Deciding to adopt a Maine coon is an exciting time, but many owners do not consider the potential space implications of owning such a large breed of cat. The Maine coon is the largest breed of domestic cat, with many having held the record for ‘World’s Largest Domestic Cat’ (see How Big Do Maine Coon Cats Get?). How you will accommodate such a creature in your household is an important consideration prior to making your new furry purchase.
Maine coons are a very intelligent breed of cat and they require plenty of room to run around and play. It is often recommended that you buy them in pairs, especially if you will be out of the house all day. You will also need to consider the need for larger sized pet care items to account for the size of a fully-grown Maine coon.
In this article we will talk you through a number of important considerations and questions to ask yourself when considering whether you have space for a Maine coon in your household.
Will you keep them indoors? Or will you let them go outside?
This is probably one of the most important questions to consider when working out if you have the space for a Maine coon. For a variety of reasons, mainly to do with safety, this breed of cat is often kept as an indoor pet.
If you intend to let your Maine coon explore the outdoors then you’ll likely need less space for them inside the house. Conversely, if you want to keep them indoors then you’ll need plenty of areas that they can run around in and jump on in order to keep themselves well exercised.
Maine coons are prone to issues with their joints and so it is important that they get plenty of exercise and also keep themselves at a healthy weight. Overweight Maine coons can run into significant health problems.
For more information on the indoor vs outdoor argument, also on how to exercise an indoor cat, see my previous article: Should I Let My Maine Coon Go Outside?
Should you buy just one Maine coon? Or do they need a companion?
It is often said that you should buy Maine coons in pairs. This certainly turned out to be a good idea for our family (I won’t go into this in detail here, but you can read more by following the link below).
Maine coons are very social creatures as so if you do not already have other pets in the house, and you will also be out of the house for most of the day, then a companion for your Maine coon is a great idea. Maine coons can very quickly become lonely and even show signs of depression if they spend long periods of time by themselves.
In addition, as many Maine coons are kept as indoor pets, they’ll require plenty of playtime and mental stimulation. A companion can provide this for them on a more constant basis than you might be able to as an owner.
This is something to bear in mind when considering space. Do you have room for two (or more) fully-grown Maine coons in your home? Then consider how, as the number of cats increases, so does the need for all of the cat paraphernalia you’ll need in order to be able to care for them.
For more information on Maine coons and their companions, plus our personal experience in this area, please see my specific article on the subject: Do Maine Coons Need a Companion?
Where will my Maine coon sleep?
It is important to decide where your Maine coon will spend the night, before you bring them home. I am a very light sleeper and so with our Kittens we kept them downstairs from the first night. We don’t hear anything from them during the night and then when they hear us moving about in the morning, they call up to us to let them up come and play.
Your Maine coon will want a cosy place to sleep, especially if they are not allowed access to your bed. If you wish to buy a specific pet bed then you’ll want one that has been specifically designed for large breeds of cat, or one which is for medium-sized dogs.
We chose this large cat bed from Pets at Home and our two love it. We also invested in a large cat tree, which I’ll talk about in more detail below, which provides a few different places for them to have a nap.
Another option, which is good if you do not have sufficient floor space, is to buy a cat bed which hangs from a radiator. These can be really cosy for your furry friend as they get to soak up the warmth from the radiator at the same time.
Will I need larger-sized equipment to care for my Maine coon?
The type of cat carrier you choose will depend on the number of cats you have and their size. We only bought the one carrier to begin with, and this was fine for a few months with two Kittens, but we soon needed a second one, just due to their combined weight.
The second one we purchased was slightly smaller, just because our girl is a lot smaller than our monstrous boy. Both of our cat carriers are collapsible which is great for storage purposes at home. They live in the cupboard underneath our stairs and hardly take up any space. Click here to see the listing on Amazon.
We only use our cat carriers for travelling short distances to the veterinarian, overnight visits to family and the occasional holiday within the UK. The cat carriers fit nicely in the car and the cats can see out of them so that they do not get too scared during transit.
Now, if you intend to take your Maine coon on an aeroplane then you may need to think about the size of your carrier in more detail. You’ll need one that fits a large cat breed, but that also fits with airline regulations. They often require that you can fit it underneath your seat.
For more guidance, contact your airline provider. You can also read my article on the subject: Travelling with a Maine Coon by Road and by Plane.
