What is the Temperament of a Maine Coon Cat?


Maine Coons are one of the most popular family pets in the world today. There must be a good reason for this … something that inspires so many people to share their lives with one of these majestic cats. Is it all down to their personality? What is the Maine Coon temperament?

The Maine Coon temperament gives these cats their sociable and gentle natures. Being confident and playful, they are a favorite breed of families with children. As temperament is often inherited, a Maine Coon usually behaves in a similar way to its parents.

How the Maine Coon temperament develops within a family depend greatly on how well it is socialized and treated by its breeder and its owners.

Are Maine Coons Loving?

What Is The Temperament of the Maine Coon Cat? Maine Coon and child

The Maine Coon temperament makes it an affectionate cat which has many ways of showing its love for you. Here are the most obvious:

  • Slow blinking – If your Maine Coon makes eye contact with you and slow blinks this is a sure sign of the affection it feels for you. You should always slow blink back.
  • Headbutting – When a Maine Coon gently nudges you with its head, it is treating you like a member of the pack. This is another sign of its love for you.
  • Sitting on your lap – Not all Maine Coons like to sit on laps, preferring to be close by instead. If yours actually sits on your lap this is an absolute sign of affection and trust.
  • Displaying its belly – A Maine Coon will only honor you with a show of its tummy as a sign of complete trust as this is a cat’s most vulnerable position. This is the ultimate show of affection.
  • Bringing you gifts – Be it a little dead animal (try to hide your disgust) or a favorite toy, bringing you a gift is an expression of your cat’s affection for you. You should always praise your cat for bringing you something.
  • Gentle bites – These little nips are like love bites and are only meant affectionately.
  • Purring – If your cat is sitting near or on you and purring contentedly, it is feeling affectionate towards you.
  • Rubbing against your legs – Your cat is marking you with its scent which is always a sign of affection.

Do Maine Coons behave aggressively?

As a rule, the Maine Coon temperament in non-aggressive. They are famous for being gentle giants. But just like any cat, they are capable of being aggressive if provoked. Here are some of the causes of aggression in Maine Coons:

  • Unneutered/unspayed Maine Coons are more likely to have spates of aggression due to hormonal changes. Sometimes they may become feisty and sometimes a little more aggressive. Consider getting your cat neutered/spayed to avoid this type of aggression – unless you are going to breed from it.
  • Pain from an injury or illness can cause a usually gentle Maine Coon to behave aggressively. If your cat suddenly becomes aggressive and you can’t determine a reason, take it to the vets for a health check.
  • Matted fur can cause pain because the mats can pull at a cat’s skin making it sore. If you touch a mat you could provoke an unwelcome reaction from your cat.
  • Provoking a Maine Coon by persisting with behavior that is clearly annoying it can bring out viciousness. They are tolerant cats but do have a tipping point. Always supervise young children around Maine Coons and teach them to always be kind. If you see your cat’s tail start to wave at the tip take this as a signal to leave it alone.
  • Introducing another pet into your household may cause aggressiveness in a Maine Coon. It can be done but requires a very gradual introduction and a lot of patience.
  • Maine Coons are territorial so if a strange cat enters its space there is likely to be an altercation. Be extremely careful if you attempt to break up a catfight as you could get caught in the crossfire.
What Is The Temperament of the Maine Coon Cat? Kitten in hand

Are Maine Coons Clingy?

Maine Coons are affectionate and loving but are not usually considered to be clingy. As kittens, our two were very independent. They occasionally allowed us to pick them up but if we sat down they immediately moved off to sit elsewhere.

After a year they began to sit on our laps now and then. At 14 years old one is still like this whereas the other one often wants to sit on my husband.  So I would say he’s a bit clingy but not all the time.

Are Maine Coons Cuddly?

Some Maine Coons are cuddly and some just aren’t. You can’t force a cat to sit on your lap; you have to let the cat decide if it wants to. Often a Maine Coon will be happy to sit close to you but not actually on you. We have one cuddly Maine Coon and one that’s not so cuddly.

Sometimes one will relax in my arms for ages purring and at other times he wants to get down immediately. Give your cat plenty of time to get to know and trust you if you want to have any chance of cuddles with it. Never force a Maine Coon cat against its will to be cuddled as you could lose its trust.

Are Maine Coons a dangerous breed?

What Is The Temperament of the Maine Coon Cat? Cat on bird box

Maine Coons are not dangerous where people are concerned but being accomplished hunters means they are a danger to certain wildlife – that’s if they are outdoor cats.

Our two occasionally bring home mice, birds, and even baby rabbits. If you have a Maine Coon and let it outside, ensure any other small pets you have such as guinea pigs and rabbits are securely enclosed.

