Maine Coon cats are thought to have originated in Wiscasset, Maine during the 1700’s. They are known for being a very hardy cat breed, able to survive even the harshest Winters of New England, where other cat breeds could not. Historically, they evolved in the wildness using their talented hunting skills to catch their meals, whilst their thick dense fur offered them protection from the cold. Despite their history though, many Maine Coon cat owners in modern society prefer to keep this treasured large cat indoors. So, can Maine Coon cats be kept indoors? What is the truth behind this highly emotive subject?
Maine Coon cats can be kept indoors, provided owners pay particular attention to their cats physical, dietary, and health needs. In particular, owners must exercise their Maine Coon on a daily basis, and provide them with cat toys that stimulate their natural instincts, and highly intelligent brains. Owners should not be afraid to let their Maine Coon roam freely outside though, provided additional considerations have been addressed.
Pros And Cons Of Keeping Cats Indoors
If you have been wondering ‘Can Maine Coon cats be kept indoors?’ the simple answer to your question, is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Although this might not help you make a decision, it is imperative that owners understand that neither answer is ‘right’, nor ‘wrong’. Ultimately, the decision as to whether your Maine Coon cat is kept indoors, or allowed outdoors, will be down to each individual owners personal preference.
Before making a decision though, consider your personal situation, and how your lifestyle may affect your Maine Coons instinctive needs, and long term happiness. For instance, do you live in an apartment where outdoor roaming is not possible? Is there enough room in your home, for a large Maine Coon to live and play? Does your cat have specific health conditions that need to be monitored? How safe is your neighbourhood?
There are so many pros and cons to keeping your Maine Coon cat as an indoor pet, so let’s address the key factors in the table below:
|Safety||Cats are safe from external risks i.e. poison, criminals, predators||Indoor Maine Coons might be safe, but they are prone to boredom if kept indoor, since their natural instincts are restricted|
|Diet||Owners can ensure cats are given nutrient rich foods, suited to their dietary requirements. They can control food eaten, and portion sizes||These obligate carnivores require a diet rich in protein. Indoor Maine Coons have a less natural diet, and are prone to obesity|
|Physical Activity||Owners ensure cat gets plenty of exercise, by playing with their Coon, and purchasing cat towers||Indoor cats can become lazy. Owner will always need to encourage cat to exercise|
|Predators||No risks from external predators||Indoor cats lose their natural survival instincts|
|Mental Stimulation||Owners bond with cat during playtime. Cat toys simulate Maine Coons natural instincts||Indoor Maine Coons lack mental stimulation. Cat toys are expensive and no supplement for the outside world|
|Cruelty||Indoor Maine Coons are safe from external threats||Keeping cat indoors is often considered cruel|
|Space||Indoor cats adapt well to their surroundings. Large space not required||Not enough room in home for Maine Coon cat to play, and exercise|
|Natural Instincts||Owners stimulate cats natural instincts, via playtime, cat toys, and equipment||Natural instincts of cat restricted e.g. cat unable to hunt, or play outside|
|Weather||Cat is kept cool during hot weather, and warm during Winter||A Maine Coons fur coat protects them from the exterior elements, i.e. snow, rain and sun|
|Criminals||Cats are safe from criminals||Indoor Maine Coons lifestyle restricted|
|Fighting||Indoor cats are safe from being attacked, by other animals||Maine Coons have a naturally friendly nature, rarely choosing to fight other animals|
|Grooming||Owners do not need to groom Maine Coons fur, as much||‘Dead’ hair less likely to fall out of coat, there tangles possible. Owner may need to bathe cat|
|Litter Box||Owner can monitor cats litter box activities||Owner has to clean litter tray on a daily basis. More expensive to use a litter tray|
|Time||Maine Coon love human interaction, so enjoy spending more time with their human family||Owner needs to give indoor Maine Coon lots of attention, and mental stimulation|
|Fresh Air and Sunshine||Opening house windows enables fresh air to circulate. Cats experience the benefits of sunshine when sitting at the window||Indoor cats have less access to fresh air and sunshine|
Can Maine Coon Cats Be Indoor Cats?
The decision to keep a Maine Coon cat indoors will always come down to personal preference. Therefore, since everyone’s situations are unique, please consider the factors below in detail before making a decision:
One of the key reasons many owners keep their Maine Coon cat indoors, is due to their perceived safety risks. Whilst risks might have always been present in the world, today’s society presents an increased number of threats to the safety of Maine Coon cats, particularly traffic.
