If you have a young family and are considering getting a Maine Coon cat or if you have a Maine Coon and are expecting a baby, then you might be wondering how tolerant this sizeable and imposing cat will be with them.
Are Maine Coons good with babies and children? If you’re looking for a family pet, a Maine Coon is a good choice; you won’t find a better cat to mix with children. A Maine Coon is robust and tolerant and will play with a child all day. However, as gentle as Maine Coons are, you should always supervise them around babies and toddlers.
The way a Maine Coon behaves is very much dependent on how it has been socialized and treated from young. Read on to discover all you need to know about managing a Maine Coon around all members of your family and how you can ensure one is raised correctly to fit in perfectly.
Cats, Babies, and Children – Common Concerns
These are some of the concerns people have when introducing a Maine Coon into a family:
- Will it be OK with babies and children?
- Will it be family-friendly?
- Will it be temperamental?
- Will it be mean or vicious?
As Maine Coon cats can grow to a length of 40 inches, a height of 16 inches and on average weigh between 11 and 18 lbs it’s not surprising that people have concerns about their behavior.
Maine Coons are Gentle
Maine coons are indeed larger than your average domestic cat. They usually grow a neck ruff similar to a lions mane and this, along with their long fur coat and large tufted paws, does make them look even larger than they really are.
They have large and loving personalities to match their size. They seem to instinctively understand the difference between an adult and a baby or small child.
When we had our baby, Joe, our two Maine Coons were 2 years old. They were inquisitive about him but recognized that he was small and so always behaved carefully and gently around him. They never entered his space when he was in it but did enjoy sneaking into his cot or pram when he wasn’t there!
As Joe began to walk, he followed the cats everywhere and they were incredibly patient with this. We’re convinced that it was his desire to keep up with the cats that encouraged him to walk at 10 months old.
Maine Coons are sturdy, strong cats and I think they know this and so they are confident and chilled out around children. They will just keep out of their way if they have had enough of them.
Maine Coons are Friendly and Sociable With Kids
Our two Maine Coons have lived with us for 14 years now and have always been friendly and sociable. Their temperament has always been calm and patient. If they are unsure of someone they just stay out of the way. They have never been known to viciously attack us or anyone else.
Joe once received a gentle swipe when he was about 2 years old for persistently annoying one of our Maine Coons when it was trying to eat, and it honestly did seem to be toned down – more of a warning – and no real damage was done.
Our Maine Coons like to be in the room we’re in (including at night). There have been times when we and Joe have accidentally tripped over them or trodden on their paws or tails. They are pretty quick at moving out of the way and have never retaliated against us for this.
It is important to teach children to always be gentle and kind to cats. Even so, Maine Coons do seem to be extremely tolerant of children, in our experience.
Maine Coons Fit in With Family Life
Maine Coons love company but are independent too. As I’m writing this article one is somewhere in the house (or garden) and the other is two feet away, curled up on a cushion sound asleep.
Joe is now 12 and as far as the cats are concerned he’s another adult and they react to him as they do to us. He is just as likely to be woken up by them in the morning as we are when they want their breakfast.
When Joe was younger, we never felt we had to constantly watch the cats around him, but we did anyway as you can never be 100% sure how an animal will behave.
They were never a nuisance to him. We did, however, keep an eye on his behavior around them and instilled him from the minute he could understand that he had to be gentle with them.
Having the cats has taught him to be a kind, animal-loving child. That said, it is always wise to keep a watch on babies and small children when they are in the same room as your cat but it is unlikely that a Maine Coon would attack a child for no reason.
Our Maine Coons like to sit on our laps. When Joe was small and it was time to feed him or pay him attention, the cats didn’t deliberately get in the way.
On the other hand, they do like to get in the way when I’m typing and will quite happily squeeze onto my lap in front of a laptop whilst I’m trying to type… oh, here comes Charlie right now!
So Maine Coons like to be around you and like to follow you around the house but will keep a safe distance while you look after your baby or child. Maine Coon cats thrive well in families with children and babies.
Maine Coons are Always Kittens at Heart
Maine Coons are extremely playful cats, which your children will love. Whereas adults often tire of playing with cats after 5 minutes, children have the patience to play and play and play. Here are some great examples of toys Maine Coons like to play with.
A Maine Coon will revert to crazy kittenish behavior given the chance. They will chase string, balls, feathers, all sorts, and some will even play fetch (one of ours has a thing about hairbands and will keep fetching one till the cows come home).
Just beware of trying to retrieve anything from a Maine Coon’s clutches as it may try to grab it from your hand and you may get scratched!
Maine Coons and Newborn Babies
If you are expecting a baby and are worried about how safe your newborn baby will be with a Maine Coon then rest assured; Maine Coons have loyal and protective instincts similar to a dog. In our experience, our cats were really gentle around our baby.
If you are worried about germs then don’t be. I fretted that our midwife would have something to say about the cats and their hair being everywhere on her first visit. She was really relaxed and said cats and babies were a great mix and that babies needed to build up their immune systems.
When you first bring your baby home do as we did and show it to your Maine Coon straight away. Don’t neglect your cat or try to keep the baby out of its reach. We placed Joe, still in his car seat on the living room floor and let the cats have a sniff. They soon wandered off as if he wasn’t there (but crept back to try out the car seat later).
Sometimes the cats looked like they would like to close their ears to block out Joe’s crying but they soon got used to him. They enjoyed all the new paraphernalia that came with him such as cribs, changing mats, prams, and toys. We never once had an issue with the cats trying to lay on Joe.
Some people believe that cats deliberately try to smother newborns but this is not true. Cats do like heat and for that reason may try to snuggle up to a baby.
As a Maine Coon can be quite heavy you probably wouldn’t want to risk one sneaking into your baby’s crib. If you can’t be in the room to watch your sleeping baby then close the door and keep the cat out – close the windows too if your cat is prone to entering the house that way.
Choosing a Maine Coon to Live With Your Family
If you already have a baby or small children and are thinking a Maine Coon will complete your family, here are things you should consider:
- If you are buying from a breeder visit when the kittens are 2 weeks old to ensure you are happy that the breeder is socializing the kittens properly by handling them gently from this age. The more people a kitten meets from this age onwards the better its social interaction will be
- When you bring your kitten home, ensure you play with it with toys and objects and not your hands. If you use your hand as a plaything you are likely to get scratched. Teach your kitten to play with anything but your hands!
- If you are thinking of rescuing an older cat visit it several times with all the family to see how it interacts with them. Allow your children to play gently with it to watch its reactions. Find out as much as you can about its history.
To sum up
If you already have a Maine Coon before you have a baby don’t forget to give your cat attention once you bring the baby home. You don’t want it to feel neglected and unloved.
Cats need time to adapt to new members of the family. Allow your Maine Coon to be around your baby with your supervision.
While Maine Coons are very patient and tolerant, it is important to teach children to be gentle with them and to understand how sharp their claws are.
Maine Coons (like other cats) have very sharp claws. If your cat doesn’t naturally wear its claws down because it is an indoor cat then consider having them trimmed a little at the vets.
Even though a Maine Coon can be a large cat, it is still smaller than many dogs so don’t let its size put you off choosing it as a family pet. The main difference between a cat and a dog of the same size is a cat has the ability to lash out at lightning speed with a paw full of needle-sharp claws.
So, are Maine Coon Cats Good With Babies and Children?
I hope you can see that the answer is, “Yes they are as long as the babies and children are good with them!”