Introducing a new puppy to a resident Maine Coon, or vice versa, can be a nerve-wracking experience for any fur parent. This fear is totally normal – we just want to ensure that our pets can live together peacefully and get along well.
If you have a Maine Coon cat at home, your chances of successfully pairing the cat with a new puppy or another cat breed are high. That is because Coons are known for being friendly, sociable cats with tolerant and gentle personalities. Most owners do not have any issues integrating them with other pets.
If you are thinking of bringing home a new puppy and are nervous about whether your Maine Coon will get along with the new addition, we have listed below a number of things you should consider before introducing a new pet into a household with a resident cat or dog.
Are Maine Coon cats good with other pets?
Maine Coons are generally laid-back and tolerant toward other pets. If you have an energetic pup at home that does something that would annoy most felines, the Coon is more likely to just ignore it and walk away. This cat will not hit out or bite back, which other breeds might do when they can no longer tolerate a dog.
If you have another grumpy cat at home, your Maine Coon will be able to remain calm and ignore the hisses and scratches.
Considering that Maine Coons can endure such negative behaviors from other pets, these giant fluffballs deserve to be one of the top choices of breed among cat lovers.
Do Maine Coons get along with dogs?
Although Maine Coon cats are known for their friendly disposition, there is no definite answer as to whether they will get along well with all dogs. Some larger canine breeds with aggressive temperaments and strong hunting instincts can mistakenly perceive a smaller Coon as prey. Other dog breeds are simply dominant and prefer to be the center of attention, so having another pet at home could make them feel insecure or threatened.
Pairing your Maine Coon with the right dog breed and providing a proper introduction are two of the key steps to helping your cat form a happy relationship with a dog. Since these amazing cat breeds are so loving, playful, tolerant, and enjoy the companionship of other pets, they can be ideal playmates for dogs with similar temperaments.
Suitable canine companions for Maine Coons
Maine Coons are known for their intelligence and friendly temperaments. If you are planning to bring one home, it should not be an issue to introduce it to your other pets. These amazing cats enjoy the company of their humans as well as other animals, be that a dog or another cat. If raised together with a pup, it is likely for them to form a happy relationship and enjoy activities together such as cuddling, playing, and grooming.
However, not all dog breeds are suitable companions for cats. Some dogs can be dominant and aggressive, especially if they are larger than the Maine Coon. Although there are some exceptions, it is best altogether to avoid the pairing of these two pets.
Some dog breeds that are likely to get along with Maine Coons are:
- Basset Hound
- French Bulldog
- Golden Retriever
- Bichon Frise
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Boston Terrier
Below are some of the dog breeds that do not go well with Maine Coons:
- Shih Tzu
- Other larger breeds that tend to have a high predatory drive or are bred to hunt smaller animals
Steps for introducing your pets
Contrary to what most people think, cats and dogs can coexist as furry siblings in a single household. Aside from choosing the proper breeds to pair, it is also important to have proper introductions to increase the chances of successfully raising two animals together.
1. How to introduce a puppy to an adult Maine Coon
Introducing a new pup into a household with an adult Maine Coon requires some planning and patience for a smooth transition. The Maine Coon, like other cat breeds, is very territorial and could easily feel threatened by the presence of a new pet. To get your pets to like each other, the introduction must be slow and taken step-by-step. Here is how to do it:
- Separate your puppy from the cat by placing them in adjacent rooms. Provide your cat with all the basics such as food, water, litter tray, toys and perches. Having them placed in separate rooms will allow both pets to hear and smell each other without direct interaction.
- When the puppy is sleeping, let your Maine Coon come into the pup’s room so that he can sniff the new pet’s scent in a calm setting.
- Place some of your pup’s belongings, such as a towel or blanket, in your cat’s room. This way, your cat can calmly and slowly get used to the puppy’s scent. You can also do the same for your puppy by placing some of your cat’s belongings in his room. Having both pets familiar with each other’s scent will help ease the introduction.
