Maine Coons are one of the healthiest purebred cats. Screening and good breeding practices are gradually eliminating their known genetic health problems.
However, there is one condition that can’t be bred out because it is generally related to diet or environment, and that’s stomach sensitivity that leads to vomiting or diarrhea.
Do Maine Coons have sensitive stomachs? Maine Coons are not predisposed to sensitive stomachs however they can have occasional stomach disorders. Eating too quickly is invariably the reason for vomiting in Maine Coons and occasionally a change of food brand can cause stomach sensitivity.
Why do some Maine Coons have more sensitive stomachs?
Maine Coon diarrhea and vomiting result when something irritates their stomach lining.
It’s not really clear why some Maine Coons have more sensitive stomachs than others. However, it’s a fact that some Maine Coons have more balanced diets than others and this plays a large role in a cat’s digestive health.
You should endeavor to provide a Maine Coon with a diet that’s suitable for each life stage. It’s easier to do this by buying pre-prepared food from a recommended, trusted brand.
Occasionally a Maine Coon will just be predisposed to suffer from stomach sensitivity and all you can do is work with your vet to establish the cause and learn how to control it the best you can.
Should your Maine Coon get sick occasionally, don’t stress. All cats have occasional stomach disorders that are nothing to worry about.
Are Maine Coons prone to diarrhea?
As with sensitive stomach, Maine Coons are occasionally prone to bouts of diarrhea. Some can have diarrhea but otherwise seem perfectly healthy.
Symptoms are usually gone within 24 hours. If your Maine Coon has recurring diarrhea or seems unwell after an episode, you should seek advice from your vet.
Purina Pro Plan Fortiflora is a very popular probiotic supplement to help relieve Maine Coon diarrhea.
Maine Coon diarrhea: the common causes
Many factors can lead to Maine Coon diarrhea. Here are the most common:
- Eating too fast
- Food intolerance
- Dietary indiscretion
- Bacteria in their food
- Intestinal parasites
You’ll find more information about each of these and how to remedy them further down.
Signs of a sensitive stomach in Maine Coons
There are several indicators that your Maine Coons is suffering from a sensitive stomach, temporary or otherwise.
Here are seven signs of a sensitive stomach in Maine coons:
- Loss of appetite
- Hunched body position
It is not unusual for a Maine Coon to have the occasional stomach disorder. It happens with all creatures from time to time and is perfectly normal.
Most of the time, symptoms disappear after a day and your cat will resume its normal routines.
If sensitivity symptoms persist, it’s time to consult your vet to establish the reason, especially if your cat has stopped drinking.
Why do Maine Coons sometimes develop sensitive stomachs?
While it’s easy to spot if a cat has a stomach disorder, it’s not so easy to determine why.
Isolated sensitive stomach episodes in Maine Coons
Here are common causes of isolated stomach problems in Maine Coons:
1. Eating too fast
Eating too fast is a habit of some Maine Coons and causes more of a problem if the food is dry. Dry food absorbs fluid in a cat’s digestive system and expands.
If your cat has gobbled down a lot of dry food too quickly its stomach becomes overfull and up comes the food!
Cure – Encourage slower eating
If your cat regularly eats too quickly and regurgitates its dry food, swap to wet food as this is less likely to cause this type of vomiting.
If you have this problem with wet or dry food there are several things you can try:
- Raised and tilted food bowls can really help as they keep a cat’s mouth at a higher level which can reduce vomiting
- Use a large flat plate and spread your cat’s food out as widely as possible
- Put a clean golf ball in the dish (nothing smaller!) so your cat has to move it around to get at the food
- Use a puzzle feeder
- Buy a bowl with a raised hump in the center – this somehow slows down eating
2. Dietary indiscretion
Dietary indiscretion is often a problem with outdoor cats who might be tempted to eat anything they find.
With indoor or outdoor cats, human leftovers that should have been disposed of are sometimes irresistible.
Cure – Prevent access to leftover food
Apart from keeping them inside, there’s not a lot you can do to stop cats scavenging outside.
Indoors, however, you can ensure your cat doesn’t eat anything other than its own food by disposing of your leftovers and keeping all other food out of reach.
3. Frequently changing food brands
You may think your cat will appreciate trying a wide variety of food but the truth is, this often leads to stomach sensitivity.
Cure – stick to a brand that works!
Don’t change your cat’s food too often. This doesn’t mean you can’t swap brands but just do it carefully, looking out for any consequences.
4. Stale food
If your cat doesn’t eat its wet food straight away, after several hours it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, especially in hot weather. If a cat then decides to finish the food, it may disagree with them
Cure – Regularly pick up stale food
You don’t have to throw food away the moment your cat wanders away but do consider after a few hours on a warm day how fresh it is. If a crust has formed on the surface, consign it to the garbage can!
