Pros And Cons Of Having A Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon cats are one of the oldest and largest domesticated cat breeds. Originally from the state of Maine, where they are the official state cat, these felines are popular for their size, appearance, and friendly nature. Male Maine Coons can weigh between 13-18 pounds, with some reaching up to 20 pounds or more. Females are slightly smaller, usually weighing between 8-12 pounds. Their impressive size has earned them the moniker “gentle giants.”

Physically, Maine Coons have a rugged and robust look. They are characterized by muscular bodies, broad chests, and large, tufted ears that sit high on their heads. Their eyes are big, round, and can vary in color. The breed’s long, dense, and water-repellent fur is another defining characteristic. This feature helped them survive harsh New England winters in their early history.

The Maine Coon’s coat comes in a plethora of colors and patterns, including solid black, white, or red, as well as tabby and tortoiseshell. The fur is shorter on the head and shoulders, and it gradually becomes longer towards the stomach and flanks. Because of their thick fur, Maine Coons require regular grooming to avoid matting and hairballs. Brushing a few times a week can help keep their coat in good condition.

When it comes to their personality, Maine Coons are known for being friendly and affectionate. They maintain a playful, kitten-like demeanor throughout their lives. These cats are also intelligent and renowned for their problem-solving skills. They can be quite interactive with their human family, making them a delightful pet in households with ample space to accommodate their size.

Despite their general robust health, Maine Coons are prone to certain genetic health issues, such as hip dysplasia and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Therefore, regular veterinary visits and health screenings are crucial. The average lifespan of a Maine Coon is around 10-15 years, though many live even longer. Their distinct appearance, affable nature, and impressive intelligence make Maine Coons a popular choice among cat enthusiasts.

Tabby Maine Coon
Tabby Maine Coon Cat

Pros Of Having A Maine Coon Cat

1. Healthy

Maine Coon cats are renowned for their robustness and resilience, known to have a hardy constitution that can withstand tough conditions. Their dense, water-resistant fur serves as a natural protection against cold and damp environments, potentially warding off related health issues. The breed’s physical characteristics – strong bones and a muscular physique – contribute to their overall health and stamina. This inherent strength bolsters their resistance to certain physical ailments and injuries. Despite their large size, they generally don’t have a high risk of joint issues if they are provided with an appropriate diet and sufficient exercise.

Reputable breeders often prioritize health in their Maine Coon breeding programs, including screening for common genetic issues. This emphasis on health from the early stages supports the vitality of the breed as a whole. In addition, Maine Coons are typically long-lived, with many reaching well into their teens or beyond when given proper care and a healthy lifestyle. The breed also maintains an active, playful demeanor into their senior years, contributing to their overall well-being. The hearty appetite of Maine Coons, while requiring monitoring to avoid obesity, can also be a positive as it often means fewer issues with picky eating compared to other breeds, simplifying dietary management and the integration of necessary supplements or medicines.

2. Maine Coons Have A Truly Magnificent Look

Maine Coon cats are renowned for their striking appearance, often described as majestic and regal. They are among the largest domesticated cat breeds, with a muscular, robust body that exudes strength and vitality. Their broad chest and imposing size add an air of grandeur to their overall silhouette. The thick, long, and luxuriant coat of the Maine Coon is one of its most beautiful features, coming in a diverse range of colors and patterns. From solid to tabby and tortoiseshell, each variant offers its own unique allure. The coat is shorter on their head and shoulders, gradually lengthening towards the stomach and flanks, resembling a lion-like mane and enhancing their rugged yet elegant appearance.

Another captivating feature of Maine Coons is their large, tufted ears which stand tall on their heads. The tufts, known as “lynx tips,” give them a wild, lynx-like charm, adding to their allure. Complementing their look are their expressive, round eyes that come in a variety of colors like green, gold, or copper, reflecting their playful and affectionate personality. Their bushy tails, often as long as their bodies, are beautifully proportioned and add grace to their movement. Overall, the combination of their stunning physical traits and their engaging personalities makes Maine Coon cats not only aesthetically pleasing but also delightful companions, making them one of the most admired cat breeds globally.

3. They Are Family Friendly

Maine Coon cats are widely known for their friendly and affable nature, making them an excellent choice for families. They’re often described as “gentle giants” because, despite their large size, they have a calm, easy-going demeanor and are generally tolerant of the hustle and bustle of family life. Maine Coons are also sociable creatures, showing great interest in what their human family members are doing. They’re not the kind of cats to shy away or hide; instead, they often like to be in the middle of the action, engaging with family activities.

In addition to being sociable, Maine Coons are also exceptionally good with children and other pets, including dogs. They are playful and energetic, which can make them good playmates for older children. Their patient and tolerant nature means they’re likely to put up with the noise and commotion that comes with a busy household. Furthermore, their intelligent and curious nature often shines through in their interactions, which can be educational and entertaining for children. With these attributes, Maine Coons can seamlessly integrate into a family setting, offering companionship, entertainment, and affection.

