Bringing home a Maine Coon kitten or cat is bound to be an exciting time, but there are many pitfalls to watch out for that are commonly overlooked.
In this article, we have highlighted the 15 common cat owner mistakes, and first-time cat owner mistakes that you need to stop!
Maine Coon cat owner mistakes include not neutering or spaying a Maine Coon by the correct age, declawing a cat, and failing to purchase pet insurance. Buying a cat on impulse without fully understanding the Maine Coon cat breed’s needs, not feeding them the correct diet, and using the wrong-shaped feeding bowl are also mistakes cat owners make.
Maine Coons make excellent pets and are considered to be one of the most popular cat breeds in the world.
Unfortunately, many people wrongly assume this cat breed is just like any other house cat. This couldn’t be any further from the truth and is possibly the biggest cat owner mistake of all time!
Therefore, if you are planning to add a Maine Coon to your family, make sure you research this unique cat breed thoroughly first so that you do not make any of the following mistakes.
Keep reading to discover the 16 most common Maine Coon cat owner mistakes that can easily be avoided.
15 Common Maine Coon Cat Owner Mistakes
The Maine Coon is a sturdy, long-haired cat breed native to North America.
This natural cat breed developed tufted, large ears and thick coats to help them survive the harsh northern winters of Maine, United States.
These cats are well known for their beauty, having long, glossy, semi-water-resistant fur coats that offer them great warmth whilst also protecting their skin from the sun’s harsh rays and heat.
Maine Coons have a large, muscular, rectangular body shape with a long, bushy tail and big tufted paws. Their long bodies measure between 19-40 inches in length.
Weighing up to 25 lbs, the Maine Coon cat breed is officially the largest domesticated cat breed in the world.
These sociable, friendly, and affectionate felines are the ideal pet for families, provided the Maine Coon cat owner understands how to care for them correctly.
Potential owners looking for a large yet gentle cat with higher-than-average intelligence, a warm personality, and fun-loving nature should consider the Maine Coon cat breed.
However, before you buy or adopt a Maine Coon kitten, make sure you read all the information stated below to ensure you avoid making these 15 Maine Coon cat owner mistakes:
1. Not Spaying Or Neutering Cat
Many cat owners fail to spay or neuter their Maine Coon kittens between 4-6 months of age, which is considered the ideal time to neuter a Maine Coon cat.
This is a huge mistake on the part of the cat owner, yet sadly a very common occurrence.
Spaying or neutering is beneficial for both a Maine Coon and its owner since it can prevent issues such as aggressive behavior in the male, or yowling in female cats when they are in heat.
Furthermore, this medical option can also protect a Maine Coon from numerous health issues ranging from cancerous tumors to bacterial infections.
This is the best age to neuter a Maine Coon.
2. Not Buying Pet Insurance
Many owners believe that pet insurance is too expensive, so they opt not to buy it to save a few pounds each month.
Failing to purchase pet insurance from the start, however, is a grave mistake that could cost you dearly.
Although we accept that pet insurance is very pricey, Maine Coon cat insurance is not an area you should be avoiding unless absolutely necessary.
This is because the financial support it offers when a cat is ill can prove highly valuable, especially if your cat needs medical attention
Never underestimate the cost of a vet’s medical bill, even for relatively minor issues like measuring the level of protein in a cat’s pee, or having an x-ray.
In cases where your cat is suffering from a more major health problem, like bilateral (both) hip replacements, the medical bill (excluding ongoing costs) would be considered crippling to most cat owners.
Let’s take a look at the cost of hip replacements, in the United States and the United Kingdom, to highlight the true risk of not paying your monthly pet insurance bill.
|$7,000 – 12,000
dollars for both hips
|£7,350 (for one hip,
Before taking the risk of not insuring your cat, consider the consequences, and the fact Maine Coon cats are prone to diabetes and hip dysplasia.
Find the best places to purchase Maine Coon cat pet insurance, here.
3. Failing To Research Cat Breed Fully
One of the most common mistakes Maine Coon cat owners make is buying a Maine Coon kitten or cat on impulse.
It’s easy to see how these beautiful felines win us over with their stunning looks and personality.
However, this can lead many cat owners to make a snap judgment at that particular moment, where they decide to buy a kitten straight away simply because they have fallen in love!
We do not advise you to purchase or adopt an expensive Maine Coon kitten on impulse, only using your heart as the guide. Instead, you need to use your head too!
Do your homework and research the Maine Coon cat breed thoroughly first.
Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into, by learning about this large cat’s unique personality, characteristics, behavioral traits, and need for high levels of social interaction.
If you buy on the spur of the moment without sufficient knowledge about this cat breed’s needs and requirements, you might regret it later.
Before buying, consider seriously how you can fit a Maine Coon into your lifestyle and if your home environment suits this much-loved cat breed.
Other questions you need to ask yourself seriously, include:
- Who will look after your cat when you are away?
- Do you have enough time to dedicate to a Maine Coon cat, daily?
- Can you afford the ongoing costs? i.e. costly food bill, vaccinations, extra large cat tree.
- Will the Maine Coon be kept indoors, or outdoors?
