Maine Coons are known for being loving and loyal. But are they known for being brave? And if so, why is my Maine Coon so scared?
There are plenty of reasons a Maine Coon may become scared. It could be due to meeting new people, noises or sensations that they are not accustomed to, or even major changes in the family unit such as somebody going off to college or moving back home.
There are plenty of reasons a Maine Coon may be exhibiting fear-like behaviors, especially in young Maine Coon kittens.
Whether or not you are dealing with an overly anxious Maine Coon kitten or a suddenly stressed adult cat, this complete guide to dealing with a scared and anxious Maine Coon is here to help.
So stick with us as we help uncover the mystery of a surprisingly timid Maine Coon!
Read on to discover what causes stress in Maine Coon cats, and what the treatment options are.
Why Is My Maine Coon So Scared?
As a breed, the Maine Coon is well known for being quite hardy, and healthy.
They had to endure some pretty harsh environments before they became fully domesticated and successfully evolved to navigate the harsh winter climate of Maine, US.
The Maine Coon cats we know today are gentle, loving, and sweet. They make wonderful pets, family members, and companions.
Maine Coons are often referred to as being dog-like in both their nature and behavior.
They enjoy spending quality time with their owner and simply thrive on being a fully-fledged member of the family unit.
In general, Maine Coon cats are not known for being scared, by nature, but there are some pretty common triggers that you should look out for if you are concerned your Maine Coon is scared.
Whilst Maine Coons are not commonly known as scaredy cats, keep in mind that they are just as prone to struggling with unexplained changes as humans are!
Below you will find a complete explanation of pretty much any major trigger of a scared Maine Coon, including some lesser-known factors that you may not be expecting.
Strange noises are scary for anybody, not just Maine Coons!
While we may be able to reason what a noise might be (car backfiring, etc) your Maine Coon can not.
All your Maine Coon has to go off of are the noises it was acclimatized to as a kitten.
If your Maine Coon was not properly introduced to common noises such as the vacuum cleaner, they may find these noises scary and intimidating despite being zero threat.
Lack Of Attention
Lack of attention from you can lead to an unfulfilled Maine Coon with separation anxiety.
Even if you are currently with your cat, they may still exhibit signs of fear and stress that have spilled over from when they were on their own.
Or, preemptive fear that they will be on their own again sometime soon.
New Family Members
A new member of the family joining the household can be quite scary and confusing to your Maine Coon.
Whether it is a new baby, another pet being introduced to the house, or a family member moving home (perhaps back from college for summer, etc).
If you have just given birth to a baby, here’s how to successfully introduce your Maine Coon cat to your new baby.
In a similar vein to the previous point, any big change in the house can create a scared Maine Coon cat.
Simply repainting a room and moving the furniture around can be quite confusing to your Maine Coon and will cause them to almost lose their bearings.
Imagine if, in the middle of the night, someone went into your living room and changed the position of all your furniture, and repainted the walls without telling you. You would be in for quite the shock the following morning!
This is especially true if your Maine Coon cat is blind. Read more about blindness in Maine Coon cats.
Injury Or Illness
When your Maine Coon is injured or unwell, it may exhibit fear and anxiety as a manifestation of the stress and vulnerability they are feeling.
This is commonly aligned with Maine Coons that are suddenly aggressive after being passive, even affectionate, for their entire life beforehand.
As a side note, many people wonder are Maine Coons scared of water and if that could be a contributing factor.
The answer is a resounding NO!
Maine Coons love water to the point it is almost weird – they almost seem as if they have some kind of spiritual affinity to it!
Are Maine Coon Cats Timid?
Some Maine Coons act timidly around new people, and some do not. The behavior they exhibit will often depend on how they were socialized as a kitten.
It is important to understand that timidness in Maine Coons is not a Maine Coon cat breed trait, so your own Maine Coon might not show signs of being timid at all.
Generally speaking, female Maine Coons tend to be more reserved and will take time to ‘warm up’ to strangers visiting their homes.
By contrast, the male Maine Coon cat is considered far more sociable and outgoing, often greeting new persons as they enter their territory i.e. its home.
The Maine Coon temperament is generally one of outgoing friendliness. Especially to people that they are well accustomed to, like family members who tend to visit regularly or friends that like to pop by for a cup of coffee.
Are Maine Coons shy?
The simple answer is that they can be! If you have a shy Maine Coon give them a little bit longer to warm up to house visitors.