- You can also use pheromone products to calm your pets. Pheromones are chemicals naturally released by cats and dogs to communicate with other animals of the same species. Spray products such as DAP and Feliway are the synthetic version of this chemical, and are used to prevent anxiety and other unwanted behavior in pets. This might include whining, crying, or being destructive when left alone. Using pheromone products also helps your pets feel safe, especially in the presence of other unfamiliar animals.
- Try having play sessions with your cat and puppy. Give your Maine Coon lots of cuddles and treats during this sensitive time to make sure that he does not feel neglected. You can keep the playtime short in the beginning and progress to longer sessions once both pets are starting to like each other.
Keeping both the puppy and the Maine Coon entertained will increase the likelihood of them developing a deep friendship. Otherwise, your cat might just end up being aloof towards your pup and ignoring him. Either way, though, provided both pets are able to tolerate each other, you will not have to keep an eye on them most of the time.
2. How to introduce a Maine Coon kitten to a dog
Just like any other breed of cat, Maine Coons have a higher chance of adapting to life with dogs when they are introduced at a young age. If you have just brought a Maine Coon kitten home, consider the following steps before introducing the kitty to a canine:
- Let the kitten stay in an enclosed space, such as a cat carrier or crate, where he can feel safe and secure. Make sure that the carrier has enough space for him to move around, sleep, and play. Provide a clean litter tray, food, water, and toys to keep him entertained.
- Place the cat carrier or crate in a communal area. This will allow you to monitor your kitten without totally isolating him. Since the common area is a place where family members convene or relax, it helps your kitten become familiar with the scent of his new home.
- Once the kitten has started to get used to his new home, allow your dog to come into the room to see the new family member. Let him walk up to the cage and familiarize himself with the young Maine Coon through his scent. If your dog starts showing aggressive behavior, you must interfere right away. Initial meetings should be short to avoid either pet becoming stressed.
- If you are confident that your dog is starting to feel calm around his new feline friend, you can move to the next step. Take the Main Coon kitten out of his cage and place him on your lap. Allow your dog to come closer and get a good sniff. Keep in mind that our furry companions can be unpredictable, so watch your pets closely and be ready to step in if your dog starts barking or attacking the cat.
- Your pup and Maine Coon kitten might start to become friends within as little as one week. Some, however, might need a few more weeks or even up to three months to truly become comfortable with each other. If your pets take more than a week to start getting along with each other, consider using barriers such as a baby gate to keep them separated. Baby gates allow both pets to sniff and see each other from a safe distance while still having enough space to move around the house.
Over time, your dog and Maine Coon cat should be able to tolerate each other’s presence. They can even become best friends, especially since Maine Coons have a dog-like temperament.
Challenges of having both Maine Coons and dogs
Despite their friendliness and gentle personalities, not all Maine Coons are alike. Some cats, especially those that come from a shelter, might have traumatic histories involving dogs. Maine Coons who were allowed to be bullied by a canine in their previous homes might feel threatened if they are introduced to a new puppy or dog. The cat might even have experienced a dog attack in the past, which might cause him to flee whenever he sees a dog.
In this case, you need to be patient with your cat, especially if you have no idea about his past. Shower him with love and attention to make him feel safe. If you need to introduce him to another pet, make sure to do it gradually.
Another thing to remember is that not all dogs might like cats. This is likely down to their inherent predatory instincts – they are programmed to chase fast-moving animals like cats, which they mistake for prey. It takes proper socialization and training for a dog to coexist peacefully with a feline, and even then, some breeds are just not meant to live with cats.
Wrapping it up
We all want our pets to live happily together. While some dog breeds might get along well with a Maine Coon cat, others will never get along with any cat. So, before you decide on bringing home a new pet, it is best to know whether the breeds can be paired without any issues. One way is to choose a dog breed with a low predatory instinct to pair with the cat.
In general, Maine Coons can be good companions to dogs, due to their laid-back and friendly temperaments. As long as the dog comes with a good temperament and is well-socialized, it is likely that your pets can live peacefully and happily together in your home.
Image: istockphoto.com / okeanas