10 Best Reasons Why Maine Coons Growl

If your cat has been acting aggressively towards you lately then you might want to know why do Maine Coons growl?

Contrary to popular belief, when a cat hisses, growls, or bites, it is not being aggressive! So, what is causing these unfriendly behaviors?

Maine Coons growl for many reasons, including when feeling threatened, under attack, stressed, in pain, communicating to their owner that they dislike something or anger displacement. If your Maine Coon grows at you immediately stop what you are doing. Do not touch or pet your cat as growling is a sign that they are preparing to attack.

If your cat is growling at you, chances are it is your fault, not the cat’s!

The following factors can cause a cat to growl or lash out:

  • Stress
  • Pain
  • Fear
  • Anger Displacement

Read on to find out why your Maine Coon has started growling.

10 Reasons Why Maine Coons Growl

Why do Maine Coons growl?

The Maine Coon is a large, docile breed known for its patience and gentle temperament.

These cats tend to form close bonds with humans and even other pets like:

  • Cats
  • Dogs

They are typically slow to anger, and they are so relaxed that they have even earned the nickname “the gentle giants of the cat world.”

Maine Coon aggression is relatively uncommon.

Here are 14 reasons why aggressive Maine Coon cat behavior occurs.

However, if you have noticed that your cat hisses, growls, flattens its ears, or lashes out at you or other people or pets, then your Maine Coon is likely stressed.

While it is common for people to assume that a growling cat is mean or a bully, this could not be farther from the truth!

Cats do not try to dominate other pets or people for power or fun; instead, aggressive behavior in cats is more accurately called defensive behavior.

This is because cats only growl, hiss, or lash out when they feel:

  • Threatened
  • Vulnerable
  • Disrespected

Here is a more comprehensive list of 10 reasons why Maine Coons growl:

1. Communication

Overall, the main function of growling is communication.

Maine Coon growling is not the same as a human yelling or bullying someone else. Instead, it is a way for cats to tell those around them to back off.

Since cats cannot use words like humans, they rely on these body language signs and sounds to communicate.

Most cats will provide lots of warning before biting or scratching.

A cat that needs some alone time will start to flatten its ears first. It might also make a snorting sound, too.

If its boundaries continue to be pushed, it might make a quiet growling in its throat, which can escalate to loud growling and hissing.

If you continue to ignore your cat’s warnings once it starts growling, you really should not be surprised when your cat bites or scratches you.

If your cat begins to growl or show other signs of displeasure, leave immediately.

2. Anger Displacement

If you notice Maine Coon aggressive behavior, like this, after your cat was looking out the window, it could be the result of anger displacement.

Sometimes, when cats see another cat or animal outside, they feel threatened.

However, if there is a barrier like a window or a door between the cat and the perceived threat, its body will release that pent-up fear and aggression on anyone who happens to be nearby.

Learn how to identify and manage aggressive Maine Coon cat behavior, by clicking on the article picture below:

3. Lack Of Privacy

Even though Maine Coons are highly social, they need their alone time just like anyone else.

If you live in a small, cramped space, or if your cat is constantly disturbed while sleeping, then it might start to growl and avoid human contact.

Other pets might be invading your Maine Coon’s privacy, as well, so it is a good idea to make sure your Maine Coon has its own space to retreat to if it is feeling overwhelmed.

The debate as to whether a Maine Coon can live in an apartment is an emotive one. Read this article to learn more about the issues.

4. Pain

Maine Coon aggressive behavior is rare, especially if it seems to come out of nowhere.

If your usually sweet and gentle cat has begun to growl or bite whenever you come near, it might be in a lot of pain.

Cats are not nearly as vocal about their pain as humans or even dogs. Even vets have a hard time knowing if a cat is in pain sometimes.

If you notice any stiffness, limp, or reluctance to run or jump, your cat might be injured.

Another sign that something is wrong is if your cat is sitting in a hunched position without moving.

While purring is often a sign that a cat is feeling relaxed and happy, some cats also purr as a self-soothing mechanism when they are stressed or hurt.

Here are some other signs that your Maine Coon is feeling stressed.

Senior cats are prone to arthritis and joint problems, which can result in:

  • Swelling
  • Sensitivity
  • Pain

Hip dysplasia, skin infections, cancer, and countless other health problems can also cause pain.

If your cat growls when you touch it or has recently begun growling despite being sweet and friendly before, you should take your cat to the vet to ensure nothing is wrong.

5. Territoriality

Maine Coons are usually easygoing, but they can become territorial if they feel threatened or insecure.

Cats who have not been spayed or neutered are more likely to exhibit territoriality. This is the best age to neuter a Maine Coon.

If you have recently moved or gotten a new pet, your cat might also feel like it does not have its own safe space.

As a result, it may start growling at anyone who invades the space it has claimed as its own.

6. Other Pets

If you have noticed a Maine Coon aggressive to other cats, your other pets might be a problem.

