Maine Coons are one of the most popular cat breeds to own in the United States. They are loved by millions for their amazing looks, and dog like personality. Before rushing out to buy one though, it would be best you know the following things about what is it like to own a Maine Coon cat.
The Maine Coon cat would make a perfect addition to any family. This breed is known for being affectionate, loyal, playful, great with young children, intelligent, and trainable. Maine Coons are ‘gentle giants’, known as the ‘dog of the cat world’.
Maine Coon Versus Normal Cat
All cats are different, with unique and varying personalities, however, the table below highlights the more common differences between what it will be like looking after a pedigree Maine Coon cat, versus other cat breeds.
What is it like to own a Maine Coon cat?
|Maine Coon||Normal Cat|
|Affectionate||Very affectionate||Affectionate on own terms|
|Human Company||Loves spending time with their human family||Likes human company, but isn’t reliant on it|
|Hunting||Great hunting skills||Good hunting skills|
|Attention||Requires human attention to safeguard its wellbeing||Likes attention, when it decides|
|Grooming||Long hair requires regular grooming, to prevent matting||Short haired cats require minimal grooming. Long haired cats require regular grooming|
|Voice||Chirps and trills||Makes a meow sound|
|Water||Loves playing in water. Might enjoy a bath!||Dislikes water. Wouldn’t like a bath!|
|Temperament||Laid back, not overly fussed by noise close by||Dislikes loud noises. Will run away if unexpected loud noise nearby|
|Children||Gentle, calm and patient with young kids||Less patient with young children. Does not enjoy being prodded|
|Other Animals||Careful integration required, though generally laid back. Prefers to make friends with other pets||Careful integration required. Success will depend upon cats unique temperament. Generally ok.|
|Aggressive||Tends not to hiss. Will chirp, as if talking to you.||Will hiss if not happy|
What Are Maine Coons Like As Pets?
Millions of cat owners across the world would happily tell you that cats make great pets. They are independent little beings, who love to hunt and explore their territory on a daily basis. However, in general, cats are pretty lazy creatures who spend the majority of their days sleeping, or eating!
The Maine Coon cat breed is no different, but they definitely have a few unique traits that make them stand out from the crowd. For instance, they are well known for their high levels of intelligence, loyalty, gentle manner, unusual voice, and dog like behaviour. Their unique look and loving personality also win them much affection worldwide, particularly in United States and Japan, where they are one of the most popular breeds of cat to own.
Know what to expect when looking after a Maine Coon cat. Here are the main differences you will likely experience:
- Caring For A Maine Coon
- Dog Like Behaviour
- Physical Form
- High Intelligence
1. Caring For A Maine Coon
Maine Coons do not require much additional care, when compared to the requirements needed by a normal cat.
This breed of cat is known for its fabulous, thick, long hair. It has two layers of hair, the longer outhair, and the thicker dense short fur underneath. This dense hair is prone to matting, so owners should make time in their weekly routine for grooming their Maine Coons (ideally no less than once a week). Regular grooming builds a strong bond and sense of trust between the owner and their Maine Coon. Coons love human attention, as it strengthens their feelings of wellbeing.
If your cats hair has become matted or knotted, this pet grooming tool from Amazon is particularly suited to the Maine Coon, since it’s undercoat rake gets in under the outer hair, gently removing hair that has shed, but become tangled in the cats thick dense fur.
The Maine Coon is a pretty hardy, healthy breed. In order to maximise their lifespan, owners should be aware that Maine Coons are prone to hip dysplasia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and spinal muscular atrophy. Regular vet check ups will help to identify any possible health issues early, allowing owners to initiate suitable medical treatment sooner.
2. Dog Like Behaviour
The Maine Coon is one of the largest domesticated cat breeds in existence, often dwarfing many smaller dog breeds! These ‘gentle giants’ have won the hearts of millions of people around the world, and are now loving known as the ‘dog of the cat world’ due to their dog like behaviour.
