The Maine Coon is one of the most popular cat breeds in the United States. It is often the number one choice of families looking to purchase a cat. There are a number of things you should know before you buy one.
Before buying a Maine Coon, what you should know is that though the purchase price may seem high, it is a drop in the ocean compared to the costs you will incur throughout the years to come. But there are more than enough positives to outweigh this expense.
Here’s what you need know about Maine Coons before you commit to buying one:
1. They are expensive
If you buy a purebred Maine Coon from a reputable breeder, expect to pay upwards of $1000. This price reflects the fact that good, caring breeders pay for genetic screening of their breeding cats, pay to register their kittens and pay for initial vaccinations.
Once you own a Maine Coon the expense doesn’t stop. You will need to pay for:
- Health insurance
- Accessories such as bowls, beds, cat carrier, litter tray
- Cat litter
- Annual vaccinations and health checks
- Monthly flea, tick and worm treatments
- A good selection of toys
- Scratchpads, climbing trees, etc
- Spaying or neutering
- Grooming equipment
- Cat sitters or a cattery when you go on vacation
I would seriously consider pet insurance which will cost around $25 per month (for a 1-year-old Maine Coon). For our two, we have used Petplan for 15 years. They have been excellent every time we’ve had to make a claim, settling each bill fully without any fuss. Get an instant Petlan quote here – it takes about 1 minute and there’s no obligation.
So be prepared and work out if you can afford to give a Maine Coon the good care it deserves.
2. Two Maine Coons are better than one
If you have just one cat in your home it will get bored and lonely when you go out, especially if it is an indoor cat. If you can afford to buy two Maine Coons from the same litter they will be great company for each other and will also play together (which makes for great entertainment incidentally). The downside is double the expense for you …
3. They should be good with children
Maine Coons are renowned for being great with children. They are fairly robust cats and are good at getting out from under feet. They have a lot of patience and a high tolerance level but still I would always supervise young children around Maine Coons to ensure they treat them kindly. Even the most saintly of cats can lose restraint if teased too often.
4. They should be good with other animals
Many families have Maine Coons, other cats and dogs under the same roof, living in perfect harmony. Introducing a Maine Coon kitten into a home with existing pets is usually a smooth operation. However, if you own a Maine Coon for some time and then introduce a new pet you may have to do this cautiously because Maine Coons are rather territorial. It can take time and patience using separate areas of the house and then a gradual bringing together.
5. They need plenty of exercise
Being a large cat, Maine Coons need a good amount of exercise. If you plan to keep on as an indoor cat (as many owners do) you will have to ensure it gets plenty of exercise and stimulation every day. If you don’d do this your Maine Coon will have a pretty dull life of eating, washing, sleeping, repeat. This can lead to boredom, unwanted behavior and an obese, unhealthy cat.
You can invest in some excellent accessories, such as indoor climbing trees (here are some great examples), to ensure your cat moves around as much as possible.
6. They love to play
Everyone knows how playful kittens are. Maine Coons will play like kittens all their lives if someone will take the time to encourage them. It is recommended that you play with a Maine Coon for at least 15 minutes every day to keep its mind active and satisfy its inbuilt predatory instincts. It is also an excellent way for owners and cats to bond. Here’s an excellent dancer toy your Maine Coon shouldn’t be able to resist.
We’ve actually hand-picked the best toys for the Maine Coon currently available – ones that have actually worked and they haven’t got bored with after 10 seconds. If you’d like to take a look at these, check out the Best Toys for a Maine Coon (opens in a new tab).
7. They can have health problems
If you buy from a breeder who only breeds from screened cats, your Maine Coon shouldn’t suffer from any genetically transmitted illnesses. If you rescue a Maine Coon from a shelter or take one in without knowing its history, you can’t be sure of its future health.
The main health problems that affect Maine Coons are:
- Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) –
a disease that leads to a thickening of the walls and enlargement of the heart.
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) –
the symptoms are instability, unsteady gait and abnormal posture due to the loss of nerves in the lower spinal cord and a weakening of the muscles in the back legs.
- Hip Dysplasia (HD) –
a genetically inherited malformation of the hip joints.
- Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) –
an inherited disease where fluid-filled cysts form in the kidneys.
8. They like to keep you company
Maine Coons are extremely loving and sociable. They like to be where you are. If you try to shut one from the room you are in it will call you with a particular meow to be let in. Some Maine Coons are lap cats while others prefer to sit close by. If you give your cat enough attention it, will be satisfied and then allow you room to get on with what you need to in peace.
If you want a cat that soaks up your attention then a Maine Coon is the cat for you.
9. They like to know what’s going on
Maine Coons are a particularly inquisitive breed. If you bring anything in to the home your Maine Coon will be there immediately to inspect it. Once you have finished with any packaging or boxes, your Maine Coon will be in amongst it, playing or turning it into its next bed.
If you leave a cupboard open, your Maine Coon will be straight in to see what you keep there. If there is a small space behind a drawer, a Maine Coon will squeeze in to investigate. Unfortunately, this nosey nature can lead them into trouble. If you lose a Maine Coon in the house, check out any small concealed spaces first.
10. They can be trained
Maine Coons are known as the dog of the cat world because of their loyal natures. If you get a Maine coon you will be able to train it very quickly to use a litter tray. It will also quickly learn routines and program its internal clock. It will soon be waking you for breakfast at the same time each day (say goodbye to laying in). It will be there watching from a window as you arrive home from work each day. Unlike many cats, a Maine Coon will respond to its name.
