Why Does My Maine Coon Smell?


Cats are notoriously clean creatures but can occasionally smell a little, and the Maine Coon is no exception. If your Maine Coon ever emits an unpleasant odor, you can usually diagnose the cause with a quick examination. There’s often a blatantly obvious reason for cat odors.

If your Maine Coon cat smells, check these four areas: mouth, ears, skin, and rear end. A common cause of an unsavory odor from a Maine Coon is feces stuck in its fur. They are also prone to bad breath from dental disease. Finally, ear and skin infections can be the source of pungent smells.

Why Does My Maine Coon Smell?

Why Maine Coons sometimes smell

Dental problems causing your Maine Coon to smell

Dental hygiene is often overlooked in cats (as it is in dogs) and indeed this is something we didn’t look at enough when our two were kittens. There can be several reasons why your Maine Coon might have bad breath. But actually, think about it – if you ate some of the stuff they ate your breath might stink too, right?

Why Does My Maine Coon Smell?

So, if your cat’s breath just stinks of cat food – then that’s just because they’ve eaten cat food! Incidentally, why can’t manufacturers make cat food that doesn’t smell so bad?

Bad breath is also known as Halitosis and is more common in cats than perhaps you think. Actually, according to this article at the Cornell Feline Health Center, over half of all cats up to the age of 4 years old can suffer from some kind of dental problem. Briefly, these are:

  • Gingivitis is noticeable by the gums of your Maine Coon becoming swollen around their teeth and is often caused by the buildup of plaque. This can be treated (as it would be for us) by brushing their teeth and you can see more about this in the complete Maine Coon Teeth Guide. Believe me, it’s easier to start brushing them from when they were a kitten rather than starting when they are older!
  • Periodontitis is what can happen to your Maine Coon’s teeth if gingivitis is left untreated. This is more serious and is noticeable by your cat eating their food obviously from one side (their head will tip to one side during chewing). A trip to the vet is necessary for this as the plaque will need to be removed but occasionally, teeth will also need to be extracted.
  • Tooth resorption – this is actually the most common cause of tooth loss in cats and occurs when the body of the tooth itself begins to break down. It’s identifiable by a pink tint in the tooth where it meets the gums. This can be quite painful for your cat and you will need veterinary help to treat it.

Other problems with smelly breath can stem from other issues, such as liver or kidney problems but this is much rarer. Also, these issues don’t always manifest in the same way but if your Maine Coon is experiencing other problems like being sick then you should obviously take them in to see your vet.

There are many problems that can cause a bad smell from your cat’s mouth and I’ve listed just a few here. I think the thing to take out of this is that if the problem is not easily identifiable and the foul odor continues, then you need to seek professional help – don’t linger on it, especially if they are acting differently.

Bladder Infection

A bladder infection can sometimes be identified by a smell that is not unlike smelly feet! Of course, it can also smell like urine and the obvious thing to check here is just whether they’ve managed to get urine on their long fur. I’ve occasionally noticed this with ours, especially when it’s really windy outside!

These bladder-related problems can happen for no ‘apparent’ reason but is more common in older cats. With a bladder problem, you might notice your Maine Coon is urinating more often and if possible, take a look at the color. If it has a pinkish tint to it then it may be because it has blood within it.

If you see any of these problems then you need to take your Maine Coon to a vet. In the meantime, encourage them to drink as much water as possible – easier said than done, I know!

Litter Box related

At least this one should be easier to diagnose! It’s important to keep their litter tray kept clean if they use one. If it’s not cleaned a few times a day then it’s possible that when they use it they can sit in some of the previous mess and it can stick to their fur.

Or, when your Maine Coon is burying their toilet they can sweep some of what is still there from earlier into their fur.

Why Does My Maine Coon Smell?

Ideally, get the kind of cat litter that clumps. This makes it so much easier to clean up. Better quality cat litter will not smell as much as some cheaper versions. I recommend the world’s best clumping litter. It’s not just me who rates it – check out the reviews!

What you might find if this happens is that the excrement or urine may get knotted up in their fur – which will obviously smell. Sometimes you may need to cut this out but this isn’t difficult as long as you’re careful you don’t nip their skin.

Are they spraying?

Your Maine Coon should be neutered but if not you may find that they are spraying. I’m sure you know but you will recognize this behavior by them backing up to something, lifting their tail and spraying a small amount of urine on it.

Their tail will probably quiver whilst they are doing this and they are doing it to mark their territory.

Unfortunately, it’s not just un-neutered cats that exhibit this behavior so if you notice your Maine Coon is smelling of urine it could be because of this. When spraying, some of the urine can bounce off the surface they are directing towards and land back on them. Yuk!

If your Maine Coon is spraying inside, they are doing it for a reason. They are most likely feeling anxious and stressed about something so making a big fuss about it isn’t going to help.

The best solution for this is to clean up where they have sprayed and try and make your cat feel more relaxed. Try and spend more time with it and understand why they are feeling so anxious.

Cat food Disagreement that causes your Maine Coon to smell

Maine Coons, like us, sometimes have stomachs that disagree with what’s just been put in it. Therefore, if you notice that your cat is having stomach problems (which in-turn is causing rather nasty smells) then switch their food.

Why Does My Maine Coon Smell?

Have a look at what food you’re providing and consider changing to a potentially higher quality product with more natural ingredients. Perhaps try something like this high protein product from Purina (opens in a new tab). Switch their food over to something like this and you should see the results within a day or two. If you don’t, get them checked out by your vet, especially if you notice other behavioral problems.

