TV shows often show cats licking up milk, but can Maine Coons drink milk? And, should a Maine Coon’s diet really include this?
Maine Coons should not drink milk because they do not carry the enzyme lactase that digests lactose found in milk. Cow’s milk doesn’t contain the essential nutrients required for a healthy cat’s diet, because it has a high fat content and sugar. Drinking milk may cause your feline friend indigestion, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Milk poses health risks to your Maine Coon. Read on to find out what’s safe to feed a Maine Coon cat, and what isn’t.
Table Of Contents
Can Maine Coons Drink Milk?
Maine Coon cats should not be fed milk by their pet parents because it can cause them stomach upsets.
Below are two reasons why Maine Coon cats should not drink milk:
Cats should not drink milk because they are lactose-intolerant, despite being born with the enzyme lactase which they use to drink their mother’s milk as kittens.
In order to digest the lactose in milk, you need an enzyme called lactase. Unfortunately, cats’ digestive systems do not contain lactase, since they lose this enzyme as they grow older.
Milk can lead to indigestion, and in some cases can cause your cat to have diarrhea or vomiting, which will end up making your cat dehydrated.
While milk cannot kill your cat, it is still incredibly unhealthy.
2. Milk Is High In Fat
Milk is very high in fat, and low in other nutrients that your cat requires, e.g. protein.
Drinking milk can lead to weight gain, and a cat full-on milk might not eat its cat food, which contains the basic nutritional needs it requires to stay strong and healthy.
Yet, all kittens drink milk from their mother for the first six to eight weeks of their lives before they are weaned onto solid food.
Baby cats need lots of protein and a small number of carbohydrates in their diet. If fed cow’s milk instead of cat’s milk, they would die from malnutrition.
Why Do Cats Like Milk If They Are Lactose Intolerant?
The domestic cats we know and love today originally evolved in the desert, where they had to be crafty about finding food.
Cats therefore love milk because they are programmed to enjoy foods high in fat that would have been advantageous in the dry, harsh desert.
In fact, not only will drinking milk likely result in indigestion, but it will also lead to unhealthy amounts of weight gain (source 1).
Can Cats Drink Lactose-Free Milk?
Whilst Maine Coon cats can drink lactose-free milk because it does not contain any lactose, the main cause of indigestion in cats, feeding your cat milk is still not a good idea.
Lactose-free milk is high in fat and lacks a cat’s basic nutritional needs.
Is Milk Good For Older Cats?
Milk is not good for senior cats since they are a lot frailer than younger cats, and drinking milk may cause them serious health issues.
Diarrhea and vomiting caused by drinking milk can severely dehydrate a cat, which is especially dangerous for senior cats, particularly if the cat has an underlying health condition.
What To Do If Your Cat Drinks Milk
If you notice your cat has been drinking milk make sure you remove the milk immediately so the cat cannot drink anymore.
Monitor your cat for the next few hours to make sure it does not become too sick. If your cat starts vomiting and passing diarrhea, for a long period of time, call the vet ASAP.
My Cat Will Only Drink Milk
If you regularly give your cat milk you may have inadvertently taught your cat to prefer milk over water.
The best method to wean your cat off milk is to dilute the milk with water over a period of several weeks, rather than taking the milk away completely.
Start out with just a little bit of water, then gradually increase the amount of water you mix into it until your cat is drinking only water (source 1).
How Much Water Do Cats Drink A Day?
Cats require about 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water for every five pounds of body weight, so you must make sure your Maine Coon always has access to fresh, clean water.
Cats prefer running water, so make sure you buy a small pet fountain like this one on Amazon.
The average cat weighs 10 pounds so will require about 7 to 9 ounces of water per day (source 1). Maine Coons are heavier though, weighing 12 – 22 lbs, so will require more water than this.
If you are concerned your cat is not drinking enough water, keep in mind that wet cat food contains water, so is a great source of hydration for your Maine Coon cat.
What Do Maine Coons Eat?
