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Why is my Maine Coon so scared?

Witnessing your Maine Coon in a panic-stricken state is heartbreaking. All you want is for your cat to relax and enjoy the safe, homely environment you have lovingly created.

Why is your Maine Coon so scared of everything and what can you do to help? As an owner who adopted a terrified Maine Coon kitten, I share the various causes of cat fear and how to resolve them.

A Maine Coon lying on a stair.

Why is your Maine Coon so scared all the time?

The number one reason for a Maine Coon to be scared is a lack of socialization during the first 8 weeks of its life. If you are able to rule this out as being the cause of your cat’s fearful behavior, then the next contenders are environmental and medical conditions.

Signs of a scared Maine Coon

If you think your Maine Coon is scared but aren’t 100% sure, these are classic signs to be aware of:

  • Hiding
  • Freezing on the spot
  • Suddenly crouching low to the ground with a lowered head
  • Moving their ears rapidly to take in noises
  • Flattening their ears close to their head
  • Toileting outside their litter box
  • Running away in a blind panic
  • Wide eyes with large, dilated pupils
  • Arching their back and puffing up their fur
  • Tucking their tail between their legs
  • Wagging their tail tip quickly from side-to-side
  • Hissing
  • Scratching or biting
A Maine Coon looking a little worried.

Why lack of socialization leads to timid Maine Coons

When a Maine Coon kitten is born, everything is new. The first 8 weeks of their lives have a huge influence on their future personality.

If a Maine Coon kitten is to grow into a confident, sociable adult cat it is really important that it is introduced to people and gets used to them being around.

This is why socialization is very important. A kitten must be exposed to stimuli such as vacuum cleaning, music, TV, children, dogs, and other cats if it is to live happily in an environment like this in the future.

A lack of this type of social activity will lead to a Maine Coon kitten growing into a scared and timid Maine Coon cat.

 A Maine Coon sitting in a box.

How to resolve socialization issues in Maine Coons

If you adopt an unsocialized Maine Coon, you will have to be patient and let it get accustomed to its new life with you at its own pace.

Try to live as normally as possible and keep everyday events going as usual, such as vacuuming, TV volume, playing music, and allowing visitors. If you stop these, it will only be harder to restart them.

At first, your Maine Coon may want to hide and this should be allowed. In fact, you should ensure you provide several safe spaces it can easily retreat to, each with a litter tray, food and water at hand.

Allow an obviously scared Maine Coon time to get used to you. Don’t force it to stay with you, or keep picking it up. Instead, hang out near where it prefers to be, reading, working or watching TV.

Food is a great way to a cat’s heart so make feeding times regular and stay in the room as it eats. Eating is a positive experience and you can create an association between this happy feeling and you.

Introduce playtime as this is a great way to form a bond with a timid Maine Coon. If you are close enough to sneak in a gentle stroke, try this but don’t rush things.

If you are having people over, allow your cat to exit the room if it wants to. It can take a long time for a nervous cat to accept new people in the home and sometimes they never relax in this situation.

We had a nervous Maine Coon for 16 years and he grew to accept me, my husband, and my son but always made himself scarce when we had visitors.

We just accepted this because the majority of the time it was just us three (and his sibling) and then he was perfectly happy.

A Maine Coon looking scared.

Environmental conditions that make a Maine Coon scared

If your once confident Maine Coon suddenly seems scared, the chances are that something in or around your home is causing the problem.

Of course, there could be 101 reasons but these are the top ones to consider:

  • Unusual loud noises such as building work
  • A strange cat hanging around outside
  • Someone new in the home
  • You’ve had a baby
  • A new pet has been introduced
  • Redecoration had shrouded your cat’s territorial marks
  • House furnishings have been rearranged
  • You’ve moved house
  • Your cat’s main carer has left the home (temporarily or otherwise)
  • Someone is being unkind to it
  • The loss of another pet has left it lonely
  • You’ve not been giving it the usual attention
  • You’ve adjusted your or your cat’s daily routine

Establishing the exact cause of sudden scared behavior in a Maine Coon cat can take a fair amount of investigation but once you’ve pinpointed it, you should be able to address the issue and restore your cat’s confidence.

A Maine Coon in her new home.

Physical illness or stress can make a Maine Coon feel scared

Feeling out of sorts or in pain is another reason why your Maine Coon could suddenly be behaving like a scared cat. Cats don’t make it obvious when they are ill or injured as we do; instead, they mask it.

Sick cats tend to stop eating, hide away in a quiet spot, hunched up, and generally avoid contact with you. If your cat is behaving like this for no obvious reason it could be ill.

Diagnosing how ill a cat is, is not an easy task. If your cat is like this for more than a day, it’s safest to have a vet check it out.

Maine Coons, like all cats, can suffer from stress and stress can lead to skittish behavior. Cat stress is a vast topic with numerous causes so I’ve covered this subject in great detail in a separate article. You can read my article about stress in Maine Coons by clicking here.

A red smoke Maine Coon kitten in his new home, looking nervous.

Why is my Maine Coon so nervous?

Maine coon cats can seem nervous when subjected to new situations. Maine Coons are generally confident, sociable cats but there are always exceptions to the rule.

Nervousness can be invoked by pain or illness, and sometimes exposure to a toxic substance or a disease of the nervous system.

A visit to a vet is always the first place to start to rule these things out ot get the correct medical teatment as necessary.

Nervousness in Maine Coons can also be triggered by a traumatic experience, a lack of socialization or mistreatment.

If any of these are the case, you will need to give your Maine Coon plenty of time to a aclimatize to you and your home. Refer to earlier tips in this article to help your Maine Coon grow confident and overcome its nervousness.

Do Maine Coons get scared easily?

Maine Coons are not generally scaredy cats but like all cats, they can feel scared in certain situations.

Maine Coons can be timid when strangers enter their home and they can take time to relax around them. Most of the time a Maine Coon will overcome its scared behavior once they have assessed the new persom not to be a threat.

Boisterous children can bring out the scared side of a Maine Coon, so they do tend to stay out of their way until they are used to them.

A Maine coon kitten hiding in the bedclothes.

Do Maine Coons have anxiety?

Maine Coons can suffer from anxiety and this can develop at any time. As anxiety can worsen if not treated, it’s important to take steps remove thr causes and treat a cat’s anxiety quickly.

Anxiety in Maine Coons can be triggered by illnesses such as a urunary tract infection, poor socialization, environmental changes, a trauma or physical pain.

How do I calm my Maine Coon?

The best way to calm a Maine Coon cat is to keep calm yourself. Allow your cat space to calm itself by letting it retreat to a safe place – and then be patient.

If you know the cause of your Maine Coons “uncalm” behavior, remove that stimulus. Keep everything around it peaceful until it returns to its usual self.

If your Maine Coon often seems unsettled, you could try a pheromone plug-in and speak to a vet for further advice.

Why is my Maine Coon so scared? Conclusion

A scared cat is often the result of a lack of socialization and this is something you can address. Kittens should be socialized by their mothers and breeders but if for some reason this hasn’t happened, then you will have to fullfill this role.

If illness or stress is to blame for your Maine Coons skittishness, then a vet should be able to give you a diagnosis and set you on the path to resolvoing the issue.

Maine Coons are not uusually scared cats but when one is it is upsetting to see. In the majority of cases, you will be able to help your cat overcome its fears and become confident and sociable.

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