What Is the Lifespan of a Maine Coon?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Most Maine Coon cats live 12 to 15 human years. However, many live well past 15 years and even into their 20’s. 
  • Male have shorter lives than females, due to more common urinary and kidney issues. 
  • Maine Coons have some breed-specific health issues like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidney disease (PKD), Hip dysplasia. Early detection is key.
  • To ensure your Maine Coon stays with you the longest, only find kittens from legitimate catteries, provide the best food you can, always encourage exercise and stimulation, and keep regular veterinarian visits. 
  • Keeping your Maine Coon indoors is also a surefire way to extend lifespan.
My 7 year old girl (2023)

What is the lifespan of a Maine Coon? These amazing cats would be immortal if I had my way! However, most Maine Coon cats live 12 to 15 years. It’s impossible to give a raw number when so many factors contribute to an animal’s lifespan. Let’s break down Maine Coon cat life expectancy.

A Little Background on the Maine Coon Cat

In addition to being the official state cat of Maine, the Maine Coon is also one of North America’s oldest natural breeds.

While the exact origin of this breed hasn’t been pinned down, most experts suspect that the Main Coons we know today are descendants of either Norwegian Forest Cats that were brought over by New England settlers.

Maine Coon cats are highly social, agreeable cats with a reputation for being great for families. They are also known for their giant size.

In fact, this was the largest domestic cat breed in existence until the introduction of the Savannah cat during the 1980s.

The average Maine Coon cat can be expected to reach lengths of up to 38 inches. They typically weigh between 8 lb and 18 lb. My own girl wavers between 14 lb and 15 lb

The price range for a Maine Coon cat is on the higher side. Most breeders charge between $500 and $2,500 for a kitten.

One fun fact about Maine Coon cats is that they are known for their vocalizations. Rather than meow, don’t be alarmed if you hear chirping, yowling, howling, or other sounds coming from your new friend!

Indoor vs Outdoor Lifespan

The high value of a purebred Maine Coon makes this cat a perfect candidate for being an indoor cat.

In fact, most breeders and catteries are so overprotective of their Maine Coons that they require buyers to sign contracts agreeing to only keep them as indoor pets.

I personally advocate for keeping a Maine Coon cat as an indoor pet. However, I want to go over the benefits and drawbacks to indoor life versus outdoor life.

Benefits to Keeping Your Maine Coon Cat Indoors

  • Your cat won’t be at risk for being hit by a car.
  • As a high-value cat, your Maine Coon won’t be at risk for being stolen.
  • Indoor cats aren’t vulnerable to natural predators, dog packs, and more. Humans can also be predators!
  • Indoor cats aren’t as vulnerable to abbesses and infections caused by fights with other cats.
  • Changing a litter box alerts you to any digestive or bowel issues that might be afflicting your cat.
  • Indoor cats have lower risks for contracting FeLV (feline leukemia), FIP (feline infectious peritonitis), panleukopenia (feline distemper), FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), and various zoonotic diseases.
  • Your cat won’t be at elevated risk for the little-known danger of skin cancer.
  • Your cat won’t be at risk for frostbite in the winter.

Shielding your cat from all of these factors that are commonplace for outdoor cats can greatly expand their lifespan.

The truth is that any day can be a cat’s last day once they step outside your door because there are thousands of threats that have nothing to do with age.

By contrast, indoor cats typically die of either old age or hard-to-prevent health conditions.

The Drawbacks of Keeping Your Maine Coon Cat Outdoors

  • It’s easy for outdoor cats to be hit by cars.
  • Outdoor cats can be cornered by predators. The list includes coyotes, racoons, cougars, bobcats, groundhogs, porcupines, rats, scorpions, birds of prey, and stray dogs.
  • Outdoor cats commonly contract fatal diseases caused by eating rodents.
  • Outdoor cats can develop dangerous infections caused by fights with other animals.
  • Outdoor cats can drink contaminated groundwater.
  • If an outdoor cat develops a health problem, you won’t be able to detect it early if you’re not able to monitor the cat’s behaviors for long periods of time. Not being able to see your cat’s stool is a big disadvantage for detecting health issues.
  • Cold weather can kill an outdoor cat.
  • Outdoor cats can become trapped in barns, sheds, garages, sewage holes, and other spaces where they may not be detected for days.

