Maine Coons are well known for being fiercely loyal and overly affectionate, far more than any other cats. But, are Maine Coon cats territorial too?
Maine Coon cats can be territorial, but not necessarily more than other cat breeds. Male Maine Coon cats are more territorial than female Maine Coon cats. The male Maine Coon will claim the entire home and garden as theirs, whereas female Maine Coon cats generally only claim a small area.
We’ve found some key traits in the Maine Coon cat behavior that indicate these large cats are territorial. Keep reading to see why this cat breed can be protective towards their human family.
The Maine Coon’s territoriality and instinctive protectiveness regularly teeter on the edge of endearing and frustrating.
Luckily, we have some handy explanations for you and even some insights that may help you better understand your own Maine Coon. Read on to find out more!
Are Maine Coon Cats Territorial?
The Maine Coon has a curious and blurred history. So much so that we are not one hundred percent sure where they originate!
Maine Coons are now one of the largest, and most loved, domestic cat breeds the world over.
They are immensely affectionate and fiercely loyal to their family and owners. But, sometimes, that loyalty manifests in curious ways.
One of those ways is being overprotective of their family and intensely protective of their homes.
Maine Coon cats can be territorial, however, the level of their territorial nature will vary from cat to cat and is heavily influenced by their current home settings and social needs.
There are plenty of signs of a territorial cat that you can look out for.
1. Dilated Pupils
Dilated pupils are a signal that your cat is on edge.
The extra pupil size allows the eye to take in more light and therefore see incoming threats more easily.
Wide-eyed kitties are very cute, but this can also be a sign of tension and anxiety.
2. Pointed Ears
Cats, Maine Coons included, are known to have sharply pointed-up ears when they are being territorial and protective of their families.
They point their ears up to improve their hearing. This allows the cat to be extra sensitive to any noise that could indicate someone or something is in their territory that shouldn’t be.
3. Swishing Tails
Maine Coons have been known to swish their tails back and forth rapidly when they are feeling particularly territorial.
This is normally an indication that your Maine Coon has seen something of “importance” and is preparing to move very quickly (if needs be).
4. Tensed Stances
Cats tend to tense up when they feel like they, or their territory, are being threatened.
Tension in the muscles is necessary to perform a powerful explosion-like movement.
For example, leaping at or out of the way of a predator that they suspect is nearby with as much force as possible.
5. Overly Clingy
You should remember that you are “part of” your Maine Coons territory in their mind.
Their clinginess to you and your immediate surroundings can be an indication that your cat is feeling particularly territorial.
A nice example of this is when they constantly rub up against your body, commonly your leg, to mark you as “theirs”.
Cats tend to pace when they are protecting their territory.
You may find that your Maine Coon is pacing back and forth around entrances to a room, like a doorway or a window, in an effort to protect the borders of their territory.
Why Are Cats Territorial?
Maine Coon cats are territorial for several reasons and the very perception of what is or what is not territorial is often debated among cat lovers.
For example, cats are territorial of their owners whereas we may not consider people to be territory at all. That is why many people misdiagnose territorial cats all the time as simply clingy or needy.
Cats often become territorial when they are lonely.
If your Maine Coon spends too much time on their own, or, if you are at work for too long without stopping by to see them, they can become incredibly protective of you and territorial in general.
Your Maine Coon might even become aggressive and destructive!
Not Enough Room
If your Maine Coon does not have enough room to roam then there is a high chance they are being territorial to protect what little space they do have.
This is especially common in male Maine Coons.
It has been mentioned a few times that male Maine Coons are more territorial than females. This is a core part of their genetic makeup.
But, are female cats territorial?
Generally speaking, female Maine Coon cats are also territorial, but usually in no way near the extent that males are.
Many cats exhibit territorial behavior as part of their daily routine. It is humans who interpret it as far more than it is though!
For example, a Maine Coon patrolling your home just after they have eaten dinner is a sign of routine cat behavior that is ingrained in their DNA.
The core concept of being territorial is based on a foundation of protection. Whether that is protecting you or themselves.
