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Krummi, the clever kitty coon

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I promised you that I would write about my male Maine Coon abilities to do tricks. As some of you know already he is called Krummi, that is an unformal word for raven (and yes he is black ).

When I got him last july I only had little time to spend with him, because I had started to work so much in the pet shop. I thought it was such a shame just to let this kitten that I had waited for so long, being bored at home and not being able to bond with him properly. Then in october (when he was 7-8 months old) I decided to try to bring him with me to work. The first days he was little bit afraid and hid behind the counter, but then slowly he started to get aquanted to his surroundings, and discovered that people that came to the shop werent bad at all. After few weeks he was not afraid anymore and really enjoyed when the customers showed him attention, and really showered in the admiration he got. He also had discovered all the exiting rodents and birds, and he had so much fun in make-believe-stalking and hunting, hiding behind boxes and keeping a close eye on the birds, just as a cat would do with normal prey. He has gotten a hold on a few budgies when they escaped from their cage, but he didnt hurt them, just had them in his mouth and didnt really know what to do next. I always got them from him, and they were just fine, didnt see a scratch on them and no one even got sick.

Well back to the topic: I noticed soon that Krummi really enjoyed using his paws to touch me, so I tried to see if he could choose between two things. At first I always let him decide between two types of cat food, and from there things evolved. Soon I had made him choose between 2 closed hand, where one hand had catfood in it. I showed him first the catfood, then closed my hands and held them in front of him and said “veldu” (choose in icelandic). He always chose the right hand and of course he got the cat food as an award. Then in the last 1-2 months things have been excalating very fast. I think it is because Krummi has finally come over his puberty, that involved him being basically in a bad mood for 3 months, and because I am not the lamest thing ever as in the peak of his puberty, he wants to work with me in doing the tricks. He loves to do the tricks, I think both because of the stimulation and also because he gets cat food (just the cat food my cats eat on a daily basis). He even purrs while doing them, and when I want to stop doing them, he demands that I make him do more tricks by putting his paws on me and miawing very high-pitched miaw that means “I want...”.

The strangest thing about him doing the tricks, is that I havent conditioned him to do the tricks. I have tried to do that, but it simply doesnt work for him. He thinks its silly and doesnt want any part of it. No, what I do is that I TELL him what to do in Icelandic. He has the most incredible language understanding I have ever experienced with any animal, including dogs. He understands so many words that if I want to talk bad about him or make fun of him to others, I have to take care that he doesnt listen, because he actually gets offended, looks at me with angry eyes and turns his back at me. As an example how I make him do the tricks, I let him smell the cat food that I will give him when he does the trick correctly (that makes him motivated), tell him in slow and clear speech “if you put your paw on my hand when i say “give me five” you can get this cat food as a price”, and then he does the trick.

The tricks he already knows, and most of them he has learned the last month are:
- Puts his paw in my open palm when I say “give me five” or “high five” (then he puts his paw much higher in my upright hand).
- Put his paw in my hand when I say “komdu sæll” (greetings) and lets me shake it.
- Waves at me with his paw when I say “bless, bless” (bye, bye)
- Touches me when I say “hver er best” (who is the best), always starts to purr when he does this trick.

Then there are number of more complicated tricks:
- I put cat food in both hands, close the hands, put them in front of him, let him choose one hand, he gets the cat food, then I put the hands again in front of him and he chooses the hand that still has the cat food, kind of kitty-memory game. He always does this correctly. I have done it more complicated, as in one time I put both his favorite toy-mouses in both hands, and told him to choose. He got this very distinct look, as he couldnt decide which one to choose, and it ended with him choosing both hands.
- I put my hands in front of him and tell him either to choose “left” or “right” (my left and right), and he does this correctly each time. The weird thing is that I didnt show him which direction was which, it was like he knew it already.
- I have 4 different colors of big Legos (yellow, red, green and blue). Sometimes I let him choose from two colors, but now I have evolved this trick into letting him choose between 4 colors. It doesnt matter how I mix them together, he actually recognizes the colors and chooses the right one. I have even tried to start to say the name of one color and I see his paw go into the direction of it, then I suddenly change the word into the name of a different color and then he quickly puts his paw on that color. I tought him this by showing him each color and telling him the name of it, and then I told him “choose..(name of color)”. I have tried to show him two colors and tell him to choose a color that is not one of those two, and then he gets a confused look on his face and doesnt choose. I have even told him “choose both” and then he choosed both colors. I even tried the other day to put 3 Legos together and held them in my hand and in the other I had only 1 Lego. Then I told him to choose between “big” and “small”, and he did it!!!

Now I have found out that if I show him objects (that I can hold in my hand, he doesnt want to choose if I dont hold the objects) that have distinct shapes and names it is enough to show him each object, tell him the name of it, and tell him to choose between those by saying “choose..(name of object)”.

Of course the only time I can make him do the tricks if he has an appetite for the cat food, isnt sleepy or distracted or in the mood to tease me. When he is in taesing mood he chooses the direct opposite with what I tell him to choose. It is very obvious when he is teasing me, then he has this mischief grin on his face and licks himself few times very quickly (cats do that when they think something is funny). So if I have yellow and blue Legos in my hand then he chooses yellow when I say blue, and blue if I say yellow..... I guess its the raven name causing it.

In the end a quick question: Is Krummi exceptionally intelligent cat, or is the whole Maine Coon breed like him. I dont know of any other Maine Coon in Iceland that does tricks like this. I have heard that Maine Coons understand language very well, but I dont know if they are all capable to do these amazing things like Krummi. Really dont know how this will evolve, but frankly I wouldnt be surprised if he would start to talk soon.. Are there any kitty-Nobel prizes out there???!!

Here is a picture of him 3 months old, obviously not going to miss a thing at dinner time, with his tail strategically placed in the lasagna.

post #2 of 6
Krummi sounds like a very smart kitty. Cute, too!
post #3 of 6
He is clever as well as beautiful
post #4 of 6
The photo of Krummi reminds me of Garfield the movie when he asks for more lasagna.
post #5 of 6
wow, he is so cool he can taste with tail also
post #6 of 6
hahaha, love the tail in the lasagne
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