If you have set your heart on welcoming a Maine Coon cat into your home, you are not alone.
In this beginner’s guide to keeping a Maine Coon, we show you top tips on how to care for a Maine Coon and more!
Maine Coon cats are obligate carnivores. Feed them high-quality food that has a high protein content of 50% or more, 2-4 times a day. Groom Maine Coons 2-3 times a week to avoid fur matting. Play with your Maine Coon for 30 minutes a day, to prevent obesity. Spend ample time with around your cat. Give a Maine Coon safe access to the outside world.
These gentle giants are the largest domesticated cat breed in the world, reaching up to 22 lbs in weight.
Their large size does pose rather unique challenges though, that you need to be aware of if you plan on adopting a Maine Coon kitten.
Here is a snapshot of the best ways to care for a Maine Coon cat:
Read our beginner’s guide to these long-haired cats, so you know how to care for a Maine Coon pet.
Beginners Guide To Caring For A Maine Coon
Maine Coons are long-haired cats famous for being the official State cat of Maine.
They are loved by millions of people worldwide due to their:
- Stunning Good Looks
- Playful Nature
- Gentle Personalities
- Long Coats
- Good Health
- Bushy Tails
They also make great pets and thrive in families where they experience more social interaction, being especially accepting and tolerant of young children.
As the largest and longest domesticated cat breed in the world, Maine Coon cat owners not experienced in living with a Maine Coon must quickly learn how to care for a Maine Coon.
Use our beginner’s guide to caring for a Maine Coon cat summary table shown below, to see a snapshot of this exceptional cat breed’s physical and mental needs:
|Maine Coon Care |
|Feeding||Feed Maine Coons high-quality protein-rich dry |
food 2-4 times a day. Do not feed them wet food
more than twice a week. Seek veterinary advice
if considering a Maine Coon raw food diet. Avoid
overfeeding your Maine Coon
|Water Supply||Buy a pet water fountain and keep it topped u. |
Maine Coons love drinking and playing with
fresh moving water
|Grooming||Brush Maine Coon regularly, ideally 2-3 times a |
week. Buy a sturdy cat tower and cat-scratching
post that your cat can scratch their claws against,
to keep them in great condition
|Exercise||Maine Coons need daily exercise to keep them |
fit, healthy, and happy. Play with your cat for 30
minutes a day.
|Hygiene||Clean litter tray regularly – no less than once a day|
|Bathing||Maine Coons are fastidious self-cleaners so do not |
need bathing unless dirty, or unable to clean
themselves due to health issues. Bathing is optional
but is effective at removing dead hairs. Never force
a Maine Coon to bathe. Bathe no more than once
|Socializing||Maine Coons are social felines that love human |
company. Spend copious amounts of time with
|Health Checks||Regular veterinary health checks are essential to |
ensure your Maine Coon’s vaccinations and health
checks are up-to-date
|Medication||Apply flea drops as per product guidelines. Ensure |
your cat’s vaccinations are up-to-date
|Spaying or |
|Unless you are planning on breeding a Maine Coon, |
spay or neuter your cat between 4-6 months old.
This stops your cat from ‘marking’ your home or
What Is A Maine Coon?
Maine Coons are pedigree long-haired cats thought to have originated in the state of Maine, United States.
The history of the Maine Coon is full of mystery and intrigue because nobody knows how these large domestic cats came into existence!
Instead, many legends and folktales suggest the Maine Coon is part-raccoon due to their physically similar characteristics, or descendants of Turkish Angora cats owned by Marie Antoinette.
Two other popular myths are that this exceptional cat breed once sailed the seas with Vikings, or is potentially a descendant of the Norwegian Forest Cat.
Maine Coon Appearance
If you are wondering what does the Maine Coon cat look like, the first physical trait of the Maine Coon you are likely to notice is the Maine Coon cats size!
This is because, according to TICA Maine Coon breed standards, adult males range between 18 – 22lbs in weight. By comparison, female Maine Coon range between 12 – 15lbs (source 1).
