Maine coon cats are well known for their gentle, playful nature. These big cats are known as ‘gentle giants’ and one of the most sought-after cat breeds in the world today.
Sounds like the best cat to have so you get one! Then you bring it home and s/he’s anything but friendly.
Its biting and hissing and everything opposite of nice leaving you confused and wondering ‘why my Maine coon is mean‘. Well, friend, you’ve come to the right site because we’re going to have an in-depth discussion about your cat’s behavior.
See, Maine coons are very loveable cats but there is a caveat to its personality that you need to be aware of right now. The good news is that most of the culprits for his/her unwelcomed behavior are pretty easy to fix but some might be more serious and need more serious attention.
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About Maine Coon Cats
Maine Coon Cats Breed History
The Maine coon breed originated in the United States. It is believed to have appeared around the 1850s when long-haired European cats bred with American shorthaired cats.
As a result, their offspring were large, sturdily built cats with fluffy, ring-shaped tails that resembled a raccoon’s tail. Thus their name, Maine coon, is a combination between their place of origin (Maine) and the shortened form of the word raccoon, coon.
They were very popular in rural environments in the northeastern states due to their excellent rodent hunting skills.
In 1980, they were exported to the United Kingdom where they have also gained popularity.
In 1982, they began to be internationally recognized as a purebred cat.
Maine Coon Cats Personality Traits and Breed Standards
As I mentioned previously, Maine coons are known to be good-natured cats. Now let’s dissect this vague statement to see what is really meant by it.
Maine coon Physical Traits
These cats are huge and their bodies are built to be exceptional hunters. Depending on it the cat is male of female, they can weight between 11 – 25 lbs.
Of course, the females are smaller than the males but they both have large, muscular bodies and legs with long, fluffy tails.
Their ears are large and pointed with tufts that grow up over their tips which give them a Lynx-like appearance.
Features that make Maine coons distinct are the shape around their eyebrow area, makes an ‘M’, their noses are square and clearly separated from their forehead and they have extra fur on their paws that help them move easier in the snow.
Their fur is denser in their hindquarters, chest, and belly. It is shorter in the head, shoulders, and legs.
They also have a thick undercoat that keeps them warm and dry in the snow. Their fur should be soft and silky to the touch and requires daily grooming.
Maine Coon Life Expectancy
You can expect that your Maine coon cat will live between 9 and 15 years old. Of course, this depends on their health and unforeseen circumstances that may cause early deaths but we don’t want to think about that right now.
Maine Coon Cat Personality
Maine coons are very unique in terms of cats. While they are still untamed hunters, their drive is even more amped up than the average cat.
They are also more skilled and good at hunting.
Nevertheless, they are very sweet, friendly, playful and sociable cats.
As I mentioned before, this comes with a caveat. That is that they must be properly socialized as kittens and males especially should be fixed as their hormones make them even more territorial and possessive which is a leading cause of aggression. We’ll get into more details later but keep this in mind.
Another thing Maine coons are opposite to most cats is they love water and snow. They are also famous for being vocal by making chirping and other sounds different from typical cat sounds like meows.
My cats don’t really make sounds at all unless they’re hungry so if we have one of these it would be a big change for sure, lol. The good thing is that Maine coons get along with other cats and if you have multiple cats already, they should adjust quite well together as long as you have adequate space for each of them to have a slice of their own ‘territory’.
They also get along well with children, dogs, people and other pets.
Requirements to Keep A Maine Coon Cat
Your Maine coon is well adapt and equipped for the outdoors. S/he will need lots of space and at least a small space designated for him/her outdoors as well.
They enjoy interacting with nature so you can set up a small garden area for them. If you are concerned about them escaping, you can utilize a good outdoor cat enclosure and set up a little area for them.
Your cat should also have plenty of relaxing and playing areas including multiple cat trees for large cats (don’t buy a flimsy one like the leopard print cat tree in the video. It will NOT last.)
If you live in a small space like an apartment, remember that vertical space counts when you try to increase your cat’s territory.
Like any living organism, with greater size comes the need for more energy and the generation of more waste. Your Maine coon should be eating a diet of natural and even raw products.