Keep in mind that Maine Coons are very receptive to how their owners are feeling due to their dog-like temperament. This, added to their emotional maturity helps them quickly identify house guests that you do and do not like!
For example, if your best friend drops by unannounced, your Maine Coon will likely make them feel very welcome.
By comparison, your Maine Coon might appear less affectionate and loving towards a stranger that they feel their owner does not like!
Are Maine Coons Skittish?
Have you ever noticed that phrases like ‘skittish-ness’ and ‘timidness’ are lumped in together, and considered to be the same thing?
This seems strange since the two expressions have slightly different meanings and therefore apply to your Maine Coon in varying ways.
The best way of separating the two phrases in your head is if you associate timidness with the likelihood of feeling afraid and skittishness with acting on it.
For example, it is commonly said that cats like people they know, but are skittish around strangers. This applies to all cat breeds, not just the Maine Coon.
Maine Coons are often shy around people they are unsure about and are therefore far more likely to flee when they start to get a bad feeling.
So, are Maine Coons skittish?
They certainly can be around new people or people they are not quite sure about.
If your Maine Coon feels skittish they tend to enter a fight or flight stage with far more urgency than would normally be expected.
Maine Coons are more likely to lash out with a quick hiss and a cartoon-like, skidding on the floor, exit from the room when there is a person or even sound that they are not quite sure about.
How To Help A Nervous Cat
Watching your poor Maine Coon kitty stress out can be completely heartbreaking.
Here are some great tips on how to help a shy scared cat (source 1):
1. Give Them Space
Maine Coons, just like people, need their own space from time to time.
You may feel the need to follow your nervous cat around the house as a form of moral support. But actually, you may find that allowing them to go off on their own when they feel the need can help them calm down.
Designating a portion of your home over to them, such as the corner of a room with a cat tree and a bed or two may make them feel a little more secure.
2. Remove Triggers
This sounds obvious, but sometimes the simplest thing to do is identify triggers that cause your Maine Coon to feel nervous and remove them from the equation.
For example, have you noticed that they hate the sound of an electric razor? If so, consider switching to an ordinary razor.
Or, does the sound of the microwave trigger your Maine Coon cat to become stressed? If so, make sure you stop the microwave just before it beeps.
3. Spend More Time At Home
Your Maine Coon may be feeling nervous because they are feeling lonely.
Maine Coons do not do well with prolonged unwanted alone time and this may cause them to become nervous and agitated even when you are around.
Try spending more time at home throughout the day, not even necessarily with your Maine Coon, and see if their mood improves.
4. Create A Routine
Cats are creatures of habit and this extends to Maine Coons too.
By creating a routine they can identify with and use as a benchmark throughout the day you can create normality in your cat’s life and potentially ease a huge amount of their stress.
For example, if you arrive home from work at 6 pm every day, your Maine Coon cat will quickly learn this and not fret so much that you are not coming home.
5. Pheromone Plugins
Pheromone plugins that diffuse calming and relaxing cat pheromones into the air around your home can be used to nullify some of the anxiety your cat is feeling.
This massively popular cat pheromone diffuser sold by Amazon has helped many cats across the world. It purports to help combat cat stress and anxiety.
Whilst this product is great, keep in mind that you will still need to resolve the root cause of your Maine Coon cat’s stress.
Use this diffuser as a supplement to your other methods of combating cat nervousness.
Some people find that cat nip, when used sparingly, can be of great benefit to a particularly anxious kitty.
6. Speak To A Vet
If nothing seems to work and you cannot solve, let alone identify, the cause of your Maine Coons anxiety speaking to a vet is almost always worthwhile.
A vet will offer some specific insights into the well-being of your Maine Coon that you are unlikely to get anywhere else.
They can also diagnose hidden Maine Coon injuries that your cat has been trying to mask from you.
Do Maine Coons Like Being Alone?
While Maine Coons do appreciate some alone time from time to time, they are almost always happier when they are with you. Or another member of the family.
If you have ever caught your Maine Coon taking a nap in your bed, this could certainly qualify as alone time.
But notice, they have chosen to spend their “alone time” in a place that has a particularly strong connection to you.
A Maine Coon may spend infrequent time on their own, but only when they feel comfortable and safe doing so.
Maine Coons do not do particularly well when they are alone for long periods of time.
If you leave your Maine Coon for 12 hours every day to go to work that would certainly fall under the umbrella of ‘unwanted alone time‘.