The average weight of a Maine Coon cat is therefore between 12 – 22 lbs, depending upon the gender of Maine Coon you are looking at.
Often kept as indoor cats, these former wild cats have a rugged wild appearance, famous for their bushy tail, shaggy coat, muscular bodies, and large frame.
How Much Does A Maine Coon Cat Cost To Buy?
If you have decided to buy a Maine Coon kitten then you’ve likely asked Google ‘how much does a full blooded Maine Coon cat cost’, only to discover that Maine Coons are expensive.
Buying from a reputable Maine Coon breeder in the United States will set you back approximately $1,000 per purebred Maine Coon kitten.
However, if you are prepared to adopt an adult Maine Coon then it is possible to purchase an older or senior Maine Coon for roughly $273 – $730.
The price you pay for a Maine Coon kitten or cat is dependent upon the following factors:
- Pedigree Status
- Vaccination History
- Breeder States
By comparison, show Maine Coon kittens, giant Maine Coon cats, or kittens suitable for future breeding will cost anywhere between $1,000 – $2,500 per cat!
How Many Years Does A Maine Coon Cat Live?
According to The International Cat Association (TICA), Maine Coon cats have a life expectancy of 12+ years (source 1).
A pet insurance company researched the lifespan of various cat breeds living in Sweden between 2003 – 2006 and found the median lifespan of Maine Coon was > 12.5 years.
What Temperament Do Maine Coon Cats Have?
Despite being the largest domestic cat breed, the Maine Coon has a sweet and gentle-natured temperament.
These sociable felines adore human company and are well-known for being:
- Highly Vocal
These big cats are trainable and love to learn new tricks that entertain their owners, such as:
- Playing Fetch
- Chasing A Ball
- Walking On A Leash Or Harness
The temperament of Maine Coon kittens is very much the same as fully-grown adult Maine Coon cats, except they are even more energetic, with a kitten-like disposition!
Maine Coon Health Issues
The Maine Coon cat is a hardy cat breed capable of withstanding the harsh Winter elements of New England.
However, Maine Coons are prone to the following health issues, so regular Maine Coon health checks with a vet are advisable to ensure the early detection of underlying health issues:
(Click on the link to jump straight to the Maine Coon health problem that interests you)
If you have any health concerns relating to your Maine Coon, contact your preferred veterinary practice as soon as possible.
In the meantime, please familiarise yourselves with this common Maine Coon health problems in greater detail:
1. Hip Dysplasia
Larger cat breeds are more prone to developing hip dysplasia than smaller cat breeds.
The symptoms of Maine Coon hip dysplasia are as follows:
- Reduced levels of activity
- Joint looseness or laxity (an early sign of disease)
- Joint degeneration and osteoarthritis (a later sign of disease)
- The cat avoids jumping, climbing, running
- Thigh muscles lose muscle mass
- Shoulder muscles may become enlarged
- Hind-limb lameness
These are the treatment options for Maine Coon hip dysplasia.
2. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Otherwise known as Maine Coon HCM, this genetic illness:
- Thickens the heart walls
- Deteriorates the heart function
- Causes a very poor blood flow
These are the key symptoms of Maine Coon hypertrophic cardiomyopathy:
- Breathing Problems
- Limb Paralysis
- Pulmonary Edema
Although hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is uncommon in Maine Coons, it is extremely serious and should never be ignored.
Read our complete guide to Maine Coon Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.
3. Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Spinal Muscular Atrophy in Maine Coon cats is a hereditary genetic disease that causes the cat’s spinal muscles to gradually degenerate.
This Maine Coon health issue may shorten the lifespan of your Maine Coon kitten and is usually visible when your kitten reaches 3-4 months old.
SMA is not painful, or fatal, however will cause:
“Progressive instability with unsteady gait and posture abnormalities due to loss of motor neurons in the lower spinal cord, and atrophy of muscles in the hind limbs”Veterinary Genetics Library (source 1)
Below are the most common symptoms of Maine Coon spinal muscular atrophy:
- Swaying Gait
- Odd Posture
- Weakness In Hind Legs
- Loss Of Muscle Mass
- Back Sensitivity
- Tremors In Hind Legs
- Exercise Intolerance
- Unable To Perform Ordinary Tasks
Learn more about Spinal Muscular Atrophy In Maine Coon Cats.
