When it comes to training and teaching tricks, a lot of pet owners will immediately associate with dogs. Some people who are not familiar with cats think that they are not smart enough for tricks. Most cat owners would say that their cats are just too stubborn to learn tricks. Cats are generally independent when they need to be. While cats are actually very social, they have roots of being solitary hunters. As such, it may really seem that cats just have a mind of their own. At times, it might even seem as though they see your attempts at teaching them tricks to be silly. But actually, with a lot of patience, cats can respond really well to training.
‘Dogs’ of the cat world
Maine Coon cats have earned the nickname ‘dogs of the cat world’ for their loyalty and their love for their owner’s company. They enjoy spending time with their owners and the family around them. Similar to a dog, Maine Coon cats love being close to their owner. They would often stay at arm’s length or even right beside their owners. They are also very playful. Maine Coon cats would usually entertain their owners with their silly antics. But one other thing that makes them similar to canines? You can teach them tricks!
Can I teach my Maine Coon cat to do tricks?
Short answer is ‘yes.’ Long answer is ‘yes, it definitely is possible for your Maine Coon cat to be able to learn tricks. But you would have to be very patient and consistent. Soon, with constant training, your Maine Coon cat will be dazzling your visitors with its impressive tricks.
What are some tricks that you can teach your Maine Coon cat?
Remember we said, ‘Maine Coon cats are the dogs of the cat world?’ They also say that ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’ Having said that, it will be easier to train a kitten compared to an adult Maine Coon. It doesn’t mean, though’ that it’s totally impossible. A lot of people find it easier to train their cats using a clicker. With a clicker, there’s a more obvious connection to identify the behavior you want them to learn with the reward.
You can start with simple tricks when you want to begin training your Maine Coon cat. One example of a trick you can start with is teaching your Maine Coon to shake its paw or to touch a target. Have your clicker ready or if not, your voice can act as the signal. Alternatively, make a clicking sound with your tongue.
Call out your Maine Coon’s name and give out the command. At first you would have to demonstrate the command. In this case, place your cat’s paw in your hand. Then identify this behavior of placing the paw in your hand with a click. Follow it up immediately with a treat. Make sure the treat is something your Maine Coon cat really likes. And don’t schedule your sessions when your cat is full. By then, your Maine Coon might not be as enthusiastic or interested to get a yummy treat. Be consistent with this process of giving the command, clicking to identify and rewarding with a treat. Soon enough, your Maine Coon cat will identify that the action you are clicking to is associated with receiving a delectable treat.
With tricks like touching a target, you can make use of sticks or other similar objects to serve as the target. It will pinpoint the action that you will then identify with a click. When you present the target to your cat, it will most probably want to sniff it. Once the nose touches a target, identify that with a click and reward with a treat. Again, consistency with the process is the key.
With constant practice and a heap of patience, your cat will soon associate your command or the target with the action they must do to get a click that signals their reward. Once they get the hang of these starter tricks, you can begin teaching other tricks like high five, sit and fetch. As you also become more confident of your training skills, you can teach them tricks like jumping on a chair or even jumping through a hoop!
photo by [email protected] @ flickr
Jenny is an ESL teacher and freelance writer. She is a work-at-home mom of two boys and a girl. She loves watching cat videos when she is on break from teaching, writing, and homeschooling her two older kids.