When my first Maine Coon cats came to live me, I wondered how much maintenance their luscious, long coats would require. I purchased a range of brushes and combs and had my vacuum cleaner at the ready. I expected the cats to deposit copious amounts of hair all over my house and I was prepared for the onslaught. Here’s what I found.
Maine Coon cats do shed but no more than any other furry cats. Each shed hair is longer and more noticeable but is easily cleaned up with a vacuum. The best way to control a Maine Coon’s shedding is to remove loose hair with regular brushing before it falls out to coat your carpets and furniture.
Central heating can cause more shedding in Maine Coons but, naturally, they shed more in spring and autumn. The amount of shedding can vary from cat to cat and each cat’s shedding cycle is different, with some losing more hair than others.
If you envisage leaving your house each day with a fine coating of Maine Coon fur all over the seat of your black pants, there’s a chance you will!
When Maine Coons lose more hair than expected
Most cat hair loss can attributed to seasonal shedding. If you’re finding more shed fur than usual and your Maine Coon is looking patchy or bald in places, this isn’t the norm. It can be quite concerning but there’s usually a cause that can be remedied.
If your Maine Coon is losing hair over and above the amount you expected, it could have alopecia which presents as bald spots or thin, patchy fur. Alopecia occurs for two reasons: either your Maine Coon is pulling out its fur deliberately or it is falling out unaided.
The following are common causes of alopecia and excessive hair loss in cats:
A Maine Coon’s diet should consist of a good balance of protein from meat and a variety of minerals and vitamins. Good quality, prepared cat food has this worked out for you.
If your Maine Coon’s diet is lacking vital nutrients this can be the cause of its hair loss. Check the ingredients list of its food and that you are feeding your cat the correct amount of food for its size.
If you make your own, follow recipes that cater to a cat’s needs. Here are 21 human foods to avoid giving your Maine Coon.
Poor diet can affect the condition of a Maine Coon’s coat and lead to hair loss. Ensure you are feeding your cat correctly.
Parasites such as fleas cause cats to scratch incessantly and this in turn can lead to hair loss. Fleas irritate a cat’s skin and in an attempt to relieve this, your cat may literally scratch and chew out fur to leave bald patches.
Look for signs of fleas and if there are any get a flea treatment from your vet. I find the type that you spot on between their shoulder blades is very effective. One treatment lasts for about a month.
Check your cat regularly for pesky parasites. Here’s a comprehensive guide to removing and preventing Maine Coon fleas.
Stressed cats are known to pull out their hair and it can be difficult to determine the underlying cause. Consider if anything has changed in your home environment.
Have you recently had a baby or introduced a new pet? My mother-in-law’s cat pulled his hair out in clumps when a new dog moved in.
Are you away from home more or have you moved house? Sometimes a Feliway room defuser can help to calm a cat down in these situations.
Read our guide to Maine Coon stress to help you get to the root of the problem.
Allergies can irritate a cat’s skin enough to make it scratch until its skin is sore and its hair falls out. A vet is the best person to help diagnose the cause and prescribe a treatment to ease any inflammation
Your cat could have a hormone imbalance. If you’ve ruled out other hair loss causes, make an appointment with your vet to have your cat’s health checked.
If your cat isn’t coping too well with grooming itself, make sure you regularly give it a helping hand.
I don’t mean get in there and start licking cat-style! Maine Coons generally need assistance to keep their glorious fur coats in tip-top condition.
Your cat may be desperately trying to get rid of matted fur and in the process be pulling out fur from all around the site resulting in a bald spot.
How to reduce shedding by grooming your Maine Coon
Grooming is an excellent way to reduce the amount of hair a Maine Coon sheds around your home.
You should groom as much loose hair from your Maine Coon as possible on a daily basis to prevent it from swallowing lots of hair whilst grooming itself.
This will save your cat the discomfort of developing hairballs and you the unenviable task of cleaning up cat-fur-laced vomit. If a cat ingests large amounts of hair and a large hairball develops in its digestive tract it can cause a blockage and make the cat seriously ill.
Take care to prevent your Maine Coon from developing matted fur as these pull at the skin during grooming and can put your cat off being groomed.
Some Maine Coons like being groomed and some don’t. The best way to get a cat used to being groomed is to groom it every day from when it is a kitten and make it a gentle and fun experience. You could make it a bonding experience between you and your cat.
If you tackle the job wearing the type of leather gauntlets used to handle birds of prey you are definitely starting off with a negative attitude! Your cat might sense this too if it hasn’t already run a mile at the sight of your giant glove-clad hands.
Always use the correct grooming tools and take your time. If you accidentally hurt your cat whilst grooming it, it will be very difficult to ever groom it again.
Make sure your cat is in a happy mood before a grooming session. Make a fuss of it first to ensure it is calm.
