Maine Coon is considered as the largest cat breed and these felines are renowned for their regal looks, lush fur and affectionate nature. Due to their large muscular bodies and piercing eyes most people assume that they are more prone to aggression compared to other breeds. However, you would be surprised to know that these felines are actually gentle giants.
Are Maine Coon cats aggressive?
No, Maine Coon cats are not aggressive and they are renowned for being gentle, friendly and affectionate. However, as it is with most cats, health issues, hormones and stress, among others, may trigger aggressive behavior in Maine Coons.
Common causes why Maine Coon cats tend to become aggressive
While Maine Coons are generally gentle they are also prone to aggressive behavior which may include hissing, biting, growling, scratching, striking out with their paws and fighting.
Here are the most probable causes why Maine Coons act aggressively:
1. They have an underlying physical or mental health condition.
Maine Coons are large and muscular which makes them hardy and healthy-looking. Their thick fur helps them to survive in harsh, cold weather. However, these cats are also prone to health issues which may cause them to become aggressive.
These are the common health problems of this breed:
- hip dysplasia – malformation and degeneration of hip joints
- spinal muscular atrophy – a genetic disease where a cat develops an unsteady gait or posture due to loss of motor neurons in the lower spinal cord
- feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy- a condition that causes the heart’s muscular walls to thicken
- urinary tract disease
- periodontal disease
Maine Coon cats may also have mental health issues. They are usually caused by genetic factors and may trigger aggression.
2. They were poorly socialized.
Another reason why your Maine Coon may act aggressively is due to poor socialization when she was a kitten. If you got your cat from a rescue or shelter she may have been traumatized by former owners.
3. They are suffering from pain.
Your cat may be showing signs of aggression because she is in pain. Since they cannot talk, cats usually express their feelings of pain through yowling, hissing or growling. Check her body for scratches, bite marks or blood, observe if she is limping and if you see your cat dropping her food she may have painful and swollen gums. Bring her to the vet so she may be checked and treated.
4. It may be due to hormonal changes.
Intact Maine Coons may go in heat and hormones will fluctuate which may result in aggressive behavior. To counter this, you may consider neutering or spaying your cat. This also prevents unwanted reproduction of kittens and reduces spraying in walls and furniture.
5. They may be overstimulated.
Maine Coons love to be stroked and petted and they crave attention but when it becomes prolonged they may become uncomfortable. They may express this discomfort by acting aggressively and they may start to bite and lash out with their paws.
6. Your Maine Coon may be bored or lonely.
Have you observed how bored kids resort to destroying their toys and putting things in disarray? Maine Coons and cats in general act the same way, too. This breed is extremely smart and inquisitive, thus, they need to have constant mental stimulation to keep them busy. Provide cat toys and cat tunnels so they do not get bored so easily even though left alone at home for a couple of hours.
7. They may be threatened by other cats or pets.
Cats may manifest aggressive behavior because they feel threatened. Since they are territorial in nature any clear threats in the form of other cats or animals may result in aggression.
Since cats are territorial in nature, especially the males, they define their territory by spraying urine on certain areas and rubbing their scent glands on humans and furniture. Stray cats and other unfamiliar animals are considered threats, thus, they tend to act aggressively to defend their territory. You can curb this behavior by keeping your cat indoors and placing window blinds or barriers to obstruct the outdoor view should there be strays or other animals outside.
8. Your cat may be stressed or anxious.
Your cat may be stressed, anxious or scared which may cause her to act mean and aggressive. Stress among cats is usually caused by factors like home relocation, a new family member or pet, loss of territory or sudden changes at home like new furniture or room remodeling. If you suspect that your cat is stressed, make her comfortable by ensuring that her basic needs are met and her litter box is clean. Keep her calm and relaxed with the help of natural sedatives or pheromones like Feliway.
9. Your cat may just be protecting her kittens.
If your Maine Coon is aggressive after having kittens, she may be acting out of her maternal instinct to protect her litter.
10. You may have caused the aggression by your own behavior
Also negative behavior of their owners may make a cat threatened, so be sure to assess your body language, voice and behavior since you may have contributed to your cat’s aggression.
Treat your cat as you would kids and speak to them in a calm and soft tone. Never hit or hurt your cat and avoid wearing strong perfume as strong scents may be irritating to the cat which may manifest in aggression.
Maine Coons are usually friendly, affectionate and good-natured. They are independent, great mouse hunters and have dog-like qualities and they like to play fetch and easily learn tricks. These cats get along well with kids and other pets but although they are not generally aggressive they are still prone to aggression due to reasons like hormonal changes, stress, pain, illness or if they are threatened.
Image: istockphoto.com / Gelner Tivadar