A Main Coon is a large cat. They’re even known as “giants” of the cat world. However, this characteristic of the breed can often lead pet parents to ignore weight gain in their cats since they expect a Maine Coon to be bigger than average. Veterinarian experts have noted that many of the health problems faced by this breed can be avoided if owners recognize the signs of obesity early enough.
Maine Coon Cat Weight & Health
A pure-bred feline of this breed doesn’t finish growing until their 4th or 5th year of life and can be anything between 11 to 25 pounds in weight. A male Maine Coon is usually bigger than the female, with a breed standard that puts their optimum weight between 15 to 25 pounds. A female Maine Coon tends to be around 11 to 20 pounds and reaches her full size earlier.
Breeders have a rule of thumb which suggests that Maine Coon’s gain an average of 2 pounds per month as kittens. This has them quickly reaching twice the size of a cat of any other breed within the first year. Because of this accelerated physical development, you have to be very alert about the possibility of excessive weight gain going unnoticed by you.
While veterinary experts have charts that give them a healthy range of weight for every stage of growth, each cat develops at his own pace and it is better for you to employ more empirical methods to gauge obesity in your cat.
There are a few distinct signs of unhealthy weight gain that pet parents should make a habit of checking regularly. Remembering these will help you assess the health of your cat.
The first is the thickness of fat on the ribs. Ideally, a cat should have a thin layer of fat covering the rib cage. If you run your fingers along the cat’s torso, you should be able to feel the contours of each rib. If all you can’t feel any, then your Maine Coon is likely obese. On the other hand, if you can see the individual ribs standing out on your cat or if his fur dips into the hollows of his chest, then he is likely underweight.
The second is to look for the waist from above. No matter the build and the furriness of the cat, your Maine Coon should have a slight concave tuck between his rib cage and his pelvis. That narrowing at the waist, no matter how slight, is a distinct sign that he is not overweight. Most obese cats have a waistline that is wider than the ribcage.
The third way is to check how sharply the bones and joints of your Maine Coon’s body stands out. Despite the shaggy outer coat, a healthy Maine Coon cat will have clearly defined shoulder blades, backbone, and hips. While the bones should not protrude, if flab covers their contours completely, then you have cause for concern. Check the root of your cat’s tail for loose, fatty skin. On a healthy Maine coon, your fingers will be able to feel the outline of the joint.
Excess maine coon weight is almost an epidemic amongst cats in the U.S., where more than half the population of feline pets are considered obese. Amongst Maine Coon cats, an unhealthy increase in weight makes them more susceptible to heart diseases, diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension, and a greater risk of organ failure.
Once you’ve assessed the dangers and determined that your cat weighs more than he should, you should first take him to a veterinarian for a check-up. While obesity can cause a lot of health problems, often, a sudden gain in weight can be attributed to a hidden illness in the body. If your Maine Coon has gained his excess mass quite recently, then there is a good chance that addressing the source of his changing body weight with medicine will bring him back to his old shape.
If your Maine Coon has no underlying diseases causing his weight gain, then it’s time to put his diet and lifestyle under the microscope. The leading causes of pet obesity today are an overdependence on dry food, the culture of free-feeding, excessive treats, lack of exercise, and a diet unsuitable to the age and health of the cat.
Your vet will tell you how much weight your Maine Coon should lose to reach the ideal range for his age and structure. Armed with this instruction and a vet-approved diet plan, make the necessary lifestyle changes for your cat to bring him back to his fittest self.
The first is a change in your cat’s diet to a proper one.
Often an adjustment in the feeding portions will help your cat quickly shed the pounds. Also, while dry food is convenient for humans and perfectly acceptable to your cats, it is far too rich in carbohydrates to be the only source of food your Maine Coon has access to. Cats are primarily carnivorous, and therefore, they require a higher intake of protein than most commercial dry food provides. Preferably, opt to include more natural meat in your Maine Coon’s diet, while reducing his daily portions of dry food. Ensure that he drinks more water with every meal, so he feels less hungry.
The second is to create a new routine for feeding.
Many pet parents choose to leave several days’ worth of dry food in their cat’s bowl, which allows their pet to free-feed whenever they get hungry. Free-feeding makes it difficult to monitor your cat’s food intake and kills your Maine Coon’s natural hunter’s instincts. The modern domestic cat is no longer kept around for their impressive mouser abilities, but the complete lack of exercise and the easy availability of food hinders your cat’s ability to live a healthy, fulfilled life. It’s recommended that you begin to feed your Maine Coon in small portions throughout the day. You can deliver your cat’s meals in interactive toys that encourages his natural Maine Coon predatory drive, or you can feed him after short play sessions, several times a time. This combination of increased activity and smaller portions will help burn calories and make your cat fitter.
The third is to stop giving excess treats.
It’s difficult to refuse a treat to your cat when he’s become used to your easy capitulation over time. But for the sake of your Maine Coon, you must leave off the high calorie, store bought treats, and replace them with more natural substitutes, like pieces of cooked chicken.
The fourth is exercising your cat.
The absence of any urgency in your cat’s life is a major contributor to his obesity. His meals are guaranteed, his shelter is never threatened by other predators, and his human ensures he has plenty of comfortable places to sleep all day. To keep your Maine Coon in the prime physical condition that his body was meant to be, you must exercise him daily. A fifteen-minute session of high energy play-time is enough to combat the calories he absorbs through his meals. Use toys and laser pointers to get your feline hunter running and jumping around the room. Provide high perches for him to jump up to and engage his interest with games as often as you can. Maine Coon cats are well known for their ability to retain training, so you can use this opportunity to teach them tricks or get them to walk outside on a harness.
Maine Coon cats can live well into their twenties. Your attention to your cat’s health and wellbeing today will give your beloved pet the best chance to live a long and active life with your family.
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