If you’re anything like myself, one cat is simply not enough, and so you’ll have learned soon enough that Maine Coon cats are picky eaters!
While my Maine Coon Lagertha loves to demolish her food as quickly as possible, not leaving a trace, my other Maine Coon Ragnar shows all the signs he is starving, then when it comes to eating the food, decides to walk away!
However, picky eaters are not something that defines Maine Coon cats themselves, but rather it is common across all cat breeds.
The sooner we accept that our beloved feline friends are always going to be picky eaters, the better.
Are Maine Coon Cats Picky Eaters?
Maine Coons are renowned for being picky eaters.
We all know the Maine Coon loves nothing more than a routine. This may be a routine in their behaviour, but often it can be a routine in their eating habits.
More often than not, a Maine Coon cat is a picky eater, simply because they are presented with new foods that might throw them off. It could be something that just doesn’t smell as good!
Ragnar is a bit of a Salmon snob, and whenever I present him with Lamb and Duck, he sticks his nose up to it!
However, what about when food is not the issue?
Let’s explore the reasons why a Maine Coon cat is a picky eater.
Too Much Choice of Food for Your Maine Coon
I mentioned previously, that cats love a routine. This routine is displayed in their eating habits too. When presented with too much choice, Maine Coons can become overwhelmed, so it’s no surprise they are picky eaters.
If you are visiting this blog because your Maine Coon cat is a fussy eater, then hopefully this is the reason why.
Have you recently switched up their food?
We like to spoil our Maine Coons, and provide them with a variety of different flavours to satisfy their taste buds. But do Maine Coons really need this?
It’s always good to rotate your Maine Coon’s food choice, but doing this daily might not be required. Or perhaps they only need a choice of two or three different flavours.
Less is more for Maine Coons.
Maine Coon Cats Need Quality Food
There is an endless amount of food options available in the cat food market, and it’s often very difficult for owners to choose.
When faced with so many choices, all you have to do is think about what Maine Coons need in their diet. This will help you pick only the best quality.
Often when Maine Coon cats are picky eaters, it’s because they are lacking all or some of the ingredients below:
- A good amount of protein in their diet
- Healthy fat for their energy. Fat provides Maine Coons with double the amount of energy they get from proteins and carbohydrates.
- A small number of carbohydrates. It’s easy for Maine Coon owners to go overboard on the carbohydrates. Like humans, too many carbs can cause weight gain in Maine Coons.
- Vitamins, Minerals and Fatty Acids.
This blog I wrote provides more information on what is a healthy weight for a Maine Coon cat.
Sugar in Cat Food Can Cause Addiction
Did you know that some cat foods are laced with sugar, which can cause addiction in your Maine Coon? When this happens, they can often stick their nose up to other foods.
This is why it is important to feed your Maine Coon with a diet rich in protein, fats, vitamins and minerals, so they don’t become picky eaters.
So what types of cat foods have lots of sugar?
Many wet cat food pouches like Whiskas contain gravy, and in order to get this substance and consistency, sugar is added. It’s simply not good for your Maine Coon and will only lead to teeth issues, and increase their chances of developing diabetes.
Dehydration Can Cause A Maine Coon To Be A Picky Eater
Maine Coons require access to fresh water 24/7. Not only are Maine Coon cats picky eaters, but they are picky drinkers too!
A fountain is always the best option as they like to drink from the flow rather than the still water at the bottom of the fountain.
If your Maine Coon doesn’t have access to fresh water daily, then they can become dehydrated and this itself can result in a picky Maine Coon eater.
Signs of dehydration in your Maine Coon include:
- Sunken eyes
- Dry and flaky skin
- Poor appetite (picky eaters)
- Dry mucous
A Maine Coon can only go 3 or 4 days without water, so it’s important they have 24/7 access to fresh water.
Can Health Issues Cause A Maine Coon To Be A Picky Eater?
I’ve covered some of the lesser reasons why a Maine Coon cat might be a picky eater. But what about when other health issues are at play here?
Just to cover all possibilities, there is a range of health issues that could be a contributing factor to your fussy Maine Coon.
If none of the above applies to you, then it’s always worth reading up on potential health issues.
A Constipated Maine Coon
Maine Coons can become constipated easily if they are not fed diets that meet their minimum fibre requirements. They can also become constipated if they are dehydrated.