I know we sometimes see cute videos of a cat and a budgie having a harmonious cuddle and I’ve even seen a cat nursing a brood of chics. But remember these occurrences are rare and people share these clips because they are unusual.  You can be certain this is not normal cat behavior. As a rule of thumb, cats don’t cuddle birds, they kill them.

Where we live many people keep free-range chickens and, thankfully, our Maine Coons have never attempted to hunt these. They would, I’m sure, find chics hard to resist.

Hunting is a natural instinct even for domestic cats which don’t need to catch their own food. Don’t punish your cat for displaying this natural behavior. If you want to give wildlife a chance, put a bell on your cat’s collar.

There is also a myth that cats will deliberately suffocate a baby. This is not true either. A cat isn’t capable of planning like this. However, cats do like warmth and there have been reports of a cat snuggling up close to a warm baby which understandably shocks the baby’s parents.

I can’t find any reports where it has been proven that a cat smothered a baby. My advice is if you can’t supervise a cat and a baby at all times then make sure your cat can’t get into the room where your baby is sleeping.

Do Maine Coons destroy things?

What Is The Temperament of the Maine Coon Cat? Maine Coon and scratching toy

Maine Coons are destructive in as much as they do like to sharpen their claws indoors as well as outdoors, wherever takes their fancy. You may well find that your carpets, curtains and furniture all suffer at the paws of a Maine Coon cat. 

Never ever get cross or punish a cat for scratching – it is only acting naturally. Scratching is an instinctive way to sharpen claws and flex muscles.

NEVER EVER have a cat declawed just to stop it scratching. There is plenty of information available as to why this is not acceptable, and many countries are now making moves to ban this cruel practice.

Maine Coons have quite a bit of energy. If you decide to keep one as an indoor cat then make sure you allow it plenty of space to move around and provide it with plenty of activities to keep it amused. The less bored a Maine Coon is the less destructive it is likely to be.

I have three pieces of advice:

  1. Accept that a Maine Coon will probably scratch your stuff and be prepared to tolerate this.
  2. From the moment you get a Maine Coon, you should encourage it to scratch on a scratching post or scratching tree (see more about these hereOpens in a new tab.) and distract it away from things you don’t want to be scratched. Use catnip spray to encourage your cat to scratch where it’s OK for it to scratch. Be prepared for this to take all your patience and still make no difference to where your Maine Coon scratches.
  3. If you can’t tolerate the thought of your possessions being unintentionally scratched and damaged by a Maine Coon then don’t get a Maine Coon!

Are Maine Coons High Energy?

Maine Coons are high energy some of the time but downright lazy at other times. They do have mad half hours, especially on windy days. There is sometimes no obvious explanation for their somewhat crazy actions.

Even at the age of 14 my two Maine Coons have really energetic moments. They tear around the house, thundering up and down the stairs with what we call ‘big eyes’. They skid around corners and almost fall over. It’s so funny to see.

Are Maine Coons clever cats?

Maine Coons do exhibit signs of being intelligent. They learn how to communicate with people very effectively.

You will be able to tell if a Maine Coon wants to go out or wants something to eat and you will know if it just wants your attention. All of this is communicated using meows of different pitches, lengths, and volumes.

Maine Coons can often solve puzzle toys quite effectively, so try some out on your if you can.

Are Maine Coon Cats Jealous?

What Is The Temperament of the Maine Coon Cat? Maine Coon looking jealous

Maine Coon Cats can be jealous of other pets, other cats, people and even of inanimate objects.  For instance, whenever my husband lavishes too much attention on his PC, one of our Maine Coons blocks his view of the screen, lays on his keyboard and basically does anything to get his attention.

Jealousy of another pet or cat could manifest itself as aggression. You will have to make sure you divide your attention equally amongst all of your pets to prevent jealous reactions.

Signs that your Maine Coon is jealous can include:

  • Tipping over of food bowls
  • Not responding to you in their usual way
  • Not making eye contact with you
  • Hiding away
  • Fighting with another household cat
  • Behaving viciously towards other pets

Don’t punish your cat for exhibiting signs of jealousy. Instead, try to resolve the problem by modifying your behavior to ensure the jealousy isn’t fuelled.

Older cats are not always accepting of new cats into a household so be very careful if you plan to make such an introduction. It may be the end of peace and harmony as you know it.

How similar are Maine Coons to dogs?

Maine Coons can exhibit dog-like personality traits and are often considered to be the dogs of the cat world. If you have a Maine Coon with this personality trait you will find it is not at all aloof and thrives on human attention in a similar way to a dog.