Maine Coon cats are obligate carnivores that developed naturally in the state of Maine where they used their natural hunting instincts to hunt mice and rats.
Whilst the diet of these large cats has changed because these cats are no longer wild, they still require high levels of protein and the necessary nutrients for them to stay healthy.
Here are the three main types of food that you can provide for your Maine Coon:
Dry food is the most common type of cat food, and a high-quality brand will provide all the nutrients your cat needs.
It is possible to feed your cat only a diet of dry food, but it’s not ideal.
Providing wet food alongside dry food gives your cat more enrichment, as well as provides more moisture. You should also avoid giving your cat dry food only if it’s prone to urinary problems.
Wet food is more flavorful than dry food, and also provides more moisture for your cat.
Most cats seem to significantly prefer wet food, so it’s a good idea to give your Maine Coon wet food a few times a week.
You should not provide a diet that is only wet food, however, as it can be damaging to your cat’s teeth. Instead, provide both wet food and dry food.
A more specialized diet for Maine Coon Cats is a raw food diet.
While this diet can be more expensive and significantly more time-consuming to prepare, it can be enriching for your Maine Coon to eat raw food, which is more similar to what it would eat in the wild.
While you might be tempted to buy your Maine Coon the cheapest food you can find at the pet store, keep in mind that not all foods are created equal.
You’ll want to find high-quality food that will meet these Maine Coon Cat’s dietary requirements:
Protein is the most important part of a cat’s diet. Maine Coon Cats especially require high amounts of animal protein.
There are eleven types of amino acids that cats need from protein:
Next, cats need a moderate amount of fat in their diet.
They specifically need Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential to healing wounds, keeping your cat’s skin and coat healthy, and managing inflammation.
Cats require a low amount of carbohydrates.
Many cheap cat foods use high amounts of filler content, such as grains, which are high in carbohydrates.
While it’s important for your cat to get some carbs, too many can result in weight gain and malnutrition.
Cats are able to produce some vitamins on their own, but the rest need to be included in their diets.
The vitamins that cats require are:
- Vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12
- Pantothenic Acid
- Folic Acid
High-quality cat food should contain all of the vitamins that your cat needs.
Cats require the following minerals in their diets:
Look for cat foods that are labeled by the AAFCO, which regulates which cat foods contain the correct amount of vitamins and minerals (source 1).
Do Maine Coons Need Special Food?
If you’re worried about meeting your cat’s nutritional requirements, you might be wondering, can Maine Coons eat normal cat food?
Overall, it’s ideal for every kind of cat to have a high-quality diet that contains a lot of protein and a low amount of filler content. However, this is especially essential to Maine Coons.
Maine Coons spend three to five years growing before they reach their full size. If they do not receive proper nutrition at a young age, their growth can be stunted.
These cats require great amounts of protein to keep up with their enormous size!
You can feed your Maine Coon normal cat food, so long as it’s made from high-quality ingredients.
Some owners prefer to feed their treasured Maine Coon a raw food diet. Their reasoning for this is that the diet is more closely linked to the food that this particular cat breed would have eaten in the wild.
For more information on this fascinating subject, read my article:
‘Maine Coon Raw Food Diet‘, or click on the picture below.
How Much Do Maine Coons Eat?
The Maine Coon’s large size means that it needs a lot more calories than most cats, so you’re probably wondering, how much should I feed Maine Coon Cats?
On average, a cat will need between 20 and 35 calories per pound of body weight, depending on how active they are.
Adult Maine Coons
Since Maine Coons average between 10 and 25 pounds, their calorie needs can be anywhere from 200 to 875 calories every day.
In terms of volume, most Maine Coons need about 9 ounces of wet food or 3 ounces of dry food each day.
Maine Coon Kittens
If you have a younger cat, you might be wondering, how much should I feed my Maine Coon kitten?
Kittens need a lot more food than older cats to keep growing consistently. Since they’re incredibly active and grow at a rapid pace, you should allow them to eat as much food as they want.
In general, you can allow your kitten to eat until it is full.
