This much-loved cat breed has sparked many debates in recent years, as to whether these majestic felines should be indoor or outdoor cats.
With so many conflicting viewpoints to take on board though, we decided to simplify and present the facts clearly so that Maine Coon owners can decide for themselves.
Maine Coons used to be wild outdoor cats. However, they are now domesticated and live alongside their human families. Whether or not your Maine Coon cat is allowed outside will depend on several factors:
- Terms of breeder contract
- Your own viewpoint on cats roaming freely
- Likelihood of predators
- Where you live
- If cat has safe outside access
In this article, we will delve into all sides of the argument, and help readers decide for themselves whether their own Maine Coon kitten or cat will live indoors, or outside.
Keep reading to gain a better understanding of why owners across the world are so emotive about this subject matter.
Are Maine Coons Indoor Or Outdoor Cats?
The Maine Coon cat breed is famous for being the largest domesticated cat breed in the world, weighing up to a staggering 25 lbs!
These lovable, family-friendly cats were not always domesticated though, and are thought to have originated in Maine, the United States.
Unlike other domesticated cat breeds, the Maine Coon was able to survive the bitterly cold winters and wilderness of Maine for many years, becoming adept at hunting prey and climbing trees.
They evolved, developing a semi-water-repellent thick furry coat that kept them warm during even the harshest of winter climates.
Considering their wild origins, it is easy to understand why there is such a huge amount of controversy around whether Maine Coons should be indoor or outdoor cats.
This has been a highly emotive subject for many years.
There is no clear right or wrong side to this argument since both sides of the debate are valid and valuable in their own right.
Whilst one owner might passionately believe Maine Coons should be indoor cats, their thought process is no more valid than an owner sitting on the other side of the camp, who allows their Maine Coon to roam freely.
Ultimately, both owners’ viewpoints have a place in this great cat debate!
Investigating the thought processes behind each person’s beliefs is what is important though, as it gives us a great insight into why owners across the world are so emotive about this subject.
Read through the different points below to gain a greater appreciation for both sides of the argument, before making your viewpoint.
Are Maine Coons Indoor Cats?
Having originated from the wilderness of Maine, this formerly wild cat breed is now domesticated and lives side-by-side with humans in the safety of their owner’s warm homes.
Despite having such a wild past, many people feel strongly that Maine Coon cats should be kept as indoor pets, rather than being allowed to roam freely outside.
These are the key reasons why they think this:
- Risk: Maine Coon cats are at risk if left to roam outside
- Expensive: Maine Coon cats are extremely expensive felines
- Environment: Cats devastate the local wildlife
- Run Away: Cats have a natural instinct to wander
- Criminals: Your cat might be stolen
- Traffic: Cat’s are not street smart
- Lifespan: Outdoor cats have a shorter lifespan
- Health: Outdoor cats more likely to catch diseases
- Danger Of Injury / Harm: Outdoor cats are at more of injury
- Toys: You can buy cat toys that stimulate their former wildcat instincts.
- Breeder Contract: Some owners have signed a contract stating the cat will stay indoors
Let’s take a closer look at each of these points, to gain a better understanding of what the argument for indoor Maine Coons is all about.
Many people argue that Maine Coons put themselves and others at risk when allowed to roam outside freely.
For example, cats are not road-smart, and many die from traffic incidents each year.
A Maine Coon kept indoors is far less likely to encounter the variety of risks that the outdoor world presents, therefore indoor Maine Coons are safer than those allowed to roam freely.
The average Maine Coon kitten costs $1,000 in the United States, so they certainly do not come cheap!
Here are the latest Maine Coon kitten prices.
Purchasing a Maine Coon is a real investment, and owners naturally wish to protect their cats from all the dangers of the outside world by keeping them inside.
Owners are understandably extra sensitive about letting their pedigree cat roam outside on their own, since permitting a Maine Coon to roam freely means they are always at risk that their cat will not return.
Cats kill billions of birds each year simply because they cannot help themselves. It is instinctual for them to hunt prey.
Since Maine Coons are far bigger and more powerful, they are therefore way more destructive in their local environment than other domesticated house cats.
The large Maine Coon is also bigger than other cat breeds so more capable of killing other small animals if it wanted to, e.g. small rodents.
Although Maine Coon cats are now domesticated, they are still just as prone to running away as any other cat breed is.
Especially the unneutered male Maine Coons if they are looking for a mate.
Owners therefore prefer to keep their Maine Coon cats inside the home, so that they are not at risk of losing their expensive pedigree cat.
Maine Coons are extremely valuable and are at risk of being stolen since they can be resold for quite a hefty sum.
As the cost of living financial strain begins to bite people’s budgets further, you will likely have noticed that more dogs and cats are being stolen.
It is suspected these pets are stolen for resale, by criminals.
Maine Coon owners must therefore be vigilant, particularly if they live in a built-up area, as even adult Maine Coon cats can fetch an incredible $600!
