Why Is My Maine Coon So Skinny?


Maine Coon’s are supposed to be incredibly large, but you might be asking yourself, why is my Maine Coon so skinny?

These large, active cats can sometimes end up being underweight, which can lead to a wide variety of health problems.

Maine Coons are prone to being underweight if they are not fed enough protein, or if they simply don’t get enough calories every day, particularly if they are very active. Picky eaters might eat less than they should, resulting in weight loss. They can also lose weight from illness, parasites, and various underlying conditions.

It can be extremely concerning to watch your Maine Coon lose weight. Skinny cats are more vulnerable to infections and illness, so it’s important to keep your Maine Coon at a healthy weight.

Read on to find out all of the underlying reasons why your cat might be skinny, as well as what you can do to help!

Why Is My Maine Coon So Skinny?

The Maine Coon is the largest domesticated cat breed in the world, and they weigh between eight to twenty-five pounds.

These cats have a sturdy, muscular build and long, thick fur that forms a distinctive ruff or mane around their neck and chest.

Most Maine Coons are quite massive, but if these cats don’t receive proper nutrients, they can end up small and skinny.

If you’re wondering, why is my Maine Coon so small there are a lot of possible reasons. Finding the root cause of your cat’s weight problems is an important first step in getting your cat back to a healthy weight.

The table below shows the most common reasons why a Maine Coon cat is skinny:

CausesDescription
UndereatingMaine Coon not eating enough
Poor NutritionCat suffering from malnutrition
Dwarf CatMaine Coon suffers from dwarfism
Maine Coon HybridYour cat has mixed breed genetics
Viral / Bacterial InfectionAn infection can cause sudden weight loss
ParasitesCat infected by parasites absorbing calories
CancerCat suffering from cancer
DiabetesDiabetes causes weight loss
HyperthyroidismConditions causes a high metabolic rate
Why Is My Maine Coon So Skinny?

Here is a comprehensive list of possible reasons to answer the question, why is my cat losing weight? (sources 1,2,3):

1. Undereating

The most common cause of underweight cats is undereating.

There are a lot of other reasons why a cat might not be getting enough food though:

  • You might not be providing enough food to your cat.
  • Your cat might be picky, and choose not to eat certain brands or flavors of food.
  • Cats are also picky about the way their food is served.
  • A cat’s sensitive whiskers can chafe uncomfortably against certain bowls, so you should provide food in a wide, shallow bowl made of ceramic or stainless steel.
  • Dental problems might cause Maine Coon to eat less. For instance, if your cat is suffering from a rotting tooth, it might refuse to eat due to pain.

2. Poor Nutrition

Even if your Maine Coon is getting a lot to eat, it might be suffering from malnutrition.

Maine Coons require very high amounts of protein, but not every brand of cat food provides the best nutrition. Make sure you are only feeding your Maine Coon cat these foods.

Cheap cat foods substitute important nutrients for filler content like grains.

3. Your Maine Coon Is A Dwarf

You might have a dwarf Maine Coon, which can make it smaller than normal.

Dwarfism is a genetic defect that results in shorter legs and thicker proportions, and can also include many other health problems.

4. You Have A Maine Coon Hybrid

If your Maine Coon is simply smaller than you expected, but not necessarily skinny, then you may have a small Maine Coon mix.

If you purchased your Maine Coon from an unreliable breeder who didn’t provide documentation, or from a cat shelter, your Maine Coon might not be purebred.

Maine Coon mixes can be smaller than the average Maine Coon, especially if they were mixed with a smaller breed.

Make sure you read my article ‘How To Identify A Maine Coon Mix‘ so you can rule this cause out.

5. Viral Or Bacterial Infection

If your Maine Coon is suffering from a viral or bacterial infection, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and loss of appetite can all lead to rapid weight loss.

If your cat appears to have lost weight and is also suffering from other symptoms, you should take it to the vet immediately to get it assessed and treated.

6. Parasites

Parasites like ringworm can take in the calories and nutrients that your cat is eating, causing your cat to lose weight while the parasite stays healthy.

Parasites also cause symptoms like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

All these factors exacerbate weight loss.

7. Cancer

Unfortunately, cats are able to suffer from cancer just like humans, and it often causes weight loss.

Keep an eye out for changes in your cat’s bowel movements, lethargy, lumps, sores, and a rough, matted, or ungroomed coat.

Frequent vet checkups are important to catch cancer early, as it might be too advanced to treat by the time you begin noticing symptoms.

For more information on health issues that this cat breed is prone to, make sure you read my article:

Top 7 Maine Coon Health Problems‘.