4. Polycystic Kidney Disease
Otherwise known as PKD, polycystic kidney disease is an inherited feline condition that results in multiple cysts in a Maine Coon kitten’s kidneys when they are born.
As the cat ages these fluid pockets gradually increase in size, leading to kidney failure, if the function of the kidney has been disrupted.
There are no symptoms of PKD in cats until they reach 7 years old. At this point, the following PKD symptoms might be apparent:
- Loss Of Appetite
- Weight Loss
- Poor Quality Coat
- Increased Thirst
- Frequent Urination
Learn more about polycystic kidney disease in Maine Coons, in this cat health guide.
Some male Maine Coon cats weigh up to 22 lbs, making the Maine Coon cat breed the largest domesticated cat breed in the world.
The Maine Coon’s growth rate is considered very slow because they do not reach full-growth size until 3-5 years, compared to normal cats who reach full size at 2 years.
Unfortunately, this is not a very well-known cat fact.
This results in Maine Coon owners overfeeding their adult Maine Coon cats more food than they need because they are worried their cat is small for the breed standard. When, in fact, the cat is fine and simply growing more slowly.
Some free-fed Maine Coon cats like to overeat which results in obesity.
These are the signs that a Maine Coon is overweight.
What Should I Feed My Maine Coon?
Maine Coon cats are obligate carnivores, so need meat in their diet to enable them to thrive. Protein should make up a key part of their dietary requirements, and should never be excluded.
For those of you wondering what food to feed a Maine Coon kitten, or what do you feed a Maine Coon cat, take a look at the Maine Coon feeding chart below.
The table shows which food types Maine Coons need to eat, plus where to find it (source 1):
|Maine Coon |
|Protein||Feed your Maine Coon with a diet |
high in protein. Protein has been
proven to play a key role in Maine
Coons reaching their full growth
|> 50%||Chicken, Fish, |
|Carbohydrates||Provides cats with the energy |
needed, to play and exercise
|0 – 3%||Dry Cat |
|Fats and |
|To keep your Maine Coons fur |
looking shiny and in top-notch
condition, ensure their diet
contains a small level of healthy
fatty acids i.e. amino acids. They
also need arachidonic acids, e.g.
taurine and arginine
|< 20%||High-Quality |
|Fresh Water||Maine Coons love water and |
need a constant supply of fresh
water to keep hydrated
|Water Bowl, |
|Vitamins||Vitamins A, B, K, Niacin are |
essential to your Maine Coon
cat, to enable them to grow
|Dry / |
If you are making homemade Maine Coon cat food, or using a Maine Coon food calculator to determine how much food to give your Maine Coon cat, use the table below to guide you.
The following table shows the anticipated amount of protein found in various different meat sources, per 100g consumed:
|Meat Source||Protein Level|
According to this cat nutritionist, you can keep your large muscular cat fit and healthy by feeding them 4 grams of animal protein per kilogram of their body weight.
This equates to a daily intake of roughly 36-45 grams of protein.
When To Switch From Kitten Food To Adult Cat Food
A Maine Coons diet varies across its lifespan, so make sure you are feeding your Maine Coon a diet appropriate for its age range.
Feed your Maine Coon specially formulated kitten food during the first 4-5 months of their lives. This is important for ensuring your kitten is fueled with:
- Fatty Acids
Do not transition your Maine Coon kitten onto an adult Maine Coon food diet before they are 9 – 10 months of age.
This cat specialist actually advises large cat breed owners to wait until their cat reaches 2 years before switching them to adult Maine Coon food.
Best Dry Food For Maine Coons
It is important to feed your Maine Coon cat high-quality dry food, containing high levels of protein so that their body can grow to its full potential and remain fit and healthy.
