Can A Maine Coon Kill You?


Since they’re the largest domesticated cats in the world, it’s not the least bit surprising that some potential owners wonder, can a Maine Coon kill you? After all, nobody wants to adopt a pet that could be potentially dangerous, or even fatal!

It is possible for Maine Coons to kill a human, but it is highly unlikely. These cats are known for their gentle and sweet temperament, and they rarely display signs of aggression, much less a desire to kill. However, a bite from any cat can easily become infected if left untreated, which can result in death.

The Maine Coon may be a large breed, but these cats are also known for being some of the sweetest, most loving cat breeds in the world!

Still, even these gentle giants can become aggressive without proper training and socialization, so read on to find out what to do if your Maine Coon has a tendency to bite or scratch!

Can A Maine Coon Kill You?

The Maine Coon is the largest domesticated cat breed in the world.

These cats developed naturally in the cold state of Maine, where they hunted rats, mice, rabbits, birds, and various other small rodents to survive on their own.

They became popular as pets for their ability to hunt vermin, but today, they are becoming increasingly popular for their intelligent and gentle nature.

However, some potential Maine Coon owners can’t help but wonder if the Maine Coon’s large size and exceptional hunting abilities can spell danger for humans. Most humans would be able to defend themselves against a Maine Coon, but a determined cat of this breed could potentially land a deadly bite to the throat or the main artery.

In general though, Maine Coons are highly unlikely to ever land a killing blow. The most dangerous part of a Maine Coon is its mouth, which is filled with bacteria. All domestic cats’ mouths contain lots of bacteria, which help to kill prey quickly.

If a Maine Coon were to break the skin with its bite, and the bite was to be left unattended, it could quickly become infected. Untreated cat bites are exceptionally dangerous, and if left untreated long enough, can result in amputation or even death.

Maine Coon Temperament

While a cat’s personality will vary wildly from individual to individual, most cat breeds have common personality traits. Here are the common Maine Coon personality traits that this breed is famous for.

  • Gentle: This cat breed is famously patient and gentle, which makes them especially good with children. Despite their large size, Maine Coons are always careful to treat their owners gently.
  • Affectionate: The Maine Coon cat is well known for being incredibly loving towards its owners. These cats will often follow their owners from room to room, but aren’t known for being too clingy, either.
  • Intelligent: Maine Coons are famously smart, and they are often in tune to the emotions of their owners. They can be taught all sorts of tricks, but their intelligence can sometimes lead to mischief.
  • Playful: Maine Coons are known for having a dog-like personality, and some can even learn how to walk on a leash or play fetch! These cats also retain a kitten-like love of play well into their adult years.

Even though Maine Coons are famous for being gentle and patient, owners can accidentally cause their cats to become aggressive. The most common form of aggression in Maine Coons is overstimulation. If you play too rough with your cat, it can become overwhelmed and begin biting or scratching.

A Maine Coon temper problem is either the result of improper socialization or a stressful environment. If your cat is constantly fearful and aggressive, it’s most likely that something else, such as your household, lifestyle, or even you, are the underlying problem!

If you are still not sure what to expect from a Maine Coon cats temperament, and why you should buy a Maine Coon, then watch this video of our own male Maine Coon cat:

Maine Coon Central – ‘Meet Pippin’

Maine Coon Cat Behavior Problems

Overall, Maine Coons are known for being intelligent, pleasant pets to have around.

Just like with any other animal, however, they can develop some behavior problems, particularly if owners do nothing to curb this behavior early on.

Here are some of the most common behavior problems found in Maine Coons.

  • Spraying: Spraying is a common behavior among wild and feral cats, who spray urine to mark their territory. Domestic cats are most likely to spray if they feel threatened by other cats or humans in their house. It is also found most commonly among unneutered male cats.
  • Biting: It’s important to teach your kitten to avoid biting you at a young age. If this behavior is allowed or encouraged, it will almost certainly evolve into a more prevalent behavior problem later in life. Biting is also common among cats who feel threatened or unsafe in their own homes.
  • Scratching: Cats instinctively scratch to remove the dead sheathe of their nails, but it can become a problem if they scratch at furniture or carpet. You’ll have to teach your cat to use a scratching post, or else your furniture might be ripped to shreds! We purchased this scratching post from Amazon earlier in the year, and it’s literally the best cat post we’ve ever had.
  • Destruction: Maine Coons are famously intelligent, which means they need a lot more stimulation than other domestic cat breeds. If they don’t have enough enrichment, they can become bored and distressed, which often results in furniture destruction or digging.

