Maine Coon Cats are known to be gentle, easy-going cats. They are the largest breed among domestic cats which makes them highly sought after and highly esteemed by cat enthusiasts.
Most of us will only dream of owning one of these large beauties but for the lucky ones of you who do have one, it can be troubling when they start to act in ways that are not commonly associated with them. Some common bad behaviors associated with Maine Coons include:
It can be quite unsettling when your docile fluffball turns into a cat you’re more likely to see in a horror film. So how can you discipline a Maine Coon Cat so s/he returns to the loving pet you know?
Here are my 5 best tips for you!
Maine Coon Cat Behavior Profile
Before we get into disciplining your cat, let’s talk about what your Maine Coon should be acting like. Sometimes their natural behaviors might not be likable but they’re just being themselves.
In some cases, there are things that we can do like install cat trees and distractions but for the most part, its best to let your cat be a cat. Just you won’t like if someone all of a sudden comes into your life and tries change the natural things about you, neither will your cat.
And just like how you will become frustrated and perhaps act very out of character in this case, your cat will be the same.
So please take this to heart and accept your cat being a cat. I can relate because the whole reason I started this site was because I hated my cats jumping on the table and tearing up the furniture.
While I had to learn that scratching and jumping are normal, natural and necessary for cats, I also learned how to keep them off the furniture and places that I didn’t like or may not be safe for them to be like the stove top.
Maine Coon Cat Personality
Maine Coons are wild by nature. This is why it is important that you get your cat from a responsible, experienced breeder who knows how to properly socialize and raise Maine Coons (more on this later).
That being said, under normal domestic circumstances, you can expect them to be:
a strong need to be high
affinity for snow and water
very vocal (your cat has a lot to say and s/he’s gonna say it!! lol! 🙂 )
good with other cats and dogs
Common Maine Coon Habits
In the personality section, you will notice that I mentioned their need to be up high. This is very important for you to know because if you do not provide your cat with proper platforms, perches, trees, etc., s/he WILL fulfill their need somewhere in your home whether you like it or not.
That’s because Maine Coon Cats are naturally skilled hunters of mice. Now before you get offended, this is not saying that your home has mice in it, although if one happened to scurry in mistakingly you can be sure it won’t be around for long.
This just means that their instinct drives them to hunt. In order for them to feel like they are fulfilling this drive, they will seek high places as that is the best vantage point to see a fast-moving mouse hurrying across the ground.
I’ve only personally encountered a mixed Maine Coon Cat and she liked to perch in the same spot for hours on end constantly looking back and forth. So if you have a purebred Maine Coon Cat it will do this even more.
Reasons Your Maine Coon Might Be Misbehaving
As aforementioned, just like certain conditions make you feel and act, unlike your usual awesome self, the same will happen to your Maine Coon. Below, you will find some common conditions that might make your cat act out of character.
The first thing that you should think to do when your Maine Coon cat (or any pet for that matter) acts out of character is to take him/her to the vet. That’s because there are a number of feline ailments that your cat could be experiencing.
Even something as small as an ingrown or cracked claw can cause severe discomfort and make your cat extra cranky. But as the parent of a Maine Coon, you should also be aware of some common conditions that they are prone to.
Another ailment that can have your cat acting nothing like itself are parasites. Although technically not an ‘illness’ if your pet has them, s/he can experience a host of illnesses that, again, will make them act completely out of character.
Some things to look for are:
white or other particles in poop that look like rice or strings
excessive litter box use
no litter box use
gagging or reaching but nothing comes up
Again, if you suspect that your cat is ill in any way, take him/her to the vet right away because only they can confirm what is going on internally. Google can’t do that for you.
Further to illnesses, your cat may also have some sort of injury that you may or may not be able to see or detect. For instance, a fractured bone will not be detectable but your cat will certainly be in pain from it.
There are a number of ways that your cat can be injured and it may be a result of their everyday life or aging process.
Avoiding injury is one of the biggest reasons that you should have proper cat trees and other furniture available in your home for your cat because they will be able to access it properly. They will also be able to grasp onto it and not be the victim of a slipping accident whether inside or outside your home.
For instance, High-rise syndromeis a common condition caused largely because cats are not given proper cat climbing structures.
