Cats – and especially Maine Coons – seem to be creatures of leisure. Cats love taking naps, watching the world go by at the windows, grooming, eating, and bragging about. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy playtime.
So do Maine Coons like to play? Yes, Maine Coon cats love to be physically and mentally stimulated and they love to spend time playing with toys, other kitties or their owners. Not only do they enjoy playing, but they also need to. Play is how your domestic Maine Coon can exercise, how they express their natural instinct, and how you can prevent them from developing health or behavioral issues.
Cats that are allowed outside can have more chances of playing and exercising. But, even though they may enjoy it, Maine Coons don’t necessarily need to be let outside. Playing regularly with them and providing them with toys can satisfy their instincts and keep them stimulated.
Alita, my Maine Coon shows very little interest in wanting to go outside. She knows I take her outside regularly enough.
You can buy several types of toys for your Maine Coons but you don’t need to. You can be creative and create toys out of almost any object in your house. You’ll see, your Maine Coon may love your home-made toys far more than the purchased one.
Maine Coons are big and muscular. Sleeping seems to be their favorite activity (they can sleep up to 16 hours per day), but still, when they are awake they need to move around and do some exercise. Maine Coons are great hunters and, in the wild, hunting is their exercise. Maine Coons that live with us (even those that are allowed outside since they don’t need to hunt to get their food) need toys to play with. Hunting remains their favorite game: basically, the toys become their prey.
Play/Hunting is super important for Maine Coons as it is for every cat breed. Not only is the way they exercise, but it also relieves anxiety, stress, and boredom. When your cat is scratching, attacking and biting everything around the house, it is probably because he or she is supplementing their hunting instincts with anything that comes under their paws. Providing them with toys could be a solution to the problem.
Play enriches your Maine Coon quality of life and fosters a better relationship between you and him or her.
For cats in the wild, play is a serious business strictly connected to their survival. Through play, they learn how to hunt: how to chase the prey, how to be silent, how to attack, how to defend themselves from possible predators. Hunting is a strong and basic instinct in cats, that remains even in those that live like Aristocats. This is why it is very important to give your Maine Coon the opportunity to express their natural behavior through play.
Other than satisfying your cat’s natural instincts, play helps your cat remain happy and healthy.
Approximately 50% of cats are overweight. Many cats, indoor and neutered cats especially, overeat and lead a sedentary lifestyle. This contributes to obesity and other health issues such as arthritis, diabetes and poor grooming habits.
Providing your cats with toys to play with you can prevent or even solve some bad behaviors such as chew your shoelace or earphones, or climbing your expensive furniture.
Through play, you can provide your cats with both physical and mental stimulation that will help them release anxiety and stress making them feel confident and happy.
Play is a great way of bonding with your cat friend and it would be a lot of fun for both of you. If you have ever owned a cat you know they can be hilarious.
Also by playing with them with your hands, you can prevent your cat from developing unwanted aggression. You can basically teach them not to hurt you when you play together.
Some Maine Coons love to go outside. Unaltered cats would go in search of the mate of their dreams but sometimes even neutered cats can enjoy a walk under the sun.Mine does, and I take frequently. Cats that are allowed outside have more chance to exercise: they can run, climb, meet other cats and make friends with them or scowling at each other.
Yet, in some circumstances (like during the coldest periods of winter, or when you and your cat live in a busy city), your Maine Coon can’t be allowed to go outside. Can this be a problem for your cat? Do they need to be let outside?
Although they may enjoy it, they don’t necessarily need to be let outside. You can still keep them stimulated and provide the exercise they need by regularly playing with them indoors and providing them with toys. Even though you can’t allow your Maine Coon outside, there’s no need to despair.
I have an article about this very thing, on what I do to keep Alita mentally stimulated.
Kittens who are kept indoors are happy to stay inside even when they grow up. If your cat, instead, can’t be let outside for some periods, there some things you can do to make them miss less the outside.
Cats are very good at not sleeping in the expensive cat bed you buy for them, and not playing with the expensive toys you buy for them. They can make a toy out of several objects: silver foil balls, old shoelaces, empty boxes to play hide and seek, balls of wool, and… your Christmas tree.
Many cats love to attack moving toys. Feathers or various small objects hanging from long wires will also entertain a lot of Maine Coons.
If you drag the end of a toy on the floor or you throw it for your cat to chase it, your Maine Coon will feel like they’re hunting prey.
Cats love to climb and if you’ll provide them with a cat tree they’ll make them happy. You don’t have to necessarily buy one, you can build one with boxes, cardboard and whatever material you can come up to.
You don’t need to buy expensive toys to let your Maine Coon play properly. But if you’d like to, you’ll find every kind of toy in your town’s pet market. For some reason, cats love tunnels and you can find cheap cat tunnels to bring home to your Maine Coon. Once again, buying one is not necessary. Non plastic shop bags can work just fine – you’ll see your Maine Coon crawling in it repeatedly… until (s)he gets bored of it.
Just like kids, Maine Coons get bored of old toys. The best toy for your Maine Coon is always the newest one. Does it mean you have to buy a new toy every day? No, but you should replace the toys on a regular basis. Let your Maine Coon play with the toy it is most interested in and take away all the others. When he or she gets bored by that toy, replace it with some other toy. The toy that used to bore your Maine Coon will be super interesting now.
Don’t get offended, but you are one of your Maine Coon’s favorite toys. Playing with him or her will make both of you happy and will improve the quality and strength of your relationship.
This isn’t too hard as they are amazingly interested in what you are doing and follow you around.
Finally, if you want to prevent your Maine Coon getting bored, and anxious, and you want them to exercise more often, you can always consider adopting another cat. You’ll see: one of the cutest things in the world is watching kitties playing together. They will be basically trying to kill each other – but they’ll be just pretending.