Whether you allow your treasured Maine Coon cat outside, or not, is a hotly debated subject in the cat world. A large number of Coon owners permit their pedigree cat to venture outside, letting them roam free.
However, on the flip side, there are also just as many owners who keep their beloved feline friends secured safely inside their home, as indoor cats.
Your decision will ultimately come down to personal preference, but let’s weigh up the pros and cons of the debate ‘can Maine Coon cats go outside?’.
There are no physical reasons why Maine Coon cats cannot go outside, like other cat breeds. However, this hotly debated subject is very emotive amongst pedigree cat owners. Many pros and cons exist for letting Maine Coons outdoors. Each owner must consider the factors carefully, weighing up their own personal situation i.e. do they live near busy roads? in the decision-making process.
Can I Let My Maine Coon Go Outside?
Yes, and No!
The answer to this question will ultimately depend upon many different factors, which will be unique to your own families particular situation i.e. where you live, proximity to roads, immediate dangers in your particular location, and your cats personality etc.
As I have already briefly touched upon above, the decision to let your Maine Coon cat go outside, or not, is a massively debated subject in the pet world. This subject sparks great emotion amongst pedigree cat owners.
Before making any decision, review the unbiased arguments for, and against letting your Maine Coon pedigree cat outdoors, below.
Should Maine Coons Go Outside?
The table below lists the key pros and cons of letting a Maine Coon cat go outdoors on its own. Please use these 15 key factors to make an informed decision.
|Factor||Outdoor Cat||Indoor Cat|
|Cat claws||Cats scratch trees etc, to keep their claws sharp, short, and to mark their territory||Cat owners can trim cat claws when necessary. The indoor cat uses a scratching post. Their territory is their home.|
|Road Traffic||Maine Coons are cats that are more clever than other breeds, so will avoid traffic. Remote locations have limited traffic.||Cats die every day due to road traffic. They are not bright enough to avoid this danger|
|Exercise||Need regular exercise outdoors i.e. hunting prey, climbing trees, etc, to avoid becoming obese||This intelligent breed can be taught to walk on a lead, like a dog. Cats can be exercised use cat towers and cat toys|
|Playing||Cats should be allowed to explore the outdoor world, playing in their natural habitat||Maine Coons are a lively playful cat breed, they can play safely indoors. Owners can play with cats too.|
|Scents and Smells||Maine Coons are instinctively territorial. They scratch trees, and scent areas to ensure that other cats stay out of their territory. Scents are exciting to a Maine Coon, and this natural instinct is not possible in a cat-proofed garden, or for an indoor cat.||Maine Coons are territorial, but their home is their territory. They have plenty of smells and scents to explore indoors, from other pets, or humans bringing scents into their home via their feet or clothes, etc.|
|Cruelty||It’s cruel to keep a cat indoors. Maine Coons descend from a mix between a semi-wild animal, and a domestic cat. They instinctively enjoy hunting prey and are outdoor animals.||Keeping a Maine Coon indoors is not cruel, but an owner protecting their treasured feline companion|
|Expensive||All pedigree cats are expensive. Forcing Maine Coons to stay indoors just because they cost a lot of money, is unfair. Owners have the choice to purchase a less pricey cat breed if they are concerned over their cat’s safety||Maine Coons are expensive and amazing creatures. Owners love their cat so much that they want to protect them, by keeping them indoors|
|Disease||Owners can ensure their cat has all the necessary vaccinations, to prevent them from contracting certain diseases. Legitimate Maine Coon breeders scan breeding cats for signs of disease, before breeding, thus limiting chances of disease.||Outdoor Maine Coons are at greater risk of developing diseases than indoor cats|
|Criminals||Cats should be free to roam the outdoor world. The danger of criminals does exist, however, owners are keen for their precious Maine Coon to live a full and happy life||Pedigree cat breeds are VERY expensive. Criminals target Maine Coon cats, stealing them for resale at high prices|
|Lifespan||Cats live longer if allowed outside. ‘Corduroy’ (a half Maine Coon) holds the record for being the oldest Maine Coon (age 26), in the Guinness Records (source 1)||There is no clear research proving that cats live longer if allowed outdoor, to roam free|
