Many potential Maine Coon owners will look at this cat breed’s large size and wonder are Maine Coons destructive? After all, as tempting as it can be to bring a Maine Coon into your home, nobody wants a cat who will destroy furniture and carpet!
Happy Maine Coons whose social and enrichment needs are being met are not known for being destructive. The Maine Coon is a highly social and intelligent breed, however, and if they are bored, lonely, or left without stimulating things to do, they can easily become destructive.
With proper care, Maine Coon Cats are unlikely to become destructive. If your Maine Coon is showing signs of destructive behavior, it is likely because your cat’s needs aren’t being met. Read on to find out how you can curb destructive behavior in your Maine Coon.
Are Maine Coons Destructive?
The Maine Coon is the largest domesticated cat breed in the world. These cats developed naturally in the cold state of Maine, where they grew popular for their ability to hunt rats, mice, and other vermin. Today, however, they are becoming increasingly popular for their extreme intelligence and affectionate nature.
One question many potential Maine Coon owners ask themselves, however, is whether or not this large cat breed is destructive. Overall, Maine Coons are not known for being purposefully destructive, but they can be destructive on accident. Maine Coons are bulky and naturally clumsy, so they can easily knock over glasses, lamps, and other items.
Maine Coons can also become destructive if their social and enrichment needs aren’t being met. Firstly, Maine Coons are incredibly social and affectionate creatures. If you’re away at work all day or don’t spend any time with your cat, it may become lonely and bored, which will likely lead to destructive behavior.
The Maine Coon’s extreme intelligence also means they need a lot more enrichment than the average housecat. A few floor toys and a play session with the laser simply aren’t enough for these cats. They need furniture they can climb on, moving toys that will stimulate their senses, and play sessions that will exercise both their body and their mind.
So, while Maine Coons are not at all destructive when they are being treated properly, a Maine Coon that is bored, lonely, or depressed may lash out by becoming destructive. If you notice any destructive behaviors in your cat, then the root problem is your care for the cat, rather than the cat itself.
Types Of Maine Coon Destructive Cat Behavior
Destructive behaviors in Maine Coon Cats can manifest in many different ways.
Here are the most common kinds of destructive cat behavior (source 1).
- Chewing: Just like human babies, cats use their mouths as another sensory way to explore their environments. It’s also a part of their natural instinct to use their sharp canines to chew on things. Cats can chew on a multitude of things, from cords to plants to fabrics.
- Scratching: Cats instinctively scratch to remove the dead sheath of their nails as they grow, and it’s also a pleasurable way for cats to stretch. Of course, scratching can also leave horrible marks on your favorite furniture or table legs.
- Excessive Grooming/Licking: Some cats even participate in self-destructive behaviors. Stressed and bored cats sometimes groom themselves so excessively that their own fur starts falling out. This is a huge problem that can have negative effects on your cat’s health.
- Ingesting Non-Food Items: Another destructive behavior that is potentially harmful to your cat is the ingestion of inedible items. Some cats have an obsession with not only chewing, but swallowing objects like plastic, wood, or other inedible materials.
- Spraying: A common behavior present in dominant or aggressive cats is spraying. This problem is most common in unneutered male cats, particularly those who feel threatened by other cats in their territory. This problem usually goes away if the cat is neutered, but sometimes it requires more extensive training.
What Will A Maine Coon Destroy?
If a Maine Coon’s needs are not being met, it can start destroying all sorts of things.
Here is a list of different things that Maine Coons are most likely to destroy, as well as why they might destroy these things in the first place.
- Table Legs: Some cats like to chew or bite at table and chair legs. The sturdy wooden texture is often satisfying for cats to scratch or chew. Chewing wood is also especially common in teething kittens.
- Carpet or Rugs: Many cats will destroy carpet or rugs as a scratching behavior. The soft material is perfect for cats to sharpen their claws!
- Sofas and Other Furniture: Cats also commonly scratch sofas and other furniture for the same reason they like to scratch carpets and rugs.
- Cords: An especially dangerous fascination of many cats is cords. We all know cats love to bat and attack long, dangly things, and cords are particularly tempting items that many cats view as toys. It’s only natural for cats to want to chew on cords, so owners have to be especially careful to keep cords and electronics safely hidden from their cats.
