Maine Coon cats are the oldest natural living cat breed in America, admired by millions for their lusciously long thick fur and large physical frame. They are considered to be a very hardy cat breed, since they are not prone to many of the more common cat health conditions that other cat breeds face. The Maine Coons ability to survive even the harshest Winters of New England also makes them a particularly unique breed. But, what is the average lifespan of a Maine Coon cat? And will the following tips and tricks really extend the average age of your Maine Coon cat?
The average lifespan of a Maine Coon cat is 12 – 15 years, though one pet insurance companies research identifies this figure to be closer to 10.5 – 15 years. A Maine Coons lifespan varies, depending upon their diet, lifestyle, genetics and exercise levels. Owners can increase their Maine Coons lifespan by feeding them a diet of high quality dry food. Regular veterinary checks, grooming and exercise, will also extend a Maine Coons lifespan.
Average Life Expectancy Of A Maine Coon Cat
It is commonly thought in the petworld that the average life expectancy of a Maine Coon cat is 10 – 15 years. The trouble with using an average figure though is that it is simply the central number taken to represent a larger list of numbers. Thus, owners wondering what is the average lifespan of a Maine Coon cat, are often misled into assuming their Maine Coon will not live longer than 15 years of age, when in fact one Maine Coon cat reached a staggering 27 years old!
During 2003 – 2006 a Swedish pet insurance company identified that the median lifespan of a Maine Coon cat, was >12.5 years. This figure was supported by their research which discovered that 74% of this cat breed lived to 10 years or more, and 54% survived to 12.5 years or over (source).
Maine Coon Lifespan Vs Other Large Cat Breeds
The average lifespan of a Maine Coon cat does not differ too dramatically when compared to other large cat breeds.
Take a look at the table below to get a clear understanding of how the Maine Coon cats average lifespan compares to the expected lifespan of other large cat breeds.
|Cat Breed||Average Lifespan (Years)|
|Maine Coon Cat||10 – 15|
|Norwegian Forest Cat||14 – 16|
|Siberian Cat||10 – 18|
|Ragamuffin||12 – 18|
|Ragdoll||12 – 16|
|Turkish Van||13 – 17|
|British Shorthair||14 – 20|
|Bengal Cat||14 – 16|
|Pixie-bob||13 – 15|
|American Bobtail||13 – 15|
|Selkirk Rex||10 – 15|
How To Increase Your Maine Coons Lifespan
Maine Coon cats make great companions. They are often considered very ‘dog-like’ due to their highly intelligent brains, ability to be trained, and adoration of their human family. This breed also quickly integrates into family life, offering their owners endless amounts of affection and love. With so many positives to this cat breed, it is not surprising that owners are keen to do everything they can to increase their Maine Coons lifespan.
The good news on this front is that owners play a significant role in extending their Maine Coons lifespan. With the correct care, attention and focus on the factors, your Maine Coon may even live beyond 15 years:
- Veterinary check-ups
As one of the largest domesticated cat breeds in the world, it is important that your Maine Coon is only fed a diet that meets their unique nutritional requirements. In particular, a Maine Coons diet must contain high levels of protein, low levels of carbohydrates, and moderate amounts of fats and fatty acids e.g. Omega 3 and 6. I personally love these high quality dry foods because they keep my Maine Coons health in optimum condition.
Maine Coon cats are prone to obesity, so it is vital that owners do not overfeed their cats, since obesity is the catalyst for other more serious health conditions developing.
Maine Coon cats are prone to obesity, so it is vital that owners encourage their cats to exercise regularly. Regular exercise will help to keep excess weight at bay, and is thought to significantly increase a Maine Coons lifespan.
There are a large number of cat toys on the market which get your cat up and moving. I found these ones particularly effective since their high quality, rugged nature, and tailoring towards a highly intelligent Maine Coon brain make them ideal ways to get your Maine Coon moving.
c) Veterinary Check-Ups
In order to increase a Maine Coons lifespan it is important that your Maine Coon cats vaccination history is up to date. Owners should then arrange regular veterinary checkups for their cat, to make sure that their cats health remains at optimum levels.
