Taking care of a Maine Coon cat is not difficult, but it does require long-term commitment. Maine Coons are not the high-maintenance kitties many people believe them to be. I can vouch for this as a long-time owner of these beautiful cats, currently sharing their life with four beauties.
Maine Coons do not require any more special care than other long-haired cats. Regular grooming is a must to prevent their hair matting. Having plenty of space can be beneficial for their active lifestyle but is not essential. Like with any cat, a good diet and engaging play sessions are recomended for a Maine Coon’s physical and mental well-being.
Here’s a comprehensive look at what it really takes to care for a Maine Coon:
1. Required space
Maine Coons are known for their impressive size, and are one of the largest domestic cat breeds. As a result, they need enough space to move around comfortably.
If you’re living in a small apartment, you might need to create vertical spaces with cat trees and shelves to cater to a Maine Coon’s active nature.
If you’re able to create a secure outside space for a Maine Coon, this will really help with fulfilling its exercise requirements.
2. Grooming, claws, bathing and teeth
A Maine Coon’s long, luxurious coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling. Brushing their coat every day really helps maintain its health and prevents excessive shedding.
Grooming also provides an opportunity for bonding and helps you keep an eye out for any skin issues or parasites. Ideally, start a grooming routine from day one as this helps it become a part of normal life.
Part of grooming a Maine Coon can include claw maintenance. Many people clip the very tips from their cat’s claws to remove the sharpest point. Others take their cats to a vet or a groomer to have claws clipped.
One thing that is absolutely NOT to be done (and is illegal on many places) is claw removal. You can find out why in this article.
It is not at all necessary to bath a Maine Coon. I’ve owned them for many many years and have never once bathed one. Some people do if they have toiletiing issue and others cope with this by giving their Maine Coon a hygeine shave.
If you can brush a Maine Coon’s teeth from as young an age as possible, you’ll reduce the chances of it developing all sorts of dental issues.
Many cats develop gingivitis and Maine Coons are particularly prone to this and other periodontal diseases.
3. Food and drink
In spite of what you may read elsewhere, Maine Coons do not need a special diet. Like all cats, they should be given food high in meat-based protein.
Raw or wet food is best and any dry food offered should be very low carbohydrate and grain-free. Always look for the word ‘complete’ as this means the food contains all the nutrients a Maine Coon requires.
Make sure you don’t overfeed a Maine Coon by following the portion sizes recommended on the label according to your cat’s weight.
Maine Coons drink a lot of water and many prefer to drink from a flowing source. So you may like to invest in a cat drinking fountain as well as a standard water bowl.
4. Health Care
Like all cats, Maine Coons need regular veterinary check-ups to monitor their overall health. Annual vaccinations and dental check-ups are recommended.
Although Maine Coons are associated with certain genetic health conditions such as hip dysplasia and Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the chances of these occurring are much lower if you buy kittens from a breeder who has screened their cats for these diseases.
5. Exercise and Enrichment
Maine Coons are active and playful cats so need plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and play sessions can help keep them engaged.
They often enjoy interactive games like fetch or laser pointer play, which also go a long way toward fostering a bond between you and your cat.
Essentially, the more time you devote to stimulating your Maine Coon through play sessions and providing it with an enriched environment, the happier it will be mentally and physically.
Maine Coons are known for their friendly and sociable nature. They usually get along well with other pets and children, making them great family cats.
However, how well things go very much relies on proper socialization to ensure a Maine Coon feels confident and comfortable in various situations and around people.
It’s imperative that socialization begins as early as possible in a Maine Coons life, that is when it is a kitten at the breeder’s home.
Staying with its litter mates and mother until at least 13 weeks of age is also key so avoid collecting a kitten any younger than this.
7. Litter Box Maintenance
Maine Coons are very clean cats so providing a clean and well-maintained litter box is essential. Their larger size requires a large litter box, and regular cleaning is necessary to prevent litter box aversion.
In multicat households, more than one litter box is often essential so be prepared to acommodate at least two.
8. Engaging Their Playful Personality
Maine Coons have a playful and sometimes mischievous personality. Their intelligence means they might figure out how to open cabinets or doors, so cat-proofing your home might be necessary.
Providing them with a variety of toys and activities helps keep their curious minds engaged. If you can find the time for several play sessions a day, even better!
9. Providing Scratching posts
To help a Maine Coon maintain its claws, satisfy natural urges and help it to flex its muscles, scratching posts and pads are essential.
You might have to experiiment with a few types such as vertical or horizontal styles but if you introduce these early enough, you’ll hopefully save your furniture.
9. Shedding and Allergies
People question if Maine Coons are hypoallergenic and the simple answer is no. Allergies to cats are triggered by a protein found in a cat’s saliva and urine.
When a cat licks itself these proteins are transferred to its fur and skin. If someone with an allergy to cats comes into contact with a Maine Coon’s fur, and skin cells (dander), an allergic reaction is triggered.
A Maine Coons sheds as much as any cat, especially during shedding seasons. If you or anyone in your household has allergies, regular grooming and cleaning might help minimize any reactions.
While no cat is hypoallergenic, some people with allergies do find that Maine Coons cause less of a problem because their long fur seems to reduce the amount of dander released into the environment. I happen to be one of these people and live comfortably with 4 Maine Coons.
10. Lifespan and Commitment
Before you buy a Maine Coon, make sure you are ready for the long haul. Maine Coons have a relatively long lifespan, often living up to 15 years or more, with proper care.
Owning a Maine Coon is definitely a long-term commitment that includes financial responsibility, time, and effort to ensure their well-being throughout their lives.
11. The cost of Maine Coon ownership
Do some budgeting before you commit to owning a Maine Coon.
Alhough a Maine Coon can be expensive to buy compared to other cats, the purchase price is actually a small percentage of the ongoing costs once you own one.
Tha actual costs of caring for a Maine Coon are similar to those of owning any cat. Make sure you can afford:
- The right food
- Adequate annual health care
- Cat insurance to cover unexpected medical bills
And be sure you will be able to pay these expenses for 15 plus years as I’m certain you will never want your Maine Coon to have anything but the best care for life.
12. Maine Coons Are Great For First Time Cat Owners
As there are no special requirements when it comes to caring for Maine Coons, they really are perfect for novice cat owners.
You’ll find plenty of groups on FaceBook only too willing to give you all the advice you need.
One thing I can’t stress enough is how important it is to source a Maine Coon from a really good breeder, ideally one who comes recommended.
I’ve been through the process of buying a Maine Coon seven times and have put together a helpful guide with plenty of sensible advice which you can read here.
13. Maine Coons Love Human Company
Maine Coons do not like being left alone. They are sociable cats and thrive better if they are not left alone too often. You may like to think about owning another cat at the same time to ensure your Maine Coon is never lonely.
If you’re out most of every day and go away a lot, you might want to think twice about getting a Maine Coon as it may not cope very well with the lack of you in its life!
14. The Downside of Owning a Maine Coon cat
There are no real downsides to owning a Maine Coon cat. They might not be the cat for someone who doesn’t have time to paly with a cat every day.
They might not be ideal if you are away from home for many hours every day or if you like to trvel often.
They like attention so if you prefer a cat that keeps iteself to itself, a Maine Coon might not be your ideal cat.
Whilst Maine Coon cats have a few specific needs that might require a bit more attention than some cats, their loving and friendly nature, striking appearance, and engaging personality make them incredibly rewarding companions for those willing to invest in their care.
With proper attention to grooming, health care, socialization, and play, you can easily provide a happy and fulfilling life for a Maine Coon cat.