11. You should get them insured
Health insurance is essential when you own a Maine Coon. Carry out some research and be aware of the annual costs before you buy your cat. If you can’t afford the monthly premiums then you most likely won’t be able to afford to pay for the costs of any expensive medical treatments that your cat might need one day.
Vets bills can run into thousands of dollars very quickly and once you own a Maine Coon you will be devastated if you can’t afford any treatment it may unexpectedly require.
Another thing you should know is if you don’t have insurance and end up paying out for a condition your cat develops you then won’t be able to find an insurer who will cover that condition should it arise again. If you are already insured and claim for a condition then the same insurer will always pay out again if the condition recurs.
12. They have a good lifespan
A healthy Maine Coon without inherited genetic conditions can survive on average between 10 and 13 years. Many people I know have Maine Coons far older. My two have just turned 14. So as long as you care for a Maine Coon properly, you should have many happy years together. To keep a Maine Coon’s health on track it will need to have annual vaccinations and health checks, a well-balanced diet, plenty of exercise and a loving owner.
13. They don’t like being left alone
Maine Coons like company and don’t like being left alone. It’s not a good idea to leave any cat alone for more than 24 hours at a time. You may be able to put enough food down or leave an automatic pet feeder but your cat could be at risk if it injures itself or falls ill. If its an indoor cat its litter tray will be soiled and it may choose to toilet somewhere else in your house. If you are regularly away make sure you have someone who can pop in and care for your cat.
14. Neutering or spaying is a good idea
Unneutered males can be very difficult as indoor cats. They will sense the call of the wild and will often exhibit unwanted
15. They need grooming
Maine Coons cannot maintain all that beautiful fur themselves: you will have to lend a hand. From day one you should introduce brushing or you might find your cat will not accept it. If a Maine Coon is not compliant, it is very difficult to keep its fur free from knots and mats. And if a Maine Coon is not groomed, over time knots join up and felt-like mats form close to the skin. These, in turn, can join up until the cat’s coat is one large unmanageable mat which puts tension on the skin and causes sore spots.
If you touch a cat’s matted fur, it can feel pain and might swipe at you. Pull a clump of your own hair until it tugs at the roots and hold it tight to get an idea of what this feels like. Large mats can’t be removed with scissors and usually require sedation by a vet who will then shave them off with clippers. It’s best to avoid this situation by persevering with a grooming routine from day one. You will also help to prevent your cat from sicking up fur balls which develop when it swallows loose fur as licks itself clean. Here’s the perfect grooming brush to prevent knots and mats from developing.
16. They shed fur
Maine Coons shed a lot of fur throughout the year. This is more manageable if you groom your cat regularly. You will still find you have to vacuum cat fur up quite often. You will also find cat hair stick extremely well to your clothes. If you buy a Maine Coon also buy a supply of lint rollers – they will come in handy. You might want to invest in a cordless vacuum cleaner too.
17. They are prone to dental problems
Maine Coons tend to suffer from gingivitis which is an irritation, redness and inflammation of the gingiva (the part of the gum around the base of the teeth). If a Maine Coon is diagnosed with gingivitis it must be treated quickly or it can lead to much more serious gum disease and tooth loss.
Many people brush their Maine Coon’s teeth on a daily basis with a special cat toothbrush and paste. Again, it’s worth starting this when a cat is still a kitten so that it will accept it as part of the daily routine.
18. They are fascinated by water
Many Maine Coons do seem to be fascinated by water. Some owners say their cats spend a great deal of time flicking water out of their drinking bowls and others report that they have trouble keeping their cats out of the shower.
My two do not like baths but do like to come into the bathroom and sleep in the basin or drink from the faucet. If a Maine Coon has been bathed from tiny it is usually quite happy for you to continue this routine. However, it is not necessary to bath a Maine Coon as it will keep itself clean enough by licking.
19. They trill and chirp
Maine Coons meow like any cat but they also like to trill and chirp. My two meow at us for various reasons such as to ask for food or to be let into a room. They both trill on entering a room that we are in, almost as if to announce their arrival. They also make this sound to each other on occasions.
The best way I can describe the trilling noise is as a high-pitched noise through a closed mouth that emanates from the throat. It’s a bit like the sound of a rolled R –
20. They can grow to quite a size
A fully grown Maine Coon can range in weight from 8 to 18 pounds and reach a height of 8 to 16 inches. You should not try to smash any existing records by overfeeding a Maine coon because you are more likely to end up with an overweight and unhealthy kitty than you are to win any recognition.
21. It’s important to socialize Maine Coons
The earlier in its life a Maine Coon is introduced to lots of adults, children and other pets, the more accepting of them it becomes. It will have more confidence and be more sociable.
22. They like to scratch at things
I’ve saved this as the grand finale, it should follow a drum roll … MAINE COONS CAN BE QUITE DESTRUCTIVE. OK. There. I’ve said it. But you do have a chance to minimize the damage to your furniture if you provide your cat with plenty of things you don’t mind it scratching and use positive distraction techniques and praise to get it to scratch those things instead. Catnip spray can come in handy. It’s made form a herb that cats can’t seem to resist the smell of.
If you spray a scratching post with it hopefully your cat will scratch there and you can reinforce this with praise so your cat knows you approve. Unfortunately, your cat might still have a go at your furniture in spite of this. It’s not being naughty; it’s just behaving instinctively to physically mark its territory, shed dead outer layers from its claws and flex and work its muscles. Unfortunately, indoor cats do seem to cause more damage in this way. Is it something you can tolerate?
I hope after reading through the above you can now make a more informed decision as to whether or not a Maine Coon is right for you. I’ve owned two Maine Coon brothers for almost 14 years and have no regrets. If you become a Maine Coon owner I wish you long and happy lives together.