Maine Coon Raw Food Diet
Since Maine Coons were once accustomed to hunting down rodents in the wild, you’re probably wondering can Maine Coons eat raw meat?
You might be surprised to discover that it is actually safe for Maine Coons to eat many kinds of raw meat, and lots of Maine Coon owners like to provide a raw food diet.
The Maine Coon raw food diet requires a lot more time and patience, as you’ll need to measure out exactly how much to include within each of your cat’s meals:
If you’re curious about feeding your cat a raw diet, you can find Maine Coon raw food recipes for people who have already done all the math!
However, it’s important to keep in mind that, while cats are used to eating raw food in the wild, that doesn’t necessarily mean that raw food processed by humans is safe.
Raw meats can be contaminated by pathogens like E. coli and many other dangerous things, which can easily kill your cat.
Overall, while feeding your Maine Coon a raw diet does have benefits, it’s a very personal choice and depends on how much time and money you have available.
Can Maine Coons Eat Raw Chicken?
Technically, Maine Coons can eat raw chicken.
However, the raw meat you buy at a grocery store is kept longer and comes in contact with more contaminants, meaning your cat is more likely to become sick from eating it.
Furthermore, raw chicken bones splinter and can get caught in your cat’s throat, so you should not give your Maine Coon raw chicken if it also contains bones.
Can Maine Coons Eat Fish?
It is safe to give your Maine Coon fish as a treat, but first, keep in mind that you should not give your cat, fish to eat every day.
Fish is not a proper supplement for actual cat food:
- Fish contains high amounts of fatty acids
- Fish does not contain enough Vitamin E
Can Mane Coons Eat Tuna?
A common question owners ask is, can Maine Coons eat tuna?
Tuna is a favorite food for cats, and it’s okay in small quantities. However, only feed your cat unsalted tuna in water.
You should not give your cat tuna as a meal, however, because it doesn’t contain the proper nutrients, and your cat can gain weight or become malnourished.
Finally, large quantities of tuna can eventually lead to mercury poisoning (source 1).
Can Maine Coons Eat Bacon?
You should not give your cat bacon, as it contains high levels of fat, grease, and salt.
You should never give your cat meat or other food that has already been seasoned, as salt and other seasonings can be dangerous to your cat.
It’s okay to feed your cat a tiny bit of bacon every once in a while, but it’s not a good idea to get into the habit of feeding your cat table scraps.
Bacon and other kinds of ham are also much fattier than most kinds of meat, so it’s better to feed your cat, fish, or poultry instead (source 1).
Can Maine Coons Eat Fruit?
Many fruits are safe for Maine Coons to eat, but you should avoid giving them to your cat anyway.
Just because they aren’t toxic doesn’t mean they’re good for your cat!
Fruits are high in sugar and don’t provide any important nutrients for your cat.
Furthermore, there are many kinds of fruit, such as grapes, cherries, and citrus fruits that can be dangerous or even deadly to cats!
Instead of giving your cat human food, stick with cat treats, which contain ingredients that are actually good for your cat.
Do Maine Coons Eat Plants?
If you’re the kind of person who has a lot of house plants, you might be worried about your Maine Coon eating them.
Unfortunately, these playful cats can find dangling plants quite enticing.
Cats are actually more likely to chew on plants because they view them as toys, rather than trying to eat them as food.
Regardless, there are many kinds of plants that can be harmful or even deadly to cats, so you should do your research and only keep non-toxic plants where your cat can reach them.
Some common plants that are dangerous to cats include (but is not limited to):
- English Ivy
Meanwhile, some common indoor plants that are safe for cats include:
- Spider Plants
- Areca Palms
- African Violets
Keep in mind, however, that just because some plants are safe for cats, doesn’t mean that your cat is safe for your plants!
Many cats will dig in pots, chew on leaves, or even knock plants over!
The Maine Coon is an especially clumsy cat that is known for knocking all sorts of things over on accident.
Toxic Human Food For Cats
Unfortunately, not all of the food we humans enjoy is safe for our cats. Here is a list of foods that are toxic to cats (source 1).
