Whilst you might not be used to seeing Maine Coon cats jump as much as other cat breeds, this definitely doesn’t mean that the breed CANNOT jump. In fact, the Maine Coon breed are well known for being great jumpers, having descended from semi-wild cats notorious for their impressive hunting skills. Although research on this subject matter is somewhat limited, there is no physical or medical reason why a Maine Coon could not easily jump 7-8 feet, like the standard moggy next door.
Maine Coon cats are well known for their impressive jumping skills, capable of jumping 7-8 feet high. Their muscular strong hind legs enable them to exert huge amounts of power in order to jump upwards. Jumping was a necessary physical requirement that was honed whilst Maine Coons lived in the wilderness, hunting live prey. This highly intelligent cat breed prefers not to jump in general though, instead scanning for alternative routes up to the top of a wall.
Can Maine Coon Cats Jump?
The Maine Coon is one of the largest domesticated cat breeds in the world, reaching up to 25 lbs in weight. Only the Norwegian Forest Cat comes close to competing for this title, since they too are physically large cats (click here for a quick comparison of the two breeds). One folklore myth attributes the Maine Coons physically large proportions to the fact that this breed is a descendent of the Norwegian Forest Cat! This breeds mysterious lineage means that we will never no the truth on this matter though.
With such large physical proportions, and weight, many people wrongly assume that Maine Coons cannot jump. According to cat specialists though, there is no evidence to suggest they cannot jump as high as 7-8 feet, like other cat breeds do. The main reason for this misunderstanding is simply because owners rarely see their Maine Coons jump, since the breed generally prefers to only jump when actually necessary. It’s not a lack of ability, or laziness on their part, but instead an example of this intelligent cat breeds ability to identify the simpler route up.
The following biological features of a Maine Coon cat help this large cat breed release powerful bursts of energy, in one go:
- Flexible spine
- Strong back legs
- Strong back muscles
The video below is a great example of how Maine Coons can jump extremely high, using their powerful hind legs to catapult them into the air, from a stationary position:
Here’s another video which shows how Maine Coons are able to jump effortlessly from one small platform, to the next. Watch how graceful and seamless this Maine Coon leaps from one side of the steps, to the other:
Do Maine Coons Like To Jump?
They might have the skills to jump as high as the average cat you see walking down the streets, but that doesn’t automatically mean that this cat breed wants to! These clever cats appear to have quite logical and sensible minds, since they opt for the simpler route up to the top of a wall, rather than exerting a singular huge burst of energy into jumping upwards. This is a perfect example of how the Maine Coon will use their extremely intelligent mind, to figure out a better solution.
Can A Maine Coon Escape Your Yard?
Many registered breeders in the United States (by State) require their buyers to sign a contract stating the Maine Coon kitten or cat will be kept indoors. This is done to help keep the pedigree breed safe from traffic, criminals, external poisons in neighbouring gardens, etc. Breeders will also often check a buyers gardens and windows, before selling the kitten or cat to the buyer, to ensure that the property is cat-proofed.
Whilst cat proofing might not look fancy, or appealing, never assume that your Maine Coon cat is simply too lazy to jump over your 6 foot high yard wall. This clever cat breed will find a way, since they will be instinctively fascinated by the scents and noises that they can sense nearby to their home.
Owners prefering to keep their Maine Coon indoors therefore, should cat proof their yards and gardens with the following recommended products, to keep their cat safe. All products are available on Amazon. Click the links for more details:
- Large cat leash, with mesh harness and padding. I personally like the soft padding, and no choke functionality of this lease.
- Cat proof adjustable window screen. Available in various sizes, and mesh screen offers ample ventilation for home owner.
- Cat proof garden fencing system. Owners use this device to extend their existing fence. This product makes it very difficult for cats to escape the safety of a garden.
- Outdoor cat playpen. This large portable pet enclosure allows a Maine Coon to play in the garden, safely.
Indoor Maine Coon owners should take a look at this short video, of a Maine Coon jumping over an owners 6 ft yard wall:
Why Do Maine Coon Cats Jump?
There are four basic reasons why a Maine Coon cat would decide to jump:
This highly energetic cat breed remains playful and kitten-like, late into their adult lives. So why not grab a laser pen, and watch your Maine Coon thoroughly enjoy jumping around your home in an attempt to catch the red beam of light! Since the Maine Coon breed is prone to obesity, this is a great way to encourage your cat to exercise on a daily basis.