Key risks facing the Maine Coon cat today, include:
- Cat Fights
|Traffic||The amount of traffic on the road has increased, and this poses a huge risks to the safety of cats|
|Poison||Whilst your own surroundings might be safe to your Maine Coon, you cannot guarantee that all the neighbouring properties are|
|Predators||Outdoor cats risk becoming prey, to larger animals|
|Criminals||Maine Coon cats are very expensive. Criminals will target this particular cat breed, knowing older Maine Coons have a high resale value|
|Diseases||Cats are at risk of catching unwanted diseases, from other animals|
There has been a massive increase in the amount of traffic on today’s roads. Traffic itself poses the number 1 risk to outdoor cats living in modern society, since cats are unable to navigate their way around fast cars. Although many owners would love to let their cats roam freely outside, statistics show that a large percentage of cats die each year, having been hit by vehicles.
One of the biggest safety risk that faces outdoor Maine Coon cats, is that of disease. Diseases can be fatal to your cat, and it is not possible to know which animals are infected, and which are not. Therefore, if your cat is attacked, bitten, or gets into a fight whilst alone outdoors, they may encounter an infectious disease.
If owners are keen to let their treasured Maine Coon outside, but are fearful of the multitude of risks they may face in doing, they should consider cat proofing their garden. Cat proofing is simply when an owner attaches specialised nets, and boundary blockers, which prevent their cat escaping from the safety of their garden.
Here are some ideal products for this purpose:
- Trixie Protective Net (view on Amazon)
- Window Protectors (click here to view on Amazon)
- Clear Mesh Netting (see more pictures on Amazon)
Despite not always being visually appealing, these cat proofing products offer the Maine Coon the best of both worlds. This is because they have the freedom to go outside, get fresh air, sunshine, play time, yet are 100% safe, within the confines of their homes back garden.
Outdoor Maine Coons
If you live in a built up area, please consider the welfare of your Maine Coon cat, before letting them roam freely outside. Many risks await your cat, particularly for white Maine Coons who are more prone to deafness. Deaf cats cannot hear traffic noises.
Less people, and traffic, reside in the countryside. Owners may therefore consider the countryside a far safer place, to allow their Maine Coon cat to roam freely outdoors.
A key benefit of keeping your Maine Coon cat indoors, is that you have 100% control over the food they eat. This is beneficial, since an indoor Maine Coon is not at risk of eating contaminated foods, or infected animals in the wild.
Maine Coons are obligate carnivores, so always feed them a diet of high quality dry food, and/or raw meat. Pay particular attention to the levels of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fatty acids present in their dry food. This is particularly important for indoor Maine Coons, since they cannot supplement dietary deficiencies by hunting prey outside in the wild. These are my favourite dry foods for cats.
Wet food portions should be kept to 2-3 portions per week, since the moisture within wet food can be damaging to your cats dental hygiene if consumed too often.
Outdoor Maine Coons
Outdoor Maine Coons will eat a diet of high quality dry food, but have the additional benefit of supplementing their daily food intake with live prey, which this cat breed used to eat, when living in the wild.
3. Physical Activity
If you decide to keep your Maine Coon indoors, it is vital that you encourage them to exercise on a daily basis. Owners can do this by playing daily games with their Maine Coon e.g. catch the string. They can also stimulate their cats physical abilities by purchasing a range of cat toys that encourage the cat to move, whilst also tailoring to this cat breeds naturally curious nature. Click on the link, to see my favourite cat toys.
Additionally, owners planning to keep their Maine Coon cat indoors will also need to purchase a large cat tower. Cat towers are a great way of bringing the outside world in, since they encourage jumping, scratching, and hiding. This is the extra large cat tower that my Maine Coon uses.
For owners with slightly less room to spare, give them this smaller scratching post, with seat attached (Amazon link).
Outdoor Maine Coons:
The outside world offers a large amount of excitement to your Maine Coon, which helps to keep them physically active, i.e. chasing leaves, climbing trees, catching prey, or jumping walls.
Outdoor Maine Coons therefore need less owner intervention, to encourage them to be physically active.