Skin problem

Of course, identifying skin-related problems on the Maine Coon can be tricky considering it’s rare you actually see it due to the large amount of fur they have.

Often, skin problems are a symptom of something else rather than a cause – such as a parasite or a wound. This wound may not be noticeable to you at first glance. Your Maine Coon may have been involved in a fight (as they enjoy going outside so much, these are inevitable) and develop an abscess. These can rupture which will cause an extremely unpleasant odor due to the pus that is escaping.

A good way to keep an eye on skin condition is through regular grooming. The key to grooming a Maine Coon is to start when it’s as young as possible and then do it every day. If you don’t they may not like it when you try and start when they are older! Believe me, I have first-hand experience in this 🙂

Ear problems

Well, this one is a little easier to find than some of the others! Although not all ear-related problems have an associated nasty smell, many do. These can come about if your Maine Coon has an allergy which can cause yeast to form. This is a very distinctive smell.

Other situations where ear infections can come about is when they have been in a fight, been bitten on the ear and developed an infection.

Alternatively, they can get ear mites and you might first get a sign that something isn’t quite right when they start scratching their ear a lot. Although this is treatable at home, it would be a good idea to talk to your vet. The ear will need to be thoroughly cleaned and monitored for around 7 to 10 days.

Are Anal glands the cause of the smell?

A Maine Coon’s anal glands can become infected or develop abscesses. You’ll notice a constant, unpleasant smell from their rear end if this is the case.

A vet will prescribe any necessary treatment and you can help keep your cat’s anal gland areas clean if required. Specially formulated Pet Wipes are ideal for this job. As well as cleaning they help to reduce any odors.

Anal glands don’t have to be infected to smell bad. Their content is usually expressed as a cat defecates and you don’t notice because it’s overpowered by the odor of their feces.

However, if a Maine Coon is frightened or wants to mark its territory, its anal glands emit a distinctively foul, fishy scent.

Summary of these reasons

These are just a few of the problems that can cause your Maine Coon to smell somewhat unpleasant. They actually don’t have the same sense of smell as us but they will probably be aware of something not being quite right, just not in the same way that we would be.

At the end of the day, common sense is your friend here. The first thing is to identify the smell (not difficult) but the important part is to find the root cause which can sometimes be tricky. If you can’t find it and especially if they are acting differently, just get them in to see the professional.

Do Maine Coons fart?

A bad smell might mean your Maine Coon has simply farted. Like all cats and most other living beings, Maine Coons can suffer from the odd bout of flatulence and sometimes the odor is extremely rank! It makes you wonder what some cat food contains to cause such a smell.

When Maine Coons fart they don’t usually make a sound. Apparently (and I admit I had no idea of this until now) cats don’t make a noise when they pass wind because they don’t gulp as much air down as we do when they eat.

Can a Maine Coon cat have smelly sweat?

You may be wondering whether the smell comes from the Maine Coon perspiring. But then you think, hang on, do cats even sweat?

Well yes, cats (including the Maine Coon) do sweat but it’s just more difficult for them. Imagine us sweating whilst wearing a big, tight coat, where would the sweat go? This is the problem cats have as their fur prevents their skin from adequately removing the moisture (and heat) from their body.

The place where a cat has most of their sweat glands is actually in their paws! They can also remove heat by panting or licking their fur that can then evaporate and cool them just a little.

Why Does My Maine Coon Smell?

Generally, though, the way a Maine Coon will cool down is by relaxing and doing as little as possible in the shade.

In my experience, cat perspiration is not a cause for a nasty smell!

What’s the best way to get rid of cat odors?

The very best way for you to get rid of the smell is to find the root cause and ‘fix it’. This is also the best way for your Maine Coon as the smell could be indicative of something not quite right.

If you’re serious about clean air in your home though and want to get rid of any cat-like smells, then there’s only one thing I can recommend. You have to check out the Hathaspace Air Defuser on Amazon.

It was a little more than I wanted to spend but with this kind of stuff you get what you pay for and with this – you’re only paying once. Do consider checking it out as it really does remove some of the worst smells known to man!

Are you imagining it?

It’s unlikely I know but there is a chance that you’re actually not smelling what you think you’re smelling. If you can’t see any obvious problems with your Maine Coon and they are eating, drinking and acting normally then maybe you should consider something else, as bizarre as it is.

Get a friend or someone whose opinion you can rely on and ask them to come into your home and tell you what they can smell. You see, people have been known to smell things that aren’t actually there and the smell is purely in their head!

Then, magically – when told by a reliable source that there’s no such smell, it dissipates. I know it sounds crazy and I’ve certainly never experienced it but do consider getting a second opinion if you can’t see anything wrong.

Summary

It’s probably nothing to worry about. More often than not when a Maine Coon smells it is because it has some urine or excrement stuck to its fur after going to the toilet.

Over time this can certainly smell quite bad. Other than this, dental problems can be a concern but are usually quite easily fixed with a visit to your vet.

The main thing to take out of this article is to not ignore the smell. Find out what’s causing it and address it.

Matt

I'm Matt Pettitt, joint founder of the Pets Knowledge Base alongside my wife, Jane. Since I was just 2 years of age I've had pets in my life - which I don't mind admitting is 47 years! I strongly believe that when you introduce a pet into your family you should do everything you can to give it the best life possible. I've learned a lot during the past (almost) five decades and this blog gives me a medium to share everything I have learned ( both good and bad) about pets. If you'd like to know more about us, and how to contact us - take a look at our About page here!

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