Feed Your Maine Coon 2-4 portions of dry food daily.
Do not be tempted to feed your Maine Coon cat a cheaper diet, unless you have made sure that the ingredients will adequately meet this pedigree breed’s dietary requirements.
If in doubt, check with your local veterinary practice for advice.
Another one of my three Maine Coon cats’ favorite dry foods, is this Royal Canin brand (available on Amazon) too. It also provides digestive care for these big cats.
For more information about the best dry foods to feed your Maine Coon kitten or cat, read our 5 Best Maine Coon Dry Cat Food Guide.
How Much Water Do Maine Coons Drink?
If you are wondering do Maine Coons drink a lot of water, then the simple answer would be yes!
This large cat breed loves staying hydrated, so will drink roughly 3.5 – 4.5 ounces of water, for every five pounds of body weight.
These quantities may vary, depending on factors such as the cats:
- Activity Levels
They have a preference for drinking fresh running water though, so make sure you buy them a cat water fountain.
I find this cat fountain, sold on Amazon, to be really quiet. The continual movement of water also ensures our Maine Coon cats only drink fresh water.
Buying a cat water fountain has been a blessing for us, as it helps to limit the level of water spillage that our Maine Coon Mika splashes everywhere!
How Often Should You Brush A Maine Coon?
Maines Coons are famous for their shaggy, long fur, but do Maine Coon cats need grooming?
Compared to other cat breeds, the Maine Coon grooming requirements are considerably higher, especially if your cat is prone to knots and tangles.
Grooming a Maine Coon cat is vital if you own a Maine Coon cat.
Maine Coon owners will need to brush their Maine Coon cat 2-3 times a week, and even more often if the Maine Coon is allowed to venture outside.
During the winter you will need to brush an outdoor Maine Coon almost daily.
This is because as they shed their fur, the hairs may become caught within the cat’s thick dense fur, due to the damp wet weather holding the hair together.
Best Brushes For Maine Coon Cats
If you are looking for grooming tools for Maine Coon cats online, you will likely encounter a wide variety of brushes for Maine Coon cats.
But what kind of brush for Maine Coon do you need to buy?
Every brush type has a different purpose, so we decided to test them all with our three Maine Coon cats! Two of our Maine Coons have experienced fur prone to tangles and matting.
These are the cat brushes I use on my own three Maine Coons:
We find this comb brilliant for removing excess, loose hair from our blue tabby Maine Coons fur.
Mika’s fur is incredibly thick and plump, and he’s not a huge fan of being brushed, so this Maine Coon grooming tool has been a godsend to us.
This is because it hooks underneath the knots and gently detaches the mat.
I highly recommend the Hertzko slicker cat brush, as it’s great for grooming long-haired cat breeds, like the Maine Coon.
It does not yank or pull on the cat full, but instead uses its angled bristles to remove dirt and debris from the cat’s fur, and also any shedding hairs.
You can also push one button and the fur is pushed off the brush, making cleaning the cat brush a very simple task!
Silicone Cat Grooming Brush
Your cat will love this silicone grooming brush, as it is ultra-soft and does not scratch their skin.
It also removes up to 90% of shedding from the cat’s fur within minutes, thereby keeping the fur in great condition.
As an added bonus, your cat gets a calming massage too!
How To Trim Maine Coon Claws
Maine Coon cats will keep their claws in a groomed condition, provided their owners give them access to a large cat scratching post that they cannot topple over or a cat tree.
Cat scratching posts are not only beneficial for your cat’s claws, but also encourage positive scratching behavior, therefore lessening the chance that your cat will scratch the furniture.
It is important that you buy a cat scratching post that is both strong and sturdy since your Maine Coon will grow to a significant size and quickly outgrow small cat scratching posts.
I love this scratching post sold on Amazon because it’s 32″ tall and sturdy enough to handle the Maine Coon cat’s weight and strength whilst being scratched.
Watch my YouTube video about this cat scratching post, to fully understand why I LOVE THIS CAT SCRATCHING POST!