There are many predators and prey in the natural environment, which an outdoor Maine Coon cat is likely encounter. Owners should consider the risks seriously, before allowing their Maine Coon to venture freely outside.
Outdoor Maine Coons
Critics argue that Maine Coons are extremely hardy, intelligent cats. They draw owners attention to the fact that this cat breed survived for many generations in the wilderness, and face no more dangers in today’s world, than they did previously.
5. Mental Stimulation
The mental welfare and happiness of your Maine Coon, should always be an owners top priority. Therefore, if you decide to keep your Maine Coon cat inside, remember to address the following requirements:
- Maine Coons need high levels of human interaction
- Are extremely sociable creatures
- Cat toys should be provided to mentally stimulate their brain
- Bored cats become destructive
Can Maine Coon cats be kept indoors? Yes, provided owner has time to mentally stimulate their large cat on a daily basis. They must also buy mentally stimulating cat toys, like these.
Outdoor Maine Coons:
The outside world offers countless opportunities for your cat to play, catch, scent, and smell everything that nature has to offer. Owners permitting their Maine Coon to roam freely outside therefore do not have to spend considerable amounts of time each day, trying to mentally stimulating their cat.
Can Maine Coon cats be kept indoors? In order to answer this highly emotive question, owners should always consider the impact of their decision upon their Maine Coons long term welfare.
Indoor Maine Coons
Millions of owners worldwide keep their Maine Coon cats indoors, perceiving the outside world to be a threat to their precious large cat. They regard the practice as kind, since they are protecting their loved Maine Coon from get hurt, sick, stolen, or lost.
Maine Coons are very expensive. Letting them roam free in the wild is therefore considered high risk for owners, since criminals often steal this pedigree cat, for resale. For more details on the price of a Maine Coon cat, check out my article, “How Much Do Maine Coons Cost?“
Outdoor Maine Coons
Many critics argue that keeping a Maine Coon indoors, is cruel and unkind. They claim this practise mentally damages a cat, since trapping an animal within a home leads to boredom, stress and psychological damage. Owners supporting this theory also claim keeping Maine Coon cats indoors, is unnatural.
Maine Coon cats are known for being extremely playful and energetic, throughout their lives. If you plan to keep your Maine Coon indoors, make sure you have lots of space for them to run, chase, and leap around your home.
Indoor cats have less opportunity to exercise. Owners should buy a large cat tower to encourage their Maine Coon to jump, climb, scratch, and play at different levels within the home. It is important to consider how much space you have, to house a large cat tower.
Click here to view more pictures of this fab extra large cat tower, on Amazon.
Outdoor Maine Coons
Many people disagree with the practise of keeping Maine Coon cats indoors. They argue that it is impossible for owners to recreate the outside environment, within the confines of the home. Modern homes are also considered too small, to house a Maine Coon cat adequately.
Click here to take a closer look at this cat tree, on Amazon.
8. Natural Instincts
All cats are born with natural instincts, such as hunting, grooming, scratching, eating, playing and climbing. The Maine Coon cat breed is no different, therefore if you are considering keeping one indoors, make sure you consider how your pets natural instincts will be stimulated.
Here are a few questions that you need to ask yourself:
- Do you need to buy a cat tower, to encourage your cat to climb, scratch and jump? Or simply to give your Maine Coon a place to sit, high up?
- Have you purchased the correct grooming tools, to assist your cats grooming instinct? I personally love these cat brushes.
- Which cat toys is your Maine Coon interested in? Do these toys stimulate a cats chasing, catching, and hunting instincts? I’ve found these cat toys particularly effective, for this.
Outdoor Maine Coons
Maine Coon cats lived in the wilderness for many years, before becoming house pets. Their hardy nature and impressive hunting skills are thought to have played a key role in their survival. Advocates of allowing the Maine Coon cat outdoors therefore question why owners are fearful of letting their Maine Coon roam outdoors?
One of the key benefits of allowing a Maine Coon cat outside is that all of their natural instincts are activated, constantly. Even the simplest of things will stimulate your cats mind and body into action, i.e. a leaf flying past them is often considered a great thing to chase, or play with. Critics claim that naturally occurring examples such as this can never be recreated within the home, however much an owner spends on clever cat toys.
Keeping a Maine Coon indoors will ensure that the cat is never too warm, or too cold, since the temperature of a home can be easily adjusted.
