Whilst Maine Coon aggression might not be a standard trait of the breed, it definitely does occur, and must never be ignored.
There are a few simple, yet effective actions that owners can undertake, to counteract this unwanted behavioral trait.
Stress is a major cause of Maine Coon aggression. Owners should pay particular attention to their cat’s emotional welfare if they are experiencing major changes at home i.e. house move or new baby. Territory battles with other cats, health issues, and lack of socialization whilst a kitten, are also common triggers of Maine Coon aggression.
Many owners don’t know what to do when their previously gentle and docile-natured Maine Coon starts to become aggressive toward them.
Determining the exact reason why your Maine Coon has started showing signs of aggression can be challenging.
Therefore, in this article, I share with you how we have handled our Maine Coons occasional bouts of Maine Coon aggression.
Implementing these strategies has enabled our entire family and Maine Coon cat to grow and mature since we have learned to recognize each other’s individual quirks better.
What Causes Maine Coon Aggression?
Maine Coon aggression should never be ignored.
Owners should identify the root cause, then implement the appropriate strategy to limit future aggressive Maine Coon behavior:
- Check their physical needs are met e.g. food, water
- Veterinary health check
- Increase cat’s space i.e. extra rooms or cat towers to climb
- Give Maine Coon more attention
- Gradually socialize cat
- Introduce family pets gradually
- Set aside separate space for maternal Maine Coon
- Use pheromone plugins
- Limit playtime
- Use chewable cat toys
- Neuter or spay a cat
- Reduce Petting
- Never reward bad behavior
- Be aware of cats’ body language
- Time out e.g. ignore the cat
- Be consistent
- Display your dominance e.g. you could hiss back!
- Avoid touching sensitive areas of the cat, unless necessary
Maine Coon cats are renowned across the world for their gentle, docile, and affectionate temperament.
In fact, Maine Coons are often considered to be a great starter cat breed for individuals who have never owned a cat before.
This is because their dog-like personality and laid-back temperament make them ideal first pets.
Whilst most other cat breeds are phased by loud noise, are antisocial, and give attention to owners on their own terms, the Maine Coon is the complete polar opposite.
In fact, many owners report that owning a Maine Coon cat is more like owning a dog since they are:
So what happens when everything changes and your previously gentle giant starts displaying signs of Maine Coon aggression?
This can often take loving owners by surprise, since to them the behavior appears unwarranted, and mean.
But is it?
In the case of a Maine Coon cat, there is almost always a reason why a display of Maine Coon aggression has occurred.
At this point, therefore, it is simply a matter of owners determining the root cause, then implementing certain coping strategies to manage their aggressive Maine Coon cat.
To limit acts of Maine Coon aggression in the future, owners will also need to learn their own Maine Coons individual, yet subtle cues that they are not happy, or are getting annoyed.
Failure to spot these subtle signs will inevitably lead to more Maine Coon aggression.
Check out the table below to see the root causes that lead Maine Coons to start acting in an aggressive way, towards their owners.
For more information on these root causes, click the link:
|A cat suffering from pain
is more prone to Maine
|Most cats dislike certain
areas of their body being
touched e.g. their bottom
|Physical needs not met,
e.g. hunger, and thirst
|Underlying health issues
can change Maine Coons
|More prone to male
Maine Coons, wishes to
show their dominance
|Cats experience stress
easily e.g. house move
|Maine Coon acts
result in a Maine Coon
biting its owner
|Your large cat needs
more space. More
common when sharing
with other households
|Pregnant Maine Coons,
or those who have given
birth recently tend will
be defensive of offspring
|Feline aggression as a
result of multiple
household pets, and
|Pregnant Maine Coons,
or those who have given
birth recently will
be defensive of offspring
|Felines pick up on
animosity within a
|A new cat or dog might
be challenging your
Maine Coons defined
|Maine Coons are
therefore lonely felines
|Bored Maine Coons
tend to be destructive,
or aggressive to get
mental health issues
In order to start handling Maine Coon aggression, owners need to take time out to assess what the root cause of the issue is.
For some owners, this will not be too difficult, since they will quickly spot a logical link that identifies why they are now witnessing aggressive Maine Coon behavior.
Unfortunately, the root cause might not always be so clear. In cases such as this, owners should read through the descriptions of each cause below.
Then, implement each handling strategy one by one, to rule out each possible cause.
Not all feline health issues are immediately visible by the naked eye, and it’s not like your beloved Maine Coon will be able to sit down next to you and explain what their issue is!
Therefore, if an owner notices that their usually loving and affectionate Maine Coon has become aggressive overnight, this might be the result of your cat experiencing pain.
Cats can easily become injured without their owner’s knowledge, therefore owners should always be alert to changes in their cat’s behavior and mannerisms.
