If your Maine Coon always seems to follow you to the kitchen meowing for food, it’s easy to believe it needs a meal. How much should you feed your Maine Coon and why is it always hungry?
Cats often graze throughout the day. But if your Maine Coon always seems hungry, especially when it’s just eaten, there are three broad reasons why: it isn’t getting enough calories from its food, it’s bored, or it has a medical condition that is making it hungry.
Rather than assuming your Maine Coon is greedy, try to establish why it has such an insatiable appetite.
Reasons Why A Maine Coon Always Seems Hungry
Its food isn’t nutritious enough
As obligate carnivores, Maine Coons need to eat protein from meat. So whether you feed your Maine Coon, wet, dry, or raw food ensure it has a high protein content.
Unfortunately not all cat food is created equal. Low-quality foods lack protein and essential nutrients leaving a Maine Coon needing more after a short burst of activity.
Examine the ingredients of your Maine Coons diet and check it contains plenty of animal protein and also states that it is a complete diet – meaning it has all the nutrients your cat requires.
Here’s a guide to the average amount of protein an adult Maine Coon needs per day.
|Maine Coon weight|
|Active cat daily allowance|
|Inactive cat daily allowance|
|10 (4.5)||6.4 (181)||4.8 (136)|
|11 (5.0)||7 (200)||5.3 (150)|
|12 (5.4)||7.7 (218)||5.8 (163)|
|13 (5.9)||8.3 (236)||6.2 (177)|
|14 (6.3)||9 (254)||6.7 (191)|
|15 (6.8)||9.6 (272)||7.2 (204)|
|16 (7.3)||10.2 (290)||7.7 (218)|
|17 (7.7)||10.9 (308)||8.2 (231)|
|18 (8.2)||11.5 (327)||8.6 (245)|
|19 (8.6)||12.2 (345)||9.1 (259)|
|20 (9.1)||12.8 (363)||9.6 (272)|
|21 (9.5)||13.4 (381)||10.1 (286)|
|22 (10.0)||14.1 (399)||10.6 (299)|
|23 (10.4)||14.7 (417)||11 (313)|
|24 (10.8)||15.4 (435)||11.5 (327)|
|25 (11.3)||16 (454)||12 (340)|
|26 (11.8)||16.6 (472)||12.5 (354)|
|27 (12.2)||17.3 (490)||13 (367)|
|28 (12.7)||17.9 (508)||13.4 (381)|
|29 (13.2)||18.6 (526)||13.8 (395)|
|30 (13.6)||19.2 (544)||14.4 (308)|
If your Maine Coon is always meowing for food, make sure you are giving it the correct portion size recommended by each specific food’s manufacturer, based on its life stage and weight, and take into account its activity level too.
It’s a very active cat
The more active a Maine Coon is, the more food it will need to eat. Strictly indoor cats tend to expend a lot less energy than those with access to an outside space.
If your Maine Coon seems to be hungry all the time, increase its portion sizes a little and see how things go. If it starts to look overweight or still seems to be hungry, look a the rest of our suggestions for what the cause might be.
It has an underlying medical condition
It is possible that a Maine Coon’s constant hunger is a symptom of an underlying health condition. Here are a few to consider
Medication Side Effects
Inflammatory medicines can increase hunger in Maine Coons. Your vet should inform you of any possible side effects when prescribing your cat any medication.
In fact, when a Maine Coon has a low appetite, a vet might prescribe medication to increase its desire to eat. It might take some trial and error to get the dosage right.
So if your Maine Coon has recently been prescribed medication and suddenly acts hungry all the time, ask your vet if there could be a link and what you should do.
Certain parasitic infections such as tapeworms can cause increased hunger in Maine Coons. Parasites consume a large number of calories from a cat’s diet, leading to weight loss and constant hunger even when they are eating plenty of calorie-dense nutrition.
Your vet will be able to test for parasites and prescribe the relevant deworming medication.
Just like humans, Maine Coons can develop hyperthyroidism, also referred to as an overactive thyroid gland. Signs of this include constant hunger, increased thirst, vomiting, weight loss, and muscle wastage.
It’s important to have hyperthyroidism diagnosed and treated by a vet. If your Maine Coon does have this condition it will explain why it’s always hungry!
It is possible for a Maine Coon’s constant hunger to be caused by diabetes. There are two forms of this condition: type 1 where a cat does not produce enough insulin, and type 2 where a cat does not respond properly to insulin.
Both types of diabetes prevent a Maine Coon’s digestive system from breaking down glucose into energy, leaving too much sugar in its bloodstream.
A classic side effect of diabetes is increased appetite, so a Maine Coon literally will feel hungry all the time if it is a diabetic cat.