If you work from home and only leave the house sparingly to go shopping or see friends, etc, that would be more acceptable to your Maine Coon!
Maine Coons should not be left alone for more than 8-10 hours at a time, or 1-2 hours maximum if they are still kittens.
Do Maine Coons Have Separation Anxiety?
Do Maine Coons have separation anxiety?
Yes, Maine Coons can have real trouble with separation anxiety if their social and emotional needs are not being met by you or the rest of the family.
Maine Coons consider you to be of utmost importance in their life and if they hardly get to see you, they will respond very poorly.
With this in mind, Maine Coons should not be left for more than 8-10 hours at any one time, or 12 hours if only done very rarely.
By comparison, other cat breeds can be left for as long as a full 24 hours on their own so long as they have adequate food and water. Other cat breeds might even go off on their own around the neighborhood for days at a time!
However, if you spent this length of time away from your Maine Coon, they would be in utter torment and may never recover from feelings of abandonment.
Separation anxiety is an issue that manifests just as much when you are with your Maine Coon as when you are apart.
For example, if your Maine Coon becomes territorial and stressed when you are around that is almost always a sign that they need to see more of you. Not that they would prefer it if you were not there.
Do Maine Coons Do Better In Pairs?
Maine Coon cats are better in pairs, than on their own.
If you are not able to be fully present all day every day in your Maine Coons life they are going to be far better off with another Maine Coon to spend their days with.
Maine Coons can suffer from crippling separation anxiety so having a feline friend or friendly dog as a housemate is advisable.
If you are planning on getting a second Maine Coon it is usually a good idea to get them both at the same time rather than one after the other.
This is important as it removes any potential cat territorial issues from the start.
If you buy or adopt sibling Maine Coons from a breeder or adoption center, this will also help both cats adjust to their new home better.
Maine Coon Behavior Problems
Maine Coons are lovely cats and make excellent pets.
But, they are by no means perfect and have a certain proclivity to a few Maine Coon behavioral problems that you should certainly be aware of before you bring one of these large cats home.
Here are some potential Maine Coon behavior problems to be aware of:
Maine Coons tend to show aggression when they are stressed or scared.
If there is some kind of trigger, such as exposure to noise or a sensation they have not been socialized to understand they can become aggressive out of fear and self-preservation.
Clear signs of aggression include:
- Lunging at you or others
Maine Coons can become destructive when their social and space needs are not being met.
Both scratching furniture, and chewing on things that are NOT Maine Coon cat toys, etc can all be evidence of a Maine Coon that is not getting enough one-on-one time with its owner.
Alternatively, it could be a sign that your Maine Coon does not have enough space to roam inside of the home.
Not Using Litter Box
Another potentially common type of bad behavior is a Maine Coon who is doing his or her business somewhere other than the litter box.
This can be a sign that your Maine Coon is upset and stressed or that they do not have enough space.
It can also be a form of territory marking whereby your Maine Coon is trying to claim a little more of your shared space for itself.
Maine Coons can become quite territorial for a plethora of reasons.
This can be identified by seeing whether your Maine Coon is pacing a lot, defensive of people coming near them (or you) and even guarding doorways to monitor the flow of people and pets in and out of a room.
I hope after reading this article you are a little more enlightened on the subject of why is my Maine Coon so scared?
Maine Coons are not scaredy cats by any means, but, they do tend to struggle with unexplained changes and noises they are not accustomed to. The same as any other pet, really.
Most Maine Coons are quite good at adapting to new and strange situations if given the proper support and love they require from their owner.
While most fears are based on experiences they had, or did not have, as a kitten there is still room to work with as an adult cat.
Positive reinforcement and controlled exposure to certain triggers can be used to help a scared or anxious Maine Coon.
Keep in mind, that in some cases fear and anxiety is a manifestation of injury or illness.
If you cannot for the life of you figure out what is causing your Maine Coons fear and stress, it may be worth a quick consultation with a vet or other animal specialist.
Do Cats Get Scared Of The Dark?
Cats have excellent vision and can see perfectly well in even the lowest of lighting. Cats are not inherently afraid of the dark. However, they may not always particularly like it either.
Do Maine Coons Get Depressed?
Maine Coons are such social beings that if they do not have their social needs met they can become depressed and melancholy.
Do Maine Coon Cats Cry A Lot?
Maine Coons are not particularly known for crying. However, they will cry and become destructive if they are very lonely.