Even though this breed is generally considered loving and low maintenance, there are some Maine Coon behavior problems that can become serious issues for cat owners.
Thankfully, most of these problems involve the owners’ behavior, rather than the cat.
Maine Coons can become aggressive or territorial if their boundaries are not respected or they are forced into a cramped living space with no privacy. If these cats do not receive enough playtime or exercise, they may become bored and destructive, especially if they do not have a scratching post or cat tree to scratch or climb on.
Since responsible Maine Coon breeders socialize kittens from a young age, they are rarely aggressive or skittish.
If you do not establish proper boundaries during kittenhood, however, your Maine Coon may end up biting, destroying furniture, or disobeying rules.
So, what can you do about it?
Read on to find out how you can solve any behavior problems in Maine Coon cats.
Maine Coon Behavior Problems
The Maine Coon is an elegant cat breed with long fur and a powerful, serious expression.
They are particularly famous for their enormous size and generally weigh between 8 and 25 pounds on average.
These cats are also known for being gentle, sweet, and family-oriented.
While most Maine Coons are known to be friendly and easygoing, some environmental factors can lead to undesirable behavior.
Here are some of the possible behavior problems found in Maine Coons:
- Inappropriate Climbing
- Scratching Furniture
Let’s take a look at these Maine Coon behavioral problems in greater detail.
While aggression is not usually known to be one of the common Maine Coon breed problems, it certainly can happen.
The Maine Coon bite force can reach up to 75 PSI, and even a small bite can lead to a dangerous, and even deadly, infection.
If you are wondering why does my Maine Coon bite me, the issue probably has more to do with your behavior than your cat’s.
Cats bite for many reasons. Some cats bite their owners gently as a way of showing affection, but if your cat’s bites are painful, then there is something more serious going on.
A lot of owners think if a cat bites them it means the animal is mean, but cats do not hurt people out of malice!
One of the common reasons for cat biting starts in kittenhood.
Owners use their hands to play with their new companions because it does not hurt to be bitten, scratched, and kicked by a tiny kitten. Once the cat grows up, though, this behavior is much less cute!
Owners should encourage their kittens to play with toys rather than their hands, because the behavior will be much harder to change later in life.
Aggression can also come out of a cat’s fear and frustration.
Cats tend to communicate with subtle body language at first before they bite or attack.
However, if your Maine Coon is hissing, growling, and flattening its ears, these are ways your cat is telling you to “back off!”
If you continue to pet or pick up your cat when it asks you not to, it will begin using less subtle communication methods.
If you have children or pets that are rowdy or rough, your Maine Coon may become aggressive as a means of defending itself.
Maine Coons are not usually territorial, but they can become more defensive in their space if they feel their privacy is being invaded.
Even though they are generally friendly and social, all cats like to have personal space now and then.
If you live in a busy or crowded home and your Maine Coon has no space to retreat to, it will begin to defend parts of its territory.
This is especially true if you have other cats or dogs that encroach on your cat’s space or food.
If you have cats in your neighborhood that threaten your cat from outside the window, this can also result in territorial behavior.
Your Maine Coon may perceive outside animals as a threat, but since they cannot attack through a window, they might end up redirecting that aggression toward family members.
A Maine Coon will be aggressive to other cats if it feels insecure in its environment and needs to feel like it has its own safe space to retreat to.
If your Maine Coon is not spayed or neutered, it is much more likely to become territorial.
Additionally, cats are much more likely to defend their territory if they have the drive to mate.
Male cats will become territorial to prevent other male cats from encroaching on their territory, and female cats will become territorial to defend any kittens they might have.
As much as we love our cats, spending too much time with them can be detrimental in the long run.
Young kittens are prone to developing separation anxiety if you do not teach them independence.
Some kittens will become so clingy that they cry even if you leave the room!
This is why it is a good idea to shut your kitten in a separate room every so often and get your kitten used to you leaving the house for a few hours at a time.
Maine Coons are natural climbers, but this can become a problem if they start walking on the table or counters.
This can occur if your Maine Coon does not have enough cat trees or shelves to climb, or it could simply be the result of you not enforcing rules strictly enough.
It is important to start teaching your cat house rules from a young age.
