How to Keep a Maine Coon Cat Happy


Have you ever thought to yourself, “Is my Maine Coon happy?” or, “How can I make my Maine Coon happy?”  These are natural questions as most owners put their cats’ happiness high on their list of priorities.

The best way to keep a Maine Coon cat happy is to care for it properly. Your cat depends on you and there are many simple things you can do to ensure it has the happiest life possible. And, as a cat’s happiness has a great bearing on its general well being and health, it’s well worth making the effort.

Here are 23 ways you can keep your Maine Coon happy:

1. Feed your cat high quality food

Maine Coons require a protein-rich diet. Make sure you provide yours with good quality nutritious food that it enjoys. Dry or wet? Well, that’s your decision to make but a mix of both is ideal.

You may need to experiment (and exercise rather a lot of patience) before you discover a variety that your cat prefers. And of course, once you’ve bought this in bulk, your cat will decide it hates it after all. A well-fed cat is always happy and content.

2. Supply fresh water every day

Maine Coons may not drink much when you’re looking but they do need plenty of fresh water for good health and happiness. Don’t just chuck yesterday’s away and refill the bowl – clean the bowl properly first.

I know cats sometimes drink out of puddles and ponds but this doesn’t mean they prefer dirty water. If your finances can stretch to it, buy a pet drinking fountain as many Maine Coons enjoy drinking from a flowing water source.

Below is a photo of my cat, Charlie, drinking from the bathroom faucet while I’m waiting to brush my teeth. Here are a few fountains I recommend (opens in a new window). 

3. Stick to a feeding routine

Maine Coons thrive on routine. They will be much happier if you feed them at the same time every day. If their feeding times are random this can cause confusion and unnecessary stress. If you are going to be really late home on many occasions try to arrange for someone to pop in to feed your cat or use an automatic feeder.

4. Don’t overfeed your Maine Coon

If you overfeed your cat it will become overweight and this can lead to a variety of health problems. An unhealthy cat is not a happy cat so be sure to exercise portion control. Cats can be very persuasive little beggars – don’t give in, be strong!

5. Provide a private and personal litter box

Maine Coons are clean cats. Your Maine Coon will be much happier with a clean litter tray that is not shared and is in a quiet, calm area of your home. It won’t relish doing its business in a busy, noisy area and many cats are not keen on a multi-cat tray.

If your cat goes to the toilet outside of the tray try repositioning it and having one tray per cat in the household. And whenever possible, clean the tray out twice a day. And also being a large cat, it will require a large litter tray. This large litter box gets excellent reviews on Amazon.

6. Avoid environmental changes

If you regularly rearrange your furniture you may notice a change in your Maine Coon’s demeanor. Some are extremely sensitive to changes in their environment and this can cause them stress and unwanted behavior. Keep your cat happy by keeping its environment the same – as much as possible.

7. Allow indoor cats room to run

Maine Coons are full of energy and need plenty of room to expend it. If yours is an indoor cat, make sure you don’t keep it cooped up in a small area.

If you have a staircase, allow your cat the freedom to run up and down it. If you have a long corridor your cat will enjoy running backward and forward there.

If your cat can exert its natural energy in this way,  it will be much happier and less likely to scratch your furniture. Most cats behave in a destructive manner to release pent-up energy.

8. Provide your cat with something to scratch

Maine Coons have sharp claws that can cause a lot of damage. If you try to prevent your Maine Coon from scratching at things you will likely be fighting a losing battle.

Your only hope is to buy your cat a nice sturdy scratching post or tree and positively encourage it to use it from day one. Even then, it is still likely to scratch at other things from time to time.

Scratching is perfectly natural, instinctive behavior, and serves several purposes: to remove the dead outer layer of claws, to mark territory by leaving a visual mark and scent, to stretch muscles and flex feet and claws.

Never get cross or punish your cat if it scratches as it won’t understand but it will experience stress. Being able to have a good scratch and stretch makes your cat feel happy.