If you suspect an issue, follow our 4-step process:
- Check the cat for signs of injury: e.g. scratches, blood, bites, visible limp.
- Gently stroke the cat’s body: Watch the cat for unexpected movements, and pain.
- Behavioral changes: e.g. cat dropping food might indicate gum pain.
- Veterinary Professional: Ask a vet to assess cats’ health.
2. Sensitive Body Areas
Maine Coon aggression can often occur when an owner touches areas on a cat’s body, where they don’t like to be stroked.
It is therefore important that owners are aware of their Maine Coons body language, and quickly learn where they can stroke their feline companion, and where they cannot.
If you stumble upon an ‘untouchable’ part of your cat’s body, make sure that you remember this and never touch them there again, unless absolutely necessary.
For example, many cats do not like to be stroked or brushed around their bottoms, even if they do have some knotted or matted fur that needs to be removed.
Brushing in sensitive areas requires a cat to be completely trusting of its owner.
Trust is unlikely if your cat has previously been smacked, or in a catfight.
3. Physical Needs
One of the most basic things to check for if your notice your Maine Coon starting to act aggressively towards you, is that their basic needs are met i.e. they have enough food and water.
It might seem somewhat counterintuitive that a cat will bite their owner’s hand or leg because they are hungry.
However, realistically speaking Maine Coons gentle biting, chirps, and trills are the only methods this breed has to indicate they want something.
Check you are feeding your Maine Coon the correct food, by reading this article on the best Maine Coon dry foods.
4. Health Issues
Despite being a very hardy cat breed, Maine Coons are still prone to developing a number of different health issues that may alter this breed’s usually laid-back temperament.
Biting and general Maine Coon aggression might therefore be in response to an underlying health issue that has not yet been identified.
Owners should therefore seek professional veterinary assistance, to rule out any possible health issues that could be affecting their Maine Coon.
Check my guide ‘Top 7 Maine Coon Health Issues‘ to rule out factors that could be causing your cat pain.
Whilst cat dominance is usually a behavioral trait reserved for other cats or dog breeds, Maine Coon aggression will sometimes be directed towards the owner.
It is more common in male Maine Coon cats than the female of the species though.
In cases such as this, owners need to immediately address the issue so that the problem does not develop, become habitual, and your Maine Coons way of communicating with their owner.
Below are some examples of where a Maine Coon might try to exert their dominance over its owner:
- The owner intervenes during the catfight.
- The owner tries to discipline cats e.g. hitting or smacking them.
- Maine Coon wants to exert their dominance
Owners wishing to take control of the situation immediately should assert their dominance so that their cat knows the owner is at the top of the pack (like a dog pack order).
Failure to do this will teach the Maine Coon that aggressive behavior is acceptable, and gets them what they want. They will then be repeatedly aggressive, whenever they want something.
Examples of how an owner can display their dominance:
- If your Maine Coon hisses at you aggressively (rather than just through general irritation over being moved from their comfy spot), make sure that you hiss back. Never hit your cat.
- Immediately stop playing with your cat, and say ‘no’ firmly.
- Never reward bad behavior, instead, stand firm and refuse cat treats if your cat acts aggressively toward you.
Whilst our feline friends might appear to have the easiest, leisurely, and most attractive lifestyles possible, their happy equilibrium can easily be impacted.
Whereas some cats take a change in their stride, others become stressed by changes in their lives.
Stressed Maine Coon cats will act more irrationally and unpredictably, than contented cats.
Owners should therefore take a look at their own lives to determine if there have been any minor or major changes that may have emotionally impacted their Maine Coon.
Here are a few examples of minor/major changes:
- Death of another household pet
- The owner has spent less time with the cat
- Dietary change
- Moving home
- New family member
- New household pet
- More visitors to the home
These are the clear signs that your Maine Coon is feeling stressed.
7. Defence Mechanism
There are a large number of reasons why a Maine Coons defense mechanism might be triggered.
However, in general, Maine Coon aggression is reserved for when a cat feels threatened.
Owners should therefore never hit their Maine Coon cat in an attempt to discipline them, nor aggressively shout at them.
If you notice that your once-loving feline companion has turned into an aggressive Maine Coon cat, check to make sure that you are not causing this behavioral change.
To do this, consider the following questions:
- Have you acted aggressively toward the cat?
- Are you short-tempered lately?
- Have you changed your perfume? Maybe your Maine Coon dislikes the new scent!
- Did the Maine Coon aggression occur after a certain event? i.e. you tried to discipline your cat by smacking them?
- Do you keep moving your cat when they are comfortably sleeping?
- Have you started shouting at your Maine Coon?
Those of you that can identify a change in your own behavior will be able to reverse your recent behaviors, therefore reversing the Maine Coon aggression issue quickly.