|Cat Proofing||Cat proofing a garden is effectively keeping a Maine Coon as a prisoner, within their home. This is unkind and cruel||Maine Coons can be let outside if an owner has cat-proofed their garden. This allows the cat to safely enjoy the outdoor world|
|Dangers||Maine Coons are animals. They are great hunters and love to hunt live prey i.e. mice. Allowing a Coon outdoors heightens their senses to the threats of other members of the food chain||If you let your Maine Coon outside, you risk them becoming prey to a larger animal in the food chain|
|Human Company||Maine Coons adore human company and can get plenty of interaction with their human whilst at home. Indoor Coons are at risk of psychological damage, due to boredom||Maine coons love spending time with their humans. They will follow their owner around all day, like a dog. No extra stimulation is required|
|Mental Stimulation||Cats need to venture into the outdoor world, to prevent boredom. They are naturally outdoor animals and need mental stimulation that the outside world provides||Coons can be mentally stimulated by cat toys, cat towers, or playing games with their owners|
|Curiosity||Maine Coons should be allowed to explore the outdoor world. Their naturally curious instincts should not be dampened||Curiosity killed the cat! Maine Coons are intelligent, and naturally more curious than other breeds. They may wander further afield, and get lost|
Do Maine Coons Need To Go Outside?
There are many benefits supporting the argument that Maine Coons should be allowed to roam free outdoors. We shall now review the positive and negatives sides of this argument.
Here are just a few factors to consider:
Maine Coons are prone to obesity.
Letting them outside reducing the risk of them developing this disease since the outdoor world gives them the chance to exercise regularly.
They can hunt, climb trees, and generally play, as they would in the wild.
2. Well Being
The best way for your Maine to live a long and healthy life is to allow them outside, where there are ample scents, tastes, and fun for your cat to enjoy.
The outside world offers endless new experiences that keep Maine Coons mentally stimulated. Outdoor cats are less like to suffer from boredom, which can psychologically harm your cat’s sense of well-being.
3. Litter Tray
All animals need the toilet, at some point or other. Permitting your Maine Coon outside will negate the need for you to clean your cat’s litter tray every day. This saves you time, and a great deal of money over the course of your cat’s lifetime.
Cat litter has been proven to cause blindness in young children, should they come into contact with it. With the best will in the world, and even if you use a contained litter tray, children will always be in danger of touching litter that the cat has unknowingly carried through into the house.
Why take the chance?
Maine Coons that are allowed to explore the outside world, are less likely to scratch your house furniture, i.e. sofas or tables. This is because they are able to scratch and maintain their claws whilst outside.
It would still be advisable though, to keep additional scratch posts within your home as this helps to encourage your Maine Coon not to scratch household furniture.
All cats need access to grass. Natural evolution has taught them that eating grass will help to make them physically sick, a desirable result should your Maine Coon have eaten something that disagrees with their stomachs.
On the flip side, there are many reasons why you should not let your Maine Coon cat outside, on their own. We shall now review the following negatives issues:
1. Road Traffic
Maine Coon cats are intelligent, but that doesn’t mean they know how to cross the road safely! One of the biggest dangers that face all cat breeds, is road traffic.
2. May Become Trapped
You might love the idea of your cat exploring the wider world, being one with nature, and living a full and happy life. However, what happens if they become trapped?
The first you will know that your cat is potentially trapped, and in danger, is when your Maine Coon doesn’t return home.
But the fact of the matter is that you still won’t know WHERE they are trapped. This is particularly problematic, so I would recommend that you attach a GPS cat tracker to their collar, to keep them safe.
I’ve found this particular tracker to work well on our Maine Coon. It’s currently on offer at Amazon, so don’t miss out on this bargain! If you would prefer to buy a smaller tracker, we’ve also found this one to be particularly effective (quick link to Amazon).