- Does your lifestyle realistically suit living with a dog-like Maine Coon cat?
- Do you have enough room for a Maine Coon?
Here are 20 vital questions that you must ask a Maine Coon cat breeder if you are convinced the Maine Coon is the right cat breed for you.
4. Assuming All Cat Food Is Fine
Another popular cat owner mistake is assuming that all cat food is fine for a Maine Coon cat since ultimately, they are just cats!
This common mistake could not be further from the truth, since Maine Coon cats need a well-balanced diet that is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and with some fat to remain fit and healthy.
One of the best ways of feeding a Maine Coon, is to stick to only providing healthy dry and wet food from reputable brands, like these:
This may sound obvious, but cat owners should also make sure they only feed their cat food that has been specifically made for the cat species, rather than dog food or any other pet food.
If you plan to provide homemade food, ensure it includes plenty of the right proteins, minerals, nutrients, and vitamins.
Finally, make sure you read our guide ‘How much do Maine Coons eat?‘ to gain a complete understanding of the Maine Coon cat’s dietary needs.
Declawing a Maine Coon cat is one of the biggest Maine Coon cat owner mistakes that can ever be made.
Declawing is considered to be major surgery, where the cat surgeon amputates the last bone of a cat’s fingers and toes.
Thankfully this operation has now been banned in many countries and is only considered acceptable if done for medical necessity.
It is vital Maine Coon owners understand that declawing involves not only the removal of the claw but the whole of the bone to which the claw is attached.
This process causes severe pain to a cat, for the rest of its life.
Declawing will likely damage your cat’s mental and physical health too since a declawed cat is unable to defend themselves, climb, or hunt.
The act of declawing a cat is cruel. For more information on why, click here.
6. Giving Your Maine Coon Milk
One popular Maine Coon cat owner mistake is the result of a common misconception that cats love milk!
Whilst some may like it, Maine Coon owners should not be feeding their cat milk unless it has been specifically designed for cats.
This is because cats are lactose intolerant – milk is therefore harmful to them!
As soon as a Maine Coon kitten is weaned from their mother, they become lactose intolerant, meaning it can no longer digest milk.
If a Maine Coon drinks milk after this time, it can ferment in its stomach when they drink it, causing:
7. Feeding Cat With The Wrong-Shaped Bowl!
Another mistake that Maine Coon owners make is not realizing that their Maine Coon needs to be fed from either a flat surface or a bowl wider than their whiskers, and slightly curved.
Did you know, when you feed Maine Coons in a bowl with a diameter smaller than the span of their whiskers, they find it hard to eat?
This is because Maine Coon whiskers are super long and extremely sensitive (read this guide).
It is important that Maine Coons whiskers do not bend, as they put their face into a food bowl since this makes their experience of eating unfavorable.
If your cat’s whiskers are touching the sides of a food bowl whilst they eat, they will likely feel stressed and may choose to stop eating.
Additionally, if a food bowl is too deep, they may also not eat properly which will result in a hungry Maine Coon cat and potentially lots of food waste.
It is therefore recommended that Maine Coon owners only buy their cats the correctly shaped food bowls.
8. Not Provided Enough Space
If you adopt a Maine Coon cat, you need to ensure you give them enough room to roam freely around your home, and outside too, provided it is safe to do so.
Whilst Maine Coon cats are not known for being massively territorial, they do need a lot more space to roam than a standard cat.
Some Maine Coon cat owners make the mistake of limiting their large cats to living in just a few rooms or a small apartment.
This is not advisable unless you have utilized the height of your ceilings by installing:
- A large cat tree
- Cat wall shelves
- Cat wall steps
- Places where a cat can climb
Confining your Maine Coon to a small living area, where they do not feel they have a space of their own, may cause them to suffer mental distress.
In an ideal world, these playful cats need the freedom to run, climb and explore the world safely, both inside and outside the home.
These cats need a lot of space to roam. Containing them in small room curtains their instincts to explore and enjoy the world around them.
If you do not like the idea of your Maine Coon going outside, why not consider purchasing a catio that enables your cat to enjoy the outside world safely.
9. Not Giving Cat Regular Cat Vaccinations
Cats should be fully vaccinated against common diseases and microchipped even if they are indoor cats.
They should be taken to the vet at least once every 12 months for a general health check-up and booster injections.
Life can get busy though, resulting in Maine Coon owners making the mistake of forgetting to take their cats for their annual vaccinations, or boosters.
More often than not, cat lovers forget about these regular veterinary visits and only take their Maine Coon to the vet when their cat is ill.
It is important to ensure your Maine Coons vaccinations are up-to-date so they remain fit and healthy, for as long as possible.
10. Not Keeping The Litter Tray Clean
Many Maine Coon owners opt to keep their Maine Coon cats indoors, rather than allow them to roam outside.
One automatic consequence of this choice is that owners need to ensure they have a cat litter tray within their home, where their Maine Coon can do their business.
A common Maine Coon cat owner mistake is that they fail to keep their cat’s litter tray clean.
This is easily done if an owner is not repeatedly checking the tray throughout the day, since owners are not always aware that their cat has even been to the toilet!
