Maine coon lovers are often animal lovers in general. This means that it is not uncommon for them to own multiple coons, other breeds of cat and dogs. So the question is, do Maine coon cats get along with dogs?
Maine coons are a very gentle and playful breed of cat. They are a brilliant family pet as, in general, they will get on with children, other cats and even dogs. In fact, Maine coons are often called the ‘dogs of the cat world’ because of the many dog-like behaviours they exhibit. So, can Maine coon cats get along with dogs? Yes, of course they can! Let’s take a look at how you can go about introducing the two.
What you need to consider when introducing the two is the history of both the dog and the coon. So, are you introducing a coon kitten to your dog? Maybe you have coons and are thinking of getting a puppy. Or maybe you love a challenge and are considering getting both a kitten and a puppy.
Most other breeds of cat will just learn to tolerate life with a dog. They learn to avoid them for the most part and may even be aloof with their owners because of the canine they have brought into their lives. Maine coons on the other hand can learn to thrive in a home with a dog. Dogs have the energy to keep up a Maine coon’s constant need for stimulation and play. They can learn to be great friends, sometimes even grooming each other and sleeping together.
Maine coons are very sociable so the chances of them adapting to life with a canine friend is very high. As with any breed of animal, the younger they are introduced, they quicker they will get used to it. They will be more accepting of their life together if it is the only way that they have known. Depending on the dreed of dog, you may even find that your coon grows to be bigger than them! If this is the case then your coon is less likely to feel threatened by the dog.
Of course I am talking in general here. If you have got yourself a rescue coon (or coon-cross) then they may not react quite so well to being introduced to a dog. If this is the case then try to establish their history from the shelter. Try to find out if your rescue coon has ever lived with dogs in the past.
Introducing a Maine Coon Kitten to your Dog
Kittens do not need a lot of space, therefore keeping them in an enclosed space to begin with will be just fine. Consider buying a crate to keep them in to begin with, or if your cat carrier is a reasonable size then keeping them in there should be just fine (You want one that your kitten can see out of and you can easily see into). Provide them with food, water, a litter trays and some toys to play with. This way your kitten can get used to the sounds and smells of your home whilst feeling safe at the same time.
You want the crate to be kept in a communal area. For a start you it allows you to keep an eye on your kitten, but also you don’t want them getting lonely. Being isolated in a cage away from people will be a confusing and sad experience for a kitten. This is obviously not the objective here! We want them to get used to a busy household with people and a dog! Let your kitten get used to this environment for a day or so before thinking about introducing your dog.
Allow your dog into the room for a small amount of time. Let them walk up to the cage to take a look at the kitten and give them a good sniff. Be ready to step in if the dog is showing signs of aggression towards the kitten.
Once the dog is used to seeing the kitten in the carrier and can keep calm around them, you can move onto the next phase. Take the kitten out and play with them on your lap. Allow the dog into the room and let them see you with the kitten. If the dog is remaining calm then allow them to come up and inspect the kitten on your lap.
With luck your dog and your kitten may start getting along within a week but equally you shouldn’t be concerned if it takes 2-3 months for your furry friends to start truly getting along with each other.
If you find that it is taking more than a week for your pets to get comfortable around each other then consider investing in a baby gate. Put this at the top of the stairs top keep your kitten and your dog separate. They can both move around freely on their respective floors and then inspect each other from a safe distance through the gate. This way you are slowly giving your kitten more and more freedom to move around and getting your dog used to the kitten being in progressively larger sections of the house.
Even if you feel they are getting on well during the day you may still want to keep them sperate at night-time. If you are asleep you may not be aware of any scrapping which might be taking place.
Now some owners will consider the advice above unnecessary. I’ve spoken to plenty of coon owners who has simply let their dog loose with their coon kitten from the off. I guess it really depends on the temperament of your dog and whether they are already used to living with cats. Use your judgement but the advice above is just a suggestion for the safest introduction possible for your coon kitten.
Maine coons are generally quite dog-like anyway. They are a very loyal breed of cat and like to have constant attention from their chosen human or humans. They enjoy play and will often fetch toys and bring them to their owner to signal that they want to play. Living with a dog may mean kitten will grow up thinking they are also a dog which will accentuate all of these behaviours in your coon.
A Maine coon is a great cross-over pet. By this I mean that if you have a cat and a dog who are not getting along then introducing a coon into the situation could be of great benefit. Coons get on well with other breeds of cat and they are canine-like enough to form a bond with dogs. Your dog will learn that cats are not really that bad!
Introducing a Puppy to Your Adult Maine Coon
When discussing this topic with other Maine coon owners the general consensus is that introducing a kitten to a dog is more straight forwards than introducing a puppy to your adult cat. Having said that, they also agree that introducing a puppy into the mix is also easier than introducing another cat. This is mainly because an established Maine coon within a household can get territorial when a new pet is introduced.
First of all, ensure that you have plenty of areas that your Maine coon can escape to for some peace and quiet away from the puppy. You’ll also be taking the puppy out for walks which will give your Maine coon a breather from having the puppy in the house.
Keeping them in separate rooms to begin with is a good idea so that the puppy can get used to the house and you Maine coon gets used to the puppy being there. When the puppy falls asleep allow your coon into the same room so they can sniff around and get used to the puppy being in the room with them in a more relaxed setting.
Make sure that you give your coon plenty of attention, cuddles and treats during this introduction period to ensure that they do not feel neglected. Try having a play session with your Maine coon and incorporating the puppy. That way they can get used to having some fun together.
Your coon may get territorial and show some signs of aggression towards the puppy. Again you can employ the stair gate technique until they get used to each other and make sure to keep them separate at night at least in the beginning.
The likelihood is that they will eventually becomes good friends and keep each other entertained. If not then your coon may just be end up acting a bit aloof towards the dog and keep away from them. Either way you won’t need to be keeping an eye on the all of the time.