Other signs include weight loss, increased thirst, and a dull coat. Vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy occur in severe cases. A vet can diagnose and offer treatment for diabetes.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Another disease that afflicts humans can also occur in Maine Coons, leaving them seeming constantly hungry: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
IBD stops a Maine Coon’s small intestines from absorbing a lot of the nutrients from its food. leading to an increased appetite, weight loss and muscle wastage. Look out for other signs such as vomiting and diarrhea.
If a Maine Coon’s hunger is diagnosed as a symptom of IBD, vets often suggest a change of diet to more easily digestible bland foods, along with probiotics to increase gut health.
If a Maine Coon is bored it is quite likely to act hungry. Asking for food gives it something to do to break the monotony, and gains your attention for a while.
Prevent boredom-hunger in a Maine Coon by trying some or all of these “cures”:
- Invoke its hunting instincts with a good play session instead of giving it food
- Enrich its environment as much as you can with cat climbing towers, toys, and perches
- Give it access to a safe outdoor space which will provide natural amusement
- If possible, have more than one cat
How Much Should a Maine Coon Eat?
How much a Maine Coon needs to eat is very much dependent on the following 5 factors:
- Its age
- Its weight
- Its health
- Its activity levels
- Whether it’s pregnant or lactating
Feeding a Maine Coon’s according to its life stage
Maine Coon kittens should be free-fed, meaning they should always have access to food. Kittens generally eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. Having food available for a kitten at all times means it can eat exactly when it feels hungry.
After a Maine Coon kittens is 6 months you can start to introduce set meal times. Three times a day is best for cats but some owners only feed twice per day. If you only feed a Maine Coon once per day, it is very likely to feel hungry a few hours after its meal.
An adult Maine Coon needs fewer calories than a kitten and a senior cat needs fewer calories than a younger cat.
As your Maine Coon ages, its body goes through metabolic changes. Your cat might request more foods as it adapts to differences in muscle mass and body fat.
There are special diets formulated for older cats with the right balance of nutrition to see them into old age.
Feeding a Maine Coon according to its weight
The weight of Maine Coons varies widely so it’s important to know your cat’s weight and feed it the right amount of calories to maintain its weight.
If you don’t offer enough food, your Maine Coon will feel hungry and ask for more food. Refer to the feeding guide on the food label as a guide.
However, if your Maine Coon is gaining or losing weight, you’ll need to tweak its portion sizes.
Feeding a Maine Coon with health conditions
As mentioned, earlier, there are certain health conditions that can affect the amount a Maine Coon should eat and when it should eat.
If your Maine Coon is recovering from recent surgery or has a specific illness, it will probably have particular nutritional requirements.
Some medicines must be given on an empty stomach and some with food. If a Maine Coon is diabetic, Kathryn Michel, DVM (an associate professor of Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine) states, “It’s very important that you coordinate your cat’s meals with the insulin dosing.”
Feeding a Maine Coon according to its activity levels
Its activity level dictates how much a Maine Coon should eat to maintain its weight according to how much exercise it gets.
The ASPCA explains: “A cat with a “normal” activity level should receive what we call “maintenance” energy. A cat who mostly lies around the house may require 10% below maintenance, while an active kitty who plays all day may require maintenance plus 20 to 40%.”
Feeding a pregnant or lactating Maine Coon
A pregnant Maine Coon will need a little extra food in the early stages but not a huge increase in calories.
During the latter weeks of her pregnancy, a Maine Coon’s appetite will increase and it is possible to buy specific food for this stage and also for when she’s nursing her kittens.
How often should you feed a Maine Coon cat?
There’s no hard and fast rule concerning how often you should feed a Maine Coon. Some people leave food out constantly, some have two or three set meal times.
What is important is that you stick to a feeding routine so your Maine Coon knows when to expect its food. Cats are creatures of habit and have very good internal clocks.
If you miss a meal, your Maine Coon will let you know!
What are a typical Maine Coon’s eating habits?
There are no typical Maine Coon eating habits. You should offer them good quality, high protein food containing meat such as poultry or fish.
Choose foods that are nutritionally balanced to maintain their health. This can be wet, raw or dry, whichever works best for your cat.
Why Is My Maine Coon Always Hungry? Conclusion
A Maine Coon that’s always hungry might need to be offered more food – as long as it isn’t overweight. If you’re sure your cat is being fed the right amount of good quality nutrition, consider that it might be bored.
If you suspect boredom is to blame for your Maine Coon’s ravenous appetite, do as much as you can to enrich its environment and distract it from thoughts of food by playing with it several times a day.
If your well-fed and well-entertained Maine Coon still seems hungry all the time, it’s probably time for a health check at the vets to diagnose any underlying health problems.