From their storied history to their goofy, playful nature, Maine coon cats are far from your average cat breed. One glance at their size alone could make you question everything you thought you knew about cats in general — and their personalities make them that much more intriguing.
If you’re thinking about adding a Maine coon to your family, it’s important to think beyond the novelty of their size and quirkiness.
In order to determine if this breed is a good match for you, it’s important to look into the Maine coon cat personality, their living requirements, and your ability to take care of their health-related needs.
We’ve put together a resource to help you decide if this lovable breed is right for you.
What is a Maine coon cat?
You may have heard of the Maine coon cat, and if you’re looking for a new feline family member, you may have even seen pictures of them. But it’s just as probable that the Maine coon breed is completely unfamiliar to you.
Yes, the Maine coon cat is quite large. But it’s not just their size that makes them so distinct.
First recognized as a breed in Maine, it isn’t shocking that the Maine coon became the official state cat. Believe it or not, Maine, Maryland, and Massachusetts are the only three states with an official state cat, and Maine was the first to get one in 1985.
And long before that, in 1895, a Maine coon cat named Cosey won “Best Cat” at the first major cat show in the United States. However, the breed wasn’t officially recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) until 1976.
In 2021, the CFA ranked the Maine coon cat as the second-most popular cat breed. Though great for the breed, this popularity also means a pet owner will pay a higher price to buy a purebred Maine coon from a reputable breeder.
What are some common Maine coon personality traits?
This breed has qualities and traits that might seem surprising for a cat.
That being said, not all Maine coons will have the same personality or demeanor. Personality is a mix of temperament and environmental factors, like home life and relationships with humans and other pets.
The temperament of a Maine coon cat is innate or genetic within that particular breed. But how Maine coons interact with their surroundings is very individualized. In other words, each cat is unique in its own way, regardless of the breed.
Cats aren’t typically thought of as being trainable. That’s one of the Maine coon cat’s unique traits: this breed is trainable.
Much like dogs (and humans), Maine coons are creatures of habit. By linking expected behaviors to pleasant things, like treats, you can train your cat to do a variety of things — including wearing a harness and leash.
Your Maine coon’s high level of intelligence means they pick up on new things quickly and can even be coaxed into playing fetch! Much of this has to do with their high prey drive.
They’ll often teach themselves tricks, too. Maine coons are well-known for problem-solving, and they can quickly figure out how to open your doors and cabinets.
The Maine coon’s intelligence also allows them to easily adapt to people and other pets within their environment. Some of this adaptability comes from their memory — even if you’re away for a while, your Maine coon cat will remember you.
Social & affectionate
Maine coons tend to think of themselves as pack animals — which makes you and your family their pack mates. These gentle giants want to be involved in everything you do, no matter where you might be.
Though they may not want to sit on your lap, your Maine coon will want to snuggle up next to you as you lounge on the couch or try to sleep in your bed. Unlike most cats, this breed tends to be a little more dependent.
If you think you’ll be gone a lot throughout the day or are traveling frequently, consider getting your Maine coon a friend to keep them company.
Another unique Maine coon cat personality trait is their love (and need) for daily play sessions. Because they are large, intelligent animals, they crave the activity.
That stimulation can come from fetching, as mentioned earlier, or other games that’ll allow them to burn off some energy, such as chasing a flirt pole.
Maine coons are a naturally curious breed, so keep that in mind during playtime — and even outside of playtime, too.
By providing your Maine coon with plenty of interactive toys, scratching posts, and perches to explore, you’ll be able to accommodate their natural curiosity and need for physical and mental stimulation, and keep them safe at the same time.
What do I need to know about caring for a Maine coon?
Two of the main care requirements for the Maine coon are proper grooming and feeding.
Maine coons have long fur on their stomachs, back legs, and under their necks; however, this fur is easier to maintain than many think.
The reason for this is that the coat itself is incredibly silky. And this is beneficial because Maine coons have a double coat, which they naturally developed to keep them warm during Maine’s harsh winters.
Maine coons will typically take care of their own grooming needs. That being said, you’ll also want to brush them two or three times per week to prevent matting.
During their shedding seasons (yes, they do shed — a lot), you’ll need to use a brush or comb that’ll get all the way down to the undercoat to help pull up some of that dead hair. In some cases, you can even take your Maine coon to the groomer for a good bath and brush.
And, while we’re talking grooming, don’t forget to trim your Maine coon’s claws. Having some scratching posts on hand will help with this, too.
You should also brush your cat’s teeth regularly and check their ears for dirt and debris.
To keep a Maine Coon cat healthy, they’ll need a high-quality diet consisting of a mix of wet and dry food. The quantity of food needed, though, will vary at different stages of your cat’s life. It’s important to discuss when to switch your Maine coon from kitten food to adult food with your vet.
Because Maine Coons grow more slowly than other cat breeds, they may need kitten food longer to maintain a healthy weight. Older cats also have different dietary needs. You should also consider your cat’s exercise level, both indoor and outdoor, when determining the appropriate amount of food for them.
Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important for this breed, which often suffers from obesity.
And, with obesity comes other health issues, such as arthritis in the joints, liver and metabolic problems and heart disease. Since the last thing you want to do as a pet parent is limit your Maine coon’s playfulness and exploration, check with your vet early and often to make sure you’re feeding your feline friend properly.
Frequently asked questions
Is there a difference between male and female Maine coon cats?
The most obvious difference between male and female Maine coon cats is their size. Males tend to weigh more, from 15 to 25 pounds, whereas females are on the lower end of the scale at 11 to 15 pounds.
Males and females also have slight behavioral differences. Males tend to be more affectionate and playful, and they can also be more dependent on their owners than females.
So if you’re looking for a cat that loves frequent attention and is more dog-like, a male might be right for your household.
On the other hand, their female counterparts tend to be more cautious of new people and are typically less demanding of attention.
Are Maine coon cats aggressive?
Don’t let their size fool you! Maine coon cats are one of the friendliest cat breeds — though, as with any breed, their environment and the amount of socialization they’ve had do affect their behavior, as well.
They may become aggressive if they feel stressed or threatened, but this isn’t a common trait for the breed.
What sounds do Maine coons make?
Adding to the unique charm of this breed, Maine coons are known for their vocalizations. They purr, like other cats, but they also make a chirping sound instead of a typical meow. Your Maine coon will chirp to get your attention and alert you of their needs — whether they’re happy, hungry, excited, or distressed.
Are Maine coons good house pets?
Maine coons can make great house pets if you have enough space and can provide them with enough mental stimulation. They’re known for their friendly and playful nature, but their large size also means they need room to roam and play. With proper care, they make wonderful additions to most households.
Do Maine coons actually like water?
Not only do Maine coon cats typically like water, but they often play in it, too — whether in the tub, sink, or even their water bowl.
Many of these cats also love playing in the snow. Fun fact, they can even walk on top of it due to their unique paw structure.
Is the Maine coon cat temperament and personality right for you?
Maine coons are quirky, cuddly, and a whole lot of fun.
However, as with any pet, it’s important to look at both the positives and potential negatives in your decision to adopt a specific breed.
Before jumping into becoming a pet parent to a Maine coon cat, there are a few things to consider. Do you have enough space for your Maine coon to explore and play? Will you be able to manage their heavy shedding and their need to be the center of attention?
At betterpet.com, we know that you only want what’s best for your pet, whatever breed (or breeds) they might be. Understanding your cat’s needs and proper care is crucial to their health and overall well-being.