Learn more about Maine Coon claws and how to care for them, in this cat care guide.
How Much Exercise Does A Maine Coon Cat Need?
Maine Coon cats are prone to obesity, so owners need to ensure their cat is exercising for roughly 30 minutes each day.
Outdoor Maine Coons generally exercise more than indoor Maine Coons because nature offers them a variety of natural ways to exercise, including:
- Chasing small live prey
- Climbing trees
- Chasing leaves
Their playful nature and sense of curiosity help your Maine Coon stay fit and healthy because they will find countless ways to exercise in the outdoor world.
However, if you own an indoor Maine Coon cat you will need to encourage them to exercise regularly by:
- Playing with them everyday
- Purchasing an extra-large cat tower for them to climb and jump on
- Buying them Maine Coon proof cat toys
How To Exercise A Maine Coon Cat
There are a variety of ways to enable your Maine Coon cat to exercise, including:
1. Playing Games With Your Cat
It is important that all Maine Coon owners play with their cats on a daily basis.
This is because Maine Coons adore human company, and playing with them strengthens the bond between your cat, and you whilst also keeping your cat fit and healthy.
These are my favorite Maine Coon cat toys.
2. Purchase A Cat Tower
Buy your Maine Coon an extra-large Maine Coon cat tree, like these so that they can scratch, jump and climb up the cat tree.
Pick a tree with multiple levels that your cat can jump around on, and look for cat trees made using natural sisal rope which they will enjoy scratching on.
This is our multi-level cat tree, by RHRquality, in the UK. It is specifically designed for large cat breeds like the Maine Coon.
Our three male Maine Coon cats have all loved this cat tree investment.
3. Walk Your Maine Coon Outside With A Leash Or Harness!
Many people take their Maine Coon cats out for a walk, on a leash.
Walking a Maine Coon on a leash or harness is a great way to exercise your cat, particularly if they are prone to laziness.
These are my favorite escape-proof large cat harnesses.
If you are not sure how to train your Maine Coon to walk on a leash, read this guide.
4. Cat Proofing Your Garden
Owners with indoor Maine Coon cats often cat-proof their gardens so that their treasured cats can roam freely within the safety of their garden.
Cat proofing is a great way to encourage indoor Maine Coons to exercise outdoors, but will require owners to purchase expensive products to prevent their cats from escaping.
Do Maine Coon Cats Use Litter Boxes?
Both indoor and outdoor Maine Coons can use a little box, so owners should ensure they keep an extra-large litter tray within reach of their Maine Coon cat.
This litter tray should be cleaned regularly as cats are known for being extremely clean and may exhibit signs of distress if they are unable to poop in a clean and hygienic litter tray.
Failure to do this might cause mental distress to your cat, who potentially might then find another less desirable place to do their business.
However, if you allow your Maine Coon outside, it is likely you will not need to use a litter tray.
These are my favorite extra-large cat litter trays.
If you are like me and hate cleaning out the cat litter tray, take a look at this self-cleaning litter tray available on Amazon.
Do You Have To Bathe Maine Coon Cats?
It is not necessary to bathe a Maine Coon cat unless they are massively dirty or unable to keep their fur clean due to health conditions.
However, for owners wishing to bathe their cats, bathing is a great way to:
- Help your cat keep their long thick fur clean
- Helps remove excess dander and dead hair
Maine Coons should not be bathed more than once per month. You should also only use shampoos that have been specifically designed to be used on cats, like these.
This is extremely important since human shampoos will contain chemicals that might be harmful (toxic) to your Maine Coon.
If your Maine Coon is not a fan of bathing, this waterless cat bath is sold on Amazon, and would be worth a try!
Are Maine Coons Hypoallergenic Cats?
Maine Coon cats are not hypoallergenic, though it is thought that they produce less Fel d1 protein, which is a common cause of human cat allergies.
Many people assume they are allergic to cat hair, when in fact they are actually allergic to a cat’s dander i.e. dead skin cells.
