Maine Coon cats are the largest domesticated cat breed in the world, with hearty appetites that match their size. But how long can Maine Coon cats go without food?
Maine Coons are hardier compared to some other cats. However, they do have weaknesses, and they cannot survive prolonged starvation. Maine Coons should not be left without food for 24 hours. They are ideally fed twice a day, or every 12 hours.
To learn more about Maine Coon cats, their food habits, and how to feed one, read our Maine Coon feeding guide below.
How Long Can Maine Coon Cats Go Without Food?
The Maine Coon cat breed has a colorful heritage full of folktales, mystery, and intrigue.
One legend claims the Maine Coons ancestors come from the forests of Norway and Siberia, which settlers introduced to New England many decades ago.
It is thought these cats were tamed over the centuries until they became the friendly house cats we know today.
Although Maine Coons love comfort, they are also well suited to living in harsh winter conditions, having physically evolved to survive the frigid weather of Maine, US.
If we compare the Maine Coon vs normal cats’ physical attributes, the differences are clear to see.
For example, the Maine Coon’s fur is semi-water-resistant, whereas a normal cat breeds fur isn’t. This is important since the semi-waterproof fur helps to keep the Maine Coon dry.
Furthermore, the Maine Coons fur is far denser and thicker, thereby enabling them to stay warm in the coldest climates.
Their thick bushy tails also help shield their faces from wind and snow – a physical trait regular cats just don’t have!
Now that you have a better understanding of the Maine Coon breed, let’s take a look at the Maine Coon dietary needs, and how long a Maine Coon cat can go without food.
Maine Coon Eating Habits
Like all felines, Maine Coons are considered to be obligate carnivores, which means they were born to only eat meat.
Maine Coon cats need a diet high in meat because their bodies need nutrients that can only be found in animal tissues, such as:
Maine Coons have larger appetites than regular cat breeds because of their larger physical size. This makes sense; the higher the body mass, the more sustenance is needed to survive!
These large cats can consume a lot of food in one go because they have hunter genes, and in the past, they needed to consume a lot of “fuel” to sustain their hunting activities whilst living in the wilderness.
In today’s world, if a Maine Coon cat does not have a large amount to eat, or has not been provided a lot of food in one meal it will graze and eat smaller amounts of food across the day, to sustain its high energy requirement.
So, how long can my Maine Coon cat go without eating?
The ideal schedule for feeding Maine Coon cats is twice a day or about every 12 hours.
Leaving a Maine Coon without food for 24 hours is not recommended, and it is vital that Maine Coon owners ensure they provide their cat with the required amount of meals, each day.
Maine Coon Food
Maine Coons must be fed a high-quality and balanced diet in amounts that are suitable for their activity level and size.
You can give them a mix of dry and wet food so the cat has a variety of foods to eat, and does not become bored:
- Dry Food: Dry food is convenient and lasts longer, but it is better if it is filled with nutrients and has little to no fillers. These are my favorite dry foods for Maine Coon cats.
- Wet Food: Wet food is beneficial for a Maine Coon cat because it provides both protein and water, which they need to stay hydrated and maintain the health of their fur.
If you are interested in buying the best-wet food for your Maine Coon, read this wet food guide.
It is important you do not feed your Maine Coon more than 2-3 sachets of wet food each week, since this can lead to the following teeth problems.
How Long Can A Kitten Survive Without Food Or Water?
How long can my cat go without eating?
According to cat specialists, whilst a healthy Maine Coon cat may survive without food for up to 2 weeks, it is unlikely to survive without water for more than three days.
Reasons Why Your Cats Not Eating
What does it mean if a cat won’t eat?
Below are several reasons why your Maine Coon may not be eating:
- Teeth Problems: Dental problems like toothache, decaying teeth, or gum disease may make it difficult for your cat to chew and eat its usual food.
