What Do Maine Coon Cats Eat In The Wild? Maine Coon cats are a naturally occurring breed, meaning that at least some members have spent their lives in the wild. Even now, you could run into feral Main Coon cats who really want nothing to do with humans (beyond taking food).
A cat the size of a Maine Coon would have a slightly easier time fending off some predators, but they would also have to eat more than a smaller cat.
If you have ever (lovingly) pointed out to your cat that they would not do well in the wild given how much they eat of your food offerings, you may also have wondered: What do Maine Coon cats eat in the wild? Obviously, they can’t eat canned food and kibble!
Short Answer: Maine Coon cats eat the same things in the wild that any cat would, albeit in greater proportions. They are also really skilled hunters, so they can get animals that other breeds of cat may struggle with and they like water, so they have less competition when they go ‘fishing’. They’ll eat mice, insects, small rats, fish, and even birds.
The Maine Coon’s Hunting Instincts in the Wild
Aside from having a gentle temperament, Maine Coon cats are also well known for their excellent hunting instincts. Cats require the amino acid taurine in order to stay healthy, but they don’t produce it on their own.
Taurine can only be found in meat, specifically red meat, so all cats have at least something of a hunting instinct. Maine Coon cats have a fairly well-developed one. They are very accomplished mousers and are patient hunters. This makes them great farm cats.
Domesticated Maine Coon cats will kill mice but won’t usually eat them; wild Maine Coon cats on the other hand will happily eat them.
Unlike many other cats, Maine Coon cats enjoy water! Their coat is semi-water resistant, so they don’t worry about getting wet, and they are accomplished swimmers. This means that Maine Coon cats can and will fish for their prey and eat their catches.
Maine Coon cats are also skilled climbers and will go after birds. While they mostly just stalk birds for fun, they have been known to kill and eat chicks. Maine Coon cats will also go after rabbits, and they are fast enough to sometimes get them. They have also been known to go after squirrels.
Mostly though, like many other cats, a wild Maine Coon cat’s diet is mostly going to be made up of insects, reptiles and amphibians, and mice. Insects are plentiful and easy enough to catch while mice are a natural prey animal of cats.
Maine Coon cats are large animals, so they require more meat than other cats to stay healthy. This means that successful hunters have the best characteristics for hunting their prey.
What Makes Maine Coon Cats Good Hunters?
All cats, to a greater or lesser extent, are hunters. But Maine Coons have a few things that put them above many other breeds.
As a note, the playfulness of this breed is also a good indication of their hunting prowess – playing is a way to get that urge out when they live in a place where they don’t actually have to hunt for a living.
There are a few things that make Maine Coons very good hunters:
- They are smart. This means that they pick up hunting skills easily.
- They are large and can withstand the cold. They are also fast
- They have lots of energy (as any owner can attest)
- Their large ears mean they hear very well. They also have a keen sense of smell
- They have large claws and paws.
- They have a powerful bite
- Like all cats, Maine Coon cats have night vision
- Although large, they are very quiet since their paws are usually tufted.
- They are patient ambush predators.
Most cats are decent hunters, but Maine Coons stand out as being, on average, some of the better hunters, mostly due to their size and intelligence.
Are Wild Maine Coon Cats Common?
No. Maine Coon cats are popular house cats, (or at worst, farm cats), but they aren’t so common in the wild. This is because they are a popular breed for humans to have, so there isn’t much reason for them to be living out in the wild.
Their naturally gentle and social temperament also makes it less likely that they would want to be living in the wild in the first place.
That being said, their ancestors were probably more feral (or at least semi-feral), so the instincts for survival are still strong. There are also plenty of part Maine Coon cats in the wild.
But Maine Coon cats are, at the bottom, not really wild cats at all. Some members may be living rough, but the breed overall is still considered a domestic breed of cat.
This means that if they are forced to live in the wild, despite their large size, intelligence, and high hunting drive, the lifespan of a wild Maine Coon is easily cut in half compared to their in-home counterparts.
Wild Maine Coon cats don’t really eat any differently than any other feral or wild cat. They mostly eat insects, mice, some reptiles/amphibians, and fish, birds, and squirrels when they can get it.
The main difference is quantity: being larger cats, Maine Coons will naturally want to eat more than other cats. They have the hunting drive, size, and intelligence to back up their ability to get more food.
But wild Maine Coon cats aren’t common, and they don’t tend to live much better than any other purely outdoor cat.
It’s important to make sure that feral colonies of cats are taken care of and monitored to ensure that they don’t get out of control and become dangerous to themselves and other animals.
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.