8. Diabetes

Diabetes is another illness that can cause weight loss.

Weight loss is one of the four most common symptoms of feline diabetes, with the other three symptoms including:

  • Increased Appetite
  • Increased Thirst
  • More frequent urination

9. Hyperthyrodism

Hyperthyroidism is a condition caused by overproduction of the hormone thyroxine, leading to an abnormally high metabolism.

A cat with hyperthyroidism can eat lots of food but still, lose weight.

Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Unkempt Fur
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased Thirst

10. Other Underlying Illness

While we listed some of the most common illnesses and conditions that cause weight loss in cats, there are plenty of other illnesses that can cause weight loss, as well.

If you notice any other concerning symptoms in your cat, you should take it to the vet as soon as possible.

How Big Do Maine Coon Cats Get?

The large Maine Coon size is one of the many reasons for this breed’s increasing popularity.

These massive cats can vary greatly in size, with the males being larger than the females.

Weight

In general, Maine Coons can weigh anywhere between 8 and 25 pounds.

Female Maine Coons typically don’t exceed 12 pounds.

Male Maine Coons average between 15 – 25 pounds.

Height

When it comes to height, females typically stand between 8 and 14 inches tall, and males average a height between 10 and 16 inches.

Length

Finally, these large cats measure on average 19 to 40 inches in length from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail.

So Do All Maine Coons Get Big?

If you’re interested in getting a large Maine Coon, you might be wondering, do all Maine Coons get big?

The truth of the matter is that not all Maine Coons exceed the size of an average house cat. If you buy a male Maine Coon cat though, you increase the likelihood of owning a larger Maine Coon, since the males are often bigger than the female of this breed.

So which gender is better, male or female? … If you are still debating with gender to purchase or adopt, make sure you read my article ‘Male Vs Female Maine Coon Cats’.

Purebred Maine Coons are usually larger, with mixed breeds being more likely to remain an average size.

Maine Coon Growth Stages

The Maine Coon growth rate is much slower than that of a typical cat, and it usually takes this breed three to five years to reach its full size.

Understanding Maine Coon growth spurts are important for assessing your cat’s growth and ensuring it is a healthy weight throughout kittenhood. However, keep in mind that the following growth stages won’t necessarily apply to every cat, as each Maine Coon will grow at its own rate.

If you’ve not started recording your Maine Coon kitten’s weight yet, why not learn ‘How To Keep A Maine Coon Growth Chart‘.

Newborn To 3 Months

Newborn Maine Coons typically weigh between 0.19 and 0.37 pounds and then grow rapidly over the next few weeks.

At around three months old, your kitten will likely weigh between 3.3 and 5.29 pounds.

3 – 7 Months

Kittens grow steadily during this stage, typically gaining about two pounds every month.

8 Months

At this stage, the Maine Coon’s growth rate usually starts to slow down.

Week 50

After your Maine Coon reaches a bit more than a year old, Maine Coons experience their last big growth spurt.

After this, their growth rate slows significantly, and they grow at a slow and steady rate until they reach their full size.

3 – 5 Years

Maine Coons grow slowly and steadily during this period and reach their full size between three and five years old.

Is My Maine Coon Underweight?

If you suspect your Maine Coon might be underweight, you should begin to inspect and feel its body.

The Maine Coon’s long, thick fur can make it difficult to judge based on its appearance, but the following test is a good measure of whether or not your cat is underweight.

Run your hands over your cat’s ribs and spine. You should be able to feel them, but they should feel like they are wrapped in a layer of cloth.

If your cat’s ribs and spine jut out and feel sharp, then your cat is most likely underweight. Owners noticing this should take their cat to the vet for a better weight assessment.

How To Bulk Up A Maine Coon

Learning how to put weight on a cat is extremely important if your cat is underweight. Underweight cats are more susceptible to illness and can suffer other health problems, as well.

Here are a few tips to help you get your Maine Coon back to a healthy weight:

1. Find The Cause Of Your Cat’s Weight

The first step in bulking up an underweight cat is to make sure your cat isn’t skinny due to an underlying problem.

Talk to your vet and make sure your cat is healthy besides being underweight.

If your cat is skinny due to an illness, then the following steps won’t make much of a difference.

2. Switch Foods

If you are trying to figure out how to fatten up a Maine Coon, the food you provide your cat is a good place to start.

Maybe you suspect your cat might be avoiding food due to pickiness? Should this sound familiar, try a variety of cat food brands and flavors to see if your Maine Coon prefers these instead.

