If you’ve been thinking about adding a Maine Coon to your life, they’re amazing pets to have. Maybe you’ve already added one and want to know more about what you can expect!
A common question to have is how long they live. After all, you want to know how long you can expect your furry friend to be around for.
How Long Do Maine Coons Live?
An extensive study done on Maine Coon cats puts their life expectancy at anywhere between 10-15 years, with an average of 12.5. Many people, however, claim that their Maine Coon lived beyond 15 years.
As with any animal, how long your cat lives will largely depend on many factors outside of their breed. Although the breed has a general likely range, how many hereditary issues they have in their line and how well you take care of your cat are going to have huge influences on their lifespan.
Do Maine Coon Cats Have Any Health Issues?
As with most purebred animals, Maine Coons do have some hereditary health issues that need to be looked out for and can affect their lifespan.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common heart disease found in cats, and Maine Coons can be especially prone to it. It causes the walls of the heart to thicken, meaning the heart can no longer perform as effectively.
Symptoms to look out for include:
- Excessive fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty drawing breath
- Unusual heart sounds
- Inability to have much energy
Hip dysplasia is common in many dogs and cats that are purebred, and another one that must be looked out for. It’s a defect in the hip socket that can be mild or severe, causing anything from pain to losing use of the leg.
Many people believe hip dysplasia to be more common in dogs but this has been contested by some vets, who claim it often goes undiagnosed in cats.
Cats are masters of hiding pain and illness, unfortunately, which means we often don’t notice that something is wrong.
Spinal muscular atrophy is the last hereditary disease that can seriously affect your Maine Coon. The hind limbs suffer from muscular atrophy and the lower spinal cord can see motor neurons being lost.
It can be spotted by a strange posture or inability to walk properly, causing a “floppy” cat. The good news is, spinal muscular atrophy isn’t painful or fatal, and your cat can still live a happy life.
Although these are the diseases specific to Maine Coon cats, it’s also important to look out for other things that can affect cats in general.
The following are common:
- Feline leukemia
- Feline AIDs
- Feline infectious peritonitis
- Feline distemper
These can all prove to have serious problems for your cats as well as other minor issues such as ticks, fleas, etc.
How Can You Make A Maine Coon Live Longer?
Chances are, you want your Maine Coon to live as long as possible. So how do you do it?
Buying from a reputable breeder is the first step to making sure your Maine Coon has a long life.
Any good breeder will health test the parents and have the kitten checked out to make sure there’s little chance of hereditary diseases.
Unethical breeders, otherwise known as ‘backyard breeders’, will skip the health testing. You’ll get a cheaper kitten, but with a much bigger likelihood of some shocking vet bills further down the line.
Vet visits are going to be the most important after getting your cat. Cats should be vaccinated every year and receive a physical and fecal test annually at minimum (though vets often recommend every six months).
There, they can catch health problems that may start to arise and make sure your cat is the healthiest it can be through preventative measures such as heartworm medication and vaccines.
Vet visits can seem stressful with cats, who are often aversive to change, but don’t give up on getting them in that carrier and taking them — it’s better in the long run!
It’s also important to keep a close eye on your cat for behavioral changes. Cats don’t like to tell their owners when something is wrong, so it’s up to you to look for signs, such as them withdrawing, rejecting food, etc.
Diet is also going to be extremely important for a Maine Coon. Not all cat food is created equal, and a site like CatfoodDB can decode nutrition labels and let you know just how healthy a food is and how it’s rated.
Cheap cat food often has more filler than nutrients.
When it comes to wet vs. dry food, it’s really a personal choice and your cat may have a preference!
If feeding dry, however, it’s important to make sure your cat is getting enough water, as cats can be stubborn about drinking and often get the moisture they need from wet food.
Although it can be tempting to free-feed, keep an eye on that, as it may cause your cat to become overweight.
Exercise is also important for a Maine Coon! Get them some scratching trees they can climb and play with them using some interactive toys to make sure they’re running around for a good portion of the day.
Cat-proofing your home is the last thing you should do to ensure your cat stays healthy. Don’t leave cleaning products out that may be toxic to cats, or wires dangling that they could be tempted to chew on.
Do Indoor Or Outdoor Cats Live Longer?
Sadly, entirely outdoor cats live an average of 2-5 years. Indoor/outdoor cats may live a little longer on average but are still exposed to all of the things outdoor cats are.
- Predators, such as coyotes
- People, who will often leave poison in their yard to ‘deter’ cats
- Other cats who may be territorial
For the sake of your cat, the best thing to do is keep them indoors.
Some people consider this cruel, believing a cat’s natural setting to be outdoors, but there’s no reason your cat can’t live a great life without being allowed outside.
Being a Maine Coon, your cat also risks being stolen outdoors, since it’s an expensive purebred cat that could be sold for a considerable amount of money.
Provide them with plenty of toys, attention, and stimulation, and there’s no reason your cat can’t live a happy, fulfilling life inside of four safe walls.
If your cat is very determined to head outside, try purchasing a harness and leash to take them on short walks in your yard and let them explore.
It might take a while for them to get used to it, but many people swear by this.
You can also build a catio outside if you’re really dedicated! This involves an enclosed area that your cats can exercise or lounge in, with activities for them to do that mean they can’t escape the yard.
How Long Did The Oldest Maine Coon Live?
30-year-old Scooter died in 2016 in Texas, and was officially the oldest living Maine Coon on record—until now!
He’s been outdone by 31-year-old Rubble, a Maine Coon from Exter in the United Kingdom.
Her owner was given the cat on her 20th birthday and her companion lived until she was 52. It’s quite an extraordinary feat, and many of us dream of having our fur babies live this long!
It’s likely unrealistic to expect your baby to live that long, but you can try! This cat was undoubtedly very well taken care of to contribute to such a long life.
Ultimately, Maine Coons are a great choice of pet. They’re beautiful and good-natured — however, it’s important to be aware of various hereditary health issues that can shorten their lifespan.
Make sure you purchase from a reputable breeder and keep up with those annual vet visits. As long as you do your research, you’ll have a great friend for many years to come.