You should also be aware that Maine coon cats are predisposed to obesity. Given their large size, they tend to have large appetites and are likely to overeat.
I’m not an expert on cat diet so be sure that you talk to your vet about your Maine coon’s nutritional needs. I would even say find a certified breeder because sometimes vets aren’t specialized in one particular breed’s needs and may only have a general idea.
A breeder will know better about their specific specialty cat which in this case is the Maine coon.
Don’t take this for granted. Just like you feel bad when your body doesn’t get the right nutrients, your cat is the same way.
Never underestimate the power of good fitness and nutrition for your cat and even for your self, to be honest (this is not a criticism or opinion but study proven and personal experience). If your cat is being aggressive, this is the second place to check after illness.
Maine coons are easy to care for but require more financial needs to care for than the average cat. They need more and high-quality food but also high-quality toys and cat climbing structures.
They’re strong cats and also heavier weight makes for higher amounts of force and pressure. You will find your cat sticks and other toys snapping in your hands more frequently and the average cat trees will break, shake and crumble.
Not to mention scratching. If this part scares you, I beg you to take a deep breath and prepare for problem-solving instead of panic.
I’m a strong believer in the power of saving money and if you don’t, you will be surprised how fast even something as simple as saving all of your coinage adds up. Also buying ‘here and there’ adds up as well.
Too many precious cats end up in shelters for reasons that are easily dealt with if you just give a liiiitle bit more effort in the right places. That’s why I’m here to help so if you need any help or questions at all please feel free to ask in the comments below.
Since Maine coons have long fur they will need their fur brushed daily. You also need to be sure to brush their undercoat as well.
Get a cat brush with long, grabby bristles. You may also need a pair of kitty hair trimmers to trim any knots or tangles.
Also take note of any skin irregularities as many bacteria, parasites, fungi, etc. can easily be incubated in their warm, dense coat. Additionally, matting and even daily rubbing can cause irritation so be aware of their skin with every grooming session.
If you notice any irregularities be sure to contact your vet immediately!
Play: Your Cat’s Daily Workout
I always say that exercising is more pleasant when we do something fun instead of ‘exercise’. Your cat is a good example of this.
Their play is important because it gives them their daily workout, however, they just do it because its fun for them.
It is necessary that you play with your Maine coon at least 20 minutes per day. I would recommend more along the lines of 40 minutes per day.
This will increase your relationship as well as reinforcing with them how they are supposed to interact with humans. Always use toys.
NEVER use your hands to play with your cat! And yes, even old Maine coons love to play.
Why Is My Maine Coon Cat So Mean?
Phew! That took more time than I thought but I hope that you have learned a lot about your cat.
Hopefully, at this point, you’ve begun to think about some things that might be causing your cat’s bad behavior but if not, we’ll give you some ideas right now.
So ask me again:
My Maine Coon Is Mean. What’s Going On?!
As you probably suspect, when your Maine coon is aggressive, something is definitely wrong. It could be something as simple as them not being able to burn off all their energy to something more serious like a disease.
I’m going to go through as many options as I can think of along with solutions and any other relevant information. If you are ever in doubt, call your vet, they are usually friendly and happy to help.
What Is Aggression For Maine Coon Cats?
Before we get into the reasons for your cat’s aggression, I think it is important to actually define what is considered aggression. As a parent of both cats and dogs, I know both have habits that seem aggressive but are completely normal for each animal.
For instance, cats will play bite each other while playing. Biting is also a form of cat affection. Its obviously not a hard bite where skin is broken but if your cat bites you like this, you might be startled and think it is attacking you.
This actually happened to my daughter the other day for the first time. She panicked of course but I explained to her it was being loving and she was alright afterward, lol.
In general, the following behaviors can be considered as aggression in your Maine coon:
- bites that draw blood
- scratches that are usually preceded by a swat, box, or some other attack like movement
- your cat, especially if it is a kitten, might try to claw your leg like normal cat scratching that they do on a post. This is not aggression. They just mistakenly think they can scratch their claws on your leg.
- declawed cats do this a lot and it actually really hurts even though they don’t have claws. If you are thinking about declawing it. DON’T!!!
- accessive and frantic tearing to destroy things in your home like furniture and other household items
- this is much more hyper than normal cat play. More like they had a massive anxiety attack and pillow feathers are everywhere type of thing.