9. Invest in a climbing tree

These are brilliant accessories, especially for indoor Maine Coons. Cats love to climb and jump and a climbing tree provides the perfect place for one to expend pent-up energy.

Good indoor trees provide perches and boxes where cats can sleep or relax. Just make sure you pick a sturdy one that can’t topple over. If you are a DIY expert (or know someone who is), you can make your own climbing creations or add carpeted shelves and perches at random places on walls – your cat will love scrambling around on these.

There are many to chose from so I’ve reviewed some popular ones here.

10. Don’t have your Maine Coon declawed!

Avoid having your Maine Coon declawed at all costs. If your cat is tearing up the furniture it may well be because it is bored or feels ignored and know this will grab your attention.

Cats need their claws for various reasons including for protection, to grip as they climb, to help stretch and condition their muscles properly and to scratch themselves to relieve itches.

In order to declaw a cat, the vet removes the first joint of every toe. Try to imagine the pain a cat will suffer whilst recovering from this operation. And then imagine it having to learn to walk with those joints missing from each toe.

Without claws, your cat will no longer be able to stretch and flex its muscles adequately. Many people report that their cats become more vicious after this operation and tend to bite more.

I’m afraid scratched furniture goes with the territory when you own a Maine Coon. Your cat will definitely not be happy without its claws.

11. Allow your Maine Coon to spend quality time with you

Maine Coons are extremely sociable and love nothing more than spending their time with you. They will often choose to sit on your lap or close by as this makes them feel secure and content. Your cat will pine for you if you don’t allow it to be near you and it will meow to be let in if you close a door between you and it.

12. Talk to your Maine Coon

Maine Coons are the most responsive cats I have ever owned. When one meows or trills at you talk back to it and you are likely to get a happy response. These cats really do seem to like to hold a conversation and thrive on positive attention from their owners.

13. Give your cat eye contact

Sometimes cats perceive direct eye-contact as a threat. Their pupils dilate as they try to take in as much as possible of what they believe to be a danger.

On the other hand, if a cat is relaxed and engages in eye contact followed by slow blinks, it is feeling happy and relaxed and really trusts you. If your Maine Coon looks into your eyes and slow-blinks you should slow-blink back at it as this conveys the message that you are not a threat.

14. Give your Maine Coon plenty to play with

Make sure you supply your Maine Coon with a variety of toys to keep it amused even when it’s fully grown. Maine Coons are playful all their lives and particularly enjoy the stimulation that interactive toys provide. Play keeps a cat’s mind healthy and this makes for a happy cat. It is also a great form of exercise.

15. Play with your Maine Coon every day

Don’t stop playing with your Maine Coon once it reaches maturity. Play is important for a cat throughout its life. Try to find at least 15 minutes a day to play with yours. Here’s why play is so important:

  • You will be satisfying your cat’s natural predatorial instincts
  • It creates time for the two of you to bond
  • The exercise involved will help keep your cat healthy
  • It lifts your cat’s spirits and stops it from feeling bored

If you don’t fancy moving from your chair, try a laser pointer. Cats will chase a little red dot for ages. But every now and then, throw a little soft toy that your cat can grab to satisfy its sense of capturing prey.

Daily play sessions make for a happier cat. Here’s a cat dancer toy that most cats can’t resist.

16. Make your cat’s environment as stimulating as possible

Like most cats, Maine Coons adore the outside world – if they are allowed access to it. The outside world provides a multitude of stimuli that can amuse cats for hours. They can hunt, climb, scratch, run, jump and explore to their hearts’ content. 

Unfortunately, going outside is not a safe option for many cats and so owners are left with a big responsibility – that is, trying to find ways for a cat to fulfil its natural urges inside.

Try to provide plenty of mental stimulation and entertainment if you don’t want your cat’s indoor life to consist of a listless routine of eating, washing and sleeping.

As well as the indoor climbing tree mentioned above, cats love boxes, hidey-holes, views from windows, hanging toys to bat and tanks of fish to watch (have a secure lid though!). Some people leave their TVs on with videos playing of fish or birds.

