Of course, cat owners want their four-legged friend with them for as long as possible. That is why the question of average life expectancy is important when making a purchase decision.
Pedigree cats have a lower life expectancy than domestic cats in the opinion of many people. However, this is only partially true. In some breeds, which have long been “in vogue”, hereditary diseases crept in some time ago, which were not always dealt with appropriately, because knowledge about them has developed with advances in veterinary medicine.
The Problem of Breed Typical Hereditary Diseases
The Maine Coons are a comparatively young breed, as their roots go back a few centuries, but the breeding was interrupted for some time due to a lack of interest in this cat.
As a result, no hereditary diseases could develop, but these are now also found in this breed. Breeding is designed to preserve the characteristics typical of the breed, which automatically reduces the gene pool. In this way, hereditary diseases develop that are passed on from generation to generation of cats.
Of course, responsible breeders do not include sick animals in further breeding and also pay attention to hygienic and health standards. However, there are some hereditary diseases that cannot be identified from the start, so it can happen that a sick cat passes on its genes.
Hip dysplasia, for example, sometimes only shows itself clearly in older animals. Nonetheless, trustworthy breeders can significantly reduce the risk of inherited diseases.
How Long Do Maine Coon Cats Live?
If the Maine Coon does not develop any hereditary diseases and is not exposed to any of the risks listed below, it has a life expectancy of around 11 to 15 years, comparable to that of house cats.
Occasionally, there are animals that are getting significantly older, but these are really exceptions and are actually more likely to be found among domestic cats. Also, a Maine Coon especially has a hard time getting older. Due to their height and the associated weight, they have to struggle with joint problems more often than smaller cats.
In summary it can be said that:
Maine coon life expectancy
- Under normal conditions: 11 to 15 years
- Under good conditions: 16 and 17 years possible
- In individual cases: 18 years and more
Other risk factors
Unfortunately, besides the hereditary diseases mentioned, there are other dangers that stand in the way of long cat life.
- Non-hereditary diseases: Even if the cat is completely healthy from the start, it can get sick — be it through infection or other influences such as an accident. Infectious diseases can be avoided to a large extent if the cat is vaccinated and not exposed to too many and intense sources of infection.
- Multi-cat households: This usually means households with more than three cats. The more animals live under one roof, the greater the risk of infections and mutual contagion, rival behavior and even serious injuries and declining hygiene. This does not apply to breeders and managers of cat homes, who of course know how to deal with the pitfalls of keeping multiple cats. However, laypeople can be overwhelmed with several cats, at least in the long term.
- Improper nutrition: The cat should only be given premium food that suits their personal needs. The vet knows best which one is possible. Under no circumstances should cats be overfed or left with leftovers from the table. Caution is also advised with dry food. Although premium food is always designed in such a way that, in principle, it does not cause kidney damage, it should still only be given with sufficient water, otherwise, it can lead to urinary tract infections, especially in hangovers.
- Lack of exercise: Too little exercise has far-reaching effects on cats in general and on Maine Coons in particular. If the cat is too fat, the functioning of the organs can be impaired. A disproportionate strain on the joints is certain, which particularly affects the Maine Coons with their above-average body size.
- Outdoor cats: The outdoor cats have the lowest life expectancy regardless of the breed. They are at risk of being killed in a road traffic accident or being attacked by another cat, dog or wild animal. In addition, they can contract significantly more diseases outdoors than if they just stay at home.
- Cats also often doomed by their curiosity: For example, they are accidentally locked in basements or garages and sometimes only rediscovered (too) late. A cat can do without food for a long time, but only briefly without water in hot temperatures. Their wisdom sometimes leads the kitty up trees that they no longer dare to get down from alone. In contrast to dogs, cats are hardly at risk from poison baits. They are very suspicious in this regard and are seldom induced to eat something “suspicious”.
- Cats can also fall victim to criminal activities: animal catchers are always on the go and use perfidious tricks to steal pets.
- Risk of accidents in the house: Even indoor cats are not immune to accidents. In contrast to outdoor cats, however, it is up to the owner to minimize the dangers. Avoid anything that the cat can strangle itself with, such as exposed or hanging cables and tilted windows. In addition, no heavy objects should stand on furniture from which they could fall on the cat, no toxic substances, no candles or other sources of fire remain unsupervised. Toilet lids should be closed. Don’t forget that cats like to hide. Therefore, always take one last look into the washing machine, dryer or oven before starting up.
How Can Maine Coon Life Expectancy Be Increased?
The Maine Coon’s prospects for a long life are improved if the above risk factors are eliminated whenever possible. In principle, all points are undisputed except for one: free will.
Keeping cats only indoors is of course the safest way to protect them from the dangers lurking outside. Many owners do not want to withhold this freedom from their fur noses or even consider it to be cruelty to animals.
But there is still a lot that can be done in advance by taking the time to find a responsible and recognized breeder. Then you should have the cat vaccinated in consultation with the veterinarian. And only carry out the vaccinations that are really necessary and do not have them refreshed too often. Proper food and exercise, as well as proper hygiene, are also part of healthy cat life.
Then it is “only” important to make sure that the cat is happy too. First and foremost, this also means that their needs must be taken into account. If the kitty wants to withdraw, they need a refuge where nobody will disturb them. They want to be petted, so whenever possible, you should give them some pats.
Under no circumstances should they be bored, because then they will do things that are not good for them, such as overeating. So they also need a lot of attention and possibly also a lot of fun.
Sometimes you have to take healthy measures against the will of the cat, such as reducing the amount of food and encouraging them to exercise more when they have become somewhat comfortable. Some house tigers only feel a little lonely around people. Another conspecific in the household can help a lot.