Are Maine Coons The Smartest Cats? We Find Out

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When you’ve got an intelligent cat, it shows. If your cat can open any door, drawer, or gate to get to what they want, like catnip or treats, they are certainly a bright feline. While intelligence does vary amongst different breeds, one may wonder what type of cat is the smartest. So how does the Maine Coon fare?

No, Maine Coons are not the smartest cat breed, though they are quite clever cats. Maine Coons are known for their dog-like behavior and innate ability to learn a wide variety of tricks and commands. So while Maine Coons aren’t at the top of the cat intelligence list, they are still smart.

Maine Coons are mostly known for their large size, luxurious coats, and warm, affectionate personalities. However, it is also possible that one of the most intelligent cats on record was a Maine Coon…we’ll talk about him in a bit. For more about the intelligence of these popular pets, read on.

Are Maine Coons Intelligent?

Maine Coons are intelligent and are by no means dummies. Though not the brightest of all cat breeds, they still have above-average intelligence. Another aspect to remember is that intelligence, personality, and temperament vary for each cat and not just through different cat breeds.

The Abyssinian and Sphynx feline breeds are widely considered to be some of the most intelligent cats in the world. Still, there are Abyssinian and Sphynx cats that can be quite…dumb. And, just like that, one Maine Coon may be genius level, while their brother or sister might have trouble getting out of a paper bag.

This is where Sullivan, the Maine Coon comes in. Sullivan was a once-feral Maine Coon cat that lived in New York. Sullivan was able to learn shapes, colors, and even numbers. In addition, he could grasp a lot of simple concepts that the most intelligent parrots were able to learn. Like Alex, the famously intelligent African Gray Parrot, Sullivan, the cat learned many cool tricks and commands.

While we don’t have a truly accurate way to represent Sullivan’s possible cat-genius, he was impressive in his own right. There are a few videos of Ol’ Sully showing off on YouTube. That’s one bright kitty cat.

Sullivan may represent a small section of super-smart Maine Coons, but the breed still has a lot going for it. On average, these cats are a special breed: loving, large and intelligent.

Maine Coons Are Like Dogs

Maine Coon

Maine Coons are well known for their loyalty to the ones they adore. These cats form solid bonds with the humans in their family group. Much like dogs, they will rush to the door or window to greet their people when returning home.

A Maine Coon is likely to follow you around the house, close on your heels, whether you like it or not. Like a loyal canine companion, they love to be close to your side. Also, they usually would rather snuggle next to you on the couch than directly on your lap like many felines.

It is also common for the breed to retain its playful, kitten nature throughout its life. This is especially so in male cats. So, much like dogs, Maine Coons are always down for a bit of fun, loving toys, roughhousing, and trading tricks for treats. Many Maine Coons also take to playing fetch. It’s beginning to all make sense now, huh?

They tend to be very curious as well. That, combined with their intelligence, can get them into trouble now and again. It is not rare for them to learn to open doors and cabinets just to see what’s inside. So, an extra precaution might be needed to kitty-proof parts of your home.

Maine Coons are one of the largest cat breeds.  To learn more about Maine Coons and their size, check out my article:  Click Here.

Are Maine Coons Easy to Train?

Yes, Maine Coons are easy to train and can learn tricks. Part of the breed’s intelligence that shines, and in a canine way, is their ability to learn tricks and commands. If you watched the video clips of Sullivan, it’s apparent that these furry felines can learn quite a few different concepts.

Cats aren’t necessarily known for their ability to learn tricks. Or, more likely, they are known for their hesitancy to do what they’re told. Many cats may learn simple concepts like “no” and “get down from there” and “don’t push that glass off the counter,” but they simply choose not to listen.

Are Maine Coons Obedient?

Maine Coons are known to be obedient and may even come running when you call their name.  Maine Coons seem to enjoy learning new tricks and games. They are very highly motivated by mental and physical stimulation. They certainly still have more of a mind of their own than dogs…they are still cats, after all.