17. Provide your cat with company

The best way to keep a Maine coon happy is to be around all day so it doesn’t get lonely. Obviously, this isn’t always practical or possible.

The next best thing to your company is the presence of another cat. If you can possibly get two Maine Coons from the same litter they will get on perfectly together and keep each other company when you’re out. 

18. Introducing other pets

If you introduce another pet into your household be careful not to put your Maine Coon’s nose out of joint. It might not be accepting of a new animal into its territory.

Introduce any new pet with care if you don’t want to make your cat feel miserable or threatened. After all, you are probably hoping the new pet will provide your Maine Coon with some company in order to make it happy. 

19. Be kind to your Maine coon

Maine Coons are sensitive to your mood and will not understand if you are inconsistent in your treatment of them. If you aren’t happy with something your cat does which leads you to raise your voice angrily, all you will do is scare it and cause it to feel stressed.

The same goes for physical punishment. You should never smack a cat for any reason. Raising your voice or hurting your cat will destroy its trust in you.

The best way to discourage unwanted behavior is to use distraction techniques. This can take time and patience and doesn’t always work. But it will be more successful than scaring your cat and making its life unhappy.

20. Lend a hand with grooming

Long-haired cats such as Maine Coons can’t groom themselves that effectively. Their undercoat easily forms knots and these can very quickly become large mats.  

Matted fur can cause great discomfort and make a cat feel grumpy and miserable.  If you can brush your Maine Coons coat at least twice a week you will keep it beautifully knot-free and remove much of the loose hair that can cause fur balls.

21. Pick your Maine Coon up correctly

Maine Coons are generally heavy cats and it is possible to hurt or even injure one if you don’t pick it up carefully.

Words of advice: only pick up your cat if it doesn’t resist unless of course there is a good reason such as you need to put it int a carrier to go to the vets or you are saving it from immediate danger.

Steps for safely picking up a Maine Coon are:

  • Crouch next to your cat
  • Encourage your cat into a standing position
  • Place one hand on its tummy, positioned close to its front legs
  • Place the other hand on its tummy, close to its back legs
  • Lift the cat a couple inches and move the forearm of your arm that’s nearest the back legs under its hind-quarters to support all of its weight
  • Then rise slowly to a standing position with your cat securely held to your chest
  • When your cat has had enough lower it gently to the ground before releasing it

Don’t ever pick a Maine Coon up in these ways:

  • By the scruff of its neck – this can be painful and is unnecessary
  • By holding its front legs – the bones are not strong enough and could break
  • With both hands under its front legs so that its weight is unsupported – this can strain its stomach muscles

If you follow the correct technique, your cat will be much happier to be picked up. Do this badly and your cat will struggle every time you attempt to lift it.

22. Teach children to be gentle with Maine Coons

Maine Coons are patient and tolerant cats but every cat has a limit to what it will endure. Children mean well but are not always as careful around cats as they should be.

Only yesterday, I saw the following photo shared on social media and it made me cringe. This is exactly how NOT to pick up a cat. Please don’t allow a child to do this to your cat. Teach children the correct way to lift a cat.

If you teach children to treat your Maine Coon kindly, how to play with it nicely and how to pick it up properly, your cat will be much happier, and hopefully the children won’t get scratched.

23. A view from a window

Make sure your cat has access to a window to view the outside world from. If possible, make room on a window ledge for them to sit and watch.

If you can, set up bird feeders or bird tables as your cat will love watching the comings and goings of the birds for hours. You may even hear it uttering those cute chattering noises cats make when watching prey they just can’t get at.

Bird watching…

Summary

Your cat’s happiness is directly linked to the way you treat it. If you follow the suggestions above you can be certain that you are doing your best.

Now you’ve got the idea I expect you’ll keep coming up with other ways to keep your Maine Coon happy.

Jane

I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog, and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences plus those of my family and friends.

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