One look at the Maine Coon’s large, muscular body, which is far different from the average nimble housecat, and you might be wondering “Are Maine Coons clumsy?”
Most cats are revered for being elegant and graceful, so you might be a bit confused to watch your Maine Coon stumble or trip often.
Maine Coons are more likely to be clumsy than most other cat breeds, mostly due to their large size. Maine Coons take longer to grow than other cats, so they spend more time as lanky and clumsy “teenagers.” If a Maine Coon is so clumsy that it falls often and has difficulty walking or playing, however, it could be due to an underlying illness.
While Maine Coons may not be as graceful as some of the other cat breeds, their clumsiness is often part of what makes them so endearing.
In some cases, however, constant clumsiness can indicate a more serious underlying problem. Read on to find out whether your cat is suffering from a serious condition or just a klutz.
Are Maine Coons Clumsy?
Maine Coons originated in the notoriously frigid state of Maine. Their large size, wide paws, and thick coat were all valuable assets in surviving cold, snowy winters. They were also revered as powerful hunters, and were kept in barns and aboard ships to keep away rats and other vermin.
Today, the Maine Coon is best known for being the largest domestic cat breed in the world. On average, a Maine Coon can weigh anywhere between 8 and 25 pounds, although males are typically larger than their female counterparts. They generally measure at a length between 19 and 40 inches from their nose to the base of their tail and stand at a height between 8 and 16 inches.
A Maine Coon’s immense size means that this breed is often more clumsy than other cats. For more information on their big size, take a look at my article “How Big Will My Maine Coon Get?“.
Many owners report that their Maine Coons fall, trip, and lose their balance because their large paws often get in the way. Maine Coon Cats are also incredibly active and playful, so their bursts of energy can sometimes cause them to tumble over.
However, there’s a big difference between a naturally clumsy cat and a cat that is suffering from a condition that causes imbalance.
Symptoms Of Loss Of Balance In Cats
Some cats suddenly lose their balance, often due to an ear condition or other underlying problem. Here are some signs that might indicate your cat is experiencing a loss of balance (source 1).
- Head Tilting
- Walking in Circles
- Difficulty Standing or Walking
- Loss of Appetite
- Rolling on the Floor
- Constant Eye Movement
Causes Of Loss Of Balance In Cats
The occasionally clumsy fall can be fun to watch, but if you notice your cat is continually having problems getting around, you’re probably wondering “Why is my cat unbalanced?” Here are some possible health problems that might be behind your cat’s clumsiness (source 1,2,3,4).
- Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia: This condition is caused by under-development in the part of a cat’s brain that regulates balance and coordination. While cats with feline cerebellar hypoplasia are incredibly clumsy, and tend to fall often, the condition does not cause any pain. Cats with this condition are expected to live just as long as any other cat, provided they are kept in a safe environment to prevent injury from their clumsiness.
- Ear Infection: Ear infections in a cat’s middle or inner ear can lead to imbalance and loss of coordination. Symptoms of an ear infection aside from loss of balance include pawing at the ear, shaking the head, pain while opening the mouth or chewing, and temporary loss of hearing.
- Vestibular Disease: Vestibular disease is thought to sometimes be caused by ear infections. This disease has a rapid onset, often within just an hour, and leads to vomiting, extreme imbalance resulting in the inability to properly walk or stand, and rapid eye movement. Thankfully, this disease often resolves quickly, often within one or two days.
- Poison: Exposure to or ingestion of certain poisons can result in sudden imbalance. If you think your cat ingested any toxins, contact a poison control center for pets, or take your cat to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital as soon as possible.
- Spinal Conditions: Spinal muscular atrophy and intervertebral disk disease are just two of the many diseases and conditions that can affect a cat’s spinal cord, leading to imbalance.
- Spinal Cord Injury: Injury to a cat’s spinal cord can result in an unusual gait or imbalance. If your cat has recently sustained a fall and developed imbalance as a result, you should take it to the vet immediately.
- Cancer: Some forms of cancer can also cause loss of balance. While rare, you should always check with your vet to ensure your cat is not suffering from this deadly illness.
No one wants their precious Maine Coon cat to become poorly, so make sure you are aware of the ‘Top 7 Maine Coon Health Problems‘ that your Maine Coon is prone to suffering from.