However, Maine Coons do take to training better than many breeds. So, with patience, a bag of treats, and a favorite toy, you may be able to get a Maine Coon like Sullivan the cat on YouTube to follow some very impressive commands.

Maine Coon Personality Characteristics

It is no surprise that Maine Coons are one of the most popular cat in America. The breed does have it all. They’ve got personality in spades, beautiful water-repellent coats, and they have no problem doling out love to the whole family.

They are adaptable to nearly any situation, though they can take a bit to adjust to a new situation. Maine Coons need time to adjust not because they are too shy or slow, but because Maine Coons like to contemplate and think things through before making up their minds.

They may take a moment to decide whether they like a new person, family member, or another cat, but usually, once they’ve made up their minds, the newbie will have a new best friend.

And let us not forget their size. Male Maine Coons can weigh up to 22 pounds, where females usually come in at a maximum of 15. That’s a lot of cat. But, with the addition of their heavy, shaggy coat, the breed makes quite an impression.

Their high intelligence mixed with their large frame and coat is a central part of why they are often referred to as the “dogs of the cat world.”

What Are the Smartest Cat Breeds?

We’d likely put the Maine Coon on the higher end of cats as far as intelligence goes. They are bright, but they can vary a lot from cat to cat, even within a litter. But what are the smartest breeds? We certainly wouldn’t leave you wondering.

In no particular order, here are 10 of the most intelligent:

All of these breeds are sharp cats indeed. So if you are looking for your furry feline companion to be the most intelligent animal around, you should take a look at some of these smarty cats. But we don’t want to discount the Maine Coon if you’ve had your heart set on one.

Maine Coons are not the most intelligent cat breed, but they are bright and have a lot going for them, from their dog-like personalities to their large, hardy, and shaggy bodies. The Maine Coon is a unique feline that can fit perfectly in nearly any household.

What Color Cat is the Smartest?

Cats are not intelligent because of what color they are.  To make this point clear, take Abyssinian cats known to be one of the most intelligent cat breeds. However, Abyssinian cats have different colors such as cinnamon, chocolate, silver varieties, and others.  So, it is impossible to say that a certain color cat is the smartest.

Are Tabby Cats Smart?

Tabby cats aren’t a breed of cat.  Tabby is a coat pattern for cats.  Tabby’s will frequently have a wildcat look to them, and they will have an “M” mark on their forehead.  My cat is a Tabby, and she has this mark on her forehead. 

There are many breeds of cats that will have the Tabby coat pattern, and this includes cat breeds that are pretty smart, including the Maine Coon. However, there are cat breeds with the Tabby coat pattern that are not nearly as smart, such as the Domestic Shorthair, like my cat Charlotte.

Are Raccoons Smart?

Raccoons are quite intelligent and cunning.  Raccoons are known to have high intelligence, especially when it comes to finding food.  Some people believe Maine Coons are descended from Raccoons, which, if true, might make sense for Maine Coons being intelligent cats.  However, Maine Coons are not descended from raccoons and cannot mate with them either.

You will find raccoons frequently stealing food from cats if they are being fed outside.  Most cats won’t mess with raccoons since they are large and can take out most cats in a fight. 

To learn more about cats and raccoons, check out my article on the subject:  Click Here.


So, the Maine Coon isn’t the winner of the Smartest Cat Award, but who cares. They are brilliant in their own right. If you want a cat that can learn to play fetch and that’s bigger than most chihuahuas and has fur like a fairytale forest cat, look no further.

Just remember that feline intelligence comes in all shapes and sizes and that every cat is different. Your cat may come from a long line of genius cats, but they still might like to chase their tail and stare at walls for a bit too long.

If you enjoyed this article, check out a few more:

  • Will Maine Coons Kill Chickens? Best Reasons Why:  Click Here.
  • American Shorthair vs Maine Coon (The Best Beautiful Cats):  Click Here.
  • Maine Coon vs Exotic Shorthair (Ultimate Research):  Click Here.

Christopher Carlson

I have an Domestic Shorthair Tabby named Charlotte. She is full of energy when she isn't sleeping most of the day. I share what I learn about cats on this site.

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