- Gastrointestinal Disorders: Health problems, such as parasites, inflammatory bowel syndrome, hyperacidity, or stomach pains may cause your cat to stop eating to avoid discomfort.
- Chronic Illnesses: Serious health problems like cancer or kidney disease will affect the Maine Coon appetite, causing them to reduce their food intake or stop eating.
- Anxiety Or Stress: Sudden changes in the environment, e.g. relocation, or the addition of a family member may cause your cat to feel anxious and stressed, and avoid eating.
- Change Of Diet: Cats can be picky! If your Maine Coon doesn’t like the food you are feeding it, it might stop eating. Revert to the previous food they ate to see if your cat begins eating again.
- Medication: Loss of appetite may be the side effect of certain medicine your cat is taking.
If you notice your Maine Coon is not eating any food, make sure you take them to the vet immediately to have a health check.
Your vet will help determine if there is something wrong with your Maine Coon, or not, and if necessary will be able to treat any underlying reasons for the loss of appetite.
The vet can also prescribe a healthy diet that your cat will like, moving forwards.
What To Do When Your Cat Won’t Eat
If you’ve noticed your Maine Coon isn’t eating anything you give them, whether it be dry food, wet food, raw meat, or treats, it is important you take your cat to the vet asap.
To avoid underfeeding a Maine Coon, consider doing the following:
1. Consult Your Vet
The vet can help formulate the appropriate feeding schedule and diet.
He or she will consider a number of factors, such as the cat’s:
- Health Condition
- Activity Level
2. High Quality Diet
Give your Maine Coon cat a high-quality diet.
Feed the Maine Coon a nutritious diet that is appropriate for their:
- Activity Level
Generally, a high-quality diet is one that is rich in protein, has the recommended amount of essential nutrients, and is low in artificial ingredients and fillers.
3. Monitor Food
Monitor your Maine Coon’s food intake.
Track how much and what kind of food your Maine Coon is eating, and keep track of when your cat eats something.
Share this information with the vet so that they can help you make the necessary adjustments to your cat’s diet.
4. Eating Schedules
Your cat may have developed a preference for certain Maine Coon eating habits, so try modifying their eating schedule to see if they start eating more food.
For example, some Maine Coons prefer eating smaller meals more frequently, while others may benefit from consuming larger meals less frequently.
5. Change Your Cats Food
Experiment with giving your Maine Coon other types of food, or switching to other brands of cat food.
Consider mixing your Maine Coons favorite food with others to see if it chooses to eat again.
6. Address The Causes Of Appetite Loss
Try to figure out why your Maine Coon is not eating as it should.
If the cat is physically ill, seek the help of a veterinarian.
Should your Maine Coon cat be suffering from anxiety or other behavioral issues, an animal behaviorist may be helpful.
7. Give Your Cat More Water
A dehydrated Maine Coon cat may find it hard to eat. Do not forget to give your cat fresh bowls of water in easily accessible locations.
Never let the cat’s water bowl remain empty for long, as a Maine Coon needs to drink ten to twelve times a day, or at least every two hours.
The best thing to do is purchase a cat water fountain, like this one from Amazon, as Maine Coons love drinking fresh moving water.
What Happens If A Cat Doesn’t Eat?
An underfed Maine Coon cat will not receive the nutrients it needs to maintain its good health.
This can cause numerous problems, such as:
- Delayed Development
- Stunted Growth
- Unhealthy Skin and Fur
- Weakened Ability To Fight Off Illness
- Weight Loss
Maine Coons are prone to the following cat breed health problems, which will likely be made worse by undereating:
- Heart Problems: Maine Coon cats may develop certain heart diseases such as the thickening of the muscles of the heart or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Read more about it, here.
- Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD): A Maine Coons genetics increase the likelihood of kidney cysts. Malnutrition worsens the health of a Maine Coon with PKD. Learn about PKD in this article I wrote.