Furthermore, take a look at the ingredients of the cat food you are currently feeding your Maine Coon cat. If you notice that corn or grains are listed as the main ingredient (the first ingredient listed on the back of the packet), it’s time to switch to higher-quality cat food that provides more protein and carbohydrates.

Here are some great dry cat food options for your treasured feline.

3. Try Some Wet Cat Food

Do you mainly feed your cat dry food?

Many cats largely prefer wet food and are more likely to eat it in large quantities. You should not feed your cat only wet food, however, as dry food is important for your cat’s dental hygiene.

If your cat still seems picky about wet food, however, you can try warming it up in the microwave. This will make the food more fragrant, which will increase your cat’s interest.

4. Provide Treats

Giving your cat a few treats throughout the day is a great way to increase calories, as well as strengthen your bond with your cat.

It’s best to provide treats as a reward for positive behavior, but you can also give your cat treats just because.

Make sure you look at the treat box to determine how many you should give your cat every day.

How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Gain Weight?

Even if you follow all of the steps above, your cat isn’t going to magically gain weight overnight. In fact, it’s healthiest for your cat to gain weight gradually.

A good goal to aim for is to have your cat gain one pound per month. Too much more can actually be unhealthy, and cause other problems down the line.

Are Maine Coon Kittens Skinny?

Maine Coon kittens should not be skinny, but they can easily start to become underweight due to their many growth spurts and active nature. This is a critical period for feeding the proper amount of food, or else your cat’s growth can be stunted.

Maine Coon Cat Getting Skinny But Still Eating

If your Maine Coon appears to be eating a lot but it is still losing weight, then it is likely due to an underlying illness such as:

  • Parasites
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Viral infection
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Another Underlying Problem

Take your cat to the vet as soon as possible to determine the root cause of your cat’s weight loss.

Why Is My Cat Thin At The Back End?

Some owners first notice their cat is skinny because its hindquarters feel particularly bony.

A cat’s back legs are naturally more narrow than the rest of the body, so they might feel especially skinny on an underweight cat.

If your cat only feels skinny on its back end, however, it could be caused by muscle wasting from various muscular problems or old age.

My Cat Is So Skinny I Can Feel Her Spine

If your cat’s spine juts out and feels sharp, you’re likely concerned for your cat’s health.

Should you be able to feel a cat’s spine? Surprisingly, you should be able to feel your cat’s spine, but it should feel like it is wrapped in a layer of cloth.

Alternatively, if your cat’s spine feels sharp and especially prominent, then this is a sign that your cat is actually underweight.

Maine Coon Growth Chart

A Maine Coon growth chart is a great way to monitor your cat’s growth from kittenhood until it reaches its full adult size. You should use an excel sheet or hand-drawn chart to keep track of your cat’s weight, height, and length once every month.

To measure your cat’s height, make sure it is standing still and measure from the top of your cat’s shoulder all the way down to the floor, with the measuring tape running along with one of your cat’s front legs.

To measure your cat’s length, lay it down on its side. Measure from the tip of your cat’s nose to the very base of its tail. If you start taking measurements at a young age and provide your cat with plenty of treats, your Maine Coon should learn to go through the process smoothly.

How To Tell If Your Maine Coon Is Overweight

Maine Coons are naturally large, but many owners accidentally ignore signs of obesity because of this.

It is important to monitor your cat’s weight, so here are some main signs of an overweight cat to look out for.

Large Waist

A healthy cat’s waist should be slightly more narrow than the rest of its body. If you run your cat up and down the length of your cat’s body and its waist is about the same thickness, then your cat is likely overweight.

You Can’t Feel Your Cat’s Ribs

You should be able to feel a healthy cat’s ribs and spine (though they shouldn’t be too prominent.) If you can barely feel your cat’s ribs, or can’t feel them at all, it is most likely overweight.

Bulging Stomach

If you can see your Maine Coon’s stomach bulging below its rib cage, or swinging significantly while it walks, this is yet another sign that your cat is overweight.

Conclusion

A lot of owners get worried about their Maine Coon’s health, and wonder, why is my Maine Coon so skinny? These active cats need a lot of calories and protein to maintain a healthy weight, so an improper diet can quickly cause weight loss. Underlying illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, parasites, and other problems can all cause weight loss, as well.

Related Questions

Maine Coon Growth Pictures

If you’re having trouble knowing what your Maine Coon kitten should look like as it grows, you can find Maine Coon growth pictures on the Internet to get a better idea.

1 Year Old Maine Coon Weight

When a Maine Coon Cat is one year old, it should weigh about twelve pounds, although this can vary from cat to cat.

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a self-confessed 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 9 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!

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