Are Maine Coons Illegal or Endangered? (2020 Update)


The Maine Coon cat is an unusual breed in a good way. It is perhaps best known for its size. In the last decade with social media’s exponential growth, images of some of the largest examples have been shared around the world helping to increase their popularity.

This increase in popularity has lead to some interesting discussions as to the legality of this cat in certain countries, states, and territories. So, why is this? Is it okay to purchase this cat where you live and if not, why not?

Are Maine Coons illegal? The Maine Coon cat is not illegal anywhere and it is unlikely that it ever will be! Although it has been confused with wildcats in the past, these are also not illegal. Restrictions on buying big cats (not domestic) vary between country and state.

We’ve established that Maine Coons are legal which means you can breed, buy or adopt them in the US, the UK, and any other country – though they can be harder to come by in certain areas.

Why would the Maine Coon be illegal?

The Maine Coon cat is not illegal, anywhere, and never has been. However, problems can arise when one is mistaken for something else. Because of its larger size, it has been confused in the past with a wildcat. But, even if it is – what’s the problem? You see, even with wildcats there isn’t a problem.

Are Maine Coons Illegal

So, the only way the Maine Coon cat could be considered as illegal if it was mistaken for some illegal animal, but like what? A lion? I mean, it’s pretty ridiculous when you come to think of it so there is literally no reason I can think of why the Maine Coon cat could be mistaken for some illegal animal.

I wonder if it’s because people hear about how big they can become and imagine them as this massive beast when actually, although yes, they are bigger than your average domestic cat – they’re still not exactly massive, right?

Has the Maine Coon been mistaken for an illegal animal?

Well, possibly – but what animal that is illegal to own could it have been mistaken for? An elephant? A kangaroo? I think mistaking a Maine Coon with one of these is just as unlikely as confusing them with a large cat, like a Puma or Lion. Although, perhaps surprisingly, it is possible to own one of these large cats if you live in certain states in the US and have a permit.

Are any cats illegal?

No domestic cats are illegal to own. How the law usually works though is if the animal is potentially dangerous then there are usually more restrictions on ownership. So, therefore, most large cats can not be legally owned. But not everywhere.

Why anyone thinks this is a good idea is beyond me but there are some States in the US (North Carolina, South Carolina, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Alabama) where you can own them, not even a license is required. A few other States allow ownership if you have a license.

Are Maine Coons Illegal
A lion, yesterday.

Are Maine Coons Endangered?

Thankfully the Maine Coon is not an endangered breed and, considering how popular it currently is, there’s not a chance this breed will become endangered any time soon.

However, at one time there was real concern that the Maine Coon was becoming endangered. Its popularity dwindled in the early 20th century with the introduction of other exotic long-haired breeds.

However, there are many big cats that are truly endangered and this is a cause for concern. Examples are:

  • Tigers
  • African Lions
  • Cheetahs
  • Snow Leopards
  • Bornean Bay Cats
  • Iberian Lynx

You can read more about this at WCS.orgOpens in a new tab.

Can you legally breed the Maine Coon?

You can legally breed a Maine Coon but there are laws to consider and these vary, depending on where you live. However, the laws governing breeding cats aren’t as strict as the laws concerning dogs. Often, it is just a case of acquiring a license, which really isn’t very difficult.

However, just because you can legally breed the Maine Coon, doesn’t mean you should. Breeding cats takes quite a bit of effort and is not without its risks, both financially for you and for the health of the female.

What could make the Maine Coon become illegal?

There is no reason that I could think of that could make the Maine Coon become illegal to own. Some might say that because of its size it could be dangerous (look at the next section) but really?

Are Maine Coons Illegal

But let’s forget about reality for just one second. What could make the Maine Coon become illegal? I guess it would take an ‘event’ of some description.

Perhaps if a Maine Coon went into the middle of a busy shopping district and starting robbing people.

Then, other Maine Coons would hear about this and no doubt want to join in.

Then, in a few weeks, you could have complete anarchy on the streets as Maine Coons first took over your local town, then the planet.

Carnage, complete carnage. Then, perhaps Maine Coons would become illegal – however, I for one will bow to our new Maine Coon supreme leaders.

Is the Maine Coon dangerous?

If you want an in-depth answer to this question, take a look at our article hereOpens in a new tab. (opens in a new window). If you’d like the quick answer, then ‘no’, Maine Coons are nor dangerous.

However, if you have a young family -particularly a baby – they, of course, should not be left alone in the same room with any animal. Even your gentle giant, the Maine Coon, can get cross if they have their tail pulled or their bodies prodded and poked.

The Maine Coon will not lash out without reason though and would rather remove itself from the situation than bite and scratch.

Are Maine Coons Illegal? – Conclusion

Well, hopefully, you are now happy that Maine Coons are not illegal, never have been and, hopefully, never will be. Now, let’s never speak of it again.

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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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