- Chocolate and Caffeine: Chocolate and caffeinated foods contain methylxanthines, a substance that is incredibly dangerous to cats. It can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and other severe symptoms that can lead to death.
- Alcohol: Since cats are so much smaller than humans, they can easily suffer from alcohol poisoning. Alcohol consumption can result in dizziness, disorientation, and nausea. Too much alcohol can kill your cat.
- Onions: Onions, garlic, chives, and other plants related to these are extremely dangerous to cats and dogs. Not only can they cause anemia, but in large quantities, they can even cause death.
- Grapes: Grapes, as well as raisins, are among the most dangerous foods for cats. Even small amounts can result in kidney failure.
- Nightshades: The nightshade family is a large group of plants that includes eggplants, potatoes, and tomatoes. Each part of these plants can be very toxic to cats.
- And Many More: This is not a comprehensive list of foods that are toxic to cats, as there are countless foods that can be dangerous to our feline friends. While it’s okay to feed your cat table scraps occasionally, you should always research beforehand to find out if it’s safe for your cat to ingest or not.
What Should I Look For In Cat Food?
When searching for cat food, it’s important to look at the ingredients rather than the price.
Here’s what to look out for when finding a kind of food for your Maine Coon:
- High Protein: You’ll want to choose a food where the first listed ingredient is a kind of protein. Look for a named meat source, like beef, fish, or a kind of poultry.
- Moderate Fat: Search for the fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, which are essential to a cat’s diet.
- Low Filler Content: Cheap cat foods use large quantities of grains, corn, and other filler carbohydrates. Avoid this, as these only contain empty calories and will lead to malnutrition and weight gain.
- Avoid Low Quality Ingredients: Avoid ingredients like bone meal, byproduct, or anything containing the word “digest.”
Best Food For Maine Coon Kitten
Your Maine Coon will need kitten food for about a year before switching to adult food.
All kittens need a huge amount of protein and calories to grow properly, but this is especially true of the Maine Coon.
Most owners choose both wet food and dry food.
For dry food, some of the best choices for Maine Coon kittens include Blue Buffalo Wilderness, Hill’s Science Diet, and Purina One.
For wet food, some excellent considerations include Purina Pro Plan, Royal Canin, or Hill’s Science Diet.
Kittens can be picky, so it’s best to try a few different foods until you find something your kitten likes. Then, when your cat is about one year old, you’ll want to slowly wean it onto adult food.
Best Wet Food For Maine Coon Cats
Choosing wet food is incredibly important. While it’s possible to feed your cat only dry food, it’s usually healthier to feed a mix of both wet food and dry food.
Weruva Wet Cat Food Pouches, which can be found on Amazon, is made from natural ingredients and includes high-quality protein as their main ingredients.
Tiny Tiger Pate Beef & Poultry Cat Food, which can be found on Chewy, is a grain-free cat food that includes the perfect amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for your cat.
Finally, if you have a cat that suffers from allergies, Blue Buffalo Duck & Potato Cat Food is an excellent option, as it forgoes many of the ingredients that cats are commonly allergic to.
Since cats are commonly viewed as loving milk, many owners wonder, can Maine Coons drink milk?
Maine Coons are actually lactose intolerant, and the high amount of fat present in milk can lead to weight gain.
Keeping your Maine Coon on a diet filled with large amounts of protein, a moderate amount of fat, and a low amount of carbohydrates will ensure proper growth and keep it healthy for many years.
While you can feed your Maine Coon human food occasionally, always do your research to make sure it isn’t toxic, and only feed table scraps in moderation to avoid weight gain.
Maine Coon Kitten Won’t Eat
If your kitten is refusing to eat, it could mean there is something seriously wrong with it. Take it to the vet immediately to rule out any underlying health conditions.
Maine Coon Treats
Treats are an essential way you can bond with your cat and are perfectly healthy if given in moderation. Look for treats with low filler content and high amounts of protein.