Finding the right size litter box seems to be the bane of the online Maine coon community. It’s a question that gets asked on almost a daily basis. Many owners find that commercial litter boxes are not sufficient in size for their large pets and so resort to more unconventional solutions such as using underbed storage boxes or large drawers instead.
We found that one XXL litter box was enough for two Kittens until they reached the age of 4-5 months. At that point we needed to buy a second one.
Some say that a good guide is to buy one litter box per cat, and then buy one more. In reality, I do not have space for 3 Maine coon-sized litter boxes in my house. They seem to be doing okay with the two at the moment.
I have previously written a guide to this which may give you some ideas, see Litter Boxes for Maine Coons: A Complete Guide.
These structures are amazing for indoor pets in particular. Our two love their cat tree and have done so from day one. They chase each other up and down it and love having a snooze in the various hidey holes.
When choosing a cat tree for a Maine coon there are several things you need to consider:
- How sturdy is it? You’ll want to buy a cat tree which can withstand the weight of a 20lb cat jumping on it, without toppling over. The last thing you want to do is to buy a tree designed for a ‘normal’ cat and then end up having to fork out for a sturdier one several months later. You can buy cat trees which have been specifically designed for large cat breeds. These have weighted bases to ensure that they do not topple over.
- Does it have a hammock? If so, what weight can it withstand? You’ll need a hammock that can hold 20lbs or more as male Maine coons can easily reach this weight once fully grown.
- How many levels does it have? If you are spending a good amount of money on a cat tree then you’ll want to ensure that it provides them with sufficient opportunities for jumping around. I would suggest that you want a minimum of 3 levels to your cat tree, ideally 4 if you have the space for it.
- What other features does it have? Do you want a cat tree with scratching posts incorporated into it? How about toys dangling from it for them to bat around? The more features you include in your choice of cat tree, the fewer additional items you’ll need to buy, which also saves you a bit of space.
- Does it fit with your décor? This may not be a factor for you, but we had just redecorated our living room when we bought our Kittens. Luckily the cat tree we selected came in a range of colours, and we found one that looks great next to our sofa. Cats trees for Maine coons are large structures so you want to make sure that you are happy with how it looks in your room!
Here’s a photograph of our cat tree. I think it’s a really good example of a quality cat tree for a Maine coon. Our breeder had several cat trees from the same manufacturer so we were fairly confident that it would be worth the investment when we bought it.
I’ll talk you through the specific features:
- It has a base which has been weighted with concrete, ensuring that it does not wobble when our cats jump on it.
- It is made up of 4 levels of different sizes and shapes, giving them plenty of room for jumping and keeping things interesting. There’s also a hidey hole in the bottom, not that our two use it, they are far too confident for their own good!
- The posts are covered in rope cord which provides great scratching opportunities. We don’t have any problems with the furniture being scratched to pieces.
- It has two fabric hammocks for the cats to sleep in. This is great as we have two cats so there’s no fighting over who gets to use it. These can easily hold the weight of a 20lb cat and have been tested up to 23kg. They also have fabric which is so soft I actually want to sleep in there myself.
- As I mentioned previously, this cat tree came in a range of colour combinations so that we could match it to our living room décor. Given that it’s such a large structure, we hardly notice it in the corner of the room.
This cat tree can be found in several places online but you can click here to see the listing on Amazon.
As I mentioned, we have two Maine coons, and this cat tree is perfect for them. If you have 3 or more large cats then I’d recommend the next size up, which can be found here.
A good option for a single Maine coon is this tree, as it only has the one hammock, but also has some interesting features to play with and keep them entertained. Find the listing here.
Other ideas, requiring more space
Some owners with large houses or gardens can afford to dedicate whole spaces to their beloved coons. A cat play room can be a great idea, especially if you need to shut your cats out of other areas of the house. Lining the walls and ceilings with climbing frames, hammocks and toys can provide hours of fun for an indoor cat.
Catios are a similar idea, but outside in the garden. A catio is a cat enclosure, usually made up of a wooden frame which has been covered in some sort of mesh to stop the cat from escaping. A window from the side or the back of the house provides he cat access to the catio whenever they like. This allows them an outside space to play and enjoy the fresh air without exposing them to many of the risks of the outdoors.