A Maine Coon cat can be left alone but it won’t necessarily be happy about it. Maine Coons are sociable cats and if regularly left alone for any length of time can develop stress and depression. Leaving a Maine Coon alone won’t physically harm it but could have a detrimental effect on its mental wellbeing.
Maine Coons need companions
Maine Coons are much happier with a companion, be it you or another cat. Adopting two Maine Coons from the same litter is the ideal scenario as they will be bonded and will provide the ideal companionship for each other.
Maine Coons aren’t your typical independent, aloof cats. They love the company of people and other cats and don’t particularly like being alone for any length of time.
Can Maine Coon Kittens be left Alone?
Maine Coon kittens should remain with their mother and siblings until they are at least 12 to 13 weeks old. If you are ever offered a kitten younger than this, you should ask the breeder why and be very wary of their motives.
When kittens are removed from their mother too early, they miss out on crucial skills learned from her and through playing with their siblings. Once you’ve adopted a Maine Coon kitten, you shouldn’t leave it without anyone to keep it company during the first few weeks.
Coming to live with you is a huge change in its little life. However, a kitten will very quickly adapt to life without its mum and siblings and form a wonderful bond with you if you are around as much as possible.
If you go out and leave your Maine Coon kitten alone for any length of time, it will feel confused and lonely.
After a Maine Coon kitten has settled in your home you can leave it alone for short amounts of time and increase the length of these periods as it grows older. Here are some guidelines to the lengths of time a kitten can be left on its own:
- 3 to 4 months – never if possible but otherwise no more than 4 hours
- 4 to 6 months – no more than 5 hours
- 6 to 24 months – no more than 8 hours
- Over 24 months – no more than 12 hours
Before you even consider leaving a kitten home alone, you should ensure your home is kitten-proof. Just like you would for a toddler, perform a risk assessment. Here’s an example:
- Look for things a kitten could get caught up in such as window blind cords
- Remove fragile objects from ledges and shelves
- Put sharp objects such as knives and screwdrivers out of harm’s way
- Switch off electrical items in case your kitten chews at the wires
- Close all toilet pan lids
- Shut all windows, especially those higher than ground floor level
- Close all closet and cupboard doors
- Block any gaps a kitten could squeeze into
- Make sure large items such as your TV are secure and can’t be rocked over
- Remove chairs away from high shelves to prevent your kitten from climbing too high
Look around and you will probably notice other hazards specific to your home.
At first, when you go out it might be wise to confine your kitten to one safe room. Make sure you leave plenty of toys, a place to sleep and a box (or something similar) to hide in.
A room with a window view is a good idea as cats of any age like to see the outside world. And, of course, provide food, water,
As your kitten grows used to its new environment and increases in size, it will require more and more space and so should not be confined to one room.
By the time it is 6 months old, a kitten will need plenty of room to use up lots of energy. You can still make certain rooms out of bounds but ensure your kitten has room to run and explore.
Leaving an Adult Maine Coon Alone
Adult Maine Coons need companions too, so leave one alone as little as possible. Lonely cats can develop stress and anxiety and this is detrimental to their health.
If you leave a full-grown Maine Coon alone, your home should be as safe as for a kitten. Don’t confine it to a small area as it will not be able to get the exercise and stimulation it requires and will become lethargic and possibly overweight.
Making Your Home a Stimulating Environment
There are many things you can do to make your home as comfortable and stimulating as possible to keep a Maine Coon happy and occupied when you are unable to be its companion.
Here are just a few ideas:
- An indoor climbing tree – These are a fabulous invention for indoor cats but can be enjoyed just as much by those who are allowed outside. Also known as cat condos, these provide somewhere for a cat to climb, scratch, jump, lounge, sleep, play, hide and have the high ground (which many cats just love to occupy). See my favorite indoor tree right here on Amazon.
- A comfy bed – Though Maine Coons like to sleep wherever they choose, some do like their own cozy bed. You can get a traditional bed with low walls and a large cushion or an enclosed cave-style. As cats quite like to hide away the cave style is my favorite. Here are some excellent beds with rave reviews we recommend.