4. Maine Coons Are Highly Intelligent

Maine Coon cats are celebrated for their remarkable intelligence. They are not just observers of their surroundings; they are active participants, displaying a curious and investigative nature. Their intellectual prowess is often compared to that of dogs because of their problem-solving abilities and willingness to learn new tricks and commands. They often demonstrate a heightened understanding of their environment and can solve problems that require a degree of thinking and reasoning. For example, many Maine Coon owners recount tales of their cats learning how to open doors or cabinets, remembering routines, or even fetching toys.

Their intelligence is not merely functional; it contributes significantly to their engaging personalities and the strong bonds they form with their human companions. Maine Coons have been known to exhibit a certain level of sensitivity to their owner’s emotions, a trait that may be attributed to their intellectual acuity. They are often responsive and adapt well to their family’s lifestyle, showing a knack for “tuning in” to their human’s moods and responding accordingly.

Moreover, their intellect makes them a joy to train. Maine Coons can often be taught commands, tricks, or even to walk on a leash, much like dogs. Their capacity to learn and their generally cooperative nature make them receptive to positive reinforcement training techniques. While they can be independent, Maine Coons also appreciate interactive play that challenges their minds. Puzzle toys and games that stimulate their hunting instincts can provide mental enrichment for these smart felines. Their intelligence, paired with their affectionate and sociable nature, makes Maine Coons captivating companions.

5. They Are Not Aggressive

Maine Coon cats are often praised for their even-tempered and non-aggressive nature. Despite their large size and formidable appearance, they are typically gentle and easygoing. These cats are known for their patience and tolerance, making them a popular choice for families with children or other pets. Rather than resorting to aggression, a Maine Coon is more likely to retreat or find a peaceful solution when confronted with a stressful or uncomfortable situation. They are generally considered to be one of the more peace-loving breeds, preferring harmony and companionship over conflict.

It’s important to note that the demeanor of a Maine Coon, like any cat, can be influenced by its individual personality, upbringing, and experiences. Early socialization, a stimulating environment, and a loving home can help to ensure that a Maine Coon grows up to be a calm and non-aggressive adult. Of course, providing proper care, including regular play, sufficient space, and appropriate veterinary attention, also contributes to a cat’s overall well-being and behavior. Generally, with their gentle, tolerant nature and propensity for peaceful coexistence, Maine Coons make fantastic, non-aggressive companions.

6. They Love To Play

Maine Coon cats are renowned for their playful and energetic disposition. Even as they grow into their large adult size, they often maintain a kitten-like enthusiasm for play that lasts well into their senior years. They enjoy a wide range of games, from chasing laser pointers to pouncing on feathered toys. Some Maine Coons even display a dog-like tendency to play fetch, happily chasing after a thrown toy and bringing it back to their human companions for another round. Their playful demeanor doesn’t just provide entertainment, it also serves as a testament to their youthful spirit and boundless curiosity.

This breed’s playful nature is complemented by its exceptional intelligence. Maine Coons often prefer toys that challenge their problem-solving skills or allow them to exercise their natural hunting instincts. Puzzle toys, interactive playthings, or anything that moves in an unpredictable manner can keep a Maine Coon engaged for hours. This love of play isn’t just fun for the cat; it’s also a joy for their human companions to watch and participate in. Despite their majestic and imposing appearance, Maine Coons reveal a charming and engaging side when at play, making them delightful companions for individuals and families alike.

White Maine Coon
White Maine Coon Cat

Possible Downsides Of Choosing A Maine Coon

1. Expensive

Maine Coon cats are indeed often more expensive than many other cat breeds, and this can be attributed to a variety of factors. To begin with, the breed’s widespread popularity and unique, impressive appearance significantly drive up demand. Maine Coons are known for their large size, distinctive tufted ears, luxurious coats, and amiable dispositions, making them highly desirable as pets.

The cost of Maine Coon cats is also influenced by ethical and thorough breeding practices. Reputable breeders invest considerable time, knowledge, and resources into their breeding programs, prioritizing the health, temperament, and conformity to breed standards of their cats. These breeders carry out comprehensive health screenings, provide quality food and medical care, ensure appropriate socialization, and often guarantee their kittens against certain health issues. The associated costs of these practices can be quite high, and are reflected in the price of the kittens.

The cost of purchasing a Maine Coon kitten can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, contingent upon factors such as the cat’s lineage, the reputation of the breeder, and the cat’s color and pattern, which can be rarer in some cases. Exceptionally well-bred Maine Coons from champion lines can command even higher prices. However, it’s important to remember that the cost of owning a Maine Coon doesn’t end with the initial purchase. Their larger size requires more food than a typical cat might consume, their grooming needs can be more extensive, and they may require larger, more sturdy equipment (like cat trees or litter boxes), adding to the overall cost of ownership.

