While cats are known for their independence with respect to dogs, the fact is the Maine Coon is known as the ‘dog of the cat world’.
They have many similar qualities to dogs in terms of personality and loyalty.
But dogs are social animals so where does a Maine Coon strike the balance here?
Can a Maine Coon be left alone?
A Maine Coon can be left alone but it’s best only for short periods. Adult Maine Coons can weather loneliness better than kittens. A Maine Coon can accept loneliness for short periods but prolonged loneliness leads to stress and depression.
There’s quite a lot that goes into answering this question.
A Maine Coon with access to the outdoors will survive better than an indoor Maine Coon for example.
Even the size of where you live can make the difference.
A Maine Coon in a small castle has much more variety in the things it can do and the places it can go.
A few factors you may want to consider are
An adult Maine Coon with dogs in a large property and plenty of entertainment and access to the outside will do better than a kitten in a small apartment with nothing to do.
Alita, my Maine Coon is an indoor Maine Coon but I have other cats for her to bond and play with.
I don’t have a problem, despite my property not being overly large, and working my shifts.
Something that is important to stress is how regular the time alone will be.
As a rule the more regular a Maine Coon will be left alone the shorter duration it will need to be.
There’s also the nature of the individual cat. Some Maine Coons can cope better than others.
If you are going away for a prolonged period as a ‘one off’ then it’s extremely unlikely that the incident will lead to any stress or depression.
Long and arduous periods alone without any mental stimulation though over time will cause a slow build up of negative emotions in your Maine Coon.
Few animals can tolerate complete isolation over a prolonged time frame.
Long periods alone will build up into problems that will not be noticed early on in the transition towards a depressed Maine Coon.
You will come back and they will be extremely happy to see you as it will be a relief from the boredom.
If you are planning on leaving your Maine Coon alone for long periods then it’s better to be way ahead of it, and plan accordingly.
The Maine Coon is an affable, loving, and gentle cat. They are loyal to their owners and are really curious about what they are doing.
They follow you around a lot for this reason.
They bond with their owners in a way only owners can really know.
Their personality and temperament should not be confused with contentment if you leave them alone.
Silence does not mean compliance.
Maine Coons are very ‘people orientated‘ cats, and as a rule would prefer to be with you.
Anybody who has gone into a room, closed the door, and opened it again to see their Maine Coon sitting on the other side waiting for you to see the error of the closed door knows what I mean.
What helps with loneliness will be routine.
If you go out regularly, and come back around the same time, the Maine Coon can be a lot more content than if it is continually guessing when it will hear the door open.
At the end of the day, your Maine Coon is a living animal. It needs physical and mental needs to survive.
Being trapped and safe is as dangerous to health as being outdoors with risk.
No-one is expected to be with their cat all the time, and your Maine Coon will want it’s own time alone anyway.
However, the more time you can limit prolonged periods alone, the better.
Consider another cat if it’s going to be a regular occurence.
No one needs to worry about leaving their Maine Coon alone if it’s just for a few hours at irregular times, and you won’t be away too long.
All cats spend time alone by choice, even Maine Coons.
Familiarity of where they are left alone also has to be factored in.
Dropping your Maine Coon off with someone they don’t know, who will then leave them alone could be very stressful.
Vets are united around a figure of around 24 hours provided there is clean litter, a food and water source and adequate comfort.
I’ve never left Alita alone for that long, nor do I intend to, but that sounds about right.
That’s the recommendation for a one off thing though.
You obviously couldn’t leave a Maine Coon alone for 20 hours a day continually and think that was OK.
As alluded to earlier, a Maine Coon is a much more ‘people friendly’ cat, and bonds with their owners so it wouldn’t surprise me if for a Maine Coon, the general figures by vets were a little too high for Maine Coons.
Depriving the Maine Coon of the physical and social interaction it needs puts their mental health at risk.
The longer you do it, the more they will become bored, lonely, and depressed.
This is where a second cat can become a lifesaver.
There more likely the Maine Coon will be left alone, such as going to work in a time consuming job, the more you should consider a second cat.