Maine Coon Agility
In general, cats are far more agile than humans and are known to be quite nimble due to their lithe frame and excellent hunting instincts.
In comparison to many other cat breeds, however, the Maine Coon is considered less agile. This is largely due to their immense size, which typically causes some weight imbalance, as well as general clumsiness.
Does My Maine Coon Have Clumsy Cat Syndrome?
A condition known as feline cerebellar hypoplasia is often referred to as “clumsy cat syndrome,” or “wobbly cat syndrome.” This condition has taken the Internet by storm, because it’s surprisingly adorable and harmless!
Cerebellar hypoplasia is not at all subtle. If your cat is simply a bit clumsy, it definitely does not have this condition. This disorder causes a cat to have an extremely irregular gait, and they stumble and fall very frequently, even from just walking.
If your Maine Coon has always had extreme difficulty walking, resulting in constant falling and stumbling, it may have cerebellar hypoplasia. Cats with this condition also have a distinctive gait called hypernatremia, which often results in their paws crossing over each other as they walk.
This condition often doesn’t become apparent until a kitten reaches the age of playing and walking. While all kittens are clumsy when they first learn how to walk, this will be especially apparent in a cat with cerebellar hypoplasia (source 1).
How Common Is Wobbly Cat Syndrome In Maine Coon Cats?
Feline cerebellar hypoplasia is not very common at all. It is most often found in a litter of kittens whose mother suffered from feline panleukopenia virus, which was then passed to her kittens. The virus causes poor development in the kittens, often affecting the cerebellum.
Feline cerebellar hypoplasia is caused by the underdevelopment of the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that regulates coordination and balance. As a result, cats with this condition fall, trip, and stumble very often.
Overall, no specific cat breed is more or less likely to have cerebellar hypoplasia. It is very rare, but many cats with this condition have difficulty finding a home. Thankfully, there are some cat shelters entirely dedicated to finding forever homes for cats with this condition!
The most optimistic part of cerebellar hypoplasia is that it isn’t degenerative, meaning that the symptoms do not get worse over time. Wobbly cat syndrome life expectancy is, thankfully, no lower than that of any other cat!
While this condition does seem quite adorable and doesn’t cause a cat to experience pain or early death, it does come with its own set of challenges. Cats with cerebellar hypoplasia do require extra care to stay safe and healthy.
A cat with cerebellar hypoplasia will need a litter box with high sides, to ensure they don’t accidentally fall out. While most cats (especially Maine Coons) love cat trees and high places to climb, you should avoid these in a home with a cat who has cerebellar hypoplasia, to avoid injury. It’s also important to make sure your cat is kept indoors, to prevent being attacked by cats or predators, falling off of dangerous heights, or getting hit by a car (source 1,2,3).
Sudden Loss Of Balance In Cats
In some cases, a cat is either born with a lack of balance, or the lack of balance has a gradual onset. However, a sudden loss of balance in your cat could be caused by vestibular disease, an ear infection, injury to the spinal cord, or the ingestion of poison.
If you notice a sudden loss of balance in your cat, you should take it to the vet immediately to rule out any dangerous illness or injury.
Why Is My Elderly Maine Coon Stumbling?
Sadly, as cats grow older, they frequently develop many health problems. Arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and hip dysplasia are all possible underlying causes for your elderly cat’s stumbling.
Take your cat to the vet to make sure you can keep your senior cat as healthy as possible throughout the final years of its life (source 1).
For information on how long Maine Coon cats live, read my article ‘Maine Coon Lifespan‘.
Temporary Ataxia In Cats
Ataxia is the medical term used to describe loss of balance and coordination. In many cases, long-term ataxia is caused by injury or disease of the spinal cord, feline cerebellar hypoplasia, or cancer.
If your cat’s ataxia is short-term, however, it is likely due to an ear infection, vestibular disease, or possible ingestion of poison. If your cat suddenly develops ataxia (within an hour to a day), you should seek treatment from your vet right away.
While sudden ataxia isn’t always caused by an underlying fatal condition, you should never take any chances! Your vet will be able to rule out whether the sudden onset of imbalance is caused by a simple ear infection or something more dangerous.
Caring For Clumsy Cat
If your cat is especially clumsy, it might require a bit of extra care in comparison to other cats. Here are some ways you can care for your clumsy cat!