Are Maine Coons Dangerous?

The Maine Coon is an exceptionally large cat breed, some owners do ask me, are Maine Coon cats dangerous?

In general, the Maine Coon is no more dangerous than any other cat. While they might be harder to fend off if they do attack, these cats are so famous for their gentle nature that the chances of being attacked by one are extremely rare.

Why Is My Maine Coon So Aggressive?

If you are dealing with a lot of aggressive behavior from your Maine Coon, you’ll have to first determine the root cause of your cat’s aggression before you can fix it.

Here are the most common reasons for aggression in Maine Coon cats.

  • Jealousy: Cats are capable of feeling jealousy just like humans! Maine Coons develop strong bonds with their owners, and if a new baby or pet seems to be getting more attention, your cat could respond aggressively.
  • Feeling Unsafe: A scared cat will behave aggressively to defend itself against perceived threats. If your cat is constantly hiding under beds or couches, and backs away or hisses whenever you try to interact with it, it is likely feeling unsafe in its environment.
  • Constant Harassment: Maine Coons may be patient, but they will not tolerate constant harassment or crossing of their boundaries. If you cross your cat’s boundaries or invade its personal space on a regular basis, your cat will not trust you, and will be more likely to behave aggressively towards you.
  • Big Changes: Routine and sameness makes cats feel stable and safe. Big changes, like moving houses or bringing home a new baby or pet can make your cat feel unsure, and they might lash out with aggression. Believe it or not, cats can even be sensitive to small changes. Some owners have reported major behavior changes in their cat after moving around the furniture, or even changing their laundry detergent!
  • Overstimulation: Cats can become overstimulated and excitable if their owners play with them too roughly. An excessive amount of interaction and sensory input can cause a burst of aggression.
  • Lack of Socialization: If your Maine Coon was improperly socialized with other humans or cats, it will likely behave aggressively as an adult. Unsocialized cats perceive others as a threat, leading to wariness and aggression.

Why Does My Maine Coon Bite Me?

Even though Maine Coons are known for being sweet and gentle, individual cats can still display undesirable behaviors such as biting or scratching. Surprisingly, though, cats don’t always bite out of anger!

Here are the different possible reasons behind your Maine Coon’s bites:

  • Warning: Cats are known for their love of personal space. If that space is invaded, they often provide warning nips as a means of communicating to their owner that they’d prefer to be left alone. Warning nips might start out gentle, but slowly increase in force if they are continuously pestered.
  • Anger: While it’s not the only reason a cat might bite, anger is still a common reason behind a quick nip. Most cats provide warning bites, or will use body language such as flattened ears or even hissing or growling to communicate that they want to be left alone. If their owners continue to cross that boundary, however, they will likely lash out in anger.
  • Fear: Even though Maine Coons are the largest domesticated cat breed in the world, they are still significantly smaller than us humans, and they can easily feel threatened and unsafe. Biting is a cat’s main form of defense, and if a Maine Coon feels endangered, it will attempt to defend itself with its teeth.
  • Play: While cats can bite as a means of self defense, they also bite as a form of play. Biting usually isn’t an issue when two cats are playing with each other, as their thick fur can prevent pain or breaking the skin. Unfortunately, this behavior isn’t ideal if your cat ends up biting you, even in a playful manner! While play bites are typically much gentler than bites out of anger or fear, some cats are known to get carried away. That’s why it’s best to use toys to play with your cat rather than your hands.
  • Affection: Finally, the most surprising cause of biting in cats is actually affection. Many cats will nuzzle against their owners hand and lick their fingers, which can sometimes lead to soft bites. These little nips are an odd way that cats show affection to their owners and to each other, and it’s absolutely nothing to worry about!

Maine Coon Attacks

Although incredibly rare, Maine Coons might attack a human or another animal in a crazed frenzy. While a Maine Coon attack certainly isn’t fun for anyone involved, it is rarely very dangerous.

The bite force of a domestic cat can range anywhere from 20 to 75 psi, and averages at about 67 psi. Of course, this breed’s large size means that the Maine Coon bite force would be on the upper end of that range. Still, while a Maine Coon bite will be painful, it is nowhere near as powerful as a dog’s bite, and it is far less likely to cause serious damage.

