Are Maine Coon Cats Territorial?


It’s a typical cat behavior. Not just with your average domestic moggy but for wild cats, also. They like to have somewhere that they feel safe, somewhere that other cats will know already belongs to someone and they should enter at their own risk. A cat can change its personality in a flash, from being a loving, docile, lap-cat to being an aggressive, vicious, and even downright nasty animal when it comes to defending its territory.

Anyone who has ever owned a Maine Coon will know that it differs from the vast majority of cat breeds. Not only does it look different, with its long coat and lion-like features, it acts differently too. It’s why I’ve owned them for over twenty-five years now. But are they different from other cats when it comes to territory, marking it and any associated aggression?

Are Maine Coon cats territorial? Maine Coons can be territorial but no more or less than other cats. They mark their outside territory and will defend it if necessary. The Maine Coon cat will use its scent glands to mark its territory inside but if it uses urine to mark, there are things you can do to prevent this.

What is Typical Territorial Behavior in a Maine Coon?

Cats marking their territory is common and natural and the Maine Coon is no different to any cat in this respect. Primarily, marking its territory is achieved through scent glands. Usually, this does not cause any problems but depending on how often they do it and where they do it, then it sometimes can.

How Do Cats Mark Their Territory?

Maine Coons (and cats in general) mark their territory by leaving their scent in a location they are claiming as theirs. They will do this by scratching, rubbing parts of themselves on what they want to mark – or via the spraying of urine.

Cats utilize their scent glands which can be found on their paws, cheeks, and flanks – therefore, when they rub these parts of their body onto an object (which includes you) they are transferring their scent to it. The purpose of this is to leave a message to other cats that this property has been marked as theirs and you should back off!

This behavior isn’t just confined to just inanimate objects and ourselves though. If you have more than one cat in the household then you may find themselves (eventually) passing their scent to each other which (allegedly) can help to reduce anxiety between them.

Are Maine Coon Cats Territorial?
Harry trying not to be seen on the bird-box.

The above is fine, naturally, but when things progress from here it can become a problem. If the Maine Coon feels the need to mark its territory via urine spraying – this is not something you would obviously want to occur in your home!

This behavior is quite easy to spot. They will lift their tail up and spray urine. You may also notice their tail shakes a little when they do this, which is another sign that urine spraying is taking place.

Note that this behavior has nothing to do with toilet functions, it is a totally separate process occurring. So, why is your Maine Coon spraying and how do you stop them?

Why Is Your Maine Coon Spraying?

Firstly, try and understand why they are doing this in the first place. Could it be related to mating? If you haven’t had them neutered then consider getting it done as soon as possible. There are many benefits to doing this, apart from the obvious, including numerous health benefits.

The next most obvious reason why your Maine Coon might be spraying will be because they are stressed. This can be down to quite a few reasons but could be related to any of the below:

  • Change of surroundings, moving house?
  • A new cat in the vicinity, maybe a neighbor has acquired one?
  • Being left alone for too long, little or no interaction.
  • Unwell.

It is rare that a Maine Coon will spray inside though and it should be fairly obvious why they are doing this if you notice it. Typically, you will see them doing this when they are outside as this is when they are aware of the scents from other cats.

How Do I Stop My Maine Coon from Spraying Inside?

The first thing to do if you notice your Maine Coon spraying inside is to try and identify the reason. If they are eating and drinking and moving normally then they are most likely not doing it because they are unwell. There are things you can do to help prevent this behavior. Some are more obvious than others.

Firstly, make sure no other cats are able to enter your home whilst you’re out. If you need to get a pet camera to monitor proceedings take a look at the Nest Cam Outdoor security camera (follow this link to see reviews on Amazon). I can thoroughly recommend this one as I bought it myself!

Obviously, if you see a strange cat coming into your home whilst you’re away, you’ve found your problem – deal with it. Maybe consider keeping your cats in for a bit and locking the cat-flap (you’ll need a litter tray of course) or alternatively take a look at cat-flaps that only open if your cat has an electronic collar on.

Are Maine Coon Cats Territorial?
Our Harry

If you think your Maine Coon seems anxious, many people swear by calming diffuser kits which help to calm a cat down. These are actually what we bought when we moved house a few years back and I think they helped. It’s hard to really know as you don’t really know what they would have been like if you hadn’t bought one.

Can I Train My Maine Coon to Not Be so Territorial?

The best way to approach this is to make them happy. I know that sounds like a complete throw-away response but the reason they are most likely being territorial is that they are feeling anxious. You are the tool that can make the most difference in this.

If it’s not obvious why they are marking their territory and it’s a problem to you then you need to try and reassure them. Now, this is easier with dogs than it is with cats, so you might need a bit of patience!