If you’ve always considered yourself to be more of a ‘dog person’, than a ‘cat person’, but simply don’t have time for a dog, then a Maine Coon might be a perfect fit for you! This extra large cat breed exhibits many dog like tendencies, such as adoring human company, playing fetch, liking water etc. They do not require high levels of maintenance.
If you think your ‘normal’ cat is affectionate, you’ve not seen anything yet!
The Maine Coon is one of the most loving cat breeds you will ever buy. They love spending time with their human family, even if this only means laying at your feet whilst you work, or watch tv.
They are not known for being lap cats, but each cat is unique, and many Maine Coons actually adore having a cuddle!
It’s hard not to be won over by the high levels of affection that Maine Coon cats will give you, unconditionally.
4. Physical Form
If you’ve never seen a Maine Coon in real life, prepare to be shocked! This is one of the largest domesticated cat breeds in existence (apart from Norwegian Forest Cat). Although their immense physique might look intimidating at first, don’t be afraid because their loving personality and affection matches their size.
As kittens, their huge paws give an indication of how big your massive ball of fluff may grow. Their paws will always remain big though, and they love using them to pat the water in their water bowl, or toys along the floor. Alternatively, if in a particularly affectionate nature they are known for grabbing their humans head with their paws, then pulling you in so that they can lick your hair, and groom you!
With an average male Coon weighing in at 15 – 25 lbs (6.8 – 11.3 kg), you can expect your Maine Coon to grow large. For more details on the Maine Coon’s weight and size, take a look at my article ‘How Big Will My Maine Coon Grow?‘ where you will find a detailed breakdown regarding this breeds average weight, and size.
Maine Coons are very loyal pets. They love spending time with their humans, and are unlike ‘normal’ cats in that they tend to come when called (as long as they are within hearing range).
It would not be uncommon for your Maine Coon to come and greet you when you pull into your driveway either! They seem to learn an owners daily life routines, then wait for their humans to return from work etc.
If you go away for a few days however, expect your Maine Coon to be slightly ‘off’ with you the first few times. In my experience, our Maine Coon ‘Pippin’ seemed genuinely annoyed with me, for leaving him, despite having his very own cat sitter, water on demand, cat treats, and an automatic cat feeder providing him with ample food!!
6. High Intelligence
Maine Coons are far more intelligent than ‘normal’ cats. Many can perform small tricks, such as fetching a ball, kissing your cheeks, or even turning the faucet on! Other cats by comparison are far less keen to do as their owner requests, due to their stubborn lazy nature.
It may take time to teach your Maine Coon a specific trick, however, once they learn the time taken to achieve this will feel worthwhile. If you are keen to start teaching your cat tricks, you should ideally start these lesson whilst they are kittens. This is not essential, however may mean your cat is more susceptible to learning new skills. You should also use treats to encourage them to learn, as you would when teaching a dog a trick.
If you are expecting your Maine Coon to meow at you, you will be disappointed! This breed of cat is very different to the more commonly owned breeds, because it does not meow. Instead, you can expect to hear chirps and trills instead.
The Maine Coon is an extremely vocal cat. They will follow you around the house, making chirping and trilling sounds at you, as if they are engaged in an actual conversation!
This breed is truly fascinating to watch. In my personal experience, I find that if you say ‘hello’ to a Maine Coon, they often look up and respond with a chirp, like they are saying ‘hello’ back at you! Our cat even chirps, as if he is saying ‘thank you’ when I open the back door to the garden for him. Crazy, isn’t it?!
Maine Coons are not known for being aggressive cats, so you will not hear them hiss, unless they feel they are being attacked. They will however make their disgust clear, via short sharp chirps if they do not like something that you do, such as moving them when they are comfortably sleeping in the doorway!
Below is a short video of our Maine Coon talking.
The diet you feed your cat will have a direct impact upon the overall health and condition of your Maine Coon cat. Maine Coons need a diet high in protein, and low in carbs to keep them healthy and happy. Deficiencies in particular vitamins, nutrients or minerals will likely show in your cats general health levels.
