If you have heard that Maine Coons love water then you might be wondering, are Maine Coons waterproof?
Since these cats originated in a cold and snowy climate, their fur has a few unique adaptations that help these cats thrive in the water.
Maine Coons are not waterproof, but their guard hairs are semi-water-repellant. The direction of their glossy guard hairs forces water to slide down the pelt instead of soaking through. While this keeps away rain and fog, it will not prevent your Maine Coon from getting soaked in the bath.
Even though Maine Coons are not waterproof, they are considered semi-water-repellent due to their protective layer of guard hairs.
Read on to find out how your Maine Coon’s fur keeps out water, and how you can best take care of your cat’s coat.
Keep scrolling to also discover the results of an independent survey conducted by Katrina Stewardson on Maine Coon Central’s YouTube channel, where viewers were asked if they thought Maine Coons were waterproof.
Keep reading to learn the unexpected and somewhat surprising research findings of this poll, later in this article.
Are Maine Coons Waterproof?
The Maine Coon is a rugged cat breed that originally developed in the state of Maine, which is notorious for its long and snowy winters.
The Maine Coon’s long, thick coat and wide paws help them navigate the wintery climate.
These cats are also famous for their unique interest in water, leading some to wonder if their coats are fully waterproof.
Maine Coons do not have waterproof fur, but their fur is considered semi-water-repellent.
Maine Coons have three layers of fur, and the outermost layer helps water to slide easily off their coat instead of soaking them through.
Here are the different layers of fur you will find on a Maine Coon:
1. Down Hairs
The innermost layer of fur on Maine Coons is known as down hair. These are the finest hairs, but also the densest.
For every 20 guard hairs on a Maine Coon, there are about 1,000 down hairs!
Down hairs are used as insulators. They are slightly wavy or crimped, which helps them better trap air beneath the coat.
Down hairs are easily soaked.
When water penetrates the outer guard hairs, the awn hairs and down hairs are saturated with water, making the cat’s coat heavy and uncomfortable.
2. Awn Hairs
Awn hairs are the second undercoat layer for Maine Coons.
Awn hairs are longer and slightly thicker than down hairs, but they also have rough cuticles and are considered part of a cat’s primary coat.
Awn hairs help to insulate and regulate temperature much like down hairs, but they also serve to protect down hairs, since they are coarser and less easily broken.
3. Guard Hairs
Guard hairs are the outermost hairs of a cat’s coat, and also what makes Maine Coon fur semi-water-repellent.
Guard hairs are much thicker and coarser than down hairs and awn hairs. They are also much longer; when you look at a cat, the fur that you see is all guard hair.
Guard hairs overlap one another, and their thickness and directionality cause water to slide down and off of the cat’s coat instead of penetrating into the softer, denser layers of their fur.
Guard hairs are also barbed, which causes them to stick to clothing and other surfaces.
4. Vibrissae (Whiskers)
Another kind of hair that cats have is known as vibrissae, which we more commonly refer to as whiskers.
Most people think of whiskers as the long hairs that protrude from a cat’s muzzle, but these specialized hairs are actually distributed across a cat’s body.
Whiskers are a much thicker kind of hair, and their follicles are filled with nerves and blood vessels.
When something touches your cat’s whiskers, it receives a lot of crucial tactile information from these nerves.
Whiskers are also located above a cat’s eyes as well as near the:
Even though the whisker itself does not have nerves, even the faintest breath of wind will cause the whiskers to vibrate.
Without whiskers, cats would not be able to catch prey as easily.
YouTube Research: Are Maine Coons Waterproof?
Katrina Stewardson, the Director of Maine Coon Central conducted an independent poll on 1st November 2023 on the Maine Coon Central YouTube channel.
Due to widespread inaccuracies found across the internet, this poll was designed to gauge cat lovers understanding of the Maine Coon cat breed’s fur.
Viewers were asked to vote on whether they thought Maine Coon cats were waterproof, or not.
The aim of this study was to test the users understanding of the Maine Coon cat breed.
The following results were obtained from 37 votes:
- 54% Thought the Maine Coon has semi-waterproof fur (Which IS Correct)
- 38% Said Maine Coons were 100% waterproof (This is NOT correct)
- 8% Of Voters stated that Maine Coonc cats are not waterproof at all (This IS NOT correct).
Do Maine Coons Like Water?
If you have heard of this breed’s unique trait, you might be curious to know do Maine Coons love water?
Maine Coons are more likely to enjoy water than most cat breeds, and some Maine Coons even like to swim or play in the bathtub.
Maine Coons also have a tendency to play in their water dishes, which can make cleaning up after them a bit difficult!
Some of the smartest Maine Coons even learn to turn on faucets when their owners are not looking!
Here are some other reasons why this large domestic cat breed is smarter than average in the feline world.
Why Do Maine Coons Like Water?
Not all Maine Coons like water, but cats of this breed are much more likely to enjoy water than most cats.
Here are some of the reasons why Maine Coons are so fond of water:
Maine Coons developed in the wilderness of Maine, a state that is famous for its long, snowy winters.
The Maine Coon’s wide paws help them walk on snow more easily, and their long, thick fur traps heat and repel moisture.