One of our Maine Coons definitely fits this description. He greets me as I get out of my car if he’s outside, or he comes galloping down the stairs when I enter the house. He’ll often sit on our wall watching as we drive off anywhere.

He will also play fetch with a hairband (but nothing else) and will steal them from the basket where I keep them until I have none left when I really need one.

This type of Maine Coon is often excited when you have guests and will give them a friendly welcome just like you’d expect a dog to do. Of course, not all Maine Coons are this way inclined and can have shy personalities.

We have one like this too. He’s great with us but keeps out of the way when guests arrive.

Do Maine Coon Cats show mean behavior?

I don’t think a Maine Coon (or any cat) can be described as being mean in the original sense of the word which is unwilling to give or share things.

But as there are several ways you can interpret the word ‘mean’, let’s look at the different definitions and whether any are true of Maine Coons:

  • Are Maine Coons unwilling to give or share things? – They may not want to give or share their food with you but they will share their affection and they are always willing to let you have anything they catch whilst out hunting.
  • Are Maine Coons unkind or unpleasant? – No, they are the opposite. Maine Coons are very sweet-natured and pleasant to live with.
  • Are Maine Coons of humble or lowly origin? – No, Maine Coons are purebred cat royalty and exhibit true high-class qualities.
  • Are Maine Coons poor or shabby? – Definitely not. They always look rich and stunning in their glorious fur coats.
  • Are Maine Coons bad-tempered and vicious? – Not if they come from reputable origins and are reared respectfully by kind and caring owners.
  • Are Maine Coons excellent and skillful? – Well, yes they are in my completely biased opinion as an owner of two extremely fabulous and intelligent Maine Coons. Many people will tell you how great their Maine Coons are at solving brain teaser toys.

Are Maine Coon Cats Nervous?

What Is The Temperament of the Maine Coon Cat?

As a rule, Maine Coons are confident cats and will only seem nervous if something sudden and unexpected happens. If you catch a Maine Coon unawares then you will make it jump.

Another reason for a Maine Coon to display nervous behavior is if something it has not experienced before occurs. One of our Maine Coons makes a quick exit if a stranger enters the room he’s in, but our other one couldn’t care less who comes or goes.

Nervousness in a Maine Coon has the best chance of being avoided if it is socialized well with lots of people and other pets as a kitten.

Are Maine Coons Playful?

Maine Coon temperament means they are very playful cats. From kittens to old age, Maine Coons will respond well to playing with their owners.

It is actually really recommended that you make time to play with a Maine Coon every day to keep it active, healthy and to prevent boredom from setting in. Change your cat’s toys on a regular basis to keep it interested.

Maine Coon and territorial instincts

Like all cats, Maine Coon temperament leads them to be naturally territorial. Our two most definitely don’t like strange cats entering their space.

Occasionally a strange cat ventures in through our cat flap and I have to go down in the middle of the night to sort out growling, caterwauling cats. Usually, by the time I reach the bottom stair, the stranger has heard me and fled. Being territorial is perfectly natural cat behavior.

When you own a Maine Coon it will seem more like it owns you and you are living in its house. Everywhere it goes you will notice it rubbing and leaving its scent. Maine Coons usually have lots of favorite spots, not just one.

There’s an old saying: “If you want the best seat in the house, you’ll have to move the cat.” This is definitely true when you own a Maine Coon. And just so you know, the place a Maine Coon is least likely to sleep is in the gorgeous cozy bed you lovingly purchased specifically for it.

Are Maine Coons Vocal?

What Is The Temperament of the Maine Coon Cat?

Maine Coons are known for being vocal and having a wide range of ‘vocabulary’. Did you know that mature cats only meow as a way of communicating with humans?

You won’t hear two adult cats meowing in conversation with each other. After a while, you will come to understand the meanings of the different meows, chirps and other noises that your cat emits.

Your cat will soon have you opening doors when it wants to enter a room, feeding it when it’s hungry and paying it attention whenever it requires some.

Finally …

I hope you have found the answers to your questions about the Maine Coon temperament and that if you were considering getting one I have helped you to make up your mind. Owning a Maine Coon (or two) is a very rewarding experience.

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Jane

Hi. I'm Jane Pettitt and I co-own petsKB with my husband, Matt. I've always been crazy about animals and have shared my whole life with cats, We currently live with 4 gorgeous Maine Coons and have 25 years of experience with this breed. There's not much we can't tell you about them. We've also owned dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, fish, mice, and tortoises. All of our articles draw on the extensive pet knowledge base we've built up throughout our lives as pet lovers.

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