- Maine Coons are an old, natural cat breed, not born of selective breeding, so they are generally healthy.
- Still, Maine Coons show genetic predispositions for health conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidney disease, hip dysplasia, & spinal muscular atrophy.
- They also face general health problems all cats can develop like obesity, parasites, hairballs, periodontal disease, and chronic kidney disease.
- Maine Coons have great personalities, but some may exhibit aggressive behavior stemming from past or current situations.
- Maine Coons commonly live past 10 years, and some reach their 15-20th birthdays.
All potential Maine Coon parents need to ask this question at some point. I know I did extensive research before I chose to adopt my Chelle.
What health issues (or related) do Maine Coon cats have that would be concerning to a potential owner? And second, do Maine Coon even have a lot of health problems?
The answer is that Maine Coon cats have two types of problems that affect their health, and one that affects personality. First, as a breed, they are predisposed to certain issues. Second, consider certain conditions that can affect all cat breeds. Third are behavioral issues.
Genetic Maine Coon Predispositions
A genetic predisposition means that something in the genes they inherit from their parents can cause problems.
This predisposition does not mean that all Maine Coons experience the problem. It just means that you need to look out for certain issues.
Maine Coon cats are often diagnosed with this disease that causes an enlarged heart muscle. To help reduce the risk of this condition, breeders have begun to screen cats before breeding.
However, there is no guarantee that this genetic mutation will not show up in a Maine Coon kitten. This is one of the most tragic Maine Coon health issues.
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
This disease impacts kidney function. Maine Coon cats will be born with this hereditary problem. The disease begins with small, fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys.
As a cat gets older, the cysts may enlarge and reduce kidney function. Polycystic kidney disease cannot be treated, but you can focus on feeding your Maine Coon a low-sodium diet.
This condition is common among large cat breeds like the Maine Coon. Hip dysplasia can be mild with little pain but can become more serious over time.
This condition impacts the hip socket and makes moving difficult. Weight loss, medication, and surgery might relieve pain.
Maine Coon cats typically have strong back legs. Hip dysplasia can affect how easily they jump or run. Feeding them a healthy diet and limiting weight gain will prevent back leg problems in Maine Coon cats.
Spinal muscular atrophy
This hereditary genetic disease causes weakened muscle development. Maine Coon cats with spinal muscular atrophy do not feel pain and can live happy lives.
Signs to look out for include difficulty jumping as a kitten and a swaying walk. As the disease progresses, you may notice your cat becoming more unsteady or weak.
Another known Maine Coon health issue is a higher risk for patellar luxation than other breeds. Patellar luxation affects the knee joint and kneecap, or patella.
If your Maine Coon has a luxating patella, then their kneecap is slipping out of place. This condition does not cause pain until its advanced stages. Getting an x-ray when your cat is still young can help catch it while there is time for treatment.
General Maine Coon Health Issues
All cats may experience health problems throughout their life. Some of the more common ailments equally affect all cat breeds, even mixed breeds.
A Maine Coon cat is just as likely to experience severe hairballs as another breed, such as the Ragdoll.
Stomatitis and periodontal disease
Cats with stomatitis develop mouth ulcers. This condition also causes painful inflammation in the gums and mouth. My Maine Coon experienced this firsthand.
Stomatitis can lead to loss of appetite and bad breath. Immediate treatment is necessary to prevent long-term weight loss and stress.
Another common problem with a cat’s mouth and teeth is periodontal disease. Poor oral hygiene leads to diseased oral tissue. The best course of action is prevention. Brush your Maine Coon’s teeth regularly before it leads to a larger health problem.
Maine Coon cats are naturally a large cat breed. They have very substantial frames, which puts them at risk to become overweight.
All cats need to be given a regular diet without too many extra treats. But overfeeding a Maine Coon cat can lead to arthritis, heart disease, and exacerbate hip dysplasia.
Parasites of all sorts will try to invade a Maine Coon cat. Fleas and ticks can irritate the skin and ears.
Not letting your pet drink contaminated water can prevent infection from parasitic worms, such as hookworm, heartworm, roundworm, and whipworm.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR)
If your cat is showing symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, and running eyes, it may have an upper respiratory infection.
FVR is a common cause of nasal issues in all cats. It is a disease that can be prevented with a vaccine. It is highly contagious and can be serious if it leads to breathing trouble.
Hairballs are both gross and can be cause for concern in cats. A hairball is an accumulation of fur and other things that your cat cannot digest.
Frequent hairballs can be a sign of an underlying issue. Remember to feed your cat a low carb cat appropriate diet, or look into a hairball cat food for recurring issues.
Besides physical health, there’s also mental health!
Maine Coons are considered a friendly and affectionate breed of cat. However, although they are typically gentle giants, Maine Coon cats may exhibit aggressive behavior in certain circumstances.
Signs of aggression, including biting, scratching, and growling, may stem from poor socialization, stress, or an underlying illness. Maine Coon cats are also very active creatures. Aggression can be due to boredom or loneliness.
Remember that most Maine Coon cats are predisposed to be curious and energetic cats. They are not usually moody or prone to aggression.
Their natural temperament means it is unlikely they will be mean to you, your family, or other people. Most times a Maine Coon only “attacks” people when they are being playful. Aggressive behavior may be a sign of a larger issue.
Maine Coon cats typically lead long, happy lives when properly taken care of, even with the presence of health issues. Both males and females can live to 13 and 14 without too many health issues. Common causes of death include organ failure from both hereditary and acquired illnesses.
I’m Gary Hu, a proud cat dad to a 15 lb Maine Coon. Have taken care of outdoor and indoor cats for over 10 years, and learned tons on behavior, habits, health, and products. I help new Maine Coon (or any other cat) parents with common questions and issues based on real, practical experience.