Bacteria might be ingested through contaminated food or water. Even a new pouch of food can be contaminated, though this is rare.
Puddle drinkers might sup up bacteria. However your cat comes in to contact with bacteria, it can cause digestive problems.
Cure – be vigilant
It’s difficult to stop a cat lapping up water outside but you can minimize these water sources by not leaving any vessels around to collect rainwater.
Cat food doesn’t have a particularly attractive aroma to us but you should be able to tell if it smells bad as you open it.
Withhold food for 12 to 24 hours to let your cat’s stomach settle. In some cases, bacterial infections may require antibiotics to be administered.
There are many different strains of viruses that can cause severe digestive problems in cats. Some are highly contagious, for example, Feline Enteritis.
Cure – rehydrate, withhold food, and medicate
There is no cure for a virus, it just has to run its course. There are several steps you can take to help a cat feel better during its recovery:
- Give plenty of hydration on a drip at the vets if necessary
- Offer only bland food that’s easy to digest
- Administer any medication your vet provides to stop the vomiting and diarrhea
7. Intestinal Parasites
Intestinal parasites can cause vomiting and diarrhea. They are typically contracted if your cat catches mice, rats, or other infected prey.
In multicat households, Giardia is a parasite that can be caught from the feces of other cats that share the same litter tray. It causes chronic diarrhea.
Cure – Administer parasite medication
Your vet might prescribe regular parasite treatments to keep intestinal worms at bay. It’s a good idea to make sure you give these to your cats regularly.
Fenbendazole and metronidazole are two drugs commonly used to kill Giardia. These will be prescribed by a vet after a positive diagnosis.
All household cats will need treatment and all litter boxes should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
8. Food intolerance
Occasionally a cat can have an intolerance to certain food ingredients, especially in foods not intended for their consumption.
Cure – Avoid trigger foods
If a particular brand of food seems to trigger a reaction in your cat, avoid it.
Be careful about giving your cat scraps from your plate as there are many human foods that cats should not eat. These include but or not limited to:
- Dairy products
- Raw egg
- Grapes and raisins
Some cat medications can cause side effects such as stomach sensitivity.
Cure – Check medication
If you suspect a medication your cat is taking is making its stomach sensitive, read the side effects on the packet.
Speak to your vet to see if there is an alternative or something to help reduce your cat’s reaction.
If the side effects are outweighing the benefits of the medication, ask your vet if you can take your cat off it
As they lick their fur, Maine Coons ingest a certain amount of fur. This can form balls in their stomach. A cat will often regurgitate these before they pass into their intestines.
If a large furball enters a cat’s intestines, it may not pass right through to the bowels. This can cause a blockage and all sorts of digestive issues.
Cure – Regularly groom out loose fur
The best thing you can do to lower your cat’s risk of developing furballs is to groom it as much as possible to remove loose fur. This is to your benefit too as you won’t have to clean up the resulting vomit.
11. Swallowing an inedible item
Few cats are known to eat non-edibles but occasionally, it does happen – and sometimes by accident. If your cat swallows something it shouldn’t it can play havoc with its digestive systems, especially if it causes a blockage.
Cure – Keep small things out of reach
Don’t play with your cat with any toy that it could easily swallow by accident. If your cat chews anything that can easily be swallowed, put it out of its reach.
It’s far better to avoid your cat swallowing something it shouldn’t than to end up with it needing emergency surgery to remove an intestinal blockage.
Recurring sensitive stomach episodes in Maine Coons
What can cause a recurring sensitive stomach in a Maine Coon? Here are 5 causes:
1. Food allergies
Foods cats can have allergies to include beef, fish, chicken, and dairy products. Most of the time, these cause itchy skin conditions but occasionally produce gastrointestinal symptoms too.
If your cat is continually reacting with stomach issues to certain foods simply avoid that food. However, if you strongly believe it is allergic to all the main protein groups as described above, your vet can help to determine this.
2. Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Feline Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic irritation of a cat’s stomach or intestines.
There are many causes of inflammatory bowel disease and often it is hard to determine one in particular. Some known causes are:
- Bacterial infection e.g. Salmonella or E. coli
- Parasitic infection such as worms, Giardia or Tritrichomonas
- Allergy or intolerance to a specific component in their diet
Ideally, IBD is treated by diagnosing what’s causing the cat’s reaction. If a cause cannot be determined, the disease is referred to as idiopathic (disease is present, but there is no identifiable cause). Many cases of IBD are classed as idiopathic.