- Plants: Despite being carnivores, many house cats choose to chew on plants. Sometimes, cats are simply attracted to plants because they look fun to play with, while other cats might enjoy the taste. This is a dangerous behavior, however, because many houseplants (such as chrysanthemum, holly, and ivy) are highly toxic to cats.
- Glasses and Loose Items: Cats might also destroy objects that are left sitting on a high place. Some cats choose to knock over glasses or other items simply out of curiosity, while others do it for the attention of their owners.
Why Do Cats Destroy Things?
An important step in stopping destructive behavior in cats is to learn why the cat is engaging in those behaviors in the first place.
Here are the most common reasons why cats engage in destructive behaviors (source 1):
- Boredom: Probably the most common cause of destruction in cats is boredom. Maine Coons especially are incredibly intelligent and need to keep their minds stimulated with interesting toys and sensory input. If your cat does not have enough toys or enriching stimuli in its environment, it will naturally begin exploring its environment in other ways, most commonly through scratching and chewing on cords, furniture, and other undesirable objects.
- Stress: Cats love routine and sameness. Big changes in their environment, such as moving, bringing home a baby, or even something as simple as moving the furniture around can cause a cat to feel immense stress. Cats also prefer quiet, calm environments, and tend to feel insecure in loud, rambunctious households, particularly if they don’t have a quiet, safe space to escape to. If your cat is stressed, it might lash out by destroying furniture or carpet.
- Loneliness: Maine Coons are highly social creatures, and they crave attention and affection from their owners. If you are away from home all day, this can easily cause your Maine Coon to become depressed and lonely. Maine Coons are best suited to households with people who can provide them enough attention. If you’re worried your Maine Coon is lonely, you might also want to consider getting them a companion. Maine Coons are famous for getting along well with other cats, and even dogs!
- Curiosity: While they are young, kittens are still trying to explore and learn about their environment. Kittens will scratch at and chew on things because they are curious about how they taste or feel. For kittens, destruction is a form of engaging with their senses.
- Poor Training: While it’s natural for kittens to explore their world in destructive ways, this behavior should not be encouraged. Owners should give kittens toys and materials that are safe to destroy, rather than allowing them to destroy furniture. If you do not discourage this behavior at a young age, it is likely to become a habit throughout the cat’s life.
Do Maine Coons Scratch Furniture?
Scratching furniture is often the most commonly seen destructive behavior in cats. Unfortunately, this problem can be seen in Maine Coons as well.
Cats have an innate desire to scratch, and the texture of furniture is often seen as the perfect material for cats. This behavior typically starts at a young age and becomes more of a problem if it is left untreated by owners.
Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?
It is very common for cats to scratch furniture, carpets, or rugs, much to the dismay of their owners. Here are the most common reasons why cats scratch furniture.
- Expressing Emotions: Cats often scratch when they are excited or upset. Scratching is just one of the ways that cats like to express their emotions!
- Marking Their Territory: Believe it or not, cats actually have scent glands on their paws! Many cats will scratch to spread their scent and mark their territory throughout the house.
- Stretching: Many cats like to scratch after just waking up from a nap. This is a comfortable way for cats to stretch their paws and claws, and it probably feels pretty good, too!
- Removing Dead Nails: As a cat’s nails grow, it sheds the outer, dead part of its nails. Cats scratch to help remove this dead sheath and allow their new nails to grow in.
- Furniture Is Comfortable and Convenient: Cats need to scratch for all of the above reasons, but why do they usually choose furniture? Furniture is tall and sturdy, making it easy for cats to sink their claws in and put a lot of weight into their scratch. Overall, furniture is simply a convenient and desirable place to scratch.
How To Stop Cat Destroying Furniture
Nobody wants their cat to scratch the furniture, but many owners are at a loss as to how to stop this behavior. Here is a simple method you can use to stop your cat from scratching the furniture.
- Provide a Good Alternative: The first step to getting your cat to stop scratching the furniture is to make sure your cat actually has something to scratch. Get a tall, sturdy scratching post and place it close to the place where your cat likes to scratch the most.
- Redirect the Behavior: A lot of owners use negative behavior, such as loud noises or rough handling as a punishment for bad behavior, but this is not the way to go! Instead, every time you see your cat scratch the furniture, simply pick your cat up and place it directly near the scratching post. You might even want to scratch the post yourself to demonstrate the correct behavior.