Maine Coons are also at risk of being hit by cars, busses, bikes, trains – you name it.
Despite their wild origins, these felines are not well adapted to the outdoors within an urbanized environment.
It is understandable, therefore, why so many Maine Coon owners keep their cats indoors.
Would you be able to forgive yourself if your precious Maine Coon cat suffered an injury, or worse whilst wandering outdoors?
Generally speaking, outdoor cats do not live as long as indoor cats.
This is because outside cats are at greater risk of being poisoned, attacked, injured, or killed.
The outdoor world is full of dangers for a Maine Coon cat, including poisons put down innocently by neighboring homeowners trying to kill a rat infestation.
Outdoor cats and other animals are more likely to carry diseases, therefore letting your Maine Coon cat outside on its own puts them at risk of encountering such diseases.
Danger Of Injury / Harm
Outdoor Maine Coons are more prone to injury or harm since they can injure themselves climbing or jumping trees.
The outdoor world also contains predators e.g. coyotes, that may attack your Maine Coon cat, whilst roaming in the outside world.
Unfortunately, if you cannot see the danger, you cannot protect your cat from it.
Owners with indoor Maine Coons point out that there are ample cat toys on the market that stimulate the Maine Coons former wildcat instincts.
They state that Maine Coons no longer need to go outside to achieve mental stimulation.
This is because owners can now purchase cat toys and large cat trees that encourage Maine Coon cats to jump, climb, hunt, and catch prey.
More and more Maine Coon cat breeders request that their purchasers sign a contract, agreeing they will not allow their Maine Coon kitten to roam freely outside.
Owners that are contractually obliged to keep an indoor cat should not breach their cat breeders’ contract.
Can Maine Coons Go Outside?
You should now have a complete understanding as to why some owners believe the Maine Coon cat breed should be kept indoors.
To ensure you make your decision based upon all the facts though, below are the key reasons why some owners are passionate about allowing their Maine Coon outside:
- Natural Instincts: Maine Coons love to hunt, and chase things
- Mental Stimulation: The outdoor world is a stimulating environment for a Maine Coon
- Freedom: It is cruel to keep cats inside
- Physical Design: They have thick dense coats that keep them warm and cool.
- Wild Cats: These cats previously lived as wild cats, hunting prey.
- Exercise: The outside world offers ample opportunities for cats to exercise
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors, to gain a greater appreciation for this side of the debate.
Cats, particularly the playful Maine Coon cat, love to hunt and chase things just for fun.
The outdoor world offers a Maine Coon limitless opportunities to exercise, hunt, climb, and be mentally stimulated by the various scents and sounds around them.
Owners with outdoor Maine Coons strongly believe that indoor Maine Coons do not get adequate enrichment by only living indoors.
They state that indoor cats cannot be adequately stimulated by cat toys alone.
Owners with outdoor Maine Coons strongly believe that their Maine Coon gets to live their best life.
The outside world offers this previously wildcat so much mental stimulation that cannot be recreated by cat toys.
It is vital that Maine Coons are mentally stimulated as this is highly important for their health and well-being.
Campaigners on this side of the debate state that indoor Maine Coons are more prone to Maine Coon depression and sadness because they lack the chance of activating their wildcat traits.
Those in support of allowing Maine Coon cats outside argue that it is cruel to keep a Maine Coon indoors.
This is because Maine Coons evolved some very specific features to help them not only survive but thrive in the outdoor world.
Felines are animals with feelings, not possessions to be caged in a home.
When Maine Coons are stuck indoors all day every day you are preventing them from living as they were designed to do.
Supporters of outdoor Maine Coons ask owners if they would like to be confined to their homes, and never allowed to come and go as they please?
Although owners may find the Maine Coon cat’s thick mane adorable, in reality, the mane is there for insulation in some potentially harsh winter environments.
The thick dense fur of the Maine Coon cat also helps them to regulate their temperature effectively because their furry coat also helps them to stay cool and free from sunburn during the hot weather.
The Maine Coon cat also has semi-water-repellent fur, and some of this cat breed can even swim!
Maine Coons are therefore clearly designed and physically capable of living in the outdoor world.
The Maine Coon was formerly a wild cat breed living in Maine, in the United States.
They lived for decades on their own, surviving even the harshest winter climates, which clearly indicates that this cat breed is more than capable of looking after themselves!
These large cats are more than capable of hunting and eating their prey to survive.
This shows that Maine Coons are naturally competent hunters, and survivors, so at less risk of predators and disease as the indoor Maine Coon owners suggest.
Maine Coon cats are prone to obesity, so they must get regular exercise to keep their body fit and healthy.
The outside world is a free-of-charge, fantastic place for your fun-loving Maine Coon to burn off some excess energy!
Indoor Maine Coons are more prone to being destructive. They are also more likely to damage a homeowner’s furniture since they get less exercise and are more likely to become bored.
