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Can Maine Coon Cats Eat Cheese?

Maine Coon cats will eat all sorts of ‘human foods‘, including cheese.

Many Maine Coons will happily devour a piece of cheese if it’s offered to them. And although a small amount of cheese is unlikely to have a catastrophic effect, it is not an ideal food for Maine Coon cats. Eating too much cheese can upset a Maine Coon’s digestive system, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea.

Like all cats, Maine Coons are obligate carnivores, which means their diet should primarily consist of meat-based protein. Therefore dairy produce such as cheese is not something they should be encouraged to eat on a regular basis.

Can cats eat cheese? Mona says yes!

Why shouldn’t Maine Coons eat cheese?

Although Maine Coons can eat cheese, their digestive systems can’t digest it very well, and this can result in vomiting and diarrhea.

As small kittens, they can digest milk quite well, However, as soon as they reach adulthood, changes in their digestive enzymes prevent them from processing the lactose content of dairy produce efficiently.

Although cheese does indeed contain lactose, it does not have as much as milk and other dairy produce, as you can see here:

Dairy produce (2 oz)Approximate amount of Lactose
Milk 0.2 fl oz
Yogurt 0.2 fl oz
Cream 0.16 oz
Brie0.08 oz
Feta0.08 oz
Mozzarella cheese0.08 oz
Swiss cheese0.08 oz
Cottage cheese0.07 oz
American Cheese0.06 oz
Cream cheese0.06 oz
Cheddar cheese0.04 oz

So, if you rely on cheese to get your Maine Coon cat to swallow a pill, it’s unlikely to do any harm.

To suffer any ill effects, a Maine Coon would have to consume a considerable amount of any type of cheese. The simplest way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to never get your cat interested in cheese in the first place.

Whilst Maine Coons can eat cheese and many appear to enjoy it, it holds no nutritional value for them and has no place in their daily diet.

Cat sniffing cheese

Are Maine Coon cats lactose intolerant?

As kittens, Maine Coons survive on milk from their mothers so how can Maine Coons cats be lactose intolerant? After all, there’s plenty of lactose in milk.

The simple fact is that from the moment a kitten is weaned, it gradually stops producing the enzyme lactase that breaks down lactose into easily digestible sugars.

When you give an adult Maine Coon any food containing lactose, it cannot digest the lactose element. This sits in their stomachs fermenting and causing them discomfort until it results in one of two reactions:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

A Maine Coon might look longingly as you eat cheese – but it doesn’t know the ill-effect it will have. It won’t learn either. If cheese makes a cat feel bad one day, it won’t remember and will still beg for cheese the next day.

Cat not liking cheese

Can Maine Coons eat low-lactose cheese?

There are various low-lactose and non-dairy cheeses on the market. Some dairy cheeses even have added enzymes to help break down their lactose content once they are ingested. Who knows if these added enzymes are OK for Maine Coons?

Other versions have the milk component replaced with yeast, nuts, and seeds. These can often be much higher in salt so not suitable for cats to consume.

The only way to know if any alternative cheeses are safe for Maine Coons is to examine the full ingredients list and then search the internet for any advice. As each of these types of cheese varies in content, it is impossible to say they are generally safe.

If you can’t see yourself looking up every ingredient, it’s probably best to just avoid giving your Maine Coon low-lactose or non-dairy cheese.

Can Maine Coon kittens eat cheese or other dairy?

Maine Coon kittens produce lactase so it’s easy to assume they can eat cheese, right? Wrong! Cheese is solid food and kittens only eat solids once weaning begins.

When kittens are first weaned their food must be carefully selected so as not to present a choking hazard. By the time a Maine Coon kitten is at the stage where it could safely eat a solid food like cheese, it will not be producing enough lactase to digest it.

Also, a kitten should be fed a recommended kitten diet and cheese doesn’t feature. Don’t take the risk of creating digestive problems such as vomiting or diarrhea in a young kitten as you could develop problems that last a lifetime.

Is anything in cheese good for Maine Coons?

The protein and calcium content of cheese is certainly good for Maine Coons.
However, if you are feeding your Maine Coon a good quality diet designed for cats, that is all they will need. There is no need to give your cat cheese to supplement its diet.

