A Maine Coon looking at a cat toy

40 Tests To Check The Intelligence Of Your Maine Coon


If you are like most Maine Coon owners, you are convinced your cat is the smartest thing ever.

However, it’s believed that the smartest of cats are only as intelligent as 2-year old children.

Maine Coons have a reputation of being highly intelligent, but have you ever wondered how much of it is really intelligence?

The thing is, cats are intuitive problem solvers with a curiosity to match.

They find creative solutions to challenges. However, most of it can be just trial and error with a touch of luck.

So, are you interested in finding out just how clever your Maine Coon is under all that adorable charm?

Here are some tests you can try.

Try not to take them seriously, make it a game.

If you successively test your cat too much, you run the risk of affecting its performance as they can get overwhelmed. So, don’t do it all at once.

You can keep score if you like, but just remember to have fun.

It’s intended as a guide for you to gauge how clever your feline friend is.

Maine Coon

Challenges and Puzzles

You can start by giving your Maine Coon some challenges.

Some of it can be easy, but others will require some encouragement for your cat to keep at it before losing interest.

1. Just shake your cat’s favorite bag of treats and see if they approach you for a treat.

This shows the basic intelligence to recognize that you have its treat and you’ll possibly give it something it wants.

Some cats can be too smart and not react until you open the bag, but that’s not a sure sign of intelligence because it could easily be just reaction to the scent of the treat.

Or they’re not hungry.

2. One of the simplest tests you can have your cat do is to feed it a treat and then place another one under an upside-down cup or a glass, preferably transparent.

Your cat gets at it by pressing against it or knocking it off giving it access to the treat.

Alternatively, you can put the treat under a piece of cloth and see if it can get to the treat.

3. The Cup Shuffle is probably one of the most common tests you can do with your cat.

Some cats will show no interest in playing along, but if you use something like a food or something that makes a sound when it moves, your Maine Coon will just use its heightened sense of hearing and smell to choose the right one after the shuffle.

So, use something soft yet interesting enough for your cat to play along.

Is your Maine Coon not showing any interest? Don’t worry, cats are naturally curious, so it’s very likely they’ll play along after a couple of tries.

4. This is a simple test but can be tricky because of cats like cozy confined spaces.

Just drape a light blanket over your cat and the object of this test is to get out from under it.

5. Snacks can be a great motivation for your cat to get creative.

Just place the packet close to your cat’s food bowl and watch it attempt to get the snacks out and eat them.

In order to ensure the test to be productive, it has to be a packet or packaging your cat can get in to.

6. Letting cats work puzzles can really test their intelligence and problem-solving skills.

Your cats won’t be as excited to do the puzzles if treats are not involved. The objective of these puzzles is to get at the treats.

Sometimes, you’ll have to show it how it’s done before it’ll get hang of it on its own. There are different kinds of puzzles you can buy to test your cat.

This will not only let you test your cat it will improve its problem-solving skills.

Maine Coon

Search and Rescue

How does your cat act around its toys? Is it protective?

Does it have a favorite toy it likes to play with? Maine Coons like things to be certain and consistent.

7. Let’s start simple, let your cat examine one of its toys and hide it behind a solid item. If your cat looks behind it to search for its toy, then it has a basic understanding that it’s hidden and not disappeared from existence.

8. Hide your Maine Coon’s favorite toy and see how it reacts.

Does it go in search for it around the house masking full use of its heightened sense of smell or does it just let it go until it just turns up?

Maine Coons like things to be predictable, a healthy response would be to go in search for it or get your attention help find it from where it was last seen.

9. Pay attention when you are about to clean your house while your cat is playing with its toys. Most cats don’t like the noise of vacuum cleaners.

It’ll often go to another room to get away from it.

Does it abandon its toys and run away or takes its toy?

If your cat is attached to its toys it will most likely take than afraid of misplacing it.

10. Cats are naturally very curious and curiosity itself is a sign of intelligence. Try introducing it to something new. Observe how it reacts.

Does it show any interest at all?

A cat with a healthy curiosity will try examining it. The same applies to new situations but keep in mind Maine Coons are very sensitive to changes in their environment. As long as you are not putting it under any distress, go for it.

11. This test requires a mechanical toy mouse and a means to manoeuvrer it.

An intelligent cat is able to predict patterns of the toy even when it goes out of sight while under the bed or couch.

alita the maine coon in a fridge


A cat’s ability to reason based on the situation is a sign of intelligence. You don’t have to go out of your way to set up most of these tests. You can observe it during the day to day activities.

12. A simple test for reasoning can be just opening your refrigerator.

How does your cat react? Does it run to you expecting something to eat? If it does, it’s a good indication it has reasoning capabilities.

However, it may not approach your refrigerator if it’s not hungry or been punished for doing so in the past. This can be a good example of reasoning too.

13. Cats can’t get canned food out of the can by themselves, so you can use this as a test.

To test your cat’s reasoning, you can take your cat’s favorite canned food and place it near its food bowl. Let it sniff around and paw it, but ultimately it has to look at you for help.