Your Maine Coon may not have an area within your home where they feel safe so if you think this is the case, find them somewhere. Make sure they are able to climb up (to get the higher ground where they will feel safe) and put things in there with them that they associate nice things with.

Hopefully, you are one of those nice things and if you can’t always be in there with them, then find some well-used clothes (that you don’t really want) – wear them for a bit then leave them in there. You want this area smelling of you and of them, nothing else.

Put some of their toys in this area and just spend time with them. Their behavior will change, they may be Maine Coons but this stuff, this very simple stuff, really works.

You’re going to have your work cut out if you’re trying to prevent them from being territorial outside. I can’t really think of a reason why you might want to do this except perhaps if they are spraying in someone else’s garden.

Having a stern word with your Maine Coon might make you feel better but they will only stare at you in a bemused fashion before expecting some play-time fun again.

How Are Maine Coons Different to Other Cats?

The Maine Coon is different from other cats in so many ways. It is one of the largest domesticated cats on the planet but this large size is a small part of the whole picture.

Where the Maine Coon stands out from other cats is down to its astonishing personality. Some people notice mannerisms that are more associated with a dog than your average cat and maybe this is true to an extent. Yes, the Maine Coon will occasionally play fetch with you – one of ours does this with hairbands.

Are Maine Coon Cats Territorial?
Harry in a sink!

The Maine Coon is often an extremely vocal cat and will want to talk to you in its own, unique way. A lot! They will follow you around the house, wondering where you’re going and what you’re up to – they are extremely inquisitive and don’t like to be left out of what’s going on!

Some people say that their Maine Coons love water. Well – I’m not sure I’d go that far but I will say that they tolerate it more than other breeds. One of ours (Charlie) seems to only drink from our tap, he has no interest in the actual water bowl.

Are Maine Coon Cats Territorial?
Charlie drinking from the tap

As far as their territorial instincts are concerned, are they really any different to any other cat? I would say no, the Maine Coon is just as territorial as any other breed of cat. It depends on the individual personality but usually, they will stand up to most threats, especially the feline variety. One of ours (Harry) has no problems with facing-off to dogs either, he’ll just sit there, staring at it – totally nonchalant. Charlie will meanwhile be upstairs, hiding under the bed!

How Do I Stop Cats Fighting?

I have to assume that we’re talking about two cats fighting that don’t live together. If you’re talking about your own cats fighting then it may well be that you’ve introduced them together way too quick. If this is the case for you then check out our Cat Introduction Plan that is detailed here (opens in a new window).

So, if your cat is fighting another neighbor’s cat then it is probably related to territory. We usually see this behavior from ours when another cat has approached our home and gets too close to the cat flap. Harry, our ginger Maine Coon, gets particularly cross with this and quite aggressive.

If two cats are fighting and you need to break them up then you’re really putting your life into your own hands if you want to physically get involved! Well, maybe not your life but you’ll be lucky to get out of it without some scratches. So don’t physically intervene but startle them instead. Make a loud noise or clap your hands quite close which will most likely make them move apart.

Are Maine Coon Cats Territorial?

Apart from having a word with their owner, there’s not a lot you can do about this. It’s part of their natural instincts to protect their territory so if you want my advice, just let them get on with it. You won’t find more of a cat lover than me but I let them be cats. I let them out when they want to go out and I let them hunt. Obviously, there are limitations – they need to share a home with us so if they were to spray inside, I would deal with it but outside – that’s their world.

Conclusion – Is the Maine Coon territorial?

When it comes to protecting territory, the Maine Coon is like all cats – they will mark their territory and they will protect it. The Maine Coon is certainly different in many ways to most other breeds but sometimes cats will just be cats and when it comes to territory, they don’t tend to fool around.

If you notice this behavior inside though, as you’ve read about, you shouldn’t be too concerned. It’s common, normal and fixable. It’s usually quite easy to determine what the root cause is and won’t take too long to fix. As usual, with so many things, love and attention is the answer…

Finally, if you’d like to know more about this fantastic breed, feel free to check out our Complete Guide to the Maine Coon where you’ll find out everything you ever wanted to know (and some other stuff too). Thanks for reading!

Matt

I'm Matt Pettitt, joint founder of the Pets Knowledge Base alongside my wife, Jane. Since I was just 2 years of age I've had pets in my life - which I don't mind admitting is 47 years! I strongly believe that when you introduce a pet into your family you should do everything you can to give it the best life possible. I've learned a lot during the past (almost) five decades and this blog gives me a medium to share everything I have learned ( both good and bad) about pets. If you'd like to know more about us, and how to contact us - take a look at our About page here!

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