It is important to note that a cat tracker would be highly beneficial in the Summer months. Why? Because neighbors will have their sheds or garages open more often, due to the heat.
Maine Coons are curious creatures and will explore open doorways. Your neighbors may unknowingly close the door later in the evening, not expecting a cat to be inside their property.
Indoor cats are not exposed to the same diseases that outdoor cats are exposed to.
Should your Maine Coon get into a fight with a cat outdoors, they may get hurt and their wound will be opened to disease or infection.
One of the other key negatives to letting your Maine Coon go outdoors is that they risk becoming prey to other animals i.e. large birds or foxes.
Maine Coons are known for being an expensive pedigree cat. They are highly desirable and even older Maine Coons command a high resale price.
If you let your Maine Coon outside, you have to accept that your Maine Coon will always be at risk from criminals trying to target your cat and steal it.
Why Keep Maine Coons Indoors
When considering the question ‘can Maine Coon cats go outside’ you need to look at the subject from both sides of the argument, to make an informed decision?
These are the benefits of keeping your Maine Coon indoors, permanently:
Whether you like it or not, many dangers face the Maine Coon cat when they explore the outside world.
For instance, they may become prey to larger animals within the food chain, or criminals may target your Maine Coon cat, trying to steal it, knowing this expensive pedigree cat commands a high resale price.
Maine Coons are highly intelligent little beings, their love for life and play is evident for all to see. Despite these personality traits making the Maine Coon a sought-after cat breed, their curiosity poses a great risk to themselves.
This cat breed is more prone to go off and explore the wider world, well beyond their immediate territory. A curiosity level such as this can place the Maine Coon cat in danger, since they are more likely to get lost, or may come into contact with traffic, or busier roads.
3. Peace Of Mind
Whatever your opinion, it is hard to deny the argument that keeping your cat indoors full time, gives you peace of mind. You never need worry that your cat has roamed too far, that you may have to search for them in the darkness, or that they may have come to harm whilst exploring the wider world.
If you allow your cat outside, chances are that at some point or other they WILL discover the rain, mud, and puddles. Keeping your cat indoors removes the hassle of needing to regularly clean your home, due to the muddy paw prints that an outdoor cat will inevitably bring into your home.
Owners that allow their Maine Coon to venture outside can only protect their cats from unwanted diseases to a certain extent.
Whilst it is possible for them to vaccinate their precious Maine Coon against the most likely diseases that they may come into contact with outdoors, they cannot protect their feline companion from everything.
Indoor cats are not at risk of venturing into gardens where harsh chemicals are being used on another owner’s crops or plants. They will also not be attacked by another cat or animal that is contaminated with diseases that they have not been protected against.
Commonly Asked Questions
Here are four questions that I have been asked in relation to our Maine Coon cat:
- Can you walk a Maine Coon?
- Do I own a Maine Coon cat house?
- Do Maine Coon Cats like to climb?
- Do you let your Maine Coon outside?
Take a look at my response to each question below:
1. Can you walk a Maine Coon?
Yes, you can walk a Maine Coon on a leash, as if they were a dog. I have personally never tried to walk our Maine Coon cat, however, this breed is highly intelligent and known for being trainable.
2. Do Maine Coon Cats Like To Climb?
Absolutely, climbing is one of their natural instincts. They are an intelligent breed though and like to find the easy way up.
Can Maine Coon cats go outside?
I personally believe that Maine Coons should be permitted to go outside, whether it be into the wider outdoors on their own, or simply being allowed to roam around a large cat-proofed garden.
If an owner doesn’t have a garden then owners should take their Maine Coon for daily walks, to enable access to the wider world of scents and mental stimulation.
It is important to allow your feline companion access to grass, to experience fascinating scents and smells that the world has to offer. This is crucial for ensuring that they do not suffer psychologically, due to boredom from being stuck indoors every day.
Access to grass also helps the Maine Coons vomit (be sick), should they have eaten something that disagrees with their stomachs.
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