Maine Coon cats are extremely sociable and love nothing more than their human owners stroking them.
As you stroke their forehead, they lean their head backward in complete enjoyment, making the cutest facial expressions ever!
They also like to purr loudly, vocally displaying their pleasure and satisfaction from being petted.
There is a fine line to tread between petting and over petting though.
This is because petting stimulates the cat’s senses, and too much petting can result in an overstimulated Maine Coon cat.
Overstimulation can be painful and discomforting for a cat, which leads them to show signs of unexpected Maine Coon aggression, such as biting and scratching.
Each individual Maine Coon displays their own unique signs and signals that owners can look out for, to ascertain when petting has moved into over petting.
Practice identifying these signs in your Maine Coon cat, paying close attention to their body language, as this will help to reduce aggressive Maine Coon behavioral traits moving forwards.
9. Limited Space
Cats need a certain amount of space to live, exercise, feed, and consider their own.
Once they have established their territory, most will then passionately defend this space from other cats, dogs, etc.
Whilst this particular cat breed might be very laid back and good with other pets they still require their own space to remain happy and contented.
Therefore, if a Maine Coon is forced to live in a small confined environment a Maine Coon attack is potentially inevitable, particularly if they are sharing this small space with other pets.
Signs of Maine Coon aggression due to limited space might appear in the following scenarios:
- Maine Coon has to share space with other household pets.
- Cats share a litter tray, scratching post, cat tower, food, and water.
- The owner closes off parts of the house, limiting cats roaming space.
- Limited space within the home.
- No access to the outside world i.e. a garden to play in.
If space is your issue, then it is important for an owner to find new ways for your Maine Coon to explore the home in which they live.
For example, you could purchase an extra tall cat tower that has multiple levels.
Large cat towers offer your Maine Coon additional freedom and space, for them to retreat to if they feel stressed or spatially threatened.
Be aware though, that most standard cat towers just aren’t suitable for your Maine Coon, since they will quickly grow too big to use it.
Therefore, buy with care, and make sure all hammock seats and resting platforms are extra-large.
For those of you that are a little lost regarding which cat tree would be best, here are some great cat trees that your Maine Coon would love. All of them are a single click away at Amazon:
- Large levels where Maine Coon can rest
- Big hammock for a large cat to sit in
- Study and safe cat tower
- 63 inches tall
- Seriously study cat tree
- XXL seat for Maine Coons to settle on
- Look how small that lady looks versus the cat tree!
- Scratching post-built-in
- The sturdy rope that the cat can play with
10. Lack Of Socialisation
It is vital that all Maine Coon kittens are sufficiently socialized whilst they are still small, to prevent owners from experiencing Maine Coon aggression in the later years.
Whilst this process might begin with the breeder, it is then the owner’s responsibility to continue socializing their individual Maine Coon kitten.
Never put this task off until another day.
Since the days, weeks, and months will quickly pass and the potential issues will grow because older Maine Coon cats (particularly the males) are harder to train out of negative behavior traits.
The socialization process involves:
- Regular playtime with humans.
- Opportunities to interact with other household pets.
- The owner teaches the kitten which behaviors are allowed e.g. kittens should be discouraged from biting owners. As part of this conditioning phase, owners must firmly say ‘no’ when a kitten misbehaves, as this will gradually teach them the household rules.
- Show the kitten an alternative. For example if your kitten scratches the sofa, owners should firmly say ‘no’, before picking them up and putting them next to the scratching post which they are permitted to scratch.
If your older Maine Coon displays aggressive behavior towards you, it is potentially due to their lack of socialization whilst little.
Whilst there is no immediate fix for this problem, owners can still try to implement the socialization process.
By encouraging their Maine Coon to chew or bite on one of these chewable cat toys, rather than biting.
Additionally, owners can spend more time with their pets in an attempt to improve the bond they share with their feline friends.
11. Other Family Pets
When you are a massive animal lover, you cannot help but fill your house with as many different pets as possible.
Whilst this might be your dream, it’s not necessarily a viewpoint that your cat shares!
Owners should therefore assess the relationship between their Maine Coon cat, and the other pets within a household, to determine if there are any notable issues between the different pets.
If you notice visible friction, then your Maine Coon might be more aggressive than normal, which could lead to Maine Coon aggression towards an owner.
Many owners report that these cat pheromone plug-in diffusers from Amazon have helped calm their pets.
So why not try a few in your home and see if this improves the tension between your pets?
Thankfully though, the Maine Coon cat breed is known for being very friendly and sociable with other cats (as shown in this article of mine), or other family pets.
Therefore, the chances of experiencing Maine Coon aggression due to this factor, are reduced.
However, it would definitely be foolhardy to rule this issue out completely.