If it does, it passes.

If it keeps on trying to get at it on its own, then it failed the test.

If your cat fetches you the can opener, then it’s incredibly smart and has developed complex associations.

14. Another thing you can try depends on whether your cat loves or hates a visit to the vet or going out.

Get your cat carrier and see how it reacts. If it’s afraid of a trip to the vet it’ll most likely hide. That does show reasoning.

However, if it enjoys a ride outside then it shows reasoning if it jumps in excitedly awaiting a ride. It fails if it just stares at it or doesn’t show any reaction.

You’ll have to be a bit lenient with this one as it depends on your cat’s personality.

15. Maine Coons like to be clean as much as any other cats.

They usually don’t get on to the litter box if it’s dirty. If it hops on just after you finish cleaning it, this shows intelligence.

It realizes you cleaned its litter box and now it’s clean for use. In fact, if it uses the litter box instead of relieving itself randomly around the house, you can count it having basic intelligence.

It’s part of cat’s instinct to cover its scent.

16. Does your cat jump on to your lap purring when it hears you talking about it to someone?

Being able to recolonize when you are talking about it is a good sign of intelligence. However, some cats just wouldn’t care though.

It depends on your cat’s personality. Maine Coons are one of the most affectionate cats around. It’ll probably start trilling.

17. Watching cats trying to catch dot from a laser pointer can be a lot of fun and good exercise for the cat.

However, a smart cat will realize you have the laser pointer and approach you instead of chasing the dot for hours.

Sometimes, it may go back to chasing the dot either because it seems it as a game it’s playing with you or just enjoys the workout.

Cats love to play and it’s essentially play hunting.

Maine Coon

Physical Prowess & Resourcefulness

There is no denying it, cats are very physical creatures.

Maine Coons are just as agile and flexible as most cats despite their size.

So, is yours all brawn or does it compliment it with its brain?

18. Your cat’s coordination and planning before it leaps from surfaces is a good indication of intelligence.

It estimates the strength, speed, and distance it needs to cover. If yours always comes crashing onto the floor, then it’s not doing so well.

19. Cats like to sleep and they’ll sleep any chance they get, but if it’s been sleeping most of the day then it’s likely to be up most of the night when you want to sleep.

You can try this one on a day your Maine Coon has been active.

If it prepares to go to sleep when you turn off the lights and get to bed, then it’s intelligent enough to realize it’s time for your sleep.

Some will curl up on the bed beside you to sleep.

20. If you have a tree or high surfaces at your home and your cat climbs all the time, this can be a good test. Cat’s like to perch on high places.

Maine Coons are excellent climbers.

However, cats have an easier time climbing up the tree or surface than getting down from it.

Their claws curve inwards towards the back making it helpful in climbing, but it doesn’t give it support to climb down. It’ll have to go backward.

Most cats simply don’t know how to get down or are too scared to think straight. If your cat can jump from branches to branches and get down safely on its own, then it has a high intellect.

21. Cats are always up for a good romp around the house. If you have kids, how does it react when they are playing around?

Does it join in on the fun or runs and hides? Either of it can be a sign of intelligence.

If your kids treat your Maine Coon gently it’ll be always up for some playtime.

22. Some cats like to play catch. If you are able to play together with cat frisbees and it goes to fetch, then you are good to go.

Some cats will just follow you around and won’t understand it’s supposed to go fetch.

23. See if your cat can open cupboards, doors, fridge doors and drawers on its own. Some cats can get pretty creative to get what they want.

24. Sometimes, dogs can be too hyper for your cat.

Maine Coons like to chill most of the time when they are not eating or playing.

If your cat finds creative ways to keep your dog away from it instead of getting angry like most cats when they are annoyed, then it’s brain is working overtime.

For example, it may lure your dog to a “trap” and press against the door to close it essentially leaving your dog inside a closed room.

a tortoiseshell maine coon side profile

Observation and Training

Observation and reasoning go hand in hand. How does your cat react to the things it observes?

25. Put on a nature show on TV or load up a video of birds on a portable device. Watch it together with your cat. It may react to it in different ways.

The primary goal of the test is to see if it can recognize things on the screen.

Maine Coons chirps at birds. It will most likely do that if it sees birds. However, this test is twofold, does your cat just watch it or does it think whatever it’s seeing is really in front of it?

26. This is similar to the last one, but you try with the mirror. Does your Maine Coon try to look behind the mirror for the “other” cat?

If it’s aware of its own reflection, then it’s intelligent.

27. If you make different animal noises or play audio of it, notice how it reacts.

Does it curiously look at you trying to figure out what you’re up to or thinks the animal is nearby? Cats have a keen sense of smell.

A smart cat will check the dog’s scent and would deduce it was a false alarm. This comes with other sounds such as storm or birds.

No matter how smart it is you’ll certainly get a reaction out of it.

28. If you have a newborn, does your Maine Coon groom it? You can tell by its affection and tenderness towards your baby.

