Are Maine Coon Cats Mean? A Veterinarian Responds

Are Maine Coon Cats Mean - image of a large grumpy looking orange maine coon cat in the snow

by Dr. WL Wilkins, DVM, PhD.

Maine Coon cats are BIG! They hold the reputation for being the biggest domestic cat breed in the world (hybrid cats not included). 

With big size comes the potential to do big damage. With their large size, and teeth and claws to match, big cats can be seen as intimidating and even mean. But are Maine Coon cats mean?

Contrary to their imposing stature, Maine Coon cats are often known as gentle giants with affectionate temperaments. Read on to discover the charming personality traits of these majestic felines and why they make purr-fect companions for families and individuals alike.

Are Maine Coon Cats Mean? No, And Here’s Why

Among cats, the Maine Coon breed is renowned for their impressive size, bushy tails, tufted ears, and affable nature. This breed is one of the largest domesticated breeds of felines, with males weighing up to 18 pounds or more. 

Originating from the United States in the state of Maine, these large cats are well-suited to cold climates with their dense water-resistant coat and furry tufts on their paws to protect from harsh winter conditions. They’re a hardy, long-lived breed known for their intelligence and playful, affectionate behavior.

Despite their impressive size, Maine Coons are not mean at all. This perception of Maine Coon cats being mean is entirely without merit. On the contrary, they’re often referred to as “gentle giants” and for good reason.  

Characteristics and Temperament

Maine Coon cats possess several characteristics that make them stand out from other breeds:

  • Physical traits: Their large, muscular bodies, tufted ears, long coat, and bushy tails are distinctive features.
  • Social nature: They are sociable animals that enjoy the company of their human family members and do well with other pets.
  • Intelligence: Maine Coons are highly intelligent and can be trained to perform simple tricks and tasks.
  • Playfulness: They retain their kitten-like playfulness well into their adult years and have a wide variety of interests.

The vast number of Maine Coon owners will passionately attest to the breed’s gentle and kind nature. Maine Coons are not prone to aggression or unfriendly behavior when properly cared for and treated. 

Breed-specific behavior studies also support the Maine Coon’s reputation for playfulness and affection towards their human companions. They are considered one of the top choices for family pets.

The Friendly and Gentle Nature of Maine Coon Cats

Maine Coon cats typically are known to be friendly and sociable. They’re not only friendly with their human family members but are known to forge strong bonds. 

They are often described as “dog-like” in their desire to follow you from room to room and be part of your daily activities. 

This breed is rarely aloof, but rather engages in normal feline behaviors, such as following their own agendas, exploring, and roughhousing.

Are Maine Coon Cats Mean - closeup image of a grey tabby maine coon with an impressive fur ruff

Factors Affecting Behavior

While it’s true that some cats may exhibit aggressive behavior, it is not an inherent trait of Maine Coons. There are a number of factors that influence a cat’s behavior, and with Maine Coons, the scales tip in favor of positive characteristics.

Territorial Tendencies

One of the reasons that domestic cats display aggressive behavior is due to their strong territorial instincts. Maine Coons are no exception, but they tend to be less territorial than other breeds.

While typically loving and friendly with their family members, they can be reserved when it comes to strangers. Cats that roam about outside, especially intact male cats, are likely to try to drive off other animals they see as a threat to their domain. 

Environmental Influences

Anxiety, stress, and the presence of other pets can sometimes lead to aggressive cats. Creating a calm and enriching environment for your cat is important to prevent the development of negative traits.

Socialization and Training

Early socialization and consistent training play a key role in shaping a cat’s behavior. Maine Coon owners who prioritize socializing their kittens and utilize positive reinforcement training methods reap the rewards of a well-adjusted and loving companion.

Tips for Owning a Maine Coon Cat

If you are considering welcoming a Maine Coon into your home, there are several steps you can take to ensure a harmonious relationship with your new four footed family member.

Proper Care and Attention

Maine Coons, like all pets, require proper care and attention. Regular grooming, a nutritious diet, and veterinary care are essential to their happy and healthy. Additionally, providing toys and activities to satisfy their curiosity and playful nature is important for their mental and physical health.

Establishing a Strong Bond

Invest time in bonding with your Maine Coon. Play with them, provide them with cozy spots to nap, and give them lots of cuddles and affection. This interaction helps to establish a bond and breaks down any barriers that may lead to negative behavior.

Training and Socialization Techniques

Expose your Maine Coon kitten to various people and environments early on. This exposure can help them become more adaptable and reduce the chances of them becoming skittish or anxious. 

Also, incorporate training into play and bonding activities. Simple commands and positive behaviors can be taught through reinforcement and reward.


The Maine Coon is known for being a friendly and gentle giant, supported by both anecdotes and research. They are not only beautiful but also have a loving and spirited nature. These cats continue to win over the hearts of their lucky owners. 

Having a Maine Coon means having a companion who will become an integral part of your family. If you’re looking for a loving feline companion, the Maine Coon is definitely a breed to consider. With proper care and attention, they will bring joy, love, and companionship into your home for years to come.

Are Maine Coon Cats Mean - grey tabby maine coon grey background


  • Dr. Wendy Wilkins DVM PhD.

    Dr. Wendy Wilkins is an experienced veterinarian and epidemiologist with over 20 years of expertise. She holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and a Doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan. Throughout her career, Dr. Wilkins has excelled in clinical practice, academia, research, and regulatory veterinary medicine. She is a respected voice in knowledge dissemination, delivering factual information in a readable and understandable manner through articles, books, and public engagements.

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