With such highly sociable personalities, it’s not surprising that so many owners ask can Maine Coons be left alone? Known as the ‘dog of the cat world’ due to their desire for companionship, and love of human company, this ever popular cat breed will not fair well if left alone for long periods of time. Owners must therefore take extra steps to ensure they are able to cater to this breeds more demanding social, mental and emotional needs.
Maine Coon cats can be left alone, but only for a short period of time. These highly sociable felines prefer company, and do not enjoy spending time on their own. They love human companionship and interaction with other pets. If a Maine Coon cat is regularly left alone, for long periods of time, they will become stressed and depressed.
Not every owner is lucky enough to stay at home with their cat, all day long. So what can owners do, to help preventing their Maine Coon suffering from loneliness, or mental health issues whilst they are out at work? Keep reading to discover our important tips on actions an owner can take to ensure their treasured Maine Coon cat remains happy and content, whilst home alone.
Can Maine Coons Be Left Alone?
The Maine Coon cat breed isn’t like any other you will encounter. Whilst they might physically look like a cat in every way, their social and mental needs are far more unique, and often considered to be more similar to those of a dog. In fact, the similarities drawn between Maine Coon cats and dogs are so rife, that this breed has even been labelled the ‘dog of the cat world’!
Although Maine Coon are very independent felines, and physically equipped to survive in the wilderness, this doesn’t automatically mean that they want to. Instead, since being domesticated many decades ago, the Maine Coon cat breed has thrived from developing close bonds with their human families. They have grown increasingly dependent upon their owners, for love, affection, companionship, plus their basic necessities such as food and water.
If we look at the Maine Coon cats of today, we can see that they are so intertwined with their human families, that they now ‘need’ humans more than ever before. In fact, many claim a Maine Coons mental health welfare is at risk if they do not have enough interaction with their owners.
How Long Can I Leave My Maine Coon Alone?
Maine Coon cats should not be left home alone, for longer than 12 hours. By comparison, other cat breeds can be left for up to 24 hours (source), provided they have fresh litter, and their food and water requirements have been met. In general though, 8 – 12 hours is considered more desirable for a standard cat.
Other cat breeds are able to spend far longer on their own, since they are characteristically aloof, and independent. They do not need companionship like a Maine Coon cat does, so are far less bothered if left on their own.
This isn’t the case with Maine Coons though, who need high levels of social interaction and stimulation to feel happy and content. Therefore, if left on their own for too long, a Maine Coons mental and physical health are put at risk, since they are likely to feel lonely and bored. Whilst this might not immediately seem like a big issue, owners should be alert to the fact that the Maine Coon cat breed is socially dependent on its family, so will begin to feel anxious, depressed and stressed if left on their own for too long.
Not everyone has the luxury of working from home. Therefore, if you anticipate that you will be spending long hours away from your home, the Maine Coon cat breed might not be the best option for you. If your heart is set on owning a Maine Coon though, consider purchasing a second cat (ideally a Maine Coon) to give your socially dependent Maine Coon the companionship they crave.
Here’s a Maine Coon buying guide, to get you started.
How To Entertain A Maine Coon Whilst You Are Out
There are a variety of things owners can do, to keep their Maine Coon cat entertained whilst they are not at home. These include the following:
It is important that owners ensure their Maine Coon has access to food whilst they are home alone.
If you are worried about leaving a bowl of food out for your cat due to their greedy eating tendencies, why not install an automatic cat food dispenser like this one (click to view on Amazon). This feeder is great, because you can set the device to feed your Maine Coon dry food at certain times of the day, when you aren’t there!
Now that we’ve established that Maine Coons should not be left alone (for too long) let’s consider the factors leading to this bold statement in greater detail:
Owners need to ensure that their Maine Coon has a constant supply of fresh water, when left home alone. This is vital as cats can quickly become dehydrated.
Maine Coons are big water drinkers who love drinking from a running water supply (hence why this breed is obsessed with leaky faucets!). Buying a cat water fountain like this, is therefore highly recommended.
Despite being a pretty hardy cat breed, Maine Coons are prone to obesity. Owners must therefore ensure their cat has a large sturdy cat tree like this to play on. These cat towers are a great way for cats to exercise, play and scratch, whilst also observing their surroundings from a safe high up location.
4. Mental Stimulation
Maine Coons require a lot of daily mental stimulation. Owners can provide this whilst they are away from the home, by purchasing a range of cat toys suited to Maine Coon cats.
A simple cardboard box will also offer your Maine Coon a great deal of entertainment, and fun as they jump in and out of it. And the best part is they are free!
Here’s a short video of our Maine Coon cat exploring the Amazon delivery box:
5. Scratching Post
Maine Coon cats need access to a scratching post, to help them keep their claws in great condition. Whilst there are a variety of different options available on the market, most are not suitable. Owners should therefore purchase a cat scratching posts like this one since it is sturdy enough to support the weight of heavy Maine Coon cats. I also love this scratching post because it is taller than average, which enables your extra long cat to stretch out more easily whilst they claw the post.