For example, if your cat jumps on the table or counter, immediately set your cat back down on the floor.
You can use toys, treats, and catnip to gently encourage your cat to stay on the floor.
Spraying is one of the most undesirable behaviors that can occur in Maine Coons.
This negative Maine Coon behavior is almost always found in cats that have not been spayed or neutered.
It is important to get your cat fixed at a young age because, by the time a cat starts spraying, it becomes a lot more difficult to stop the behavior.
Spraying can also happen if a cat feels territorial, anxious, or like it does not have enough personal space.
This is the best age to neuter a Maine Coon cat.
If your Maine Coon likes to scratch at the curtains, couch, or carpets, then it means you do not have enough scratching posts.
Cats need lots of scratchers located all around the house, and they need different shapes, sizes, and materials, too.
Scratching is an important way for cats to stretch, remove the outer sheath of their claws, and mark their territory with the scent glands on their paws.
Cats also need scratching posts to be able to stretch both vertically and horizontally.
You should provide scratchers made of cardboard, high-quality sisal rope, and carpet.
If your Maine Coon destroys cardboard, wood, shoes, or anything else by scratching, biting, digging, or knocking things over, then this is a sign your Maine Coon is not getting enough enrichment.
These cats are incredibly intelligent and active, so they need a lot of toys and furniture to keep them occupied.
It is also important to play with your Maine Coon cats for at least thirty minutes a day.
The Maine Coon’s high prey drive means these cats long to chase after things, and they can easily become bored of chasing after balls they batted around themselves.
How To Discipline A Maine Coon Cat
People use all sorts of crazy methods to discipline their cats, from squirt bottles to time-outs to rolled-up newspapers! However, none of these methods actually work.
Here are the tried-and-true ways you can encourage your Maine Coon to follow the rules:
The best way to get a cat to stop a behavior is to redirect them.
Say, for example, your kitten is playing with your hand. Pulling your hand away and saying “stop” will stop your cat from playing with your hand at that moment, but they have not actually learned anything.
Instead, grab a toy your cat likes and wiggle it near your cat while you gently move your hand away.
Over time, your kitten will realize that toys are more appropriate to play with than hands.
The key to getting your cat to follow rules is consistency and repetition.
If your cat keeps jumping on the counter, instead of putting your cat on the floor once and walking away, stay nearby.
As soon as your cat jumps on the counter again, pick it up and place it back on the floor.
Letting your cat on the counter “sometimes” when you are not in the mood to discourage the bad cat behavior is the perfect way to cement that Maine Coon behavioral problem, forever.
Cats learn through positive reinforcement rather than punishment. Thus, it is better to teach your cat what is right to do rather than what is wrong.
If your cat keeps scratching at the couch, do not yell or try to make your cat realize that its behavior is bad.
Instead, place a scratcher near the couch and offer positive reinforcement through:
Why Is My Maine Coon So Aggressive?
If you are wondering why is my Maine Coon cat so mean, then there is a lot you will need to change about your own behavior.
Maine Coons do not hurt their owners out of malice, but rather self-protection.
Here are some reasons why your Maine Coon might be behaving aggressively:
- Disrespected Boundaries
Let’s now look at these factors a little more closely, so that we understand them better:
Cats usually act aggressively if they feel unsafe or insecure.
If your cat is scared of other pets or family members, it could hiss, growl, or even lash out at you.
Cats may also feel insecure if you bring a new pet into the home, move to a new location, or if they feel threatened by another animal outside.
Aggression is not one of the common Maine Coon personality traits, so if your Maine Coon is aggressive, take a look at your own behavior first.
Some owners do not respect their cat’s boundaries, and choose to pick them up, pet them, or tease them even when the cat asks to be left alone.
Make sure that you and all of your household members are treating your cat with respect.
If petting your once sweet and cuddly cat turns into a sudden Maine Coon attack, your cat could be suffering from an injury or an underlying condition.
As cats age, they tend to have stiffer, more sore joints, and they may develop arthritis or other conditions.
If your cat starts hissing when you touch it in a certain spot, consider taking your cat to the vet.
Some cats seem to be aggressive when they are actually just playing, but this does not make it any less playful!
