Alita the Maine Coon picked up by waterfall

Do Maine Coons Like to Be Held and Cuddled?

Many people get a cat as a companion, and part of that contract is the cat must be ‘human orientated’. There are many breeds that are known to not like being picked up. But what about the Maine Coon is you want a cuddly cat?

So, do Maine Coons like to be held or cuddled? Yes, very much so. While there are breeds that are more recognized as being affectionate, like the Ragdoll, the Maine Coon does like to be picked up, held or cuddled.

What Breeds Are Recognized As Liking Being Affectionate?

Type is ‘cuddly cat breeds’ into google and a variety of recognized cat breeds appear.

Take a look.

google cuddly cat breed search

I looked through a variety sites and noticed a few things. In about half the sites that appeared, where the words affection, cuddly or friendly were used, the Maine Coon appeared.

What I noticed was that the shorter the list, the less likely it was that the Maine Coon would appear. There appears to be a ‘top tier’ that are considered the cuddliest, such as the Ragdoll or Burmese. These breeds make all these lists.

What this rough bit of research show is that, while not being considered the most cuddly cat, it is in the ‘honorable mention’ category.

For my part, I have to disagree somewhat. My Maine Coon, Alita, is nothing but affectionate and friendly, towards anyone.

She also, really, really likes to cuddle.

Take a look;

Alita the Maine Coon cuddled

What Makes a Cuddly Cat?

I have absolutely no idea if there’s a definition for this, or even a consensus of opinion. For me though, the basis is affection and friendliness of the cat breed, Maine Coons have both in abundance. They love to follow you around and keep up to date on what you are doing.

There’s a few things that make a cuddly cat though, and in no particular order, they are;

 

  • Likes to be held
  • Likes to be picked up
  • Doesn’t mind being cuddled upside down

 

I’m sure there’s a professional definition of what makes a cuddly cat but that’s mine.

Alita the Maine Coon cuddled

Quite a few breeds of cats do not like to be hed. They are very uneasy in your arms, and if you try to hold them upside down in that really cute way, they fight it and try to wriggle free.

Maine Coons don’t seem to be one of those breeds. They are affectionate with their owners and don’t mind being picked up at all.

Why Do Maine Coons Cuddle?

I think there are several reasons why Maine Coons like to cuddle. It’s not a definitive list but here’s my thinking on what makes the Maine Coon a good choice for those wanting a cuddly cat.

They’re Affectionate – They Love Your Attention

As a social breed of cat goes, you really can’t do better. Having earned the nickname “gentle giant” and ‘dogs of the cat world’ they seem to respect the family unit, whether it’s other cats, babies, dogs or children. They are naturally a very friendly cat breed.

They are often there to greet you when you come home, and are sitting at the door when you go, as if to say goodbye. They can be quite vocal with their affection as well, as any Maine Coon owner will tell you.

The Maine Coon has a big personality and is nearly always up for a fuss. They will quite happily take affection wherever they can get it.

Alita the Maine Coon affectionate

Quite often as I go from room to room, Alita will follow me around. If it’s the bathroom she will greet me with a rub on the legs as soon as I come out. She always seems happy to see me, no matter what time of day or what the situation is.

I don’t think I’m alone here either, this seems to be a very common Maine Coon trait.

Likes To Be Held

Whilst some breeds feel very restrained and uncomfortable with being held, the Maine Coon is not one of them. I am forever picking up Alita for one reason or another, whether to move her or put her in her walking harness.

She never complains. And I mean never. Every time I pick her up she never struggles or fights to get away. Maine Coons don’t seem to spook easily, the bond that seems to develop is one of trust, so she seems happy to let me pick her to hold.

Likes To Be Picked Up

As alluded to above, assuming a cat has no reason to mistrust you, such as having had a bad experience in the past, a Maine Coon does not seem to mind an owner picking them up.

If they are friendly with you, and they should be, they don’t fight as you pick them up. They are quite happy to trust you, unless they have reason to think otherwise.

Likes To Be Warm With You

All breeds of cat are well known for liking their own comfort. It seems to be a defining characteristic of the species. Kittens learn to snuggle for warmth from the moment of birth, mainly because they are unable to regulate their own body temperature until about a month old.

This ‘hang up’ often carries through to adult cats, that always seem to find the warm spot, whether it’s an underfloor pipe or your lap.

Humans are what are known as ‘homeotherms’, which means we generate our own heat, much like your cat. Which basically, to your Maine Coon, means you are one giant radiator. A radiator that feeds them. Win-win.

So as a kitten grows into adulthood, a lot of affectionate cat breeds, just naturally gravitate to your lap, or your side. According to behavioral scientists, there is evidence to suggest that kittens that are normalised to human interactions, at the appropriate early ages, are quite happy to view humans as part of the family, just as much as other cats. Which is why they don’t mind cuddling next to you. Feral cats do it for warmth quite often.

Alita the Maine Coon on a hilltop

Likes The Security You Provide

As well as warmth, cats also look for security when the nap, or want to relax. It’s a natural act for them. This tends to be why they pick high up places, as they are free from danger, mostly.

As a towering giant, you are perfect security for them, and they naturally gravitate to you. It’s almost certainly instinct as your home, in reality is good protection for them. So Maine Coons, nearly always affectionate in nature, are happy to cuddle with you as they view you as able to keep them safe and secure. They are able to relax in the belief that you will protect them.

Likes To Bond With You

A Maine Coon is very affectionate by nature. Once they get to know and trust you, they will happily come up to you and play, rubbing around you legs and coming over to you when you relax.

Initially they might be a little wary, but they approach you and check you out. The key is not to be too aggressive in your response but let the Maine Coon ‘suss you out’. Eventually they will bond with you, especially if you feed them treats. Once your Maine Coon realises you are not a threat, the primary thing it is trying to work out, it will be more than happy to come to you.