- Minimize Danger: First and foremost, you should make sure that your clumsy cat is safe in your living space. If your cat frequently falls from high places, it might be best to get rid of your cat tree, and make higher areas inaccessible.
- Make Your Home Accessible: If your cat has difficulty jumping onto and off of the couch, bed, and other comfy places throughout your home, try and find ways to make them as accessible as possible. Placing stepping stools near your cat’s favorite locations can make it easier to get around!
- Make the Floor Exciting: A lot of cats, particularly Maine Coons, love to climb. If you think climbing could be dangerous for your cat, however, make sure that the floor of your living space is plenty exciting, so your cat still gets enough enrichment. Keep plenty of floor toys sprinkled around the house, and be sure to rotate toys to avoid boredom.
- Avoid the Outdoors: An especially clumsy cat would be best kept inside. Outside, there are all sorts of dangers from other cats to tall, wobbly fences, which means your cat could get in all sorts of trouble without you even knowing about it.
- Check With a Vet: If you notice that your cat’s clumsiness is having a serious impact on its life, you should check with a veterinarian to ensure that your cat’s clumsiness isn’t caused by some underlying condition.
Naturally Clumsy Cat Breeds
Since Maine Coons are known to be a bit clumsier than other cat breeds, you might be wondering “Are some cats clumsy?” when it comes to other breeds. So here are a few other cat breeds that are known to be naturally clumsy (source 1,2,3,4).
- Siamese: The Siamese cat is an incredibly active breed. However, despite their slim frame, Siamese cats are known to be a bit clumsy, often falling and tripping in their excitement to play.
- British Shorthair: The British Shorthair is known for being one of the clumsiest of cat breeds. Like the Maine Coon, they are a naturally larger breed with thick legs, which can contribute to their clumsy nature.
- Sphynx: While it’s unknown exactly why, Sphynx cats are also notorious for being a naturally clumsy breed. Many owners find this trait to be particularly endearing.
- Turkish Van: The Turkish Van is another large cat breed whose size causes it to be a bit on the clumsy side.
- Ragdoll: Ragdolls are popular for being incredibly gentle and cuddly cats, but they’re also a bit clumsy. They tend to have a bit more weight in their hindquarters, which sets them off balance more than other cat breeds.
My Cat Keeps Missing Her Jumps
If you’ve noticed that your cat seems unable to make many of its jumps, it might be the cause of an underlying problem.
If your cat is a senior, it’s expected that your cat won’t be able to jump the way it used to. You should check in with your vet to ensure your cat isn’t suffering from arthritis or other painful conditions that might be caused by old age.
If you have a young and otherwise healthy cat who seems unable to make its jumps, then it could be caused by an injury, or possibly a condition that leads to imbalance. Vision problems can also make it difficult for a cat to land in the proper place (source 1).
Maine Coon Cats Are Simply Funny, Clumsy, and Cute
Sometimes, a cat’s clumsiness is due to a serious underlying condition. In most cases, however, it’s just a harmless and quirky trait. Maine Coons are especially known for being clumsy and adorable cats.
So long as your cat’s clumsiness isn’t having a negative impact on its ability to live a happy life, and it is not suffering from any health conditions, then there’s nothing wrong with a little chuckle when your cat trips or stumbles every so often.
Clumsy Cat Names
Do you have a kitten that’s especially clumsy?
Here are ten fitting names for a particularly uncoordinated cat!
- Jar Jar Binks
If neither of these is the perfect cat name, for your Maine Coon, why not take a look at my article ‘73 Popular Maine Coon Cat Names‘.
If you’ve noticed that your Maine Coon cat seems a bit less graceful than most other cats, you might be asking yourself “Are Maine Coons clumsy?” T
his giant cat breed is much larger than other cats, often causing them to be a bit clumsier than most.
Your Maine Coon might be even more clumsy than others however, prompting you to wonder “Why do cats fall over?” Loss of balance and coordination in cats can sometimes be caused by underlying conditions like cerebellar hypoplasia, vestibular disease, or ear infections, among others.
Do Cats Think Humans Are Clumsy?
While it’s impossible to know for certain, cats likely think humans to be clumsy. After all, while cats rarely trip and fall on their humans, humans often misstep and trip over their cats!
Why Do Cats Fall Over When Wearing A Harness?
It’s common for cats to fall over when wearing a harness because they instinctively think they are being attacked by a predator. This survival instinct causes them to go limp (source 1).
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