We hate seeing our pets sad, stressed, or scared. This can be especially hard when it’s your beloved Maine Coon, since it’s unlike them to be any of those things. Maine Coons are known for their social, sweet, and outgoing natures. In the rare event they are frightened, it can be hard to watch. Has your Maine Coon been easily frightened lately? Here’s what you need to know and some actionable steps you can take.
Causes of Fear or Stress
- Lack of socialization and exposure. Maine Coons are highly social and outgoing. These stunning cats thrive off of friendship and company. If a Maine Coon is undersocialized and didn’t have enough exposure as a kitten, this can wreak havoc on them interpersonally as they grow into adulthood. Taking your Maine Coon on walks, having people over, and letting them mingle with other animals can help socialize them and provide them more exposure.
- Loud noises. Maine Coons, and cats specifically, are very sensitive to noise. If a loud noise startles you, it’s sure to startle your Maine Coon. However, Maine Coons can’t always perceive things the same way we do. If a dish falls and breaks, everyone in the house can see what happened, including the pets. If there’s fireworks down the street or loud violence on television, your Maine Coon isn’t necessarily going to be able to differentiate what is or isn’t a real threat. This can cause them to seek out refuge or sneak out. Keep your Maine Coon safe from loud noises by keeping the television volume at a minimum and staying up to date on the local neighborhood and town activities. The better you prepare them, the less likely they are to become frightened.
- Shy or timid personality. Though many cats are known to be shy or timid, Maine Coons typically aren’t. However, this isn’t conclusive, since each cat’s tolerance for stress and temperament varies. Your Maine Coon just might be a tad more timid or shy, and that’s okay! Take the time to understand your Maine Coon and what their individual wants, needs, and boundaries are. Fear is a natural emotion that’s prevalent across the animal kingdom. Some are more fearful than others.
- Sudden change in environment or home. Moving is stressful enough for us as humans, but just imagine the undue stress it can have on your Maine Coon! Maine Coons are highly sensitive and form deep bonds to their environments. A move can entirely throw off your Maine Coon’s emotional equillibrium. Your Maine Coon may become visibly upset, confused, nervous, or exhibit signs of stress. Take the time to familiarize your Maine Coon with the new environment and give them time, space, and reassurance to become acclimated.
- Sickness or illness. Sometimes, fear can be indicative of something more serious. According to Pet MD, random urination, diarrhea, digestive issues, excessive grooming or scratching, isolation, a decrease in appetite, increased sleeping, and aggression can be signs that something is wrong internally. Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D., a certified applied animal behaviorist, notes that chronic stress can “suppress the immune response, causing a broad range of illnesses.” If you want to keep your Maine Coon happy and healthy, look out for common signs of stress or fear. If these continue to worsen, take your cat to their veterinarian or your nearest 24 hour emergency pet hospital.
- Separation anxiety. It’s no secret that we love pets for their ability to form life changing bonds and provide cozy companionship. However, some pets, including your Maine Coon, can feel incredibly lost when you leave for work or go to run errands. According to Maine Coon Central, separation anxiety is very common in Maine Coons. After all, they love hard! Symptoms of separation anxiety in Maine Coons include but aren’t limited to: excessive grooming, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, biting and scratching, vocalness, destructive behaviour and problems in, or out of, the litter box. Spend time with your Maine Coon, exercise and play with them, and provide them with their favorite food puzzles and toys before you go.
- Bathing. Bathing is stressful for any cat. Though Maine Coons are water cats, bathing can be a stressful experience for them. Shampoo, suds, blow drying, and running water are all incredibly unfamiliar to your cat. Unless your Maine Coon is in dire need of a bath, forgo it to avoid stressing them out.
- Arguing. Conflict in the home can cause unnecessary stress. An argument, where emotions and volumes are high can stress out not just you, but any animal in the home. Your Maine Coon is highly sensitive, empathetic, and intuitive. Conflict or arguments can unsettle them or stress them out. They will get the sense that something is wrong.
- Your mood or stress levels. No matter how hard we all try to hide it, our mood and stress levels can put a damper on not just us, but our pets, including your Maine Coon. Your intuitive Maine Coon will pick up on your down mood or high stress.
- Loneliness and boredom. As mentioned, Maine Coons are true social butterflies. These loving, affectionate, and outgoing cats require frequent socialization, play, and exercise to feel their best. When bored or lonely, your Maine Coon may resort to destructiveness or might just shut down completely.
How to Help a Frightened or Stressed Maine Coon
You can help your Maine Coon by limiting stressors or fearful situations in their lives. Proper socialization and play time is integral to your Maine Coon. Help them overcome their personal fears by building their confidence with play and exercise. This can mean a simple walk around the neighborhood, playing with their favorite toy, snuggling with you, or playing with your other pets. A happy and healthy Maine Coon means that you are also happy and healthy. Take them for regular vet visits to rule out any underlying health conditions and don’t forget to take care of yourself. Being the best you can be for your Maine Coon helps them live full and fulfilling lives.
Provide them with a nice cat tree, quality play time, exercise, socialization, snuggles, and lots of love, and watch your Maine Coon flourish into the cat they were always meant to be.