- fighting with you or other members of your household including children, other cats, other pets, spouse, guests, etc.
Usually, with aggression, your Maine coon cat will appear very stressed and his/her hair will be clearly raised. Its tail will be frantically swinging back and forth.
It will be making growling or other ‘scary’ sounds. Its eyes will be dilated and it might be snarling.
Possible Causes For Your Maine Coon’s Aggressive Behavior
As mentioned before, there can be many reasons your Maine coon is acting out of character. Here are some common and not so common reasons.
Whenever anything unusual happens, always think health first. There could be a number of issues both internally and externally that could be causing your cat discomfort.
Think about when you’re feeling ill. Especially something like the flu, your menstrual cycle (if you’re a woman of course 😉 ), or an allergic reaction to name a few.
You can’t see these things but they make you feel less than normal and make you act in different ways of varying magnitude. Also, depending on the person, you might never even know that they’re in pain until they actually come out and say it.
It is the same with your cat with the additional variable that they can’t actually come out and tell you anything. So it is up to you to figure out what is going on, which you are, and that’s pretty awesome!
Maine coon cats are predisposed to a few common disorders as a breed. They are:
Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
A feline condition that causes the cat’s heart to thicken which makes it difficult for it to function properly. As a result, they can experience a whole host of problems even things that aren’t related to the heart.
It is not something that is commonly found in most domestic cats, however when if comes to Maine coons, it is an issue. Although not much is known why this is, scientists attribute it to genetics.
Other breeds that are prone to this disorder include:
- British shorthairs
Seems like it might have European origins but don’t quote me on that its just an observation of these breeds all have links to there in some form.
You can read more about it by clicking the below button.Click here to learn more about Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.
Feline Hip Dysplasia
Feline Hip Dysplasia is the abnormal formation and subsequent deterioration of the cat’s hip joint (formally known as the coxofemoral joint). As a result, this disorder causes abnormalities in the cat’s hips along with many other musculoskeletal deformations.
Early detection is important with this condition. If you notice any structural irregularities in your cat, call your vet immediately.
You can click the below button to learn more about Feline Hip Dysplasia.Click here to learn more about Feline Hip Dysplasia.
Feline Pectus Excavatum (Sunken chest)
Feline Pectus Eexcavatum is a deformity in the sternum (chest bone) and costal cartilage (connect the chest bone with the end of the ribs). As a result, there is a horizontal narrowing of the chest.
This causes a host of problems for your cat including:
- weight loss
- and more!
If you want to learn more about Feline Pectus Excavatum aka “Sunken Chest”, click the button below.Click here to learn more about Feline Pectus Excavatum.
In addition to these common illnesses, there are a whole lot more ailments that could be bugging your cat. For instance, male cats, in particular, are prone to getting urinary tract infections or your cat could have a nasal infection.
Both of these require immediate attention by the way. Some more examples are:
- parasites (more on this in a bit)
- ingrown nail(s)
- digestive issues
- circulatory issues
- visual issues
Parasites are anything that feeds off of your cat’s energy instead of taking the time to find or create its own. In other words, they feed off the food your cat has eaten or already digested in the bloodstream.
They can live inside their bodies or externally. Most parasites, or the presence of parasites, can be easily detected but some require specialized tests to verify.
Parasite infections are quite uncomfortable for your cat. Their effects can be quite severe causing stomach and intestinal pain as an example.
Some common cat parasites include, but are not limited to:
- several types of worms
- ticks (from my experience, cats usually have fleas because they are constantly grooming and ticks are easy to remove. Every once in a long long time, I do find ticks on cats though.)
- also, you will typically see fleas OR ticks. You usually don’t see them both at the same time.
If you need to verify if your Maine coon cat has a parasite, you will need to take him/her to the vet. Something like fleas is easily treated with medicines that you can find at pet stores or online but something like worms needs a prescription.
The worm meds that you will find at pet stores are usually garbage and bad for the animals even in the case of dogs.
Just like we get stressed, your cat does too. Don’t think that because s/he just ‘lays around all day and doesn’t have to pay bills or work’ that s/he can’t be stressed.