6. Litter Tray
Maine Coon cats need access to a fresh litter tray, at all times, whether the owner is out or not. Since this particular cat breed grow so large, make sure you buy an appropriately sized tray. These are my favourite Maine Coon cat litter trays.
Maine Coons are fastidious cleaners, so owners must ensure the litter tray is kept clean. If you are going to be out during the daytime, consider using an automatic self-cleaning cat litter tray.
7. Comfy Cat Bed
Maine Coon cats tend to sleep more during daytime hours, therefore it is important that you have purchased a large cozy cat bed for them to sleep in.
I particularly love this super soft and supportive cat bed, currently on offer on Amazon.
8. Pet Camera
If you hate the idea of leaving your Maine Coon cat at home all day, why not invest in a two-way pet camera like this one. Not only can you keep an eye on your pet whilst they are home alone, you can also talk to your pet via the voice functionality! Pretty cool, huh?!
9. Indoor / Outdoor
The decision of whether a Maine Coon cat should be allowed outside, or not, is a highly emotive subject with many viewpoints both for and against the practise.
If you would prefer to keep your Maine Coon safe indoors whilst they are home alone, consider purchasing a catio for your back garden. These are secure units that enable a Maine Coon to experience the outside safely.
For owners that are happy to let their Maine Coons roam freely, make sure you install a microchipped cat flap in your door or external wall. Here’s a good option for you since it prevents neighbouring cats entering your property.
Check out more article ‘Can Maine Coon Cats Go Outside?‘ to understand the arguments for and against letting a Maine Coon cat go outside,
Can I Leave My Maine Coon Alone Overnight?
Yes, a fully grown adult Maine Coon cat can be left alone overnight, provided an owner does not leave their cat for longer than 12 hours at a time. Owners that have previously allowed their cat in the bedroom during nighttime hours though, will likely find their Maine Coon is unhappy about being left alone.
If you plan on leaving your fully grown Maine Coon alone overnight, make sure that you have done the following:
- Fed them: It is important to feed a Maine Coon before you go to sleep. If you are comfortable with leaving some high quality dry cat food out overnight, this is also recommended. Just remember though, Maine Coon cats are prone to obesity. Automatic cat food dispensers are a great way to slow greedy cats, whilst also ensuring they are well fed during nighttime hours.
- Safety: Make sure that your Maine Coon cats environment is completely safe, before leaving them alone. Check for potential dangers, and remove them.
- Space: Adult Maine Coon cats can reach up to 25 lbs in weight, and 40 inches in length. Owners should therefore ensure their extra large cat has plenty of space to play and rest, during nighttime hours.
- Entertainment: Cat trees offer a great source of entertainment to your Maine Coon whilst you sleep. Not only can they jump from perch to perch, they can also observe their surroundings from the safety of a location up high. These particular cat trees are designed with the Maine Coon cat breed in mind, since they are sturdy, strong and large! Cats can also use the towers scratching posts, to keep their claws in a healthy condition.
- Toys: Leave some Maine Coon appropriate cat toys out for your cat, during the night. This not only offers them entertainment, but also encourages play and mental stimulation.
- Cat Bed: To encourage your Maine Coon to rest during nighttime hours, make sure they have access to a large comfy cat bed.
If your cat is unhappy about being left alone during the night, an owner will likely hear a selection of unusual noises, such as Maine Coon crying, and Maine Coon howling. For more information about each of these forms of unwanted behaviour, checkout my articles:
5 Reasons Why Owners Should Not Leave Maine Coons Alone
Here are five clear reasons why the Maine Coon cat breed is not best suited to being left alone for long periods of time:
|Clingy Cats||Maine Coons are considered more clingy than other cat breeds, since they require high levels of attention, love, mental stimulation. They are more dog-like in their nature, since they consider their family their ‘pack’, like a dog would|
|Separation Anxiety||Some Maine Coons are prone to developing separation anxiety. This might be evident from a range of factors, e.g. excessive meowing, biting, weight loss. For more info, click here|
|Mental Health Issues||Maine Coons are not solitary felines, but instead extremely sociable cats that need regular attention, and interaction. If left alone regularly, a cat might show signs of stress, depression and anxiety|
|Destructive Behaviour||These intelligent felines require mental stimulation. Maine Coons left on their own are likely to become bored or lonely, resulting in destructive behaviour|
|Companionship||Maine Coons thrive from companionship. Owners are advised to purchase a second cat if leaving their Maine Coon home alone for longer periods, as a second pet will offer the Maine Coon the company, and playful exercise they require|
Do Maine Coons Need A Companion?
Maine Coon cats are known for their loving, playful and attentive natures. They adore human company, and love to get involved in all the action! Family life is desirable for this gentle giant cat breed, since these cats thrive in environments where their social and mental needs are stimulated.