Some cats learn to bite and kick their owners during kittenhood, or they may surprise you with a sneak attack on your feet as you walk past.
It is important to teach your Maine Coon to play with toys rather than attacking you!
If your cat seems playful and happy one moment and starts attacking you the next, it is likely overstimulated.
Playing too rough with your cat, moving a toy around too quickly, or playing while there is lots of noise or activity happening in the background can cause your cat to experience sensory overload.
This will make your cat feel jumpy and over-excited, and it may become aggressive because it is too overwhelmed to respond calmly.
Why Is My Maine Coon So Naughty?
If your Maine Coon is driving you crazy, it is natural to be a little bit frustrated. Still, try not to blame your cat for breaking your rules!
Cats do not do naughty things to annoy you; they are just interacting with the world in a way that is natural for them.
Here are some possible reasons why your cat keeps getting into trouble:
Maine Coons are some of the most intelligent and playful cats.
They have a long history of strong hunting instincts, and they need to chase, climb, and play in order to feel satisfied.
If your Maine Coon does not have enough engaging toys, puzzles, and climbing spaces, it will find other ways to satisfy its boredom, and that might just mean tearing your curtains to shreds!
Maine Coons are also very curious creatures.
They love to know how new things taste, or what sounds they make when they bat at them with their paws.
Your cat does not know the difference between a shoelace and a power cord, or a cat tree and a refrigerator. To your cat, the whole world is an exciting playground.
It is important to cat-proof your home by keeping dangerous or fragile objects out of reach.
3. Lack Of Discipline
If you do not establish household rules early on, it is not your Maine Coons fault for breaking rules it did not even know existed!
If you berate your cat for climbing on the counters sometimes but give up other times, your cat will only become confused.
It is important to decide which behaviors you are okay with and which behaviors you are not okay with so you can encourage your cat to follow these rules from a young age.
How To Keep A Maine Coon Entertained
If your Maine Coon seems bored or has been acting destructive lately, it is time to provide your cat with some more entertainment.
Here are some essential ways you can keep your Maine Coon enriched and happy:
Maine Coons are strong climbers, but they prefer more of a challenge than the average cat.
It is important to have at least one extra large cat tree, preferably with lots of platforms so your Maine Coon can find fun, interesting ways to climb.
You might also want to consider attaching shelves, stairs, ramps, hanging beds, and baskets on the wall to maximize your vertical space and encourage more climbing for your Maine Coon.
Going On Walks
If you have an indoor Maine Coon cat, one great way to add enrichment is by going on walks.
Maine Coons are so smart that they can be taught to walk on a leash and harness, so your cat can explore the outdoors without safety risks.
Going outside is a great way for your cat to explore new tastes, smells, and other sensations so it does not feel trapped in your house.
These are the 5 BEST Escape-Proof Cat Harnesses.
Does your Maine Coon like to chew on your household plants or dig up the dirt in your pots?
Growing a garden of cat-safe plants like wheat grass and catnip can provide fun places to chew, smell, and dig without being dangerous or destructive to your plants.
If you have a Maine Coon, it is essential to give them at least thirty minutes of playtime every day. This is a great time to use chasers, toys tied to elastic and string, or wands.
Cats love playing with string and chasing after long things, but they should not be left unsupervised with anything they can become tangled in.
Here are some excellent Maine Coon cat toys that we are sure you will love!
While some cats are perfectly happy with a few bell balls and toy mice, Maine Coons need puzzling, interactive toys to keep from getting bored.
Robotic mice and fish, puzzle feeders, and durable toys that will not break during rough play are a must for Maine Coon cats!
If you have been struggling with Maine Coon behavior problems, do not despair!
Maine Coon cats are naturally athletic and intelligent, and they need lots of enrichment to prevent them from becoming destructive or bored.
If your cat is behaving aggressively, make sure it has plenty of private space to retreat to.
You should also respect your cat’s boundaries and give it personal space when it asks you to back off.
Can A Maine Coon Kill A Human?
A Maine Coon cat cannot kill a human unless a bite gets infected and is left untreated.
Maine Coon Cat Attacks Family
If your cat is attacking your family members, your cat is either feeling stressed or its boundaries are not being respected. Give your cat plenty of space and do not go close if it looks upset.
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