Dander sheds regularly and often becomes caught within the cat’s fur, which is why people claim they are allergic to cat fur.
Bathing a Maine Coon can help to reduce allergy sufferers’ symptoms, because the washing process removes the cat’s dander, and detaches excess cat hairs that are covered in dander.
Should people with cat allergies avoid Maine Coon cats? Read this guide to find out.
Are Maine Coon Cats Social?
Known as the ‘dog of the cat world’, Maine Coon cats are very different from normal cats, so it is important that you always take their social needs into consideration.
They are very sociable cats and love nothing more than being able to spend time with their human family.
They will follow you around the home to see what you are doing, here’s why!
It is important that you spend as much time with your Maine Coon, even if they are simply laying at your feet whilst you watch TV during the evening.
Failure to spend adequate time with a Maine Coon may result in your cat developing mental health issues as a result of lack of human contact.
Maine Coon Vaccination And Medicine
To ensure your cat has a long, healthy, and happy life, make sure they are up to date with all their vaccinations.
If you are unsure what medication your cat requires, speak to a veterinary professional.
You should also regularly apply flea drops to your cat to prevent their thick dense fur from becoming infested with unwanted itchy fleas. This is especially true for outdoor Maine Coons.
I personally use these cat flea drops from Amazon, on our Maine Coon cats. They offer great value and are crazily simple to apply.
Just make sure that you part your cat’s fur as far apart as you can so that the drops actually reach their skin. Voila! No need for tablets, or jabs, it literally could not be easier.
What Age Should A Maine Coon Be Neutered Or Spayed?
The best age to neuter or spay a Maine Coon cat is between 4-6 months old before the cat reaches puberty.
Spaying is the “surgical removal of a female cat’s ovaries and uterus”. Neutering “is the removal of a male cat’s testicles” (source 1).
These medical procedures are considered routine, and should only be completed by trained licensed veterinary professionals.
Benefits of spaying or neutering include:
- Prevention of unwanted cat births
- Reduces unwanted animals being euthanized, to control the cat population
- Some male Maine Coons become more docile, after neutering.
- Eliminates or reduces sexual behaviors in cats
- Cats less prone to fighting with cats in your neighborhood
- Avoids urine spraying from female cats.
Learn more about neutering a Maine Coon cat, in this cat care guide.
10 Causes Of Maine Coon Cat Growling
Maine Coons are not naturally aggressive felines, therefore, if your large Maine Coon is growling at you, start by looking at your own behavior to discover why!
First and foremost, STOP whatever you are doing as you are frustrating your Maine Coon cat, and making them angry whether you intend to, or not.
The growling sound made by a Maine Coon cat is a sign that they are preparing to attack you.
Therefore, if you hear your Maine Coon growling you are likely making one of THESE 10 MISTAKES!!
Read the full article to understand how to stop a Maine Coon growling at you, before they attack your family.
When Do Maine Coon Cats Stop Growing?
Maine Coon cats are different from normal cat breeds since they do not reach full size at 2 years of age.
Instead, the Maine Coon cat breed grows exceptionally slowly and will not be full-size until 3-5 years of age.
Learn more about what impacts the Maine Coon growth rate, and how big you can expect your 1-year-old Maine Coon will be, in this article.
What Are Maine Coons Like As Pets?
Maine Coon cats are a joy to live with because they are:
This list is not exhausted yet though, and if you are keen to discover more about this mysterious cat breed, make sure you read this article that I wrote.
Can Maine Coons Eat Raw Meat?
If you are considering feeding your Maine Coon cat a homemade raw food diet, make sure you read this article in FULL, as there are some mistakes you MUST NOT make.
Taking on a Maine Coon is a big responsibility, and it is imperative that you know how to care for a Maine Coon properly. Much of what I have described is common sense, yet so easily forgotten.
If you have never owned a Maine Coon cat before, keep this article handy so that you can refer to it when required.
This fabulous cat breed is truly unique, and their playful loving personalities make them truly irresistible. I do not doubt that you will adore owning a Maine Coon cat.