Maine Coons, love to bond with family members. Individual cats aside, if you are gentle with them in their initial stages while they are working you out, it should all work out fine.,

Why Do Cats Fight To Get Down?

Whilst Maine Coons in general don’t mind being picked up by people they trust, some breeds absolutely hate it and then there are individual cats experiences. You may have not got your Maine coon from a kitten, so there can be various reasons.

Here are some common reasons why a cat might not like to be picked up.

Independent: Cats are fabulously good at keeping themselves independent if they wish too. They may have inclinations to make friends with household members, but they are cats after all. They have to want to come to you, so if you are too rough with them or approach them incorrectly, they may have gained negative reinforcements from this behaviour. They thus don’t feel safe and are reluctant to be picked up.

Shy: You have to remember, you are absolutely huge to them. A cat has to learn to trust you and some are just shy, and it takes a lot more positive experiences before they let you take them from their comfort zone. There may be a lot going on around the house, perhaps another cat visits a lot and they are just uncomfortable about not being in control, feeling vulnerable if you pick them up.

No prior experience: If a kitten is not socialized to being picked up, it’s a very unnatural thing for a cat to learn is OK. Typically, the older the cat, the harder it is to teach. An adult cat will just not recognize it as normal behaviour. Try lifting them up for food treats to see if they can grow acclimatised to it.

Bad past experiences: If you have not had your cat from a kitten it’s difficult for you to know what happened prior to their arrival at your home. Perhaps it’s used to having to be alert for dogs. Perhaps previous owners were too rough, or it associates being picked up with something terrible happening. Trust has to grow, and you should not force a cat that doesn’t like being picked up. Perhaps they were previously and now associate it with a ‘trapped’ feeling. Hence their desire to get away.

Breed specific: Let’s also just be honest, some breeds of cat are more affable than others. The Ragdoll appears to have been named after this defining characteristic. As you pick them up they go ‘like a ragdoll’. The Maine Coon tends towards this behaviour if they trust you. Some breeds just do not like it.

Alita the Maine Coon head

Why Does Cuddling Unease Some Cats?

Some cats are uneasy being upside down. Most cat lovers will have experienced it at one time or another. You want to pick them up, and before you can get them settled, their eyes are wide, and there’s a squirming ball of claws and teeth, wrestling with you to get back to the ground.

Firstly, if this happens – you sense your cat does not like it and they go rigid, tries to tilt or push away from you you should put them down gently immediately. This helps build up trust and reinforces that they do not need to be aggressive to get the desired reaction. Learning that they can always get down if they want to and you understand their desire helps to build trust.

It has been suggested that any cat, even the Maine Coon likes to feel independent

It’s been suggested that a very strong willed and independent cat is more resistant to being picked up. It’s almost as if they react badly to the thought of needing help. Ask yourself, is the cat strong willed and stubborn in other areas. If it is, then this may well be the reason.

Specifically with cuddling, often the position is slightly restrained from a cat’s point of view. They are very vulnerable in the position, and as much as they might trust you, they may have had bad experiences with being restrained before.

The whole position is quite unnatural for cat and many are resistant to it for good reason. It’s nothing to do with you, they trust you, it’s that it is an instinctive reaction to a submissive position.

Additionally, always keep in mind that they may have an injury and being picked up and cuddled is aggravating to the injury and painful. This obviously happens in older cats, but if it has a problem with it’s hip, or arthritis then picking them up and cuddling is painful.

What Makes The Maine Coon a Good Breed For Affection

The Maine Coon like many other breeds have quite a few characteristics that make them good for a prospective owner who wants an affectionate cat. They are extremely loyal. If they like you, they will quite happily follow you around the house.

They really seem to actually enjoy their owners company. Alita genuinely seems to like me being around, as if she sees us as a family unit. She seems to expect reciprocation as well.

Alita the Maine Coon lying on me

They are so friendly, they often make friends with people visiting the property.

For this reason they make great family pets, as they take to the existing structure. They are good with children and babies even. As for the family dog, they may well end up best friends.

It’s been said that female Maine Coons are a little more sceptical but Alita settled in really quickly to the household.

They have an almost ‘dog like’ level of playfulness and friendliness sometimes, and this really aides why they like to bond with their owner.

Conclusion

Owners showing their affection for there Maine Coon has been going on since Maine Coons have been a recognized breed. It’s not going to stop any time soon.

It’s not improbable that cats can get a bit lonely occasionally and need to show their affection often and seek you out to receive some. Although naturally independent, Maine Coons do like the company of their owners.

If they like to be picked up and held, and quite happily purr when you do so then there’s no reason not to continue the behaviour, after all your cat likes it. If they don’t, you have to respect their choices, they may not have had good experiences in the past.

I have read quite a few articles that suggest Maine Coons don’t like to be picked up. Whilst some cats may not, that has so far not been my experience at all.

Alita, I can pick up at any time for any reason and she lets me, and then tends to let me place her down. You couldn’t wish for a more affable breed as a cuddly cat.

Maybe I’m just lucky.

I tend to not think so though, there is also plenty of evidence that other owners have found the same thing. It’s probably something to do with each individual cats life experience. I have had mine from a kitten, so she has been used to human contact, and as such doesn’t mind being picked up.

To be honest, a lot of the time, especially at night, she actively seeks it out.

 

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1 thought on “Do Maine Coons Like to Be Held and Cuddled?

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      Reading this as my Maine Coon Barën purrs and cuddles me from the back of the couch with his giant tail wrapped around me like a stole. He follows me everywhere and is the most cuddly cat I’ve ever had. I love him so much, and he’s bonded to me. Our female moggy cat is more closely bonded to my boyfriend. So it’s like we each have our little familiars following us around the house!

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