Common causes for your cat’s stress may include:
- lack of territory
- introduction of new family member be it animal or human
- unfamiliar sounds like instruments or a TV show you’re watching
- kids, other pets or other family members playing too aggressively
- unhealthy eating
- changes to their environment
- like a house move, new furniture, etc.
Some signs your cat is stressed may be:
- accessive shedding
- dramatic weight loss or gain
- bad breath
- loss of appetite
- accessive hiding
- abnormalities in their pupils
- medical condition
The good thing is that most of these can be easily fixed. If you feel like your cat might be having medical issues, be it mental or physical, start the conversation with your vet.
Cats do have anxiety, depression and other mental disorders like that. Just don’t jump to conclusions. Be open to possibilities without judgment and wait for the results. 🙂
Cats are both social and solitary. I think that we are too.
Most of us like to have our own place and space to do certain things but we also enjoy the company of our friends, family, and colleagues most of the time. Maine coons are like this too.
They like to have their own area to sleep and get a good vantage point of your room. Some even like to have their own litter boxes and toys.
It really depends on the cat but in this case, we’re mainly talking about space.
Maine coons are especially hunt driven which means they especially uphold their hunting borders. These areas don’t have to be large but you will have to be sure that each cat in your home has their own.
The really cool thing with cats though, is that you can easily add to their territory by providing them with vertical space. For instance, adding a good cat tree for Maine coons is an excellent idea, one I fully recommend you do.
This can be done regardless of how small your home is. Just find something that fits the distance between the floor and ceiling of your home that fits through the door.
You will find cats develop their need for territories around 1 and 2 years old. One really good way to tell that your Maine coon is aggressive over its territory is that it will make a very bad, unpleasant sound that’s hard to describe otherwise.
They will likely also display some or all of the following:
- fast footwork
- loud cries
- pursue/stalk intruder whether another cat, other pet, etc.
Owners beware. They will attack you too.
This sort of aggression is more common in unneutered and unspayed cats (yes, both male and female cats have a territory) because they are hyper-protective of their claimed space.
Too Much Contact
Whether you’re aware of it or not, when you pet your cat you stimulate and excite their senses. When you pet them too much you can overstimulate their sense which sends them into a hyper, spazzy cat mode.
Another reason your cat might become aggressive when you touch him/her is if they have a sensitivity in the area that they touched. If they do and you don’t know what it is, be sure to speak with your vet right away.
The purpose of life is to live and produce more offspring. Sometimes the need comes and goes at different times of our lives.
The female body is made to carry babies. The female instinct is to carry babies.
Not all females want to have young but for some, they get the urge to even though they can’t, especially if they are not fixed. Let me tell you a little story.
This is a long time ago before I knew better. I had a dog that wanted nothing to do with male dogs when she was young.
She was not fixed, had a very dominant personality and believe it or not, thought she was the one supposed to be doing the…you know…male side of things, lol!! Well, as she got older I notice a shift.
She started to act like she had puppies but she never had any and she wasn’t pregnant. What was happening was that she was having baby fever.
She’d get so frustrated that there wasn’t any puppies around and became quite depressed. She had one litter before she passed.
Your female Maine coon can likely feel the same if she doesn’t have kittens. Of course, she’ll have to deal with it BUT I mean, in all truthfulness and understanding instinct, some understanding and cuddles is in order. Don’t you agree? 🙂
Usually pets choose one person to be loyal to or in sync with. This doesn’t mean that they dislike the other peron, it just means they’re in tuned with one person.
If there is tension between two opposite members of your household, your cat will feel it too. They will feel exactly what you feel and react according to their own impulses.
I’ll give you a good example. Me and my hubby had a big argument and two of our cats started fighting later on that day and they did every day UNTIL we settled the disagreement and tensions dissipated in the house.
These two cats cuddle and bathe each other under normal circumstances but because one is in tune with me and one is in tune with my hubby, they conflicted because we conflicted. Lesson?
Be very mindful of your feelings. Your pets, dogs and even your kids feel them too.
Just take a deep breath in and let a deep breath out. B-R-E-A-T-H. 🙂
If you’ve recently adopted your Maine coon cat, good job! Adopting animals can be such a beautiful thing.