Cat thinking about cheese

Other human foods Maine Coons should not eat

Tuna and salmon

A little tuna or salmon won’t harm your cat but be careful. If it’s all it will eat, there’s a strong possibility your cat will miss out on many essential vitamins and minerals.

Large quantities of Tuna can lead to mercury poisoning too.

Onions and garlic

Onions and garlic contain a compound known as thiosulfate which can be toxic to cats. Eating too much thiosulphate is damaging to red blood cells.

It is rare for Maine Coons to eat enough onion and garlic to cause a serious problem but exposure to concentrated forms of onion, garlic, onion soup mix, garlic powder, and some baby foods may put a cat at risk.

Grapes and raisins

In rare cases, just a few grapes or raisins can lead to kidney failure in a cat. If your Maine Coon eats any of these and displays signs of stomach pain or vomits repeatedly, take it straight to your vet.

It’s best to completely avoid feeding grapes and raisins to a Maine Coonand to keep them out of its reach.

Fat and bones

Fat trimmed from meat is high in calories and too much could easily contribute to a Maine Coon gaining weight, especially if given in addition to their normal daily diet.

Although some people give their Maine Coons whole raw chicken thighs and wings to gnaw, cooked bones can splinter and cause serious harm if your cat swallows them.

Raw egg

Raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella which can cause serious illness in a Maine Coon.

Raw egg white has a high level of a vitamin called avidin which binds to vitamin B7 (biotin) preventing it from being absorbed.

Over time, this could leave your Maine Coon deficient in B7 which can lead to weepy eyes and noses, excess salivation, hair loss, dry skin, weight loss, and diarrhea.

Cat with an egg

Raw fish

Not only can raw fish contain harmful disease-causing pathogens, but it also has high levels of an enzyme known as thiaminase, which can cause a deficiency in vitamin B1 (thiamine).

Maine Coons need vitamin B1 to ensure the proper functioning of all of their organs.

Dog food

While stealing the dog’s food from time to time is unlikely to harm your Maine Coon, it’s not a good idea to give it to it on a regular basis.

Dogs have different nutritional requirements to cats and so a Maine Coon fed regularly on dog food will not be getting a healthy balance of nutrients.


A liver stores vitamin A so feeding too much liver to Maine Coons could give them a vitamin A overdose.

However, cats do need vitamin A in their diet but only a small amount, which can be sourced from fish liver oil.


If a Maine Coon manages to eat raw dough, many problems could ensue – the least being your loaf being spoilt! So be careful where you leave it to rise.

If enough dough is eaten by a Maine Coon cat, it will rise in its intestines and stomach causing pain and possibly a blockage.

The ideal diet for a Maine Coon cat

Cat with banana

Maine Coons need the correct balance of animal protein, good fats, vitamins, and minerals to maintain their health. These are included in the correct proportions in good quality shop-bought cat food.

If you make your own cat food you should include the following in the correct proportions according to your Maine Coon’s weight:

  • Cooked chicken or white fish
  • Fats that are naturally present in meat and fish
  • Essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega
  • Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, and D
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Chloride

It’s OK to include a little fruit and vegetable in your Maine Coon’s diet from the following list:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Bananas
  • Melon
  • Pumpkin

If you want to give your Maine Coon raw meat, it’s safer to buy it prepared and frozen from a trusted source. Making it yourself and knowing it is safe is risky.

Can Maine Coon cats eat cheese? – Conclusion

Although we are often told Maine Coons should not eat cheese because of its lactose content, it contains so little of this particular sugar that a Maine Coon would have to eat a considerable amount on a daily basis to suffer any ill effects.

So don’t feel guilty about hiding a daily pill in a cube of cheese (Some people also use peanut butter for this purpose) or allowing your Maine coon to consume a few escaped morsels from your cheese sandwich.

Milk has a much higher lactose content and is the far bigger dairy villain. A teaspoonful now and then is unlikely to cause a reaction, but don’t offer Maine Coon milk by the bowlful.

In general, limit the amount of human food your Maine Coon consumes, provide it with a balanced cat-friendly diet and it will be a happy, healthy feline.

Cat licking cheese

Should Maine Coons eat salmon?

Raw or cooked, is salmon a good food to offer a Maine Coon? Find out why it might not be here.

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