If you suspect that your cat may be injured, take it to the vet right away. The longer you wait to treat an injury, the worse it will get.
And like in the case with High-rise syndrome, the sooner you get your cat to the vet for treatment, the more likely and better they will recover.
Although Maine Coon Cats are pretty social kitties, whether they are male or female they will have a sense of territory. There are two types of cat territories:
Hunting/Personal territory (male and female)
Mating territory (more enforced with males)
For indoor cats, the size of their territory doesn’t have to be huge but it does have to be their’s. The size of it will depend on the cat BUT the good news is that you can increase it by building vertically (up and down) or horizontally (left to right or vice versa).
Remember that just because your cat isn’t actually ‘hunting’ or even breeding, it will still have these drives built into it. You can obviously reduce the mating territory urges by spaying your male cat, however, it will not change the hunting/personal territory needs.
Males will need more area than females, but do not consider this as a sign that females don’t need their own space. If they do not have enough space, they will likely become aggressive and attack other cats, other pets and even you in some cases.
There are a number of things that can stress your cat. They include, but not limited to:
not enough personal territory and other ‘property’ like bowls, toys, beds, etc.
no safe place to rest, sleep, play, eat, etc.
being chased by other cats, dogs, pets, kids, etc.
natural conditions or imbalances with hormones, body function, etc.
Just like some people are better at controlling their food consumption than others, it is the same with cats. With Maine Coon Cats, males are more prone to overeating and obesity than females.
(Of course, this is not to say that females don’t overeat.)
I would think that is because of their larger size. It is also important to make sure that you’re feeding your cat good, nutritious foods that are free of grains and other fillers.
Like with foods we eat, fillers are useless to body function and are stored as access fats. So while grain-free and healthier foods are more ‘expensive’, they do your cat a whole lot more good and a lot of the time they’ll end up eating less because their bodies will be fulfilled with the nutrients it needs.
Obesity in cats is directly linked to behavior altering conditions like:
Now you can see how something as simple as overeating can lead to your cat not acting like his or herself.
Not Being Properly Socialized As A Kitten
You might say that Maine Coons are not inherently calm. Instead, they can be quite wild.
It takes a lot of effort to mold a kitten into a well-behaved adult cat. That includes it being properly exposed to other cats, pets, people, etc. and raised in safe, appropriate conditions.
This is why it is so important to get your cat from a reputable, experienced breeder who will make sure that it is properly socialized as a kitten. If it has not received the proper upbringing it will be very hard to correct as an adult.
Another thing that should happen as a kitten is spaying/neutering. Aside from unwanted breeding, this will stop the production of unwanted hormones that lead to unwanted behavioral issues like aggression, being over possessive, etc.
Right now, there is no excuse why your pet can’t be neutered because you can get it done cheaply at low-cost clinics along with a host of other necessary procedures like vaccinations, deworming, etc.
5 Ways To Discipline A Maine Coon Cat
Now that you have a good understanding of how your Maine Coon should and shouldn’t be acting, we can jump right into disciplining him/her.
But honestly, I’m not sure if there is actually a way to ‘discipline’ a cat as much as there is to give it what it needs to solve his/her issues.
How NOT To Discipline A Maine Coon Cat
I want to make this really clear. Cats are different than dogs.
To be blunt, they don’t care what you want. They are hunting machines and strongly driven to do so.
For this reason, you MUST take it seriously to give your cat what it needs. You should not be:
using abusive tactics and language
confining them for long periods of time
These will result in worst behavior from your cat. They are also inhumane and bad practices as a whole.
I know it can be frustrating to deal with but you MUST take a couple of deep breaths, calm down, refocus your mind and move forward to find a good solution for you and your cat.
Also, I challenge you to not ‘give it up’ just because you don’t like what s/he is doing or if s/he isn’t responding to what you are trying. Take the time to make your home cat-friendly and you will be handsomely rewarded with a wonderful pet you know your Maine Coon Cat should be.
How To Help Your Maine Coon Cat
In order to get your Maine Coon to act right, you have to:
Figure out the problem
Find the solution to your problem
Fix the problem
Include preventative measures and plans of actions so that it doesn’t happen again OR the effect is reduced (depending on the problem)
The first place to take your Maine Coon Cat is to the vet. Your vet will be able to examine your cat at an internal, external and microscopic (things you can’t see) level.
They will also be able to give your cat the treatment it needs and prescribe treatments that are only accessible through a veterinarian.
I can tell you from experience that if it’s not a health issue then chances are that your cat is likely having a territory issue. Lucky for you, this particular problem is easily fixable and more cost-effective than a huge vet bill.
You are also lucky because cats and their weird way of thinking don’t need an actual increase in the size of their territory, but instead, they will do even better if you increase their surface area of things to climb within the same size area.
Bear in mind that since we are talking about the largest domestic cat in the world, the average cat furniture will not work. Most are poorly made and will topple over or/and break when your Maine Coon tries to get on it.
If you have tried the first two options but your cat isn’t responding completely or at all, s/he might have some sort of psychological or emotional issue going on.
Contrary to age-old beliefs, animals like cats and dogs actually DO have feelings and are capable of making emotionally driven decisions or actions.
They are also susceptible to being born with or developing psychological imbalances.
Just like your doctor can not diagnose you with specialized conditions like depression (not saying you have it, just an example), neither can a vet diagnose a cat with depression or another disorder either.
For this reason, you will have to seek specialized attention from a cat psychologist.
A cat behaviorist will also be able to help you, in this case, better than your vet because they work with your cat’s psyche and thought process as well. They will also be able to advise you of other methods and things that you can do to make your cat behave and feel more at home in your home.
If your cat is diagnosed with a mental disorder, s/he will be given medications to help with their situation. I have no experience with the type of medications that are given to cats with mental disabilities but I know that it is very real.
Give Him Attention
As I mentioned before your cat has very real feelings. I know sometimes we get busy and the first ones to be neglected attention are our pets, especially if you have kids.
Your attention goes to your kids and making sure your animal is fed seems ‘good enough’. I can relate because I have to remind myself of the same thing ALL the time.
But your cat does need your attention. Just like your child will act out when you don’t give them enough attention, so will your Maine Coon if s/he doesn’t get enough attention.
And being very social cats, they do like a lot of attention.
What I like to do is give myself time to relax, watch a show and idly pet my cat or let him rub up against my hand when I hold it up for him to do so. That way, I’m still giving them attention but still getting some down time myself.
We need that too and the good thing about cats is they will rub up against you themselves and its not as hard as a dog so you can just let them do their thing.
I also like to cradle mine and give them little belly rubs. This can be tricky with some cats especially if you just started a relationship with them.
But if your cat will expose its belly to you, it is a very good sign. So I like to get mine to do it asap without rushing or pushing them into it.
‘Another attention while I relax’ tactic I like to use is using a laser light. This not only gives them attention but it also gives them exercise which is another necessary component to their daily needs.
Doing this will reduce their chances of becoming obese and developing weight-related problems including behavioral issues, depression, and diseases.
Give Hime Safe Places and Refuge
Even though Maine Coons are social cats, they still need to have safe places to:
If you have children, other pets or other cats, your Maine Coon might not be able to find anywhere s/he can feel at ease. Being in constant tension will definitely affect their behavior as well.
That being said, it is important that you create safe places for your cat. Observe what s/he naturally likes to perch on and find something similar for him/her that is off the ground and away from threats.
A ‘threat’ is anything or anyone that will disturb him/her while they are resting, eating etc. They include:
other pets roaming the house
you if you bother them at the wrong time
A good way to give your cat a safe place to be is to install a cat tree or condo designed to handle their weight. You can put their food bowl on one of the tall perches so that they won’t be d
isturbed while eating.
This is also a good idea because they won’t be disturbed while sleeping either as most are above or close to 6 ft tall.
As I previously mentioned, you will need special cat trees to handle your Maine coon’s weight and activity. Personally, I recommend wall-mounted cat trees by Catastrophic Creations.
They have specialized perches with inserts for your cat’s food and water bowl but also inserts for plants your cat will love like catnip. You can also plant cat-friendly plants in them to make an awesome wall decoration so that it doesn’t scream ‘cat tree on my wall’ haha!
I hope that this information has helped you develop a plan of action to handle your Maine Coon Cat’s unruly behavior. If you have any questions, comments or other feedback, please leave them in the comments box below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible 🙂