Since this cat breed is known to survive in harsh, snowy climates, you may be wondering, how cold is too cold for a Maine Coon?
This breed may have originated in the frigid state of Maine, but does that mean they can tolerate just about any cold temperature?
Any temperature below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius can be dangerous for your cat. Even the cold hardy Maine Coon should not be allowed outside for long periods of time when it is this cold, or they could suffer from frostbite or hypothermia.
Maine Coons are more cold-tolerant than many other cat breeds, but the cold can still pose a threat to your cat.
Read on to find out just how much cold your cat can tolerate, as well as what you can do to keep your cat safe and cozy during the winter!
How Cold Is Too Cold For A Maine Coon?
The Maine Coon is an enormous cat breed that developed naturally in the cold American state of Maine.
At first, this breed was wild and undomesticated, but over time, they found homes amongst farmers and sailors who appreciated their superior hunting abilities.
Since they were able to survive in the cold for that long, a lot of owners wonder, what temperature can Maine Coons tolerate?
Maine Coon cats have several unique adaptations that keep them warm in cold weather.
Here are some of the things that keep this breed warm, even in extreme temperatures:
1. Thick, Semi-Water Repellent Fur
Maine Coon cats have medium to long fur, but it is even thicker than the average long-haired cat due to their three separate coat layers.
Maine Coons have two thick under layers of fur and a third outer layer.
This outer layer is more coarse and oily, which allows water to slide right off of their fur instead of seeping into their coat and making them cold and soaked!
2. Long Tufts Of Fur
Maine Coons have extra tufts of fur in a few different places.
Many Maine Coons have tufts of fur on the tips of their ears, as well as an extra long mane of fur that is most prominent in winter.
They also have long tufts of fur on their paws and between their toes that keep their paws extra warm when it is cold or snowy.
3. Large Paws
Maine Coon cats are known for having massive paws.
These cats are more likely to be polydactyl than other cat breeds, but even Maine Coons that are not polydactyl have large, wide paws.
Wider paws and extra toes make it easier to catch and grip prey, but they also keep the Maine Coon warm in the winter!
The wider surface area of their paws means they can also function as snowshoes, allowing them to walk on the surface of snow instead of sinking beneath it.
4. Summer And Winter Coats
The Maine Coon summer vs winter coat is a great example of just how well this breed has adapted to the cold.
During the summer, their coat is thinner, and their manes are less prominent.
Just before winter, though, these cats shed their summer coats and begin to grow longer, thicker fur for the winter.
So, with all of these adaptations, do Maine Coons get cold at all?
Even with their thick fur and wide paws, Maine Coons should not be allowed outside for extended periods of time if the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even though the average temperatures in Maine range between 7 to 79 degrees on average, that does not mean it is a good idea to let your Maine Coon outside when it is too cold.
Furthermore, while it is okay to let your Maine Coon out for a little while in temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be dangerous for cats to stay out for extended periods of time in this temperature.
Finally, while the Maine Coon body temperature ranges between 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, they also should not be kept in temperatures above 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperatures your cat can tolerate will also depend on its age.
Young cats and senior cats are much less tolerant of extreme temperatures.
If your cat has any underlying conditions, this could also affect its ability to tolerate heat or cold.
Do Maine Coons Like Cold Weather?
Since Maine Coons originated in such a cold place, do Maine Coon cats like cold weather?
It is hard to know for sure what temperatures these cats prefer, but your cat’s body language can help you find out what temperature do Maine Coons like.
Even though they originate from such a cold place, Maine Coon cats do not seek out cold weather and prefer temperatures between 45 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
A Maine Coon cat that feels too warm might spend more time by the windows, laying on tiled or wooden floors, or stretching out so its belly is fully exposed.
On the flip side, a Maine Coon that is feeling cold might cuddle more, sit near blankets or radiators, or sleep in a tight ball with its tails curled by its paws.
Do Maine Coons Like Snow?
Most Maine Coons do not actively seek out cold weather, but some of these playful, water-loving cats still love snow!
If your Maine Coon likes snow, it might paddle its paws like it is burying in the litter, or it may run around excitedly.
The Maine Coon’s thick, semi-water-repellent coat makes it safer and more enjoyable to play in the snow, but do not allow your Maine Coon to play in the snow for too long, or they might develop hypothermia.
You may want to consider scooping up a shovelful of snow and putting it in the bathtub, so your Maine Coon can enjoy the snow without getting too cold.
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Too Cold?
Every cat has its own temperature preferences, so it is important to learn how to tell if your cat is too cold so you can keep them comfortable in the winter.
Cold cats sometimes sit in a hunched position, similar to a loaf, with their fur fluffed up.
Sleeping Curled Up
Cats that are feeling safe or warm like to sleep with their bellies exposed because it allows heat to dissipate from their bodies.
On the other hand, a cat that is feeling insecure or cold might sleep curled up in a ball, with its tail wrapped over or under its paws.
This is not always a sign that something’s wrong, but it can indicate that your cat is too chilly.