But remember that your cat has gone through a lot before it reaches your home. It will also have to get over fears like the fear of abandonement along with anything else it may have develop post-you.
Your house looks, feels, and smells totally different to your new furbaby. Just like you have to adjust to new surroundings so will s/he.
Just give them time, love and be patient. They will settle in eventually and if they still have anxieties, talk to your vet or even the rescue group that you got him/her from since they can shed more light on the cat’s personality and/or history.
Learned To Play With Hands
I touched on this a little before. Kittens should be properly socialized especially between the ages of 3 and 7 weeks.
Do NOT accept a kitten that has been taken from its mother before it is weaned which is usually AFTER 3 months (12 weeks). The kitten needs to learn important cat communication and behavior as part of the litter like:
- learning the feline language
- bite inhibition
- how to play with others
It is also important that you do not let anyone play with your kitten with their hands. Always provide toys for your kitten to play with instead.
Hands =/= Toys. NO EXCUSES!!
When that adult Maine coon chomps down on your hand thinking its a toy, you’ll know about it alright. It won’t be a comfortable experience and your cat will be very confused as to your reaction since it thinks it’s doing something normal.
Like I always say with my daughter, if it’s a bad habit, why start it in the first place? Wish I did this with sucking her fingers cuz I have no idea how to stop her.
Also, learn from me, don’t listen to anyone who tells you ‘just this one time’ or makes you out to be the bad guy, grouch, etc. Do what you gotta do and to h e double hockey sticks with that trash talk junk even if it’s coming from your own parents! T_T
Have you ever lashed out or yelled at someone just because you’re in a bad mood?
Yup, I think we’ve all had these less than glorified moments, heh-heh-heh. Well, your cat has these sort of moments too.
Sometimes it might be feeling stressed out and just take it out on you or someone in your household. The best thing to do is find the source of the stress and fix the issue.
I wrote some ideas earlier on in the post. If needed, consult with your vet or cat behaviorist for assistance.
Some people are more or less aggressive than others. Likewise, some Maine coons are more or less aggressive than each other.
A lot of times here, a good workout and outdoor session will work the stored up energy. If they have a mental dysfunction, you may have to seek medical attention.
As aforementioned, Maine coon cats are predisposed to obesity. Just like in humans, carrying access fat can have negative effects on mood, health, etc.
Things that you can do immediately are to:
- get your cat on a grain-free, weight control food
- incorporate enough exercise into their DAILY routine
- install quality sturdy cat trees for large cats for it to use to get more exercise and movement into its lifestyle
- it will also take up less of your time or on the odd occasion that you aren’t able to exercise him/her, s/he will still get in their workout
How To Stop Your Cat’s Aggression
I’ve talked about many reasons your cat may be aggressive. I’ve also talked about many solutions.
One solution that has a baring on most of these is a lack of physical activity. Maine coons lean more to the ‘wild’ side of things and need a lot of physical activity throughout the day.
If they are cooped up all day every day, they will be pretty unhappy and their health can be greatly affected as well. Before you drive him/her off to the pet shelter, don’t.
One thing that you can do right away is to install cat trees in your home. They come in a number of different styles, colors and some can even go up on your wall.
The wall varieties are actually the best for your cat, and yes, they can hold your big fluffy kitty too. At least the one I recommend by this awesome company called CatastrophicCreations.
I won’t go into details about them because I’ve already done a full review on the best wall mounted cat trees right here. You can really get creative with these too.
In addition to cat trees, take your cat to see your his/her vet. A consultation with his/her cat behaviorist is a good idea too.
You can research online for the best of each in your are by searching for ‘cat vet’ or cat behaviorist’ then add ‘near me’. So it will look like this:
‘cat vet near me’
And related searches.
Phew! I feel like I’VE just worked out after writing this massive article in one day!
But its no problem and I feel happy that I could shed some light on this problem for you. I hope that I’ve been able to help guide you in the right direction.
If you have any questions, comments or anything else to add, leave them in the comments box below. If you want to learn more about what you need to know about choosing the best cat trees for Maine coon cats as well as the top 10 that I recommend, click the button below.
See you next time!
MarlindaClick here to learn more about the best cat trees for Maine Coons!