- Reward Good Behavior: Cats respond a lot better to positive reinforcement than punishment. Whenever you see your cat use the scratching post on its own, make a big deal out of the good behavior. Provide plenty of treats, and make a big fuss over your cat. This will help your cat associate using the scratching post with positive stimuli and will be more likely to do it again in the future.
Best Cat Scratchers For Maine Coons
Cat scratchers are an essential form of enrichment for Maine Coons that can help get out any underlying destructive tendencies. These are my favorite Maine Coon cat scratching towers.
Scratchers can be made of sisal rope, wood, cardboard, or carpet. For Maine Coons, you should always have at least one large, sturdy scratching post made of sisal rope. Due to this cat breed’s large size, you’ll need to invest in an extra-large scratching post.
However, you can also supplement this with a few cardboard scratchers. These scratchers are cheap and will be destroyed much more easily. Keeping one or two cardboard scratchers around is a great way to let your Maine Coon take out some destructive energy on something other than your furniture!
How To Discipline A Maine Coon Cat
While most Maine Coons aren’t known for being troublemakers, it’s important to have a set of rules for your cat, both for the safety of your cat as well as for your furniture! Here are some important things to keep in mind while disciplining your cat.
- Be Consistent: Disciplining your cat also requires a lot of self-discipline. Remember, your cat won’t understand what you want if you change the rules on it constantly!
- Start Young: While this isn’t always an option, especially for cats adopted from shelters, you should start enforcing rules for your cat as early as possible.
- Encourage Positive Behavior: Rather than focusing on what your cat does wrong, reward your cat every time it does something right. For example, give your cat treats whenever it uses the scratching post instead of the furniture.
- Startle Your Cat: Making a loud, somewhat scary noise every time your cat does something it’s not supposed to can help reinforce what is good behavior and what is bad behavior. Cats also learn from a young age to be gentle with littermates based on vocalizations. If your cat plays a little too rough, say “ouch!” loudly to get your cat’s attention.
With that being said, there are also a few things that you should never do when disciplining a cat. Firstly, you should never hit or hurt your cat in any way. This is simply abusive behavior and will likely only destroy your bond with your cat.
Many owners will grab their cat by the scruff of their neck, but this is actually harmful to cats, so you must avoid doing this, as well.
Are Male Cats More Destructive?
Overall, there are not many recorded behavior differences between male and female cats.
Some argue that male cats are more likely to be dominant and aggressive before being neutered, but there is no evidence to suggest that male cats are more destructive than their female counterparts.
Cat Is Destructive At Night
Some cats are perfect angels during the day but become energetic and destructive at night. When left to their own devices, cats can find all sorts of ways to wreak havoc on your house!
One method to curb destructive behavior in your cat at night is to play with your cat for about fifteen minutes before bed. This can sometimes help to get rid of any pent-up energy and can lessen your cat’s need to tear up the house while you’re asleep.
You can also try to lessen destructive behavior by providing lots of fun toys for your cat to play with at night. These sturdy cat toys have been amazingly successful with our extra large Maine Coon cat.
If you don’t already have a cat tree or shelves mounted to the walls specifically for your cat, consider installing some cat-friendly furniture.
Finally, in more dire circumstances, you may need to confine your cat to a spare bedroom at night. Make sure your cat has all it needs, including toys, food, water, and a scratching post. Remove any items or furniture that can be easily broken or destroyed.
Many potential owners ask are Maine Coons destructive, before choosing to bring one of these gentle giants into their homes.
While destructive behaviors are common during kittenhood, most Maine Coons grow out of these behaviors so long as all of their social and enrichment needs are being met. If your Maine Coon is engaging in destructive behaviors, then that’s a sign you’re not giving your Maine Coon enough social interaction or enriching playtime.
How Long Can A Kitten Be Left Alone?
Kittens can easily get into a lot of trouble, so they should not be left alone for more than two hours at a time.
Are Maine Coons Messy?
Maine Coons are not known for being any messier than any other cat breed, although their long fur may cause more mess than a short-haired cat.
Are Maine Coons Dangerous?
Maine Coons may be large, but they are gentle, affectionate cats that are not known for being aggressive or dangerous.
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