Outdoor Maine Coon
The Maine Coons fur coat is made up of three layers: 2 undercoats, and a 3rd outer guard coat. As the seasons change, you will notice that the Maine Coons fur adapts accordingly, growing thicker during the colder months, and thinner during the hot months. It is therefore not necessary to keep a Maine Coon cat indoors, to ensure they are not too hot, or too cold.
Sadly, due to the ever increasing popularity of the Maine Coon cat, there has been a corresponding increase in criminals intent on stealing them. It is thought that their high price tag, and high resale value has significantly contributed to this occurrence.
Cat thieves are more commonly found in built up areas, where a higher concentration of people and cats live. This is not to say that owners living in the countryside are any safer from this form of criminal behaviour though. Therefore, wherever you live, please check with the local community to ascertain if your area has a high cat theft rate. All owners should consider this risk seriously, before allowing their Maine Coon to roam freely outdoors.
Some owners prefer to keep their Maine Coon cats indoors, to prevent them from being attacked by other animals.
Outdoor Maine Coons
Maine Coons are often referred to as ‘gentle giants’ because they are very large, yet gentle cats. They are naturally friendly, and known to get on well with other pets. This character trait makes them less prone to aggressive behaviour, and fights. Keeping a Maine Coon indoors, is therefore not necessary.
Indoor Maine Coons require less grooming than their outdoor equivalents. This is because their fur never brushes against bushes, trees, outside dirt, or wet puddles. Keeping a Maine Coon indoors therefore saves owners considerable time and effort.
Outdoor Maine Coons
If you let your Maine Coon outside, you should brush your Maine Coons thick dense fur on a daily basis. This is important for outdoor Coons, since regular grooming removes random things that get tangled within their fur, such as burs and grass seeds, that quickly develop into knots.
Genetics plays a key role in the type of fur your Maine Coon is born with, i.e. whether it is fluffy, silky, or prone to knots. However, an additional consideration to bare in mind, is that if the weather is damp outdoors, owners may find their Maine Coons fur becomes increasingly prone to knots and tangles.
13. Litter Box
Can Maine Coon cats be kept indoors?
Yes, owners can keep this particular cat breed inside, as long as they are prepared to keep a litter box within their home, and clean it out on a daily basis. Failure to keep the litter tray clean will likely result in your indoor Maine Coon opting to defecate another area of your home.
Maine Coons are not known for being aloof or solitary, like other cat breeds. The female Maine Coon however, is considered more ‘cat-like’ in their nature, than the male Maine Coon. It is important therefore that owners are able to spend time at home with their Maine Coon on a daily basis, to prevent them becoming lonely, stressed, or depressed. For more information on the difference between the male and female Maine Coon, take a look at my article “Male vs Female Maine Coon“.
15. Fresh Air And Sunshine
It is important that Maine Coon cats get fresh air. Owners should therefore leave a window open (with a cat net covering the exit) to enable fresh air to circulate around their home.
Maine Coons benefit from sunshine, like humans do. Vitamin D is important, therefore owners planning to keep their Maine Coon cat indoors need to encourage their cat to sit nearby, or next to the window. Owners can encourage this behaviour, by placing their cat bed, or tower next to the window, thus enabling them to experience sunshine.
The opinions across the internet range widely on this subject, so don’t necessarily assume others will automatically share the same opinions as you. In fact, I was shocked to encounter many Facebook groups where the group owners opinions were so strong on the subject, that if a user disagreed, they were automatically kicked off the Facebook page!
From my perspective, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer when it comes to deciding whether your Maine Coon should be kept indoors, or allowed outside. I appreciate there are many risks in the outside world, however, the location of your home plays a huge factor in whether your Maine Coon cat should go outside, or not. For instance, if you live in a remote countryside location with minimal traffic, allowing your Maine Coon outside is often considered less risky. However, if you live in a built up town location, with thousands of people, allowing your Maine Coon outside might be considered foolhardy, and high risk.
The decision ultimately comes down to the owners personal preference though, and will always be significantly impacted by their past experience. For instance, if an owner has always let their cats roam freely outside, without any accidents, or traffic collisions etc, they may feel the risks to their Maine Coon are low.
Which side of the fence do you sit on? … Can Maine Coon cats be kept indoors? …