This breed is prone to obesity, so it is important that owners keep an eye on their cats weight. If your Maine Coon looks to have gained too much weight, get professional veterinary advice immediately, since your cat may need to start a specialised diet plan, to manage excess weight.
If the colour of your Maine Coons fur changes colour, all may not be as it should be. In such instances, speak to your veterinary provider for advice as soon as possible.
What To Expect From A Maine Coon
Purchasing a new cat for your home is a big deal, especially if you are buying a Maine Coon. With the average Maine Coon price being around $1000 (£808), you certainly don’t want to get this decision wrong, only to find yourself regretting purchasing this famous pedigree cat breed.
Here are some of the more commonly asked questions, that people tend to ask when considering buying a Maine Coon cat.
1. Do Maine Coons Shed?
Shedding is a normal natural process whereby your cat malts their dead hair from their body. Brushing your cat regularly will help reduce hair shedding.
Maine Coons are well known for their long fabulous fur, so you may be concerned that this long haired cat breed will result in far more tumbleweeds of hair rolling around your home, than would be the case with ‘normal cats’. Don’t be!
To put the record straight, I can confirm that Maine Coon cats do shed hair (like every other cat and pet), but in my experience the level of shedding is relatively low. The amount of shedding tends to be seasonal, and dependent upon your cats hair type.
Some cat professionals think that Maine Coons with fluffy hair shed more fur, than Coons with silky fur (source).
2. Are Maine Coons Good Family Pets?
Often described as ‘gentle giants’, the Maine Coon cat breed makes for a great family pet. Their love of life, playful nature, intelligence, patience, tolerance of young children poking and prodding them, and acceptance of noise and commotion makes them perfectly suited to modern family life.
3. Are Maine Coons Good With Other Cats?
The gentle and friendly nature of the Maine Coon cat means that it should not be too difficult to introduce a Coon into your home, where other cats already live. If anything, it is more likely that non Maine Coon cats will be less accepting, at first.
The ease of transition will obviously depend upon your own cats personality, however, the friendly nature of your Maine Coon means that they are more likely to want to make friends with other cats!
4. Do Maine Coon Cats Get Along With Dogs?
The Maine Coon cat has been named the ‘dog of the cat world’. This breed is very well natured, thriving on their families love and attention. They are particularly tolerant of young children. The Maine Coons sensitive and gentle nature also makes them compatible with other household pets, including dogs.
Although the Maine Coon may seem slightly reluctant at first to be close to the dog, their friendly nature will soon take over. You will see your Coon carefully approach the dog, in an attempt to make ‘friends’.
5. Do Maine Coons Need A Lot Of Space?
Maine Coons require regular exercise, so there should be enough room in your home, or apartment for them to play.
In an ideal world you should have space for a cat tower, and a garden for your Maine Coon to play in. If you do not have space for this though, it is important to ensure that you have ample cat toys available in your home so that your Maine Coon can stay active and keep fit. This is particularly true if you live in an apartment, where the Maine Coon might not have much access to the outdoor world.
If you have opted to keep your Maine Coon indoors, rather than allowing them outside on their own, then consider taking your cat for a walk. To do this, you should purchase a suitable cat leash, and gradually train your Maine Coon to go for a walk, like dogs do. In this scenario, walking will ensure that your cat gets adequate levels of exercise.
What is it like to own a Maine Coon cat? As you can see, there are a number of differences between this particular breed of cat, and the more ‘normal’ cat breeds you are likely to encounter.
These gentle giants are a great addition into any family, due to their laid back and affectionate personality traits. Their love should not be taken for granted though, since they crave human company and any Maine Coon owner will confirm that this breed of cat does need regular attention from their human family. If you do not have the time to groom them, or cuddle them regularly then your Maine Coon will likely become stressed, which may negatively impact their well being.
This playful cat breed makes for an ideal pet, particularly for owners not used to owning cats. Its low maintenance qualities, and playful nature are captivating. Owning a Maine Coon will bring both you, and your Coon many years of joy and happiness.