a maine coon looking mean

Are Maine Coon Cats Mean?

Maine Coons are a popular breed and with good reason.

Cats in general are notorious for their aloofness and independence. Some can give off a whiff of cat like contempt for their fellow brethren and behave improperly.

But what about Maine Coons? Is their personality like that?

Are Maine Coons mean cats?

Maine coon cats are emphatically not mean cats. Quite the reverse. They are very social, loyal, and a gentle breed of cat despite their size. If a Maine Coon is mean then it’s more to do with the current situation, environment, or upbringing.

I have never known my Maine Coon, Alita, to EVER be either aggressive or deliberately hurtful.

She even keeps her claws retracted if I have to pick her up and give her a pill.

Despite not being a lap cat, or enjoy being picked up for long, when I have to do it I have never had her scratch me.

It’s as if she is deliberately trying not to hurt me.

Maine Coons are many things, but mean is definitely not one of them.

Alita the Maine Coon face asleep

If Maine Coons Aren’t Mean, What Are They?

If you are about to get a Maine Coon then the idea that the breed is inherently mean and ill-tempered should be the furthest thing from your mind.

As a breed, they are very much the opposite of that, but that doesn’t mean an individual cat can’t display characteristics that aren’t indicative of the breed.

Maine Coons are naturally friendly, affable, and social with a family unit.

One that is aggressively resistant to their owner would be rare.

Their gentle nature is very much typified by the moniker that they are given – the gentle giants.

They are a very easy breed of cat to get on with, quite vocal at times, but not troublesome.

Having owned a few, I’d say that if you specifically WANTED a cat breed that wasn’t mean you should look at a Maine Coon.

a maine coon scowling on a chair

Possible Causes Of A Mean Streak In A Maine Coon

Mean-spirited is certainly not a breed trait, but what about a mean streak in an individual cat?

Well, that’s another matter, and there could be several causes.

Let’s run through them and see if we can pinpoint what might be wrong.


As I have already alluded to, Maine Coons are not mean spirited by any means, so if a Maine Coon is being aggressive then the first question to ask is what might have changed?

It can be as simple as a perfume or smell or the cat food brand has changed their formulae, but another option is hormones.

Male cats might feel the need to find a female cat, and if they are indoors this can cause some temporary behavioral changes.

a maine coon looking angry

Is Your Maine Coon In Pain?

Sudden changes in behavior can be more acute if your Maine Coon has developed an injury or there is something else wrong.

Have they been in a catfight and you stroking them causes pain to them?

Many illnesses can be benign but more aggressive ones cause some discomfort.

Are there sudden reactions to pressure in the same area?

Consider a trip to the vet to try and diagnose a problem if you can’t identify what might be wrong.

an outside maine coon on a small bench

Is There Enough Mental Stimulation

In other words, are they bored?

This is more unlikely in an outdoor Maine Coon, but indoor Maine Coons with little stimuli to keep them entertained might be provoking reactions to experience something different.

Killer Whales at Seaworld did this. They injured their carers to alleviate the boredom.

So if you are away for long periods, consider more time with your Maine Coon or think about another cat to provide them some company.

a maine coon staring on a step

Your Maine Coons Early Or Prior Life Experience

What your Maine Coon has experienced and witnessed up to now might be influencing how they perceive reactions to events.

Just like most animals, they learn by witnessing what is going on around them.

Maybe the kitten was part of a large litter and developed learning mean things to get attention.

Or it developed the notion that being mean was the way to solve issues and problems as it saw it working in an earlier part of their lives.

It’s certainly against their natural temperament.

Encourage and reward positive behavior rather than punishing bad.

Maine Coons respond well to that.

a maine coon kitten staring

Genetic Influence

Inherited traits can sometimes be the issue, and much like other traits, like intelligence and patience, these are ingrained but can be learned.

There’s certainly an argument for saying either the mother or father was a mean-spirited cat and that trait has passed on.

You almost can’t blame the Maine Coon for it, but you do not have to reward the behavior.