“Indoor cats tend to live longer than their outdoor counterparts, typically reaching 10 to 15 years of age”, according to WebMD. What about outdoor cats? Sadly, cats who spend their lives exclusively outdoors live an average of just two to five years.

Male vs Female Maine Coon Lifespan

Does gender affect cat lifespan? According to some research, female cats of all breed origin tend to outlive male cats. It’s known that male cats are more prone to urinary and kidney issues.

While these conditions can be fatal, cat owners can sometimes reverse course with great success when they detect telltale signs early. This goes back to the benefits of keeping a cat indoors for constant monitoring.

Do Maine Coons Live Longer vs Other Cats?

Maine Coon cats aren’t known for having extremely long lifespans. Their lifespan of 12 to 15 years pretty much places them in the middle. Here’s a look at life expectancy for some other common cat breeds:

  • Persian: 12 to 17 years
  • Bengal: 12 to 16 years
  • Domestic: 12 to 15 years
  • Himalayan: 15 to 18 years
  • Ragdoll: 12 to 17 years
  • Siberian: 11 to 14 years
  • Siamese: 12 to 15 years

Maine Coon Health Problems

Like all cat breeds, Maine Coons have some breed-specific health issues, and there are elevated risks that all future cat owners need to know about.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: This is a condition where heart muscle becomes thickened. The thickened muscles make it harder for the heart to pump blood.

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD): This is an inherited disorder where clumps of cysts develop on the kidneys. I’ve covered many kidney-friendly food choices in previous blogs!

Hip dysplasia: This condition means that the bones of the hip joint aren’t properly aligned. In addition to being painful, it can drastically reduce a cat’s mobility.

Spinal muscular atrophy: This is a hereditary disease that causes depreciation of the communication between nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control basic movements and functions.

I want to make it clear that your Maine Coon is not guaranteed to experience any of these issues. Most Maine Coon cats die happily and comfortably from old age around their loving family.

However, it’s not terribly uncommon for a Maine Coon cat to die from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidney disease, or spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Ensuring Your Maine Coon Has a Long Life

Science hasn’t brought us to the place where a Maine Coon can forvever. Believe me when I say I’ll be the first to report the news if that happens. However, I can provide some tips for extending your cat’s lifespan in the meantime.

Only Get Maine Coon Cats From Reputable Breeders

If your heart is set on a Maine Coon cat, pay the extra money to get a purebred. Purebred cats live longer than mixed-breed cats. You should also use a reputable breeder with a clear passion for breeding healthy cats.

Proper Diet and Nutrition

As anyone who has browsed my blog knows, Maine Coon cats can be prone to packing on extra pounds if you’re not vigilant about diet. Use high-quality cat food with the right balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. I cover this extensively in my cat food reviews for Maine Coon cats.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Keeping an indoor cat doesn’t mean keeping an inactive cat.

Encourage your cat to stay active by providing stimulating toys, playing with your cat, and giving your cat enough space in the house to jump around a bit. If you live in an apartment, consider training and walking your cat on a leash outside.

Second, keeping a cat indoors doesn’t exclusively mean they’re cooped up inside 100% of the time. Portable cat enclosures and cute outdoor houses can be set up in your yard, patio, verandah, and so on too!

Environment

Provide your Maine Coon cat with a clean, safe environment. This means access to fresh water around the clock. I also suggest keeping your home tidy to prevent your Maine Coon from ingesting sharp, poisonous, or dangerous substances.

Veterinarian Visits

The first thing you need to do after bringing a Maine Coon cat home is to book your first veterinarian appointment. Your vet will get you on a proper schedule for checkups and vaccinations.

Oldest Maine Coon Cats

The cat credited with being the world’s oldest cat was a Maine Coon cat out of the United Kingdom! While Rubble passed away in 2020, he lived for 31 years. Rubble’s owner credited his long life to the fact that he was pampered like a child.

In the United States, a 27-year-old Maine Coon named Corduroy held the title for the world’s oldest cat before his passing in 2017. Corduroy’s owners adopted him from a shelter in Oregon when he was a few years old.

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