Treatments include deworming, dietary changes, supplements, and medication.
3. Stomach and intestinal cancer
Lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea can be signs of gastrointestinal lymphoma.
Chemotherapy may be offered but this is dependent on the stage and size of the cancer. The drug, prednisone, may be administered.
4. Metabolic disease
Metabolic disease in cats covers conditions such as hyperthyroidism, kidney failure, and liver failure. Symptoms can include increased sensitivity of the stomach.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include increased appetite, weight loss and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
Maine Coons are predisposed to the genetically transmitted Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). It isn’t a treatable condition.
Cats are capable of masking liver failure completely. You may notice the odd bout of vomiting and it is very easy to assume this is just a little stomach disorder.
A vet will correctly diagnose a metabolic disease and recommend the most effective treatment in each case.
Hyperthyroidism is treated with a thyroid hormone supplement.
Though there is no cure for PKD or Kidney failure, treatment can prolong life.
Liver failure requires fast intervention and hospitalization. The success of any treatment depends on how far progressed the condition is.
Are Maine Coons lactose intolerant?
Many people believe Maine Coons are allergic to dairy whereas, the truth is they are lactose intolerant – as are all cats.
Kittens are able to digest their mother’s milk but as soon as they are weaned, the enzyme lactase that breaks down lactose is no longer produced.
If an adult Maine coon drinks milk, it cannot digest it properly resulting in undigested milk fermenting in its stomachs causing cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Resist the temptation to treat your Maine Coon to milk. Maine Coons should only drink water! Avoid milk or your cat will suffer from the digestive issues it creates.
If you don’t think your cat drinks enough water milk is not an option. However, cats get much of the fluid they require from good quality wet food, which is why wet food should be offered daily as opposed to an all dry food diet.
How to prevent Maine Coon digestive issues
It is difficult to prevent all Maine Coon stomach sensitivity but there are some good practices to follow.
- Make sure your Maine Coon always has access to clean water to keep it well hydrated
- Recognize which foods do not irritate your Maine Coon’s digestive system and stick with them
- Be vigilant for anything that gives your Maine Coons a digestive problem and remove the cause immediately
Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs, Vomiting, and Diarrhea
As you’ve seen above, it’s not uncommon for Maine Coons to suffer from a sensitive stomach causing vomiting and diarrhea from time to time.
Whether your cat has experienced vomiting, diarrhea, or both once you’ve established the cause, a diet for sensitive stomachs, is highly recommended during recovery.
If your cat has regular bouts of mild stomach disorders, choosing the right diet is key to reducing its symptoms.
A natural food high in good quality proteins is the best choice. Try to avoid food with grains and dairy that might trigger sensitivity.
As a seasoned Maine Coon owner, I’ve experienced many bouts of mild vomiting from my two Maine Coon cats. There are several foods designed for cats with sensitive stomachs that I could recommend. These are 5 of the best:
1. Purina Beyond Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Spinach
Purina Beyond Ocean Whitefish & Spinach is ideal for sensitive stomachs. It’s grain-free, high-protein, and has added vitamins and minerals to help any cat on its road to recovery. As it’s wet food, it’s perfect to aid with rehydration too.
2. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach is ideal for recovering cats. It has an easily digestible formula that’s gentle on a cat’s stomach, is high-proteins and has added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
3. Royal Canin Digest Sensitive
Royal Canin Digest Sensitive Thin Slices in Gravy is formulated for cats over 12 months with sensitive stomachs.
It is easily digestible meaning your cat will absorb more nutrients. It also contains a perfect balance of vitamins and minerals to help your cat back to optimal cat health.
4. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin
Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin is an excellent source of probiotic fiber that promotes healthy gut bacteria. It’s highly digestible, made with natural ingredients and is gentle on the stomach.
5. Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach cat food
Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach cat food contains the finest natural ingredients and promotes healthy digestion.
It contains high-quality protein and fiber and is enhanced with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to support good health.
Do Maine Coons Have Sensitive Stomachs? – Conclusion
All Maine Coons are likely to suffer from sensitive stomachs during their lives. It’s usually nothing to worry about but always be vigilant for signs of a more serious illness developing.
Maine Coon diarrhea and vomiting is to be expected on occasions but not as a regular occurrence.
Stomach disorders have a variety of causes as described above and most of them are short-lived. Foods for sensitive stomachs can help to manage digestive issues and remember after bouts of vomiting, rehydration is essential.
This article by no means offers any diagnosis and is for information only. Please always consult a cat health professional if your cat is unwell – it’s not worth taking risks with its health!
You can help your Maine Coon to stay healthy by avoiding these foods.