- A variety of scratching posts and loungers – One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that Maine Coons love to scratch at things. It’s not because they want to destroy your home, it’s to stretch, flex, and work their muscles as well as to shed the dead outer layers of their claws. If you invest in a few scratching posts as soon as you get a kitten you will have more luck training it to use one. This Cat Scratcher Lounger (see reviews on Amazon) is our cat’s favorite.
- Wildlife videos – Many people have taken to leaving their TVs or radios on to provide background noise for cats whilst they are out. An even better idea is to leave long videos of wildlife playing. You can find a variety of these on Youtube or buy specific DVDs such as this one on Amazon.
- A bird table – If you set one of these up where your cat can see it from a window it will happily watch the comings and goings of birds for hours while you are out.
- A window perch – If you don’t have an ideal window seat or ledge for your cat to look out of a window you could invest in a window perch like this Kitty Cot where it can sleep or lounge and watch the world go by.
- A large litter box – Maine Coons are large and so require large litter boxes. They don’t like to use a dirty tray so it’s important to clean it regularly. It should also be placed in a private and quiet position.
- Water – Though you might not notice your Maine Coon drinking they do require plenty of clean water every day. Some prefer to drink from a moving water source. See our recommended water fountains here (opens in a new window for you).
- Food – Some people don’t like to leave cat food down all day, especially in the summer but you could leave a bowl of dry food in case your Maine Coon has a snack attack.
- Toys – These are important throughout a Maine Coons Life. They should be encouraged to play no matter what age they are. We hear our 14-year-old Maine Coons playing with toys when we are not in the same room so if you leave a variety out when you are not home your cat will probably use them from time to time.
- Interactive toys – These are also a good thing to provide as your cat can dabble with them in your absence. Have a look at this excellent Fling-ama-string. Just watch the video and you will want to get one for any cat.
- Boxes – Cats love boxes. They feel safe in small spaces with walls and ceilings. Place a few around your home for your cat to hide in whenever it feels the urge.
If you’re looking for more ideas to keep your cat occupied, we have listed plenty in How to Keep a Maine Coon Cat Happy. I bet you won’t have thought of half of these.
Indoors or Outdoors?
Whether to keep a Maine Coon indoors or let it outside is a contentious subject among Maine Coon owners. The only person who can make the decision as far as your cat is concerned is you.
If you are out a lot and your Maine Coon can have access to a safe outside space, this will provide a good distraction from the lack of company and help to prevent it from becoming bored. You will also have to do less to ensure your cat gets the exercise it needs to keep its mind and body fit and healthy.
Give Your Maine Coon Plenty of Attention When You are Home
When you do return home, it is really important to spend quality time with your Maine Coon to make up for your absence. It will be in need of companionship.
Spend at least 15 minutes playing with it, talk to it, give it your full attention and then make sure it can hang around near you as much as it wants to or sit on your lap for a cuddle.
Can a Maine Coon be left Alone Overnight?
If your Maine Coon is a fully matured, fit, healthy adult, it can be left alone overnight occasionally. Make sure it can’t get into any trouble and leave it plenty to eat and drink. Leave a few night lights on along with a TV or radio for background noise. Ensure it has two clean litter boxes.
If you have one, set an automatic feeder to provide it with an early morning meal. Here are a few that I recommend. Make sure you return as early as possible the next day.
If you have to be away for much longer than 12 hours I recommend you ask someone to pop in to check that your cat is OK, give it fresh food and water, and clean its litter tray.
Keeping an Eye on Your Cat When You’re Not Home
If you wonder what your Maine Coon gets up to when you’re not at home why not invest in a pet camera? There are some excellent affordable models on the market.
Many allow you to speak to your cat as well as see what it is doing. If you ever have to go away overnight, you can confine your cat to a room with a camera and will know instantly if an emergency situation develops.
These days you can buy fantastic cameras at competitive prices – however, there are several not so good ones on the market. Be careful which one you choose to buy. If you’d like more information, here are a few webcams I recommend.
Can Maine Coons Be Left Alone? – Conclusion
Maine Coons can be left alone but try not to make it a regular occurrence. If you think you’ll be out for long spells every day yous should ideally have two cats (from the same litter is possible).
Always leave your cat with plenty of things to occupy it and lavish plenty of attention on it when you do return from time away.
Maine Coons are sociable cats who thrive on human company. Make sure yours gets plenty of yours.