- Hip Dysplasia: Maine Coons are prone to developing hip dysplasia, due to their large size. This condition is a hip joint illness that may lead to arthritis, joint pains, and lameness. Not receiving nutrients may worsen the effects of this condition. Read more.
- Gout: Maine Coon cats tend to develop gout because of uric acid accumulation in their joints. Starvation can worsen this gout since it weakens the ability of the body to remove uric acids.
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA): SMA is a disease of the spinal cord, which causes paralysis. Not obtaining the nutrients they need for spinal cord health may trigger this condition. Read about SMA, here.
- Obesity: Maine Coons are prone to obesity. If your cat is obese, never starve them since rapid weight loss can be dangerous for a cat as it might lead to the deterioration of its muscles.
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Underfed
It can be difficult to establish if your cat is eating the correct amount of food each day, for their particular size.
If you are feeling uncertain, please contact your trusted veterinarian for advice, as soon as possible.
Whilst the following might be signs of an underfed Maine Coon cat, they might also be signs that your Maine Coon has a health issue that needs to be treated.
Your vet should assess your cat if the cat shows any of the following signs:
- Thin appearance, especially in the spine and ribs
- Weakness and fatigue
- Disinterest in activities
- Slow growth
- Poor skin and fur health
- Weight loss
- Weakened immune system
- Frequent illnesses and infection
How To Know If My Cat Is Overeating
Most Maine Coons love eating, so you will need to monitor their eating habits and avoid giving them too much food.
An automatic cat food dispenser is a great way of scheduling your Maine Coons food and keeping track of how much they are eating throughout the day.
An easy way to tell if a Maine Coon is obese is to check its belly. If it is hanging lower than its rib cage, it might be suffering from obesity. Please ask your vet to check this.
An obese cat is classified as 20% heavier than what is recommended for its age and size. Your vet will tell you whether your Maine Coon is obese or just a little overweight.
How To Feed A Cat When You Are Away
Your Maine Coon should be fine if you are only gone for a few hours.
However, if you plan on being will be away for more than 24 hours, consider doing the following:
1. Hire A Pet Sitter
A professional cat sitter will either stay in your home to provide food and care to your Maine Coon/s while you are not around, or pop in to see the cats whilst you are away.
It is best to hire from a reputable service and check the sitter’s references.
2. Speak To Your Family
Ask for help from a trusted family member or friend.
Alternatively, ask someone you trust to go to your house and feed the cats on your behalf.
3. Buy An Automatic Pet Feed
If you are only away for the night, consider buying an automatic cat food dispenser to ensure your Maine Coons are fed whilst you are away.
There are many different dry cat food dispensers on the market, some of the best ones have the following attributes:
- Timer settings
- Change the number of portions dispensed during the day/night
- Vary the amount of food dispensed
- Voice unit where you can record a message for your cats!
- Beep when food is low in dispenser
4. Leave Food In Their Bowls
If you are only away for the night, consider leaving more food in their bowls so that your cats do not go hungry whilst you are away.
This method only works if your Maine Coon is not prone to over-eating.
It is best to only leave dry food out, rather than wet food. This is because dry food lasts longer than wet food.
5. Use A Cat Boarding Facility
Pet boarding services will care for and feed your Maine Coon whilst you are away.
They may also provide grooming and companionship.
Maine Coon cats are voracious creatures that need to eat a lot!
Although they may have had resilient ancestors, they need to eat adequate amounts of food so they do not develop certain health conditions that the breed is known to develop.
How long can cats survive without food or water?
The short answer is that you should avoid starving your cat for longer than 24 hours. If you plan on being away, make sure you ask somebody to feed your cat for you. Alternatively, use food dispensers.
If you have tried everything to get your cat to eat but it is still refusing to, take it to a vet as soon as possible.
Can A Cat Go 48 Hours Without Food?
A healthy Maine Coon cat may be able to go 48 hours or more without food but not without detrimental effects. Make sure you feed your cat once every 12 hours.