If your cat is seemingly extraterritorial of late there is a high chance they are feeling unsafe for one reason or another. Injury or illness is a common factor here.
How To Handle Territorial Aggression In Cats
Territorial aggression in cats can be frustrating for you to deal with, and not a lot of fun for your cat either!
Maine Coon cat territorial aggression often manifests as hissing and maybe even scratching. It is commonly seen when new, or infrequent visitors, enter your home.
Other frequent signs of territorial aggression are:
Maine Coons are known for being overly territorial in some cases, but are Maine Coons aggressive by nature?
Thankfully Maine Coons are not naturally aggressive creatures. This is great news as it means cat territorial aggression is almost always something that can be fixed. Sometimes rather easily!
No one wants to deal with a Maine Coon attack so here is a quick list of how to fix territorial aggression in cats (source 1):
Bring In A New Cat/Pet
Two cats are almost always easier to deal with than one when it comes to cats.
They keep each other entertained throughout the day and relieve some of the “pressure” of protecting their territory.
In an ideal world, you would pair your Maine Coon with another Maine Coon, but realistically these cats don’t come cheap!
So, don’t panic as another cat breed (or even a dog) should also be a great companion for your Maine Coon cat, provided the other cat/dog gets on with your Maine Coon!
Neuter Your Cat
Neutered cats are almost always far more docile and relaxed than un-neutered cats.
It is best to consult a vet and or your breeder before you proceed with this option.
If you wish to neuter your Maine Coon, this is the best age to neuter them.
Spend Less Time Away
Territorial aggression is often the manifestation of loneliness or separation anxiety.
By spending less time away from your Maine Coon you are almost guaranteed to drastically improve their mental wellbeing. Even if it is simply eating lunch at home instead of at work, etc.
Here are some other great ways to tackle Maine Coon cat separation anxiety.
Territorial aggression in cats can make you want to pull your hair out!
As difficult as it might be you will have far more success reinforcing your cat’s good behaviors, when they stop hissing and pacing etc., than trying to punish the bad ones.
Why Are Some Cats More Territorial Than Other Cats?
A lot of cat territorial behaviors are what are known as learned behaviors rather than characteristics a cat is born with.
For example, all cats are born with the desire to explore and run around, they have instinctive prey drives that cause them to do things like chase mice.
Subsequently, they will happily chase a laser pointer or a feather.
Other behaviors, such as being an overly territorial and aggressive cat, stem from things such as poor socialization as a young kitten.
In short, Maine Coons that are not introduced to a range of other animals as young and impressionable kittens, tend to be more territorial and aggressive towards dogs and other cats, than cats that have been properly socialized.
Maine Coons that experience a plethora of positive interactions with people, animals, sounds, and experiences, are far more likely to be calm and relaxed, rather than on edge and territorial.
Whilst cat territoriality can be unlearned to some extent, this is not always the case.
A good example of this is Maine Coons that have a bad experience with children as a kitten – maybe they were hurt or scared by a heavy-handed child.
In cases such as this, the Maine Coon will likely always resent and fear children even into their old age.
How Much Space Does A Maine Coon Cat Need To Be Happy?
Part of the decision process about whether or not to bring home a Maine Coon, or any cat for that matter, should be how much room you have to offer versus how much territory does a cat need.
If you find yourself wondering how much space does a cat need to be happy, chances are you are going to be a good owner.
Considerations like that right from the get-go are always a good sign.
When it comes to Maine Coons, they tend to need a little more room than other domestic cats due to their larger size.
This is not necessarily a deal breaker though, since you can have a slightly smaller space so long as you spend slightly more time with your Maine Coon.
Anything smaller than a large apartment, however, is a no-go.
If you have a smaller apartment, even spending 24 hours a day with your Maine Coon may not be enough to stop it from feeling like its territory is too small.
Why Is My Cat Suddenly Territorial?
Some cats are generally more territorial than others.
This could be the difference between a male and female Maine Coon or simply that one of your cats is slightly more protective than others.
However, if your cat is suddenly more territorial than normal there must have been a trigger!