Believe it or not, grooming plays an important role in increasing a Maine Coons lifespan. Thus, owners should pay particular attention to the following grooming rituals:
|Regular Brushing||Owner should regularly brush Maine Coons thick dense fur, to ensure that it is free from knots and matting. If knots are not removed, your cat will become distressed and start pulling their hair out|
|Deshedding Cat Fur||Use a deshedding tool to reduce shedding levels, therefore inadvertently limiting the number of hairballs that your Maine Coon gets|
|Brush Cats Teeth||Brushing cats teeth daily limits the buildup of plaque and tartar, which lead to periodontal disease. In severe cases, this disease will probe fatal, if the issue is not addressed quickly. Good oral hygiene ensures that cat does not lose teeth|
|Maine Coon Bathing||Maine Coons love to bathe in water, if you introduce the concept whilst they are still kittens. Bathing helps to untangle knotted hair, and naturally removes dirt, dust, grease and dead hair from a cat’s fur|
Factors That Decrease A Maine Coons Lifespan
Despite being a very hardy cat breed, the Maine Coon cat is still predisposed to developing a few health issues, which may reduce their overall lifespan. These include:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy
- Periodontal Disease
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
- Poor Diet
a) Hip Dysplasia
Maine Coon cats are prone to hip dysplasia due to their large physical frame, which places added the strain on their bodies. It causes arthritis, but is not thought to be huge issue for the majority of cats. Symptoms should not be ignored however, since prolonged symptoms can lead to paralysis, if not treated as soon as possible.
Maine Coon cats are prone to obesity, which can be the catalyst for other health issues develop. Owners should make sure they are feeding their cat only high quality dry food, in the correct portion sizes, whilst also ensuring the Maine Coon is getting plenty of exercise.
c) Spinal Muscular Atrophy
This hereditary disease is characterized by progressive instability with unsteady gait, and posture abnormalities, due to loss of motor neurons in the lower spinal cord, and atrophy of muscles in the hind limbs.
Maine Coon kittens show first signs of this condition at 3-4 months. This condition is not thought to be painful, however, cats suffering from spinal muscular atrophy should live their lives out indoors, rather than being permitted to roam freely outside.
d) Periodontal Disease
This particular disease is characterised by the buildup of plaque and tartar over a cats teeth. A cat’s gums may also become inflamed, painful and start to recede. If not treated straight away, this condition will develop into more serious issues, which can be fatal.
Owners should ensure their cats have good oral hygiene.
e) Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
This is a common heart disease that occurs in cats. It is not known why it happens, however, can be identified by thickening of the muscular walls surrounding a cat’s heart, which negatively affect the heart’s efficiency levels.
f) Poor Diet
A Maine Coons lifespan will significantly decrease if they are raised on a diet that insufficiently meets their health and nutritional requirements.
Maine Coon Lifespan Indoor
This controversial subject often sparks varying opinions across the internet. In general though, many owners opt to keep their Maine Coon cat within the confines of their own home, for the following reasons:
- Safety from poisons, and predators
- Peace of mind that cat is ok
- Criminals cannot take cat, to resell
- Increasing levels of traffic on our roads
- Not at risk of catching infectious diseases, from other animals
- Diet can be controlled i.e. no dodgy mice to make them ill!
For more in depth information on this subject, take a look at my article: “Can Maine Coon Cats Be Kept Indoors“.
Do Outdoor Maine Coons Live Longer?
There is no statistical research available, identifying whether an outdoor Maine Coon will live longer than an indoor Maine Coon cat. What we do know for certain, however, is that outdoor Maine Coon cats are less prone to:
- Lack of exercise
- Psychological issues
This is because outdoor Maine Coons can access their natural habitat, which is full of excitement, scents and smells for them to investigate. Freedom to roam outside also ensures a Maine Coon is getting plenty of exercise, since they can chase prey, jump and climb, which helps keep their bodies fit and healthy.
A further benefit of allowing your Maine Coon to roam freely outside, is that they naturally have a diet more in line with the high protein live prey diet they would have lived off many decades ago. This is because whilst outside, they are able to use their natural instinct to hunt live prey.
However, before you assume that allowing you Maine Coon to roam freely outside will increase your Maine Coons lifespan, it is important to keep in mind that there are always two sides to every story. In this case, owners should be aware that many dangers their Maine Coon, when allowed to roaming freely outside. Each of these factors may actually negatively impact the lifespan of your Maine Coon cat:
- At risk of being hunted by predators
- Road traffic
- Your cat may come into contact with fatal poisons, in neighbouring properties
- Cat may become trapped
- Attacks from other cats, carrying infectious diseases
Oldest Maine Coon Cat
If you are concerned that your precious Maine Coon cats anticipated life expectancy seems too short, take comfort in the fact there are always exceptions to the rule. In fact, Corduroy, a beautiful tabby Maine Coon cat of mixed parentage (only one of his parents was a Maine Coon) is proof of that.
