Every animal has a life cycle, a set of stages through their lives that reflect the advancement of physical maturity
With us humans it’s baby, child, adolescent etc…..
So a Maine Coon will have a set of life stages where you can expect to see natural developments.
So, what are the life stages of a Maine Coon?
A Maine Coon is born into the stage of being a kitten. After 12 to 15 months they transition to a junior Maine Coon consistent with a human adolescent. The further stages of adulthood are prime, mature, senior, before ending their days as a geriatric Maine Coon.
To ensure the welfare of your Maine Coon, understanding the stages they will go through is important.
A Maine Coon will go through a total of 6 stages that will be accompanied by changes in growth, physical health, and preferential behavior.
Your Maine Coon will develop from a kitten and go through life to a geriatric cat with all the changes that will entail.
OK, so the first stage is very obviously the kitten, but your Maine Coon will go through many profound stages.
Let’s run through them.
The Maine Coon is considered a kitten up until around 12 to 15 months.
At the first stages of your Maine Coons life they are considered the equivalent of a human infant or baby.
They will grow and develop quickly into a young adult within 12 to 15 months which will be the most rapid change that your Maine Coon will experience in its lifetime.
The kitten stage is easy to identify, as their size and playfulness give them away.
They are unsteady on their feet and learning their way in the world.
They learn vital skills and how they are treated will impact what type of adults they will become.
They need to socialize and play to develop hunting skills.
In the very beginning though they are much more dependent on their mother and your help.
They are capable of little independent control and will rely on the mother for nutrition and protection.
After a few months, they become steadier on their feet but are still immature and prone to clumsy play. Everything around them will be a curiosity.
A Maine Coon kitten is normally delivered from a litter and given to a new owner around 12 weeks of age.
At that point, solid food should be edible, and they are fully capable of running, jumping, scratching, and biting anything that they have a curiosity in.
Both patience and a lot of supervision are called for.
By the time they are transferred to a new owner, the vaccinations should already have been given.
Litter box training should already have been done, but most Maine Coon kittens will instinctively go to a litter box.
There is not much in a house that resembles a litter tray and the kitten after having been placed in there a few times should adopt the knowledge quite quickly.
Socialization will happen during the kitten phase and they will learn how to react to the world, although they also will learn how the world reacts to them.
A Maine Coon kitten in the early stages should be fed high quality protein rich food to accommodate its growing needs.
The feeding schedule should be small and often rather than a few large meals a day.
They need a lot of food and calories to keep up with their growing needs.
From the 12 week period to the 12 to 15 month period it is a good opportunity for the owner of a Maine Coon kitten to acclimatize them to being handled, grooming brushes, bathing, flea removal, and transportation devices like pet carriers.
The junior phase of the Maine Coon is from 12 or 15 months to 2 or 3 years of age.
The Maine Coon will now start to lose the child like kitteness that so encompasses the cuteness of a kitten.
After 12 months it is much less helpless than before but still has a lot of learning to do and experience to gain.
They are starting to gain physical maturity, but your Maine Coon still has a lot of growing to do.
Conceivably they could still be growing for another 4 years, albeit at a much slower rate.
The individual personality and character of your Maine Coon start to come to the forefront.
At this stage of life, your Maine Coon should be thought of like the human equivalent of a teenager.
In Maine Coons there can be growth spurts at this age still, so it’s wise to expect continued growth even though most breeds will be 90% of their adult size at 12 months.
The kitten phase is starting to end and the playful can continue but much more on their terms rather than reactionary.
The junior Maine Coon is learning how to behave as an adult. Adult cats behave differently and they are developing those social skills.
They are starting to calm down, and aren’t a 24 hr bundle of energy.
They will also reach sexual maturity during this phase.
Much less supervision is now needed, and the cat should be well used to house training.
The Maine Coon isn’t learning much about the world but the owner might reinforce what the cat already knows from time to time as a result of temporary aberrations.
The junior Maine Coon can start to be transitioned from kitten food to adult food.
The adult food still needs to be protein rich as the Maine Coon still grows for a number of years.
Careful monitoring of the cat’s weight needs to be maintained so that calorie intake matches their energy expenditure.
The prime stage of a Maine Coons life is from around 2 years until they reach about 6 years old.
The Maine Coon will stop growing during this phase and will develop the mane.
If they get plenty of exercise and eat healthily then the Maine Coon should be in peak physical condition during this phase of its life.
The coat should take on a sheen and gloss-like look as the Maine Coon is very healthy.
The human equivalent is someone in their early twenties to late thirties.
An overweight cat at this stage may store up problems for later on in life as the impact on joints accumulates.
Your Maine Coon will now have a defined personality and temperament that if left unchecked will stay the same.
Your Maine Coon should be a compromise of responsible, playful, and have a calm personality without being easily provoked into action.
Despite the fact that your Maine Coon will be in its prime, there is still an obligation to keep them fit and healthy.
This involves checkups and regular grooming as well as making sure they are getting a healthy diet.
Your Maine Coon will be fully independent and make its own decisions.
A high protein diet is still recommended but you should monitor the weight in relation to the calorie intake.
The mature phase of a Maine Coons life is between the 7th and 10th years.
Although a fit and inactive Maine Coon can still be very physical and continue the same level of activity it’s not unknown for most cats to slow down in this period of their lives.
Your Maine Coon should start to slow down, going out less often, and aggression may start to subside if they have any.
A bad diet in earlier stages of life can start to give the Maine Coon problems such as poor working organs or obesity.
The coat stops being as effortlessly glossy and sleek.
No training will be needed but regular checkups for bumps and general health might be needed depending upon prior health and activity.
As the Maine Coon will likely have a decreased level of physical activity then you will need to be careful of calorie intake to match their needs.
The stage of life for a senior Maine Coon is somewhere between 10 and 14 years.
This is allegorically the same as a human around 60 years of age.
Physical activity drops sharply and movement is less pronounced. Aches and pains may prevent the Maine Coon from sudden exertion.
Agility is much less.
Lumps and bumps may appear on their body.
The fur looks much less glossy and white fur starts to become more apparent.
During this stage of life, monitoring is much more necessary as the realities of older age take their toll.
An owner should be looking for a loss of bodily functions, memory problems, or signs of stroke or arthritis.
A geriatric Maine Coon is a cat over 15 years of age.
Physical activity will be kept to a minimum and the cat may become much more friendly as they require help from bonding.
The cat will now look much older and move much slower than it did several years ago.
Jumping to a table for the food bowl may become painful.
The Maine Coon is now much more prone to other serious illnesses like kidney problems or heart issues.
Dementia is possible and a litter tray may be needed again to limit movement.
Senility is also a risk, as is the loss of eyesight and other major organ failures.
The Maine Coon may now prefer softer foods again rather than tough dry kibble.
The stages of life for a Maine Coon are reflective of how they will go through their lives.
Tailoring your care to the stage of life that your Maine Coon is experiencing will help you provide them the very best possible health.
A Maine Coon will start life as a helpless kitten, they will go through puberty to full maturity, and eventually, they’ll enter the latter stages of life.
Your job is to provide the very best care you can to make their time on earth the very best it can be.
Maine Coon 101 | Read This Before Getting One