Here are a few things to consider, to see, if you can pinpoint the exact cause of your cat’s sudden territorial tendencies (source 1):
A new cat, dog, or another member of the family has been introduced to the household.
Maybe you have a guest staying for the weekend or you have a new housemate/roommate.
You have a new significant other visiting.
Maine Coons can be very jealous cats and will often not take a new spouse or girlfriend, boyfriend, etc moving into the house very well. At least, at first.
Cat Reaches Maturity
When an adolescent cat reaches “maturity” (a year old or thereabouts) it can often become very territorial for a few weeks before it starts to calm down again.
Are Maine Coon Cats Protective Of Their Owners?
Maine Coons are generally very protective of their owners.
They also tend to pick one family member very early on who will be their favorite. This family member will often receive the brunt of the Maine Coon overprotective charm.
Here are some quick-to-identify characteristics of a protective Maine Coon:
- Blocking Doorways: A Maine Coon sitting in the doorway so they can keep track of who comes in and who goes out is a common sign of a cat who is feeling protective.
- Jealousy: Some cats like to be the center of attention and become unsettled if their favorite person is talking to or spending time with someone who is not them!
- Refusing To Get Off Your Lap: A Maine Coon who takes the term lap-cat to a whole new level is always a sign of an overprotective cat.
- Watching You Sleep: If you wake up to a big pair of Maine Coon eyes watching you sleep this is a sign of adoration. Your cat is protecting you while you are most vulnerable. It is very sweet. Even if it is also slightly unsettling sometimes!
Are Maine Coons Loyal?
Maine Coons are incredibly loyal, almost to a fault.
They quickly identify with their family, in particular their favorite family member, and become devoted to them completely, at an incredibly quick rate.
They want to spend every waking, and non-waking, moment of their day with their person and feel a strong compulsion to protect them at all costs.
Do Maine Coon Cats Get Jealous?
Yes, they do!
Maine Coons are fiercely loyal and utterly devoted to their family and their special person in particular.
Unfortunately, this devotion often manifests as childish jealousy over who that person is spending their time with. Whether that be another cat, another person, or worse – a love interest!
Maine Coon Cat Behavioral Problems
Maine Coons are well known for being absolute sweethearts who are relatively drama free. But, that does not mean they are without fault entirely.
Maine Coons can have a few common behavioral problems that will make them less than pleasant house guests. But, these issues can always be resolved and Maine Coons are very receptive to positive change.
Here are some common Maine Coon behavioral problems, and how to deal with them:
Biting is often a symptom of overstimulation.
Simply leave your Maine Coon alone when this becomes a major issue.
It could also be for fun and or attention so sometimes it is a matter of training this behavior out of them by rewarding them when they stop biting.
Maine Coon meanness, or aggression, is usually the result of jealousy or stress.
Cats are not as verbose as us so they have to rely on standoffishness and even aggression to convey their feelings.
A destructive Maine Coon is a bored or lonely Maine Coon.
This is often the result of too small a room to roam, or you simply not being present anywhere near enough.
So, are Maine Coon cats territorial? In short, yes!
Maine Coon cats have a particular proclivity for territoriality in part due to their potential origins in and around rather hostile environments as well as their affinity for human affection.
Maine Coons, while quite territorial in some cases, are not generally aggressively protective of what they consider to be their territory.
Most Maine Coons are happy to cohabit in your home and enjoy the fact you are there with them.
Maine Coons can tend to be a little too overprotective of their favorite person or persons but that is often easily resolved with more attention and less alone time.
Can A Maine Coon Kill A Human?
It is technically possible for a Maine Coon to kill a human though this is so unlikely it borders on ridiculousness. Maine Coons are bigger and stronger than many domestic house cats but would still be outmatched by even a small child in most cases.
Maine Coon Kills Owner
Maine Coons may become aggressive given a particular set of circumstances though they are unlikely and even more unable to cause life-threatening damage. They are far less of a threat than a dog.
Why Are Maine Coons So Friendly?
Maine Coons are especially friendly cats because they are chilled out and gentle by nature. They are pretty drama-free and prefer to cuddle and snooze rather than cause raucous and have a scrap.