Maine Coon kittens are growing and need more care.
Certainly newborn kittens, although looked after by the mother, need you nearby to check and rectify things that go wrong.
The first few weeks a kitten is more vulnerable to many things, and therefore needs much more scrutiny.
A Maine Coon newborn won’t be lonely for the first months of its life as it will be dependent on the mother.
There will normally be other kittens to play with as they work out the ways of the world.
What we might be talking about is bringing a single Maine Coon kitten home at 12 weeks old, and leaving it alone for long extended periods of time.
Obviously that needs to be avoided as much as possible.
A kitten shouldn’t really be left alone for long periods while it is acclimatizing to a new home.
This is a good reason why people buy two kittens at the same time.
A new kitten to a household needs a fair amount of attention.
The kitten is most likely a little bit fazed by being taken away from the only thing it’s known and is probably anxious about its new environment.
The new kitten should be properly introduced to the home with a lot of fuss and plenty of interaction. This overcomes loneliness.
Taking a kitten away from the mother for them to be left alone stagnates their social development and causes stress.
As mentioned before, a Maine Coon will likely want to bond with the family so, there obviously needs to be a family there.
Being left alone at such an early stage is unnatural, and not recommended.
The real world though is full of dilemmas and reality checks.
If you need to leave your home for work, then it’s unfortunate, but what can you do?
We all want to see Maine Coons grow up healthy, both physically and mentally.
So in the early stages, make sure the kitten is left alone as little as possible.
When the real world intrudes though, and you have to leave a Maine Coon kitten alone for a while, you should make sure they are adequately catered for.
This should include;
If you have to leave a Maine Coon kitten for a while, you have to make the best of it.
A Maine Coon should be able to be left alone, especially if they have access to the outdoors.
An indoor Maine Coon would ideally have some company.
Most cats can get used to the regular routine of a busy owner or couple having to work to place all that delicious chicken and tuna in the bowl.
Similar rules apply, in that, make sure the home is safe, they can’t injure themselves, and there is a plentiful supply of water and food.
You should only be gone 8 to 10 hours, and most Maine Coons will get used to this provided there is quality time once you get home.
Much like a workday, a Maine Coon should be OK to leave overnight provided the length of time is around 12 hours or so.
As a single trip then your Maine Coon is unlikely to develop any stress or harm, indeed, it may have been asleep for most of it.
If the Maine Coon has access to the outside then it’s not something I would worry about at all.
If it gets bored it can go for a prowl.
That said, even an indoor Maine Coon in a large house can do the same.
Overnight is not much different in timeframe than a workday.
The same sort of rules apply.
Make sure they are well fed, there is adequate freshwater, and a clean litter tray if it should be needed.
Maine Coon proof your home so there aren’t any easy ways to injure themselves. Normally this is knives left out or scissors on coffee tables.
Try as much as you can not to confine them to a small room. You wouldn’t like isolation, and neither will your Maine Coon.
Ensure they have as much of a chance to roam as possible.
Keep the bed clean, and the entertainment plentiful.
Another option, to finally end on here, is that if you are concerned, can you take your Maine Coon with you?
They might enjoy the adventure, and where you are going might be quite receptive to the idea of you bringing your Maine Coon.
Give it a try.
Household Maine Coons and their owners have been getting along pretty well now for decades.
Nobody likes to see any cat locked in a small and cramped room with no entertainment or food for long periods.
If you have a single Maine Coon, go to work, and while you’re away your Maine Coon has access to entertainment, food, and the ability to roam then you probably have little to worry about.
If the Maine Coon has access to the outdoors, and it’s safe, then you have even less to worry about.
If you have an indoor Maine Coon, and are going away for longer periods, it’s really worth considering a second cat to keep them company.
Even windows so they can watch the world go by help.
So, yes, Maine Coons can be left alone. They are a hardy breed of cat, but give them plenty of fuss if you do go away a lot.
The Maine Coon is a fabulous breed of cat, but please remember it is still an animal.
It will need social interaction to maintain mental health.
Maine Coon 101 | Read This Before Getting One