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Welcome, Crazy Cat People!
You may be thinking of sharing your life with the Maine coon cat and have heard just how gentle and dog-like this breed can be but do Maine coons bite?
Throughout my years of studying this breed, I have come to understand a lot about their quirky little personalities and used my knowledge to answer your question.
As a general rule, Maine coon cats do not tend to bite out of spite. They are often described as the gentle giants of the cat world; however, they may bite while playing, and occasionally they may bite if over-stimulated while being petted especially if they were poorly socialised as a kitten.
There are several other reasons why a Maine coon may bite which I will go into within this post, I’ll also look at how you can treat a cat bite but also how you can prevent it from happening and then I’ll reveal exactly what a gentle bite means or a ”Kitty Kiss”.
Arm yourself with the knowledge my fellow crazy cat people and keep reading!
Check out my full post to find out if Maine coons are aggressive, the different types of aggression in cats and how to deal with a mean cat in the correct way. – Click here to take a look or bookmark for a later read!
What Does It Mean When My Miane Coon Cat Bites Me?
So you decided to share your life with one of the most laid back, friendly and gentle cat breeds you can get, the Maine Coon!
To your horror, they are biting you!
There are numerous reasons why your beloved cat may be having a nibble on your finger or ankle and it’s rarely out of spite, the more you understand about cat behaviour the quicker you will learn about your cat and find out why they do what they do.
So let us begin, fellow cat lovers!
Play Aggression – Get those toys out human!
The reason I have put this one first is that it’s the most common, play aggression.
Think about what the natural cat does in their day to day life? They sleep, wake up, hunt, feed, groom and they repeat.
Your job as a cat mommy or daddy is to replicate these natural behaviours in your feline because if you don’t boy will your cat let you know about it by a bite to the ankle when you walk past, a nibble on your hand or from chewing plastic bags etc…
Your Maine coon is like a jack in a box and ready to explode so use up some of that play energy with toys. Wand toys with mice on the end are perfect for this type of play!
Kittens learn the majority of their behaviours from their littermates and their mother and that is why it is so important to not separate them from their siblings until at least 12 to 13 weeks of age.
It’s also important for the adults who have the kittens to handle them from a young age to get them used to human touch.
They learn how to play, how hard to bite and a lot of other skills they will need through life. If your cat was taken away too early they may not know these skills and they will require a little more patience and care from you to know what is right from wrong.
Over-stimulation / Stop petting me!
Your Maine coon will love being petted but like all cats sometimes they have had enough and this is where you need to be aware of their body language.
Overstimulated cats will let you know about it, their hair follicles can become painful when they are overstimulated so back away or they may give you a nip to let you know.
You made me jump human and scared me!
Very occasionally your Maine coon may bite if they are scared or you startled them.
If they feel under threat they are naturally going to aim to defend themselves, Maine coons can be very wary of strangers at times so it’s always best to let your miane coon approach people in their own time, especially if they are a stranger.
DON’T let a child prod or poke your Maine coon
I see this quite frequently when a peaceful happy cat may have lashed out at a child and the family get rid of the cat.
This angers me personally because on a lot of occasions the cat has been teased and poked. These people should learn to train their children how to handle cats before introducing them to one.
Maine coons are very gentle and generally love spending time with children but if they are repeatedly teased then they will only take so much.
Oi human I am hungry and need attention
This is a common one, I once had a little boy called Jake and he was a lovely cat. He was so gentle but one thing he used to always do is give me a little nip on the arm if I missed his scheduled feeding time to let me know he needed food.
This was harmless and it didn’t hurt at all but this behaviour can be quite common.
Illness, Please see a vet!
Sometimes biting out of the blue can be your cat trying to tell you something is wrong. Look for other signs of illness and if in doubt please go and see a vet.
If there is something wrong then it’s better to know about it early on rather than finding out too late.
The biggest rule here is to get to know your Maine coon, lookout for signs of frustration such as pinned back ears and growling/hissing and learn when you should and shouldn’t approach them.
Put yourself in your cat’s shoes, How would you feel if you were having a bad day and some big human kept petting you, how would you feel if a child kept poking you and how would you feel if you needed food and you couldn’t vocalise that your feeling hungry?
Sometimes your cat may also be just having a bad day as you do now and again! Generally though Maine coons are happy chappies!
What Does It Mean When My Maine Coon Bites Me Gently?
If you have read this post from the beginning you are probably thinking but Mark what is a Kitty kiss?
Let me explain!
A gentle little nibble on your arm, hand or wherever is not always a sign of frustration or aggression in your Maine coon. Cats who bite gently are often replicating their mother’s behaviour when she would groom them.
They may do this when you’re playing or when you stroke them and is used to show happiness or affection.
You will know when it is a love bite because there will be no signs of frustration such as hissing or scowling before they give you the love bite and it generally won’t hurt. With a breed as gentle as the Maine coon the majority of bites will be out of affection and love!
How To Stop My Maine Coon Biting Me?
Earlier in this post, I went over the reasons why your cat may be biting and I hope this has helped you understand more about cat behaviour.
Once you have ruled out any underlying medical issues with your cat you can try to treat the cause.
If your cat is new they may just need time to adapt to their new surroundings and build up trust so spend time with your cat when they want to spend time with you and always let them approach you!
Hold out your finger and let them sniff you and do a scent investigation and when they rub up against you, pet them for a short time. Get them slowly used to your touch.
The biggest tip I would give though is to make sure you play with your cat, a cat who swipes at you when you walk past or goes to bite your ankle will often see you as prey and they are letting you know that they need to hunt.
Set up a routine with your Maine coon where you play for 10-15 minutes with an interactive toy to use up that stored play energy and then feed them. Your cat should then naturally start to wind down, stop using your ankle as prey and give all its focus on the toys.
They will gradually learn when to expect a play session and conserve their energy for that moment.
Never scream or worse use any violence towards a cat who bites!
This will scare them even more and chances are your cat may already be stressed out, there is nothing wrong with saying a firm ”NO” when they bite you but shouting will just scare them and create more stress.
How To Treat A Cat Bite At Home?
I am not a medical professional, if a bite won’t stop bleeding, if it’s deep or if there is any sign of infection, see a doctor straight away.
In the meantime, I would advise,
- Wash away any blood with antiseptic soap and water
- Apply pressure to stop bleeding
- Apply a bandage to the area
- Keep it elevated to prevent swelling
Key takeaways: Do Maine coon cats bite?
- Your Maine coon will not bite out of spite
- Maine coons are gentle, loving and this should not be a problem for you
- Put your detective hat on and work out why your cat is biting
- Never shout or scream at them
- Make sure they have lots of toys to play with
- Take time to build trust with your Maine coon
As always take care of yourself and your little fur babies!
Mark (The Crazy Cat Man)