In an ideal world, owners should buy two Maine Coon kittens (from the same litter if possible). This is recommended, as it ensures that your Maine Coon has a constant companion, even when you are not at home. A second cat also encourages mental stimulation, play and exercise. If you purchase your Maine Coons one of these cat towers, they will get a great deal of enjoyment from jumping up and down it, whilst also resting on the various perches.
Another cool way to encourage exercise and play between your cats, is by giving them a range of these Maine Coon cats toys, which are cater to you extra large cats physical and mental needs.
Can I Leave My Maine Coon Alone While Pregnant?
Despite scouring the internet, I have been unable to find specific advice confirming whether or not a pregnant Maine Coon cat can be left alone. The general rule of thumb with other cat breeds though, is that they can be left alone, but for no more than the standard 12 hour time period.
In the last few weeks of their pregnancy though, owners should make sure that their pregnant cat does not leave the house. It is recommended that owners create a safe, warm and comfortable environment for their cat to give birth safely. Owners should also try to spend more time at home, and not leave their cat alone at all, just in case their cat gives birth early.
Making Your Home A Safe Environment Whilst You Are Out
Responsible cat owners should always ensure that their homes are safe from danger, before leaving their Maine Coon alone.
Here’s a handy list of the things owners should check within their cats home environment:.
|Cover all accessible electrical cords||Cable covers prevent curious Maine Coons from chewing the cords, or becoming tangled in the wire|
|Remove sharp objects||Sharp objects within the home pose a great danger to cats. Owners should remove them, to ensure cat doesn’t hurt themselves whilst they are alone e.g. knives left on the countertop|
|Limit roaming space||Owners not wishing their cats to go into certain rooms, must ensure internal doors are close. Keep in mind though, that it is important for adult Maine Coon cats to have plenty of accessible space to exercise and wander within the home|
|Remove climbing opportunities||Maine Coons love use their intelligence to find the easiest route up to the top of that high cabinet you own. Don’t make the job easy for them, instead, remove chairs or tables that enable your cat to step up easily onto the high platforms in your home. Although this cannot entirely remove the issue, many of this breed are not fussed by jumping so will be less likely to jump up to the highest shelf|
|Close drawers and cupboards||To avoid your Maine Coon getting stuck, or hurt, make sure that all drawers and cupboards are closed|
|Secure external windows and doors||Cats are great escape artists, so all windows and doors should be securely closed to prevent cat escaping|
|Secure heavy items||Maine Coons are curious, big and heavy. Owners should therefore assess all large objects within their home, to ensure these items are stable and secure. Cats should not be able to knock them over whilst alone i.e. TV’s, and large stereos etc|
|Ensure window blind cords are child-proofed||Kittens and cats can become tangled in window blind cords. Owners should therefore ensure all loose cords are suitably tied around child-proof cord hooks|
|Remove access to small spaces||Maine Coons are curious, so all small spaces where they could become stuck whilst on their own, should be closed off i.e. access to the back of kitchen cupboards|
Can Maine Coon Kittens Be Left Alone?
Maine Coon kittens should not be left at home alone, during the first two weeks of their lives. Although this might prove challenging at times, it is vital that owners make a concerted effort to ensure their new Maine Coon kitten always has companionship. This is important for the following reasons:
- Prevents Loneliness: Young kittens are likely confused and sad when they first move to a new family, since their mum and siblings are no longer with them. Spending lots of time with the Maine Coon kitten helps to prevent feelings of loneliness.
- Mental Health Issues: It is important to offer companionship to young Maine Coon kittens, to prevent them become depressed, stressed, or anxious.
- Integration: Maine Coon kittens need to be integrated into family life, asap. The more contact they have with humans whilst young, the less likely owners will find negative Maine Coon behavioural issues developing.
In an ideal world a Maine Coon kitten should not be left alone whilst under 6 months of age. In reality however, this is not always possible. Therefore, if you need to start leaving your Maine Coon kitten at home alone, make sure that they are settled, and comfortable within your home first. This is a vital stage of the process, since the kitten needs to know that they are safe and loved whether an owner is in sight, or not.
Before leaving your kitten alone, make sure that you have catered to their physical and mental needs:
- Basic Needs i.e. food and water
- Exercise opportunities i.e. cat trees
- Kitten proof home i.e. secure windows
- Mental Stimulation i.e. use suitable cat toys
- Kitten Proof your Home: Remove all potential dangers from a kittens reach. Then close doors to limit how far they can roam within your home, and secure all windows and doors to prevent them escaping.
How Long Can Maine Coon Kittens Be Left Alone?
Whilst there are no definitive timescales relating to how long each Maine Coon kitten can be left alone, here are some rough guidelines (source):
|Under 4 Months||2 – 4 Hours|
|4 – 5 Months||5 Hours|
|6 – 24 Months||8 Hours|
|2 Years +||12 Hours|
Can Maine Coons be left alone? In short, yes! Maine Coons can be left alone. Owners just need to be mindful of this particular cat breeds more unique social, mental and physical requirements.