If it does realize it’s your baby, it often sees it as its own young to love and protect. This is more common in more mature cats.

This is a sign of intelligence because there are cats that are thoroughly confused by these miniature humans.

29. You can teach these cats tricks with associations. They have enormous memory capacity, even more than most dogs.

The intelligence of your Maine Coon will affect the difficulty in training.

You can expand its understanding of words. Sure, it can’t speak human, but it’s amazing enough being able to understand.

Maine Coon

Powers of Persuasion

Sometimes it takes more than just meowing to get things done, an intelligent cat would come up with ways to persuade you to do things for it.

30. If it just meows by its bowl while you’re asleep, it’s not that smart. Sure, it can work. Smart cats would come to you. They might even softly paw your cheeks to wake you up.

They can be considerate and meow or trill gently so as not to startle you.

You’ll be surprised how smart they can be.

This applies whenever it’s hungry or thirsty, a smart cat will approach you and lead you to its needs instead of randomly meowing around the house hoping you get it.

31. Maine Coons have a healthy appetite, so it’s best not to free feed it. An intelligent cat will beg for more food if it’s still hungry after finishing the bowl.

32. If your cat guides you over to a door or window pawing it softly, it’s trying to get you to open it.

This is a good sign of intelligence for it to approach you and persuade you to do things.

You’ll be surprised how many cats keep scratching at the door or window without even considering you can help it.

33. A persuasive cat will have you do a lot of things.

One of its needs other than food and water is a clean litter box. A smart cat will take you to its litter box and remind you to clean it if it’s dirty.

Amazingly enough, there are some cats that actually use your toilet and flushes when it’s litter box is dirty, but that’s very rare, as well as extremely intelligent.

34. You’ll be surprised how some cats can persuade other pets to do their bidding. In a way, if your cat trains your dog to do something then it’s very intelligent.

Keep a watchful eye for it.

Alita the Maine Coon on the couch

Social Grace And Intelligence

Maine Coons are incredibly social. They like to be around people, especially if they feel welcome.

It’s believed that most cats are aloof and independent, but Maine Coon cats break the stereotype.

They have different kind of intelligence to dogs so you probably won’t see seeing-eye cats and the like, but you’ll be surprised how socially adept they can be.

35. The most basic social intelligence is that it responds to its name.

36. Observe how it reacts to visitors who are allergic to it or don’t like cats. Does it keep its distance and rub against them without a care in the world?

An intelligent cat will understand when their company is not welcome and will leave your visitor alone.

37. If you have guests over and you want your cat out of the way, observe how the cat reacts to being confined to your bedroom.

Does it scratch at the door meowing incessantly the whole time or finds other ways to amuse itself without you until you get back?

If you confine it to your room, make sure your Maine Coon is comfortable before you leave.

Maine Coon

38. If you have to go somewhere for a while with no one at home, like to the movies.

Observe how your Maine Coon behaves while you are gone.

You can set up a camera to watch later.

An intelligent Maine Coon will realize you are gone for a while and try it’s best to make the best of it without panicking.

However, some cats will go on searching for you all over the house or stay by the door until you return.

Please note, going in search for you is not a sign of lesser intelligence, it just shows its affection and attachment towards you.

However, if it meows randomly by its food and water bowl till you return as if you are there even when it can’t pick up your scent then it’s not very smart.

If you are leaving, be sure to let your cat know you left.

It can cause Maine Coon anxiety if you disappear suddenly.

39. Observe how your cat reacts when you are pulled over on the road.

Does your cat stay in its carrier or on the seat watching curiously turning on its charm or starts hissing and giving the officer a death glare?

40. Maine Coons are thought to be dogs among cats and with good reason.

A socially adept Maine Coon cat will be sensitive towards how others treat you much like dogs.

If someone is rude to you or treats you badly it’ll not play or eat treats with the other person.

If you want to do this test with a friend by faking it, be sure to make up in front of it or its temperament towards your friend will have long-lasting effects.


And that concludes our tests for the intelligence of Maine Coon cats. We hope you can make use of any of them and see just how smart your feline friend really is.

About the Author


My name is Ann and I have been looking after and breeding cats since 2013. I am currently the proud ownder of Alita, a female Maine Coon to whom I've dedicated this site. She has had 2 litters and is around 3 years old. We share adventures and stories together.

1 thought on “40 Tests To Check The Intelligence Of Your Maine Coon

    • Author gravatar

      You’ve written a very good & insightful text on assessing the intelligence of the Cat I have searched-the-net for “Intelligence of Cats” and this is the best text I’ve found. There are other valuable traits in the best cats, such as Friendlyness , and Affectionateness, and a “Lack of obnoxious traits”. Cats who purr a lot are more popular than Cats who don’t. Every Cat is a masterpiece, but some people really value the special physical appearance of their Car. I find Long haired Cats prettier than Short Haired Cats. Within any breed, there are some not-very-smart specimens and a few Very Smart specimens, because every cat is an individual. I suspect the range-of individualism is higher among Cats than it is among Dogs.

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