12. Maternal Instinct
If you have noticed that your female Maine Coon has become aggressive overnight, ask your vet to check if your cat is pregnant!
Whilst this assessment is only necessary for owners that have not spayed their female Maine Coon, it definitely is worth checking.
Pregnant Maine Coons, or those cats that have recently given birth are often found to be considerably more defensive of their offspring.
Therefore, any Maine Coon aggression you witness might simply be linked to your cat’s maternal instinct.
In scenarios such as this, make sure that your Maine Coon has plenty of space that she can regard as her own territory.
13. Family Tensions
You might be surprised to learn that your feline friends are very in tune with the family dynamic.
They are affected by changes occurring in the family, whether you realize it or not.
Therefore, if family tensions are rising, keep in mind that any new Maine Coon aggression you are witnessing is likely to be directly linked to the high emotions flooding your house.
Family tensions are likely to impact the males and females of the species differently.
This is because the male Maine Coon cat likes to bond closely with one key owner, whereas the female tends to share their love with the whole family.
Therefore, any animosity or family tensions directed at the key owner might result in male Maine Coon aggression, towards the individual threatening the owner.
For more information on the common differences between male Vs female Maine Coon cats, check out my article by clicking here.
Finally, if you feel that your Maine Coons recent aggressive behavior towards you might be down to family tensions, make sure you spend more time with them to stabilize the owner/pet bond.
This is important since your cat needs to feel love and affection from their family, to keep them calm, happy, and content.
All felines need an adequate amount of space, that they consider their own. This is known as their ‘territory’.
Whilst Maine Coons are well known for being a naturally laid-back and friendly cat breed, able to get on well with other pets.
There is always the possibility that introducing a new pet into the household might lead to displays of Maine Coon aggression.
Therefore, if you are planning on getting a new pet for your home you must consider carefully how the needs of the other pets are met first.
For instance, if you have not yet purchased an extra-large cat tower for your Maine Coon, make this your top priority.
Whilst sturdy Maine Coon cat towers like this one on Amazon (picture below) do not come cheap, they do offer additional space for your cat to retreat to and consider their own.
This is necessary when additional animals enter a home.
WARNING: Before you rush out and buy the first cat tower you find, STOP! Most cat trees are only suitable for ‘normal-sized cats!
We learned that lesson the hard and expensive way with our Maine Coon cat, so don’t make the same mistake as ours just kept growing and growing.
Finally, when introducing a new cat or pet to a home where a Maine Coon cat already lives.
Follow our 10-step introduction guide carefully, to increase your chances of a smooth integration between the pets.
Maine Coons are a very sociable cat breed, who like to spend the majority of their time in their owner’s company.
They do not like to be alone and will happily follow their owner around the house, even if they are simply going to the toilet!! (Click here to read my article on this).
Known as the ‘dog of the cat world’, this loving cat breed is suited to families that spend considerable amounts of time at home.
Individuals who work from home are ideally suited to owning Maine Coon cats since these Maine Coons never get lonely.
In reality, though, most people have to work.
Therefore, if you think your regular absence from home is causing Maine Coon aggression in your feline friend, consider purchasing another Maine Coon cat to keep them company.
Yes, this is a seriously expensive option, however, a lonely Maine Coon can quickly suffer from mental health issues if left on their own for too long.
Maine Coon cats are highly intelligent and need daily mental stimulation, and exercise to keep them fit and healthy (approximately 20-30 minutes per day).
Failure to get these basic requirements will result in a bored Maine Coon, which may become both destructive and aggressive towards its owner.
Take a look at this article which shows you the best cat toys for Maine Coons, all designed to exercise and mentally stimulate the cat’s mind.
17. Mental Health Issues
Whilst Maine Coons are well known for being one of the more hardy cat breeds, they are prone to developing mental health issues if they feel:
- Separation Anxiety
For more information on the key health issues that affect the Maine Coon cat breed, take a look at my article: ‘Top 7 Maine Coon Health Issues‘.
Owners should be alert to changes in their Maine Coon, since undetected health issues are known to impact a cat’s personality and mental health.
For instance, if your Maine Coon has hurt itself, it may display signs of Maine Coon aggression towards an owner that unknowingly touches an area on its body that is painful.
Whilst the Maine Coon cat is usually known for its overly affectionate personality and gentle laid-back temperament, there are a number of factors that cause Maine Coon aggression to be triggered.
Owners should never ignore aggressive behavior in their cats since this is a clear signal that there is an issue.
A cat in ‘fighting mode’ can also cause considerable amounts of harm to you, from its claws and sharp teeth. Therefore, the sooner the owner identifies the problem, the better!
Finally, always remain consistent and firm in your actions so that your Maine Coon cat is able to quickly learn the household rules.