Watch this funny Maine Coon chase the laser beam around the home:
If your Maine Coon wants to escape your backyard, or garden to explore the outside world, then they will find a way to do this. Therefore, owners of indoor Maine Coons should make sure their garden are completely cat-proofed.
Take a look at the video below, rather than assuming that your house fence is too high for a Maine Coon to jump over:
Originating in Maine, this hardy cat breed survived for many decades in the wilderness despite experiencing the harshest of New England’s Winter climate. Their survival has been linked to this breeds impressive hunting skills, that required Maine Coons to regularly jump whilst catching live prey.
Although the majority of Maine Coons today do not need to hunt, the breed is still well known for its superb jumping, and hunting skills.
How high can a Maine Coon jump whilst they are kittens? … Take a look at this short video of a little Maine Coon kitten practising its jumping skills:
4. Sitting Up High
Everyone knows that cats like to sit (and rest) in high places, where they can observe what is going on below in safety. The Maine Coon cat is no different in this respect, so will happily enjoy sitting in the top pouch of your extra large Maine Coon cat tree. If you aren’t too sure which extra large cat tree is best, these are my favourite, and available from Amazon:
- XXL Cat Tree (includes scratching post, and one large cat seat seat):
- Extra Large Cat Tower (includes scratching posts and multiple places for cat to sit).
Why Your Maine Coon Can’t Jump
There are a number of health reasons which might prevent a Maine Coon jumping high, or at all. Common health issues include:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
If you notice that your once bouncy and active Maine Coon has stopped jumping, ask a veterinary professional to check your cat for any underlying medical health issues.
For a list and short description of 11 medical issues that might be affecting your Maine Coon cats ability to jump high, take a look at our table below:
|Hip Dysplasia||Maine Coons are prone to this condition due to their large physical frame. Arthritis is a common result of the disease. Cats with this condition should be monitor condition, since in rare scenarios this disease causes paralysis|
|Spinal Muscular Atrophy||This is a hereditary genetic disease, where the loss of motor neurons in a cat’s lower spinal cord, and atrophy in their hind limbs results in a cats stability levels progressively deteriorating. Cat has unsteady gait and posture abnormalities. Symptoms appear when kitten reaches 3-4 months old|
|Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy||Heart failure and other issues occur when the muscle walls of the heart begin to thicken. Approximately 30% of Maine Coons with a specific genetic mutation will develop this disease (source)|
|Infectious Diseases||A cats ability to jump and walk will be limited should the cats central nervous system be affected|
|Neuromuscular Disorders||This disease substantially reduces a Maine Coons jumping abilities since their nerves and muscles are not working correctly. You might notice your cats muscles twitching, which makes even the simplest of movements more difficult for you cat to complete|
|Pododermatitis||Paw skin inflammation|
|Bone and Joint Cancer||If your cat develops these health condition, it will feel pain, lameness and swelling in their joints and bones, therefore not wanting to jump|
|Diabetic neuropathy||Causes pain and numbness in cats legs. If your cat has diabetes, they require special care, to prevent them developing diabetic neuropathy|
|Cracked Paw Pads||Maine Coons permitted outside will be more prone to developing cracked paw pads. This condition occurs when cat walks over rough surfaces. By contrast, indoor Maine Coons can develop this health issue as a result of harsh textured litter|
|Ligament and Tendons||Cats are unable to move freely i.e. jump, when they damage their tendons and/or ligaments|
|Arthritis or Joint Problems||Some cats develop feline arthritis, which prevents them jumping due to joint issues, inflammations, osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease|
Having owned our Maine Coon for 8 years now, I have a lot of experience in regards to Maine Coons jumping around the home and garden! In fact, whilst our cat was a kitten, he literally bounced around our home like a bouncy ball!! He was such a crazy, energetic kitten!
As you have read, there is more to the question ‘how high can Maine Coons jump?’ than you would think. What we do know for sure however, is that the Maine Coon cat is smarter than most other cat breeds, because they have the ability to jump as high as 7-8 feet, yet scan the room for easier alternatives to get to the top of a wall, or bookcase.