If you don’t know much about Maine Coon cats, their large size may be inclined to make you think that they can be aggressive.
After all, they are much larger (and more muscular) than the average domestic cat and are certainly heavier.
If you’re thinking about getting a Maine Coon cat, but you have young children and/or other animals, it’s natural to wonder: can Maine Coon Cats be aggressive?
Short answer: Well, any animal can be aggressive, but a properly socialized Maine Coon cat that has no traumas will tend more towards being gentle, laid back, and friendly over-aggressive, or fearful. However, a cat’s personality is always highly dependent on how they were raised as kittens and what kind of background they have.
So, while most Maine Coon cats are completely friendly and wouldn’t harm children or other animals, it’s important to mind where you get your kitten and how they were treated by the breeder.
The Personality of a Maine Coon Cat
Most Maine Coon cats have a fairly laid-back, friendly disposition. They are very loyal to their chosen human(s) and are patient. They have been coined the ‘dogs of the cat world’ because they behave a lot like dogs!
They are also curious, enjoy playing, have a high hunting drive, and are extremely social, meaning they do better with a companion animal or people who are in the house far more often than not.
However, this all assumes that your Maine Coon cat was appropriately socialized and healthy. It also assumes that they don’t live in an environment that causes them regular stress.
Causes of Maine Coon Cat Aggression
Even the most laid-back animal can get pushed to a certain point and lash out, and Maine Coon cats are no different.
Assuming you got your cat from a reputable breeder who didn’t separate your kitten too soon or abuse it, there are a number of reasons why a cat can become aggressive.
Pinpointing the cause and dealing with it will usually solve the aggression and make everyone a lot happier, your cat included!
Aggression is a cat’s way of telling you that something is wrong. A cat’s body language can tell us pretty well everything that is going through a cat’s mind since they cannot use our words to tell us.
Signs of aggression in a cat include:
- Crouching low and looking tense
- Flattened and backward-facing ears
- Hissing and growling
- Teeth bared
- Tail thrashing or held erect with fur on end
- Hackles raised and/or arched back
- Unblinking eye contact
If these signs are ignored and the cat continues to be pushed, they are more likely to lash out to bite or scratch to drive the thing that is annoying them away.
But most cats give plenty of warning if you know how to look before resorting to violence. What can cause a cat to feel aggressive, including a Maine Coon?
The top reasons are usually illness or pain/injury, over-petting, over-grooming, loneliness or boredom, hormones (a ‘whole’ cat that is not spayed or neutered is more likely to be aggressive), being provoked, and being irritated for too long. In other words, the same things that generally make us humans feel aggressive!
One of the biggest causes of Maine Coon aggression, aside from a lack of socialization, is pain and illness. When a cat is in pain or feeling unwell, they are more likely to hide and if they are ‘called on it’, they are more likely to behave aggressively.
If your cat has gone from being a gentle giant to aggressive very quickly, it’s a very good idea to seek veterinary assistance as your cat may be injured or unwell.
An issue with your cat’s mental health can cause aggression too: Maine Coon cats do best when they are around other people and/or animals and when they are alone for too long, they can display signs of fear or aggression.
Another big cause of aggression in cats is stress. This can come about as a result of a big move, bringing home a new animal, bringing home a baby, or another sudden change in the way things used to be.
It’s important to introduce new animals (and people) to your pets carefully and thoughtfully to prevent stress and anxiety.
Fortunately, most of these causes of aggression are temporary and can be managed by making sure your Maine Coon gets gentle attention from you, has a safe place to retreat to, and by talking to your vet to rule out health concerns.
One of the main causes of Maine Coon aggression that has nothing to do with health or the household is poor socialization. Due to the popularity of this breed, there are plenty of disreputable breeders who look to make a fast buck.
If kittens are forced to wean too early from their mother or are separated too early from each other, they don’t learn how to socialize properly and this is more likely to make them aggressive.
Kittens that grow up this way are much harder to get out of their habits, so it’s important to socialize them early on.
Still, it’s not always too late for an adult cat to learn some new tricks. By making sure to give your Maine Coon plenty of its own space, gentle care with a special eye on their body language, and positive based training, you may be able to turn an aggressive and scared Maine Coon cat into a friendly buddy, though it’s likely that your cat will only be friendly with you, not strangers.
The other socialization thing that can make Maine Coons very temporarily aggressive is if they are overstimulated by too much petting or grooming.
Cats have quite sensitive fur and skin, so they can go from enjoying the attention to biting you in a half a second! This isn’t aggression so much as just telling you that they have had enough, but they may be a bit too vehement about it.
Pay attention to your cat’s body language! Young cats too have to learn that their claws hurt, so that can require a bit of careful training.
Overall, Maine Coon cats are not aggressive unless they have a health issue or were poorly socialized.
Assuming you have a healthy, fixed, and well-adjusted cat, you really don’t have to worry about it becoming aggressive unless it is for a medical reason, and in that case, a vet should be able to sort it out.
Has your Maine Coon cat ever been aggressive towards you or was it always a gentle giant? Let us know your experiences!
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.