Maine Coons are typically friendly, social creatures that love to make friends with humans and animals alike.

Despite the Maine Coon’s gentle nature, other pets are more likely to feel nervous around Maine Coon cats, not the other way around.

If you have just gotten a new pet though, or if your pets play too rough or get in your cat’s personal space, it might make your Maine Coon feel threatened.

Maine Coons need plenty of space to call their own, and private places to retreat to if they are feeling overwhelmed.

If your other pets were introduced too quickly to your Maine Coon, you should start separating your pets and supervising them while they are together until they start getting along better.

This is also the case if your pets will not give your Maine Coon cat any space.

7. Recent Change

When one part of your cat’s life suddenly falls through, your cat might wonder if some other big change is coming.

After all, we cannot exactly warn our cats if we are about to move or go through a divorce.

Cats are creatures of habit, and even small changes like a new laundry detergent or moving some furniture around can result in a lot of stress.

If you have recently experienced a loss in your household, or you have brought home a new baby, partner, or pet, your cat might start growling because it feels insecure.

Here’s a great guide to introducing your Maine Coon to your new baby.

8. Improper Socialization

Maine Coons are famous for being cuddly, social, and friendly even to strangers.

Much of this can be owed to the breed’s temperament, but their environment while growing up also plays a big part.

Most Maine Coon breeders socialize their kittens with other cats, dogs, and people from a young age.

If your Maine Coon did not have enough positive interactions with other people and animals from a young age, then it might be wary around strangers.

If your Maine Coon growls whenever you come near, it probably has not learned to trust humans yet.

Patience, privacy, and lots of treats are the best ways to convince a Maine Coon you mean no harm.

Here’s a fantastic guide that explains How To Correctly Socialize A Maine Coon Kitten.

9. Resource Guarding

Does your Maine Coon growl while eating its food? If so, it might be resource-guarding.

While a growling cat may sound scary and even threatening, it is a sign that your cat feels unsafe and vulnerable.

Even if your cats have plenty of food available, your cat might feel like its resources are threatened.

This may happen when you introduce a new cat to the family, or if your cat has a history of abuse or neglect.

Cats that are stressed by the following factors are more prone to resource guarding (source 1,2, 3):

  • House Move
  • Divorce
  • Death In The Family

10. Feeling Threatened

If a Maine Coon cat feels threatened or under attack, it will growl.

Immediately stop what you are doing, i.e. petting, stroking, yelling, clapping, etc, and give your Maine Coon the privacy, and space it needs.

Give your Maine Coon time to calm down and recover from whatever event has stressed them, to ensure your Maine Coon doesn’t attack you or the family.

How To Discipline A Maine Coon Cat

Dogs are famous for their obedience, but what about cats?

Many owners give up on training their cats because they think they are too stubborn when, in actuality, cats have a different way of learning than dogs.

Here is how you can teach your Maine Coon to follow the house rules:


The most important step in cat discipline is to be patient and kind.

You should never hit or reprimand your cat.

Yelling, snapping, and hitting may curb the behavior at the time, but your cat will learn to fear you and your rules rather than respect you.

Positive Reinforcement

Cats learn best from positive reinforcement.

Instead of giving your cat attention when it does something wrong (by yelling or picking your cat up), give your cat praise and treats when it does something right.

Your cat is more likely to stop biting you if you ignore it while it is biting and instead give it a fun toy to play with immediately after.


To prevent your cat from engaging in certain behaviors such as jumping on the counter or biting your hand while playing, redirection always works better than punishment.

Instead of reprimanding your cat, place it gently on the floor from the counter or encourage it to play with a new toy, like these.

By modeling the correct behavior, your cat will eventually learn which behaviors are appropriate (source 1).


If you want to know why do Maine Coons growl, it is never because the cat is mean or a bully.

Cats growl when they feel unsafe, threatened, or disrespected.

A cat that is injured or sick might growl when you touch it.

Maine Coons might also growl if a major change has occurred, like a house move, the introduction of a new pet, or a loss in the family.

Related Questions

Can A Maine Coon Kill A Human?

Maine Coons cannot kill humans through sheer force, but a Maine Coon bite left untreated can cause a deadly infection.

Maine Coon Bite Force

Most cats have a bite force of around 70 PSI, but the Maine Coon can have a bite force of up to 75 PSI.

Maine Coon Cat Attacks Family

If your cat attacks you and your family, then your cat feels threatened and unsafe. Make sure your family and the other pets in your home are treating your cat with respect.

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a CRAZY CAT LADY! I've been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 10 years ago. We called him 'Pippin', but he also goes by the name ‘Pipsteroo’! Our enormous, kind-hearted cat genuinely thinks he's a dog and has convinced me that cats are Man's True Best Friend! UPDATE: We recently adopted two 4-year-old male Maine Coon cats. They are named Mika and Bali.

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