Feel your cat’s fur all over first to see if there are any knots or matted areas that may snag on the brush and take extra care with these areas.
Try to hold the hair between the skin and a knot before attempting to brush it out.
If your cat isn’t a lover of being groomed try a rubber brush first and then progress on to a firmer brush. You may have to let your cat stand and you may have to follow it about with the brush, whatever works.
If your cat is cooperative it may roll over and let you brush its tummy … if you’re lucky!
If for any reason your cat’s fur is too matted for you to groom, you may have to visit a vet or a professional groomer. Never try to snip knots and matted fur with scissors as they can be so close to the skin that you end up cutting your cat.
A professional groomer or vet will use clippers if necessary, and any shaved areas will soon regrow. A really knotty cat will feel uncomfortable because knots pull at their skin and cause sore spots.
Really matted cats will not usually like being held. Once a cat has been relieved of its knots you can really notice a total change in its demeanor from painful misery to happy relief.
This Hertzko self-cleaning slicker brush is perfect for preventing knots and mats.
Keeping your Maine Coons coat clean
Some owners help to reduce shedding by bathing their Maine Coons to remove loose hair and dirt. You may find your Maine Coon is quite happy to be bathed but I’ve never known one that appreciates a bath.
If your cat does like a bath and a situation arises where it is a necessary step, then make sure the water is warm, not hot or cold, and use a pet-friendly shampoo.
If your Maine Coon hates water but needs a clean above and beyond a cat lick wash (for whatever reason) you can attempt to clean it with wipes specifically designed for cats – I’ve heard some smell like catnip but have never used them.
As a rule, a cat should not require a bath or a wash. It should be able to keep itself clean enough. Bathing a cat can remove the natural oils that protect its skin and fur.
Do Maine Coon cats shed wherever they go?
Will you be forever cleaning? That depends on how house proud you are. If you imagine Maine Coons leaving a tell-tale trail of hair behind them wherever they’ve been, well, to an extent they do.
Maine Coons shed everywhere they sit or sleep! They even leave a trail of fur as they move.
Cleaning up hair goes with the territory when you own any furry animal and let it have the run of your house. Shedding is normal for Maine Coons and is something you should be prepared to accept. It’s a small price to pay for owning a cat with an extremely beautiful long coat.
Losing hair is a perfectly natural process and shedding cycles can vary depending on your cat’s living conditions. Some Maine Coons will only shed during warmer months while some shed throughout the year.
Central heating can cause cats to shed hair even in the winter months. If your cat is a house cat it may lose more hair than average because it will not be affected by cold weather and won’t need a thicker winter coat.
If you have wood or tiled floors you will notice balls of fur collecting around the edges. On carpets, you will notice a fine layer that’s more concentrated where your cat spends the most time.
Some Maine Coon cats have finer, fluffier coats and you may notice more shedding from this type than from those with slightly courser coats. So be prepared to groom a Maine Coon cat right from the start. Even kittens should be gently brushed so they get used to the feel of it.
How to keep your house as free from Maine Coon fur as possible
You can try to encourage your cat to sleep in its own little bed – good luck with that – but in all likelihood, your cat will sleep wherever it wants to. So containing cat hair in one area sounds like a plan but it doesn’t usually work. Expect to find Maine Coon hair everywhere.
I recommend investing in a cordless vacuum cleaner so that you can have a quick and easy vacuum-up as necessary without the hassle of hefting a large machine out of the cupboard, unwinding the cable, and finding a spare electric socket to plug it in to. I have this cordless vacuum and thoroughly recommend it.
Also, when you own Maine Coons I believe you can never have enough lint rollers. Keep them all over the house, in the car and at your place of work (you may want to invest in shares in a lint roller company!) We use the sticky paper type – they are great.
Maine Coon fur care summary
So, Maine Coons do shed and a fair amount too. Grooming a Maine Coon goes with the territory of owning one and if it’s something you don’t relish perhaps you should rethink becoming a Maine Coon owner.
Going out with cat hair on your clothes (and stuck in your beard – if you have one) is something you will have to adjust to. You may occasionally find cat hair in your food but hopefully, you won’t ingest enough to develop a furball!
Grooming your Maine Coon daily is the best method of reducing shedding around your house and investing in a cordless vacuum cleaner will help you clean up fur in a trice.
Do Maine Coon cats shed? – Conclusion
Like all cats, Maine Coons shed. Their hair loss doesn’t have to be a problem as regular grooming and vacuuming easily keeps shedding under control – and I recommend you keep a constant supply of lint rollers, of course.
We’ve survived many years with two gorgeous Maine Coon boys (above) shedding everywhere and have successfully raised a healthy baby amongst their fur. Don’t let the shedding put you off and just enjoy the delights of owning a Maine Coon!
For more about Maine Coon coat care, read Do Maine Coons Need to be Groomed