If you opt for a litter tray though, it is important that owners clean the tray regularly, especially if their Maine Coon has done a poop!
Cats hate using dirty litter trays, especially if there are multiple cats living within the same household.
If they are really upset by a dirty litter tray, they might even start peeing or pooping outside the tray, rather than in it, to show their displeasure!
Therefore, whenever you see a Maine Coon using the toilet, remove what has been eliminated there and then.
If needed, completely empty the tray, and wash it well before it is ready for use.
These are my favorite extra-large litter trays.
11. Shaving A Maine Coon
Maine Coon fur can be difficult to manage, particularly during the damp winter weather when their fur can easily become tangled and matted.
To limit this issue, some owners opt to shave their Maine Coons fur.
There are many Maine Coon hairstyles to choose from, but, one of the most famous Maine Coon haircuts is known as the lion cut.
If you are interested in learning about the Maine Coon lion cut, click here to read my article.
The subject of shaving a Maine Coon is a highly emotive one since many cat lovers have strong views about whether shaving a Maine Coons fur is right, or not.
From a purely health-related perspective, shaving a Maine Coon is another Maine Coon cat owner mistake, unless done for medical reasons, or to remove matted fur.
This is because the Maine Coons thick fur is designed to keep them warm during the cold frigid weather.
Their fur also helps keep the cat cooler in the hot weather, so shaving it off is unnecessary when the temperature rises.
Cats without fur are also prone to sunburn and heat exhaustion when it is sunny since they have no fur to protect their delicate sensitive skin.
12. Lack Of Exercise
Owners that have not researched the Maine Coon cat breed needs, and requirements might not realize that a Maine Coon needs roughly 30 minutes of exercise every day.
Some Maine Coon owners make the mistake of thinking the Maine Coon is just like any other cat breed, but, they would be wrong!
Maine Coons grow exceptionally large and need a lot of exercises that stimulate their minds and body, throughout the day.
If you are unsure how to exercise a Maine Coon cat, don’t worry!
There are plenty of ways to ensure your Maine Coon is getting enough exercise.
For example, you could try the following games with your Maine Coon cat or kitten:
- Teach them to play fetch with a ball (Here’s how!)
- Provide them with a scratching post
- Buy a climbing tower for them to jump up and down from
- Purchase a laser toy and play a chase game with them
- Buy these awesome cat toys
These are endless ways to have fun with your cat, which also help your Maine Coon get the exercise they need.
13. Forgetting To Brush Your Cat’s Teeth!
Many Maine Coon owners make the mistake of forgetting to keep on top of their cat’s dental healthcare.
Whether you like it or not, your cat’s dental health is a number one priority!
It is important that Maine Coon owners brush their cat’s teeth regularly (ideally every day).
Brushing your cat’s teeth daily will help to remove plaque, a transparent sticky film coating the cat’s teeth.
A large proportion of cats that are over three years of age will suffer from some degree of tooth disease.
This is because plaque builds up on the cat’s teeth, potentially leading to both gum disease and tooth decay.
Thankfully, Maine Coons tend to accept tooth brushing more readily if you do this when they are still kittens.
However, if brushing is impossible, the veterinarian is a better option. Dental cleanings at the veterinary help remove plaque and tartar above and below the gum lines.
Learn more about Maine Coon tooth diseases and decay, in this article I wrote.
14. Assuming Vomiting Or Coughing Is Hairball Related
As with all cat breeds, hairballs are to be expected.
However, if you notice your Maine Coon frequenting vomiting, coughing, or gagging, with or without a hairball, it is time to pay close attention.
One Maine Coon cat owner’s mistake is assuming the coughing, vomiting, and gagging are simply hairball related, when in reality they may be signs of:
- Gastrointestinal Disease
- Skin Disease
Therefore, if you notice any of these Maine Coon behaviors, make sure you contact your vet as soon as possible so that they can rule out any underlying health conditions in your cat.
15. Overfeeding Your Maine Coon
Maine Coon cats are famous for being the largest domesticated cat breed in the world.
One of the downsides to their famous size, however, is that many Maine Coon owners assume their cat will grow at the same speed as a ‘normal cat’.
This assumption is entirely wrong since a Maine Coon will not reach its full size until 3-5 years of age, compared to a normal cat that is full-sized by 2 years of age.
It is, therefore, a common Maine Coon cat owner’s mistake, to assume that a Maine Coon is not growing correctly, and is underfed, when in fact they are growing at the correct rate!
The consequence of this mistake is that many owners overfeed the Maine Coon cat, thereby making it obese.
Obesity is one of the most common problems veterinarians diagnose in cats.
Maine Coon cats are prone to obesity which can place them at risk for numerous other health issues.
For example, excess weight will shorten your Maine Coons lifespan, sometimes by as much as two years or more.
Learn about the condition, in my article ‘Is my Maine Coon overweight?‘.
With this, we conclude our article on the 15 most common Maine Coon cat owner mistakes.
Hopefully, you have learned what not to do and will avoid making these mistakes too!
Even if you are already a proud owner of Maine Coon, make sure to avoid making some of the common pitfalls that have the potential to harm your pet.