Corduroy was adopted from an Oregon shelter in 1989, by Reed Okura who was just seven years old, at the time. This Maine Coon cat then went on to be awarded the title of ‘oldest cat’ in the Guinness World Records, after reaching a staggering 26 years old in 2018!
When the record was set, Corduroys owner reported that their Maine Coon cat was in great health, with a naughty personality to match. Despite being on a low protein diet to protect his kidneys, this famous Maine Coon cat was still infamous for jumping up onto the kitchen counters on a daily basis. His owner also confirmed that Corduroy had never been declawed, and, despite reaching 26 years of age he surprisingly wasn’t experiencing difficulties jumping up and down the household stairs. Reed Okura confirmed that Corduroy was an outdoor Maine Coon all his life, and still loved to hunt prey in the wild at 26 years of age.
Sadly, in November 2019 the Daily Mail reported in their newspaper, that Corduroy (now 27 years old) was suspected dead, after 7 weeks absence from his owners (source).
If you take a look at the table above, you will see that on average it is the British Shorthair cat breed that tends to live the longest of all the large cat breeds, reaching between 14 – 20 years of age. By comparison, the Maine Coon cat has a far more condensed lifespan range, of 10 – 15 years, though there will always be exceptions to the rule, for instance Corduroy at half Maine Coon, that lived to 27 years old!
Maine Coon Life Stages
Just like other cat breeds, the Maine Coon cat will pass through a number of different growth stages, before reaching the end of their life.
The table below gives you a rough indication of the Maine Coon life stages:
|0 – 3 Months||Maine Coon kitten is born||Specially formulated kitten food only|
|3 – 7 Months||Kitten will grow roughly 1-2 pounds each month. They will have firm layer of muscle on their legs and haunches. Their ribs should not be prominent||Continue feeding your kitten specially formulated kitten food, until they reach 9 months old|
|9 – 12 months||Growth spurt should have ended||Transfer cat onto high quality adult dry food|
|1 – 5 years||Kitten will grow slowly, until they reach full size||High quality adult dry food|
|3 – 5 Years||Kitten reaches full size by 3-5 years of age||H|
|7 Years||Cat moves into senior stage of their lives||Transfer cat onto specially formulated dry cat food, for senior cats|
|10 – 15 Years||Average Maine Coon lifespan||High quality senior dry food|
Cat Years Calculator
Have you ever heard someone refer to their cats age, in cat years? Although this might seem like a rather bizarre concept at first, there is logic to their madness! This is because scientists have concluded that human years do not directly correlate with cat years. Therefore, whilst your Maine Coon cat might only be 7 years old in human years, they are more physically and mentally similar to a 44 year old human!
According to Purina, “the first two years of a cat’s life are roughly equal to the first 25 of a human’s”. Every human year after this stage is considered equivalent to an additional four cat years (source).
Take a look at this Cat Years Calculator to establish how old your Maine Coon cat really is.
Maine Coon Growing Up
Maine Coon cats are known for having a very slow growth rate, not reaching their full size until they reach between 3-4 years of age, compared to normal cat breeds that reach full size by 2 years. They grow into one of the largest cat breeds in the world, and develop many prominent features during their Maine Coon lifespan, that the breed is characterised by.
If you have never owned a Maine Coon cat before, it is impossible for you to predict how your small Maine Coon kitten will visually transform within their first year. Let alone how they will look when they reach 4 years old! This therefore makes the short Youtube video below even more special, since it beautifully captures the physical development of a Maine Coon kitten between 3 weeks of age, to their 1st birthday.
What is the lifespan of a Maine Coon cat? When answering this question it is important to remember that any estimated lifespan stated online will always be just that, an estimate. No one can accurately predict the exact age that your treasured Maine Coon pet will reach, so, just keep in mind that your Maine Coon cats lifespan is very dependent upon the level of care they recieve over their lifetime.
Owners should pay particular attention to their Maine Coons health and wellbeing during the course of their cats lifetime, to ensure their pedigree cat experiences the best quality of life that is possible. In particular, it is important that owners only feed their large cat with a high quality dry food diet, containing high levels of protein. Additionally, if you plan to keep your Maine Coon as an indoor cat, you must make a concerted effort to encourage your cat to exercise regularly, to avoid them becoming obese.
Ultimately, the genetic predispositions of each Maine Coon cat will play a large role in determining a Maine Coons lifespan. Therefore, it is advisable for individuals to obtain evidence that the kitten they are purchasing, is free from hereditary diseases, before purchasing their Maine Coon kitten.