A cat is a great addition to any household. Whether we’re talking about single people, child-free couples, or big families, a feline pet always makes everything better. Everyone enjoys their company and finds great amusement in their little shenanigans. Who wouldn’t after all? Cats make for some of the greatest pets, and Maine Coons take the cake.
I’m willing to bet there are probably more funny cat compilations than people on the internet. Cats vs. invisible wall challenge, anyone? And I didn’t even mention the many positive effects they have on our physical and mental health. Psychologists often remark on the positive benefits of pets, especially cats, on the proper development of children, for instance.
A cat provides company and reduces loneliness, which in turn aids in the management of depression or antisocial tendencies. Their positive effect on our mood helps regulate blood pressure and stress hormone levels, and there’s even some research to prove that cat owners live longer and happier lives! Sign me up for that, alright?
If you have a child and want to adopt a cat, you might be wondering how that would work out. Well, we’re going to talk about exactly that! In this article, I’ll give you all the information you need on Maine Coons so that you can decide whether it’s a good choice for you and your child.
Maine Coon Cats Breed Characteristics
It’s best to first get a general idea about this breed before adopting a cat. It’s not all about personality, even though Maine Coons are great in this regard. Depending on your child’s age and needs, different cat breeds have their own pros and cons. If you have a toddler, you probably shouldn’t buy an adult Maine Coon just yet (you’ll see why), but a kitten would be fine. Be extra careful if your child has allergies!
Maine Coons aren’t a hypoallergenic breed. They’re covered in long, thick fur and they shed quite a bit during certain times of the year. However, if you’re sure your child has no allergy, then there aren’t many drawbacks to adopting this wonderful pet. So, let’s see, what makes this breed so great and awesome with the kids?
Maine Coon Appearance
First off, they look awesome! Whether your kid enjoys cute animals or badass-looking ones, the Maine Coon never fails to deliver. This cat isn’t like any other! In fact, this is the biggest cat breed in the world, often coming in close to one meter in size!
The biggest Maine Coon in the world is 123 cm long, so basically the size of a 7 to 8-year-old. They also weigh 5-8kg on average. Everything about this cat is XL. Thick, long fur, fluffy mane and tail, long legs and torso, wide chest and paws, and I could go on. Basically, a miniaturized lion.
Females tend to be smaller and lighter, weighing 3-6kg on average and reaching 100cm in length. These cats also have striking, almond-shaped eyes and medium to large ears with pointy, fluffy tufts.
The fur comes in a variety of colors and patterns including black, white, grey, blue, red, cream, tabby, tortoiseshell, or calico. If you want a tricolored Maine Coon, keep in mind that only females have calico fur.
Maine Coon Personality
On to the best part! Maine Coons have amazing personalities. They’re everything you could wish for in a pet, and then some! They’re smart, peaceful, friendly, playful, and highly affectionate. They love having company and will go out of their way to seek it. Once a Maine Coon gets used to you, you’d better be ready for some cuddling.
They don’t like being alone, and would much rather follow you around and cuddle by your side. They easily get along with other animals and with children, which is exactly what you need! As long as your child knows how to play with a cat without stressing it, they should become best friends right away! I also can’t stress enough how important it is for your child to never harm the cat.
Adult Maine Coons are sociable and adaptable. But I’d suggest buying a kitten for your child. It’s best to socialize a Maine Coon when it is still little. Teach your child to never do any of the following: poking the cat’s stomach, eyes, or ears, pulling on the cat’s tail, fur, ears, or whiskers, forcing the cat to stay in their arms, or scaring the cat by making loud noises.
While Maine Coons are naturally friendly and good with children (the well-mannered ones at least), they can become stressed when not handled properly. A stressed cat will become depressed, antisocial, or even hostile. That’s obviously the opposite of what you’re looking for. But if you treat a Maine Coon cat properly, it will be loyal to you forever! Just like any other species out there.
But wait, I’m not done. There’s more to say about what makes Maine Coons so great! They’re highly active, with a strong hunting drive, and they’re easy to train due to their higher-than-average intelligence. They aren’t too vocal or loud, and they love playing in the water! While cats don’t usually require bathing, this is definitely good news in case you ever need to wash its fur.
Yes, I wasn’t kidding about the water thing. Maine Coons do love water and enjoy playing in it. Though, you may have to get them used to be in the water. Do it slowly and patiently, by putting them through a bath first. Maybe bathe them when you’re also bathing your child to introduce the two naturally.
Taking Care of a Maine Coon
Maine Coon Cats are carnivorous, just like any other cat breed. This means they need a diet focused on meat, with about 26-40% of their calories coming from protein. Make sure to feed them a variety of meat-based cat foods, including poultry, beef, and fish.
You should also alternate between dry and wet cat food. Avoid any cat food products containing cereal grains! Grains lead to unhealthy weight gain and digestive issues in cats. Your cat also needs to drink plenty of fresh, clean water.
Maine Coon cats are naturally curious and will try anything new, especially if they see you doing it. Whatever you do, don’t feed a Maine Coon Cat (or any cat for that matter) any of the following: alcohol, caffeine-containing products like cocoa, chocolate, coffee, or tea, onions, and garlic, or milk.
Milk might be a surprising one on this list. Unlike the other foods included here, milk isn’t going to kill your cat, but cats cannot digest the lactose in it. This leads to digestive issues, bloating, and diarrhea.
Hygiene is also highly important. Clean your cat’s litter box often. In addition to this, Maine Coons need regular grooming to avoid excessive shedding and hairballs. A daily to weekly teeth cleaning is also a good idea.
Regular vet visits are unavoidable for any cat owner. You need to vaccinate your cat and screen for any possible health problems, infections, or parasites, especially when you first adopt it.
Last but not least, every Maine Coon needs your attention and affection. These are highly sociable pets, and neglecting them is the worst thing you can do. They need a daily playing schedule to exercise and interact with you and your family. It’s best if you don’t leave a Maine Coon all alone at home when everyone’s away. They get stressed when alone for long periods.
Maine Coons Are Great Pets for Children
Despite their great size, Maine Coon Cats are extremely gentle. These fluffy cats love playing and being outdoors or in the water. They’re interactive, friendly, and affectionate, and children love them for their soft, long fur and funny demeanor!
They rarely get tired of interacting with humans, and they’re always curious about something new. This means that your cat and your child will never grow bored of each other!
And best of all, keeping a pet, especially for young children, is a great way to teach them responsibility and empathy. Encourage your child to feed the cat, clean the feeding bowl or litter box, and groom the cat regularly. Don’t forget to teach your child to ALWAYS wash his or her hands after touching cat food, feeding bowls, or the litter box!
This applies to all age groups, but especially to young children whose immune system is still developing. There can be harmful bacteria in these places, especially Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Toxoplasma gondii, which also affect humans! While cats may wash themselves intensely, the hair may still be harmful to the child, so be careful about that.