You might be (reasonably) worried if your Maine Coon cat attacks family. However, a Maine Coon attack will almost always be due to provocation, such as harassment or feeling unsafe.

By providing a safe and comfortable environment where your cat’s boundaries are respected, the chances of your Maine Coon attacking are close to zero (sources 1,2).

Click on this link if you are interested to learn more about why your Maine Coon licks and then bites you!

How To Discipline A Maine Coon Cat

While most Maine Coons are known for being gentle and well-behaved, they can be a terror to owners if not properly trained.

If you’re having behavioral problems with your Maine Coon, here are the most important steps to follow.

  • Ignore Negative Behavior: If your cat has a tendency to bite or play roughly, don’t give your cat any attention (positive or negative) for that behavior. Instead, immediately disengage from your cat and firmly ignore it. This will teach your cat that it will not get any attention from negative behavior.
  • Redirect Negative Behavior: If your cat starts biting you, even in a playful way, provide a toy rather than your hand. This will teach your cat that your arm is not an appropriate plaything, but a feather toy or a mouse is acceptable. Here are 5 of the best Maine Coon cat toys.
  • Reward Positive Behavior: Instead of punishing bad behavior, focus on rewarding positive behavior. Make a big deal out of positive actions, including pets and treats, so your cat is more likely to do the same behavior in the future.
  • Be Mindful Of Your Behavior You can’t always blame your Maine Coon’s behavior on your cat. Sometimes, you might have to correct your own behavior, instead. If you consistently overstimulate your cat or cross its boundaries even after it gives you a warning, then it’s no wonder your cat is behaving aggressively! While you may resent your Maine Coon for biting or scratching you, keep in mind that this is one of the few ways cats have to communicate, and you shouldn’t blame your cat for defending itself.
  • Think About the Environment: Finally, you should consider whether your environment is causing some of your cat’s aggressive behavior. All cats need personal space where they can feel safe, and a small, cluttered apartment could cause your cat to feel threatened. Furthermore, rowdy children who tease or even hurt your cat could also lead to aggressive behavior. Also consider whether recent major changes may have caused a sudden shift in your cat’s behavior, such as bringing home a new pet or baby, or moving to a new home.

Can A Maine Coon Kill A Dog?

Dogs can vary greatly in size, so while a Maine Coon would be unlikely to do serious damage to a large dog breed like a Husky or a Golden Retriever, they could easily kill a small dog breed, like a Chihuahua or a Pekingese.

The main way a Maine Coon cat could kill a dog is through its bite, which, as we mentioned earlier, can lead to a deadly infection if left untreated. However, Maine Coons are famous for getting along well with other animals, and many cats of this breed have actually become close friends with dogs.

Can A Maine Coon Kill A Fox?

Just like with dogs, a Maine Coon’s bite can cause a serious infection that could kill a fox. In fact, a Maine Coon’s bite is more likely to kill a fox than a dog or other domestic animal, as foxes have no way of cleaning their own wounds.

With that being said, an encounter with a fox could be just as dangerous for your Maine Coon. While common red foxes are typically smaller than Maine Coons, ranging between 7 and 18 pounds on average, they could do serious damage to a domestic cat, even resulting in death (source 1).

Conclusion

A lot of potential Maine Coon owners are worried that this cat breed could cause serious damage if angered. Due to this breed’s large size, can a Maine Coon kill you?

A Maine Coon’s bite contains lots of bacteria, which can lead to a deadly infection if left untreated.

Furthermore, a well-placed bite to your throat or another vulnerable body part could potentially result in death. However, the Maine Coon is famous for being a gentle and affectionate breed, and aggression is highly uncommon in these cats.

Related Questions

Are Maine Coons Illegal?

Many potential Maine Coon owners wonder if these large cats are illegal, but they are actually perfectly legal to keep in every country they’re found in!

What Do Maine Coons Die From?

While Maine Coons are usually known for being sturdy, they can still die from illnesses such as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Feline Leukemia Virus, and Feline Heartworm.

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a self-confessed CRAZY CAT LADY! I've been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 9 years ago. We called him 'Pippin', but he also goes by the name ‘Pipsteroo’! Our enormous, kind-hearted cat genuinely thinks he's a dog and has convinced me that cats are Man's True Best Friend!

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