself a couple of times. And each time she doesn’t take her paw back, you can give her a treat.
Then, you can even put a treat in your palm and wait for her to put a paw in your hand, and that’s when you use positive reinforcement. She may want to go head-first for the treat, but that’s when you simply take the treat away from her.
Be persistent and you’ll see that your cat is one of the smartest creatures out there!