So why not let your Maine Coon cat explore your back garden, and watch how their minds are mentally stimulated by simply chasing a leaf that blows along the grass!
Do You Have To Walk A Maine Coon?
Maine Coon cats are highly intelligent felines that can be trained to walk on a leash.
If you are interested in learning how to train a Maine Coon to walk on a leash, read my guide.
Whilst it is not mandatory, nor vital that you walk your Maine Coon cat regularly, there are situations whereby it is advised you take your Maine Coon for a walk.
Here are a few situations when it makes sense to walk a Maine Coon cat:
- Indoor Maine Coons: You keep an indoor Maine Coon
- No Safe Access Outside: Your cat does not have safe access to the outside world
- Built Up Area: You live in a built-up area e.g. town or city
- Bonding: To bond with your cat
- Mental stimulation: To give an indoor Maine Coon access to outdoor scents
- Exercise: To exercise an indoor Maine Coon
Let’s take a closer look at these different factors:
Indoor Maine Coons
Indoor Maine Coons require a lot of owner attention, and toys to play with so that they do not become bored or depressed.
Safe access to the outdoor world offers your cat a variety of new scents, smells, and fun that cannot be found within the home.
Bored Maine Coon cats can become destructive, so if you own an indoor Maine Coon you should prioritize taking your cat for a walk to tire them out!
No Safe Access Outside
This cat breed originated in the wilderness in Maine, so instinctively enjoys hunting and exploring the outside world.
If your Maine Coon does not have safe access to the outside world, you might want to consider walking them on a leash.
Owners living in a built-up area will naturally feel uncomfortable allowing their precious and expensive Maine Coon cat to wander freely outside.
If you are struggling to bond with your Maine Coon cat, why not take them on an adventure in the outside world?
Maine Coons love exploring, so walking your cat on a leash will undoubtedly be a true delight for both your Maine Coon cat and you!
Maine Coon cats remain kitten-like late into their adult life, so require plenty of toys and enrichment to keep their minds mentally stimulated.
Going for a walk on a harness is therefore a great way to engage your Maine Coon cat in exercise and lots of fun!
Maine Coon cats are prone to obesity, so it is vital they have roughly 30 minutes of exercise each day so that they remain fit and healthy.
Exercise can take the form of playing with toys or other cats, jumping up and down a cat tower, or, going for a walk outside.
It is worth noting that Maine Coons not only tolerate but enjoy going on walks with their harness or leash around local parks.
Will Maine Coons Run Away?
Maine Coon cats are considered to be very loyal felines, so are unlikely to run away unless they are being mistreated by their owner.
However, an unneutered male Maine Coon will be more predisposed to running away if searching for a female cat to mate with.
Ultimately all cat breeds are naturally wired to enjoy the scents and smells of the outdoor world, therefore, owners are always at risk that their Maine Coon might wander off.
If you are concerned your Maine Coon may run away, consider purchasing a large catio or run for your Maine Coon cat to explore the exciting outdoor scents, in a safe manner.
Are Maine Coon Cats Territorial?
Cats as a species overall are super territorial so exploring their surroundings and marking territory is a big part of what makes them tick as an animal.
However, it is worth noting at this point that the Maine Coon cat breed is not considered to be highly territorial at all.
Instead, they are very laid-back and more than happy to spend time with other cats, provided they have their own ‘space’ within the home.
The question, are Maine Coons indoor or outdoor cats, is a highly emotive subject.
If you have ever raised this query in a cat social media group, you’ve likely already encountered strong campaigners on both sides of the argument!
When deciding for yourself which side of the fence you sit on it is important to keep in mind that many owners have signed breeder contracts.
These owners have contractually agreed they will not allow their Maine Coon outside, except within safe, cat-proof enclosures, or on a harness.
Whilst many Maine Coon cat breeders (particularly those in the United States) request this, please be mindful that there are also a large number of breeders that do not.
If you are contractually tied to keeping your Maine Coon as an indoor cat, we strongly recommend you do not breach the breeder contract you signed.
However, if you are not contractually tied into an agreement such as this, the decision is ultimately yours.
Your decision will depend entirely upon where you live and your viewpoints on the subject matter.
Having reviewed the arguments for and against the Maine Coon cat breed being allowed outside, I hope you have now settled on a viewpoint that you are comfortable with.
Are Maine Coon Cats Friendly?
Maine Coon cats are very family-friendly felines who adore human companionship. These affectionate cats are not naturally aggressive. They are extremely loyal to family members.
Reasons Not To Get A Maine Coon
Maine Coons are very expensive. They require more attention than other cat breeds so cannot be left on their own for long periods of time, without feeling stressed, bored, or upset.
Can Maine Coons Live With Other Cats?
Maine Coons are not very territorial felines. Instead, they are a very tolerant and laid-back cat breed that enjoys the company of other cats, provided the other cat is also friendly.