A healthy, warm cat should have a warm nose, tail, ears, and paws.
If your cat’s extremities are cold to the touch, then they are too cold!
Has your cat started cuddling you way more than usual?
While it could just be a sign of affection, many cats like to cuddle with their owners as a source of heat.
Staying Near Heat Sources
If your cat is constantly on or near a heat source, then the rest of your house is probably too cold.
Cats that are too cold will prefer carpet and blankets to tile or wood floors, or cold, bare surfaces.
Can Cats Get Hypothermia?
Just like humans, if a cat’s body temperature drops too low, it can suffer from hypothermia.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
This is a dangerous condition that requires emergency treatment.
Here are some signs of hypothermia you should look out for:
While cold extremities do not always mean your cat is in immediate danger, it is important to check how your cat’s ears, tail, nose, and paws feel.
If they are noticeably colder, then it could be a sign of hypothermia.
Cats with hypothermia might also have cold skin.
In the earlier stages of hypothermia, your cat will start to shiver.
This is an attempt to warm the body back up, but shivering cannot reverse or treat hypothermia.
Lethargy And Weakness
Your cat will lose a lot of energy trying to stay warm, and will probably become lethargic or weak.
As hypothermia gets worse, your cat will become less energetic until it goes into a coma.
A cat suffering from hypothermia may become confused and unresponsive, or respond more slowly than usual.
Cats with hypothermia usually have fixed and dilated pupils, especially if it is more severe.
Decreased Heart Rate
Eventually, your cat’s heart rate will begin to slow down and become weaker.
Shallow Breathing Or Difficulty Breathing
Another sign of hypothermia is difficulty breathing.
If your cat is breathing more slowly or shallowly or seems to need a lot of effort to breathe, then it is important to get them to a vet as soon as possible.
Loss Of Consciousness
If your cat loses consciousness, then it is suffering from severe hypothermia and needs immediate care.
If your cat develops hypothermia, getting emergency care from a vet is essential.
Do not try to treat it on your own, or your cat could die.
For example, many people assume they should warm their cat up as much as possible, but putting your cat in a hot bath will only shock their system and make the situation more dangerous.
How Can I Keep My Cat Warm?
If your cat has seemed a little chilly during the winter, then here are some things you can do to keep them toasty warm all season:
1. Place Bed Up High
Since heat rises, you might want to place your cat’s favorite bed or blanket up high, like on top of the cat tree or on a shelf.
Maine Coons love heights anyways, so this is usually a simple and easy solution.
2. Get A Heated Bed
You can get your cat their very own heated bed if they seem cold all the time.
Make sure to get a heated bed specifically designed for pets; while a heating pad may be cheaper, it can also be dangerous and cause burns.
3. Raise The Thermostat
Even though you might be at a comfortable temperature, if your cat is showing signs of being cold, then you may need to raise the thermostat up a bit.
4. Provide Extra food
If your cat is at a healthy weight, then you might be able to provide a bit more food than usual. This will give your cat’s body more energy, which will keep them warmer for longer.
5. Be Careful Outside
If you have an indoor-outdoor cat, then consider keeping your cat inside when it is cold.
In some places, weather can shift in an instant, leaving your cat stranded in freezing rain or a snowstorm!
6. Be Mindful
Each cat’s temperature needs vary based on age, health, and weight.
If your cat is skinny, old, young, or suffering from health problems like cancer or thyroid problems, then take extra caution in extreme weather.
7. Keep It Sunny
On sunny days, open the curtains so your cat can lay in the sun and stay warm!
If it is cloudy or dark out, though, make sure to keep the curtains closed, as the cold will seep in through the windows.
Playing and exercising will boost your cat’s metabolism and keep them extra warm.
While chilly cats are usually less active, try to stimulate your Maine Coon with a new toy or some catnip to get them going again.
Can Maine Coons Live Outside?
Maine Coons are better kept as indoor-outdoor cats or purely indoor cats.
Living outside poses many dangers, including extreme temperatures.
Maine Coons should not be allowed outside if it is colder than 32 degrees or hotter than 90 to 100 degrees.
While it is possible for a Maine Coon to live entirely outdoors in more temperate climates, you will still need to provide shelter from the heat and cold, as well as plenty of fresh water.
If your Maine Coon seems a bit chilly, then you might wonder, how cold is too cold for a Maine Coon?
Even though these cats were once wild in the freezing state of Maine, cold weather can still be very dangerous.
You should keep your cat indoors if the temperature drops below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and don’t allow your cat to stay out too long if it’s below 45.
Do Maine Coons Shed?
Maine Coons have long, dense fur that sheds a lot, especially during the changing of the seasons.
Can Maine Coons Live In Hot Weather?
Maine Coons can survive in warmer climates, so long as they have access to the indoors, air conditioning, lots of water, and shady spaces. Read this article, for more information.
Cold Weather Cat Breeds
Other cat breeds that tolerate cold weather well include the Siberian, Norwegian Forest Cat, and Russian Blue (source 1).