Since they still roamed wild in the 1800s, it is possible that even the most domesticated Maine Coons have a natural affinity for water and cold.
Maine Coons are incredibly curious and playful, often behaving like young kittens well into their adult years.
As a result, it might be easier to entice them to play in water using fun toys.
Socialization plays a crucial part in whether or not a Maine Coon enjoys water.
If their first interaction with water is a panicked bath after an accident, it is unlikely they will be interested in entering the bathroom anytime soon.
On the flip side, if you introduce your Maine Coon to water in small dishes or pans with exciting new toys, your Maine Coon will likely become comfortable with water when they learn it is more fun than scary.
How To Take Care Of Maine Coon Hair
Maine Coon fur may look gorgeous, but it can be a headache to care for if you do not know what you are getting into.
Here are the most important ways to take care of your Maine Coon’s fur:
The most important part of Maine Coon grooming is brushing.
Some Maine Coon cats have long fur that is prone to tangles and mats, which are difficult and even dangerous to remove.
It is important to brush your cat to prevent mats from forming in the first place.
Maine Coons need to be brushed at least once or twice a week, plus more during shedding season.
These are my 5 favorite Maine Coon cat brushes, which I use to keep our large Maine Coons fur in great condition.
Maine Coons have extra long tufts of fur, on their:
- Hind Legs
This can cause problems if your cat is prone to accidents or likes to play in the dirt.
To avoid tracking litter all over the house, you might want to trim your cat’s backside too!
If your Maine Coon’s fur is especially dirty or tangled, you may need to give them a bath.
While Maine Coons often love water, they may not appreciate bathtime if they have not been introduced to water slowly, whilst they were a kitten.
Try not to bathe your Maine Coon more than once a month, as it can cause dry skin conditions, like these.
Make sure you only use products like shampoo if they are specifically made for cats. Human products are too harsh for cats and can cause serious health problems.
I’ve found these cat shampoos to be the best because they are gentle on your Maine Coons delicate skin, and manufactured to suit to the feline breed.
Maine Coon Fur Types
Maine Coons have three types of fur, along with a fourth type of hair that we know as whiskers.
Let’s take a closer look at the Maine Coon cat’s fur types:
- Guard Hairs: Guard hairs make up the longest and outermost layer of a cat’s coat. These hairs are thick and coarse, and their directionality causes droplets of water to slide off the coat.
- Awn Hairs: Awn hairs are soft, dense hairs that protect the down hairs and trap warm or cold hair for temperature regulation.
- Down Hairs: Down hairs are the finest, softest, and densest hairs found on a cat’s coat. Their primary purpose is to trap air to regulate the cat’s body temperature.
- Vibrissae: Also known as whiskers, vibrissae are thick hairs with sensitive follicles that help cats detect movement so they can protect their eyes from debris or catch prey.
Do Maine Coons Have A Double Coat?
Maine Coons have a triple coat.
They have one coarse outer layer of guard hairs, and two denser layers of finer, softer fur known as awn hairs and down hairs.
Awn hairs and down hairs keep the Maine Coon’s coat thick and plush, and they also trap heat and cold to help with temperature regulation.
Do Maine Coons Like Baths?
Some Maine Coons like baths, but it all depends on how you introduce them, and at what age.
Maine Coons are more likely to enjoy baths if you fill a tub with just a few inches of water and put some toys in the bath, letting them explore at their own pace.
If you have just gotten a Maine Coon kitten, you might have a hard time introducing your cat to the bath in a positive way.
It can take kittens a few months to use the litterbox properly, and their long fur is much more likely to get dirty than shorthaired cats.
As a result, you may end up introducing your kitten to the tub after an accident, which will likely make your kitten more scared of baths in the future.
My Personal Experience
From personal experience, I would say it is best to introduce bathing a Maine Coon cat whilst they are still a kitten.
We introduced the concept to our first Maine Coon cat when he reached 10 years old, which was far too late, so our male Maine Coon was not impressed by the idea!
Watch our funny Youtube video of Pippin refusing the concept of bathing on Maine Coon Central’s Youtube channel.
Do Maine Coons Cats Like Swimming
If you have ever wondered can Maine Coons swim, check out this incredible video of a Maine Coon joining his owner in the water here! Credit for the video goes to @viralhog
A Maine Coon swimming is not unheard of, but it may take some time and trust for your Maine Coon to become as confident in the water as the cat in the video.
If you want your Maine Coon to enjoy swimming, you should start small with a dish of water or a few inches of water in the sink or tub.
Do Maine Coons Drink A Lot Of Water?
Maine Coons tend to drink more water than the average housecat since they are so big.
Their fascination with water also means they might spend more time by the water dish than most cats, though they might spend more time playing with the water than drinking it! (source 1).
My Personal Experience
Our blue tabby Maine Coon enjoys soaking his face in his pet water fountain. This is so funny to watch!
Since Maine Coons love the water so much, many people wonder, are Maine Coons waterproof?
Maine Coons are not fully waterproof but their outer guard hairs are semi-water-repellent, so small amounts of moisture slide off their coat instead of saturating their dense fur.
Maine Coons tend to love the water, though you may need to introduce your cat to the concept slowly.
Starting out with a few inches of water in a pan or bathtub might spark your cat’s interest enough that it even learns to swim!