2. Grooming

Maine Coons, with their long and luxurious coats, do come with a set of grooming challenges. While their fur is less prone to matting compared to some other long-haired breeds due to its texture, it still requires regular brushing to keep it healthy and looking its best. Neglecting this essential grooming can lead to knots and mats, which can be uncomfortable or even painful for the cat, and may require professional grooming or shaving to remove.

Another concern is the potential for hairballs. As Maine Coons groom themselves, they can ingest a significant amount of hair, which can then accumulate in their digestive tract and form hairballs. Hairballs can lead to discomfort, vomiting, and in severe cases, intestinal blockages. Regular brushing can help minimize the amount of loose hair the cat swallows, reducing the risk of hairball-related issues. Despite your efforts, though, Maine Coons are still more likely to develop hairballs than shorter-haired breeds due to the length and volume of their fur.

Additionally, Maine Coons have tufted ears that can trap dirt, moisture, and debris, making them more prone to ear infections if not regularly cleaned. While all cats should have their ears checked and cleaned as part of a regular grooming routine, the tufts in a Maine Coon’s ears create extra folds and crevices where problems can hide. Regular inspections and cleaning are essential, but this is one more grooming task that prospective Maine Coon owners need to be prepared for. So while Maine Coons are undoubtedly beautiful and luxurious-looking cats, they do come with a higher maintenance cost in terms of grooming needs compared to many other breeds.

3. More Money Spent On Maine Coons

Maine Coons, as one of the largest domesticated cat breeds, naturally have larger appetites than their smaller counterparts. This means that they require more food, which can considerably increase the monthly expenditure on cat food. Owners must be prepared for this ongoing cost, which isn’t a one-time expense like the purchase price of the cat, but rather a consistent part of owning a Maine Coon. Given the length of a cat’s life, this increased food cost can accumulate significantly over time.

Moreover, it’s not just about quantity; quality of food is equally important. Maine Coons, like all cats, thrive on a diet that is high in protein and meets their specific nutritional needs. This often means that cheaper, lower-quality cat foods aren’t suitable. High-quality cat food, whether dry or wet, tends to be more expensive. Plus, due to their large size and active nature, Maine Coons may also benefit from special diets, such as those designed for large breed cats or high-energy cats, which can also be more costly than standard cat food. These factors combined mean that feeding a Maine Coon can be a significant financial commitment.

4. Maine Coons Need Space

Being one of the largest domestic cat breeds, Maine Coons require a substantial amount of space to move and play. This need for space can pose challenges, particularly for those living in smaller homes or apartments. Maine Coons are energetic and active cats that love to explore, climb, and play. If confined to a smaller space, they may not have adequate room to exercise and exhibit their natural behaviors, potentially leading to stress, boredom, or destructive behaviors such as scratching furniture or inappropriate elimination.

Additionally, due to their size, Maine Coons require larger, more robust equipment than many other breeds. Regular-sized cat trees, beds, or litter boxes might not be sufficient or durable enough for a full-grown Maine Coon. This requirement not only means that you’ll need to allot more space in your home for these larger items, but it can also mean higher costs as larger, sturdier pet equipment tends to be more expensive. Thus, before adopting a Maine Coon, it’s essential to consider whether your living situation can comfortably accommodate a cat of this size and to prepare for the potential increase in pet-related costs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Maine Coon cats have a lot to offer as pets, with their impressive size, unique appearance, playful nature, and friendly disposition making them an appealing choice for many cat lovers. Their intelligence and sociable demeanor mean they can easily become engaging and affectionate members of the family. Their friendly nature towards children and other pets also adds to their suitability for families. Moreover, they’re generally non-aggressive, making them a peaceful and lovable companion.

However, owning a Maine Coon comes with responsibilities and potential challenges that prospective owners need to consider. The significant grooming needs, driven by their long and luxurious coats, can demand a significant time commitment and can potentially lead to health issues like hairballs if not properly managed. Their large size means they need more space to move and play, which could be an issue for those living in smaller spaces. Additionally, the financial implications of owning a Maine Coon, such as the increased food costs due to their size and the potential for higher vet bills due to certain breed-specific health issues, should be seriously considered. It’s important that prospective Maine Coon owners are well-informed and prepared for the commitment that comes with owning this wonderful breed.

About The Author

Jennifer Terell, a valued author at Allpetsville, is an experienced cat owner and breeder. Her deep understanding of felines, coupled with a passion for writing, contributes to her insightful and engaging articles.

Her expertise in cat behavior, health, and breeding offers readers a comprehensive guide to feline care. Through her writings, Jennifer’s love for cats resonates, making her a reliable resource for cat owners and enthusiasts on their pet parenting journey.