So again, consider treats for positive things and not for negative reactions and see if the Maine Coon learns to alter their style.

a maine coon standing proud

Has The Maine Coons Environment Changed?

This sort of thing is more easily connected if you have just moved house.

A Maine Coon that goes from a gentle giant to one that is a little more aggressive might be due to something has changed, and not for the better in your Maine Coons eyes.

Abrupt changes might bring on temporary anger or anxiousness that should abate with time.

Moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do, but it’s the same for your Maine Coon.

It has changed to a whole new environment that it knows nothing about. It has to learn where the dangers are, where the safe places are all over again.

It might not be your house but something in the neighborhood.

There are many factors that go into an environmental change, as it could even be another cat in the area.

These sorts of changes will normally change back over time as your Maine Coon has time to settle into the new way and process what has changed.

a maine coon looking surprised

Is It You And Not Your Maine Coon?

We all want the best for our animals and sometimes it’s difficult to know what that is.

The basic necessities are easy, food, water, entertainment, ablutions etc.

Your Maine Coon is still a cat though, it has its own personality and preferences.

So, are you doing something against its ingrained impulses?


  • are you picking it up too much
  • are you picking it up and it doesn’t like it
  • are you rubbing its fur rather than stroking it
  • are you trying to tickle its tummy and it doesn’t like it
  • are you trying to dress it and it prefers the ‘au naturel’ look
  • is there a new aftershave or perfume about

You get my point.

Your Maine Coon might be responding to something it is showing an innate preference for.

If you stop doing it, it will stop its reaction.

a maine coon kitten close up

Is Your Maine Coon Trying A Dominance Display

I’d hazard a guess that this is much more likely in a male Maine Coon.

If you have more than one pet, your Maine Coon might be trying to show its alpha male status and the ‘rebellious teenager’ approach to life.

It might be a way of marking itself out as an individual to another cat.

Have you brought another cat to the house recently?

Are you not paying them enough attention this week?

a silver maine coon close up

Is Your Maine Coon Receiving Unsuitable Handling

This doesn’t need to be by you, but by people in the neighborhood.

Not everyone either likes cats, or knows how to handle them.

Your Maine Coon might even be being picked up incorrectly and becoming frightened so it’s reacting instinctively.

If you have children, are they treating the cat properly?

Many very young children will try and grab the tail.

Perhaps your Maine Coon is growing a little tired of its treatment and lashing out.

Your Maine Coon Could Just Be A Drama Queen And Craves Attention

Maine Coons are definitely loyal, but the price of that loyalty is that it needs to feel like you are giving it enough attention.

If everyone’s focus has changed it may just be an impulse to get the attention back.

Giving your Maine Coon plenty of quality time and entertainment should solve this one pretty easily.

a maine coon displaying the mane

Routine Alteration

Maine Coons are more like us than we care to admit.

While some cats are more adaptive than others, quite a lot get used to a certain way of doing things.

Fed at the same time, go outdoors for a few hours, and back for a scheduled tea, all the while looking for new and interesting places to sleep.

An upset can cause a Maine Coon temporary bewilderment.

A cat should easily adjust if this is the case.

Maine Coon close up and sleeping


Maine Coon cats are definitely not naturally mean or aggressive.

Unless you’re a mouse.

Aggression can be developed if an owner deliberately trains their cat to behave aggressively towards humans or other animals, but it’s not inherent in the breed.

Prior mistreatment can be a cause.

Maine Coons are generally affable, loyal, affectionate, and friendly towards humans, dogs, and other cats.

They really do earn their title of “gentle giants

If you have a Maine Coon that’s mean and ill-tempered then there has normally been an external factor.

About the Author


My name is Ann and I have been looking after and breeding cats since 2013. I am currently the proud ownder of Alita, a female Maine Coon to whom I've dedicated this site. She has had 2 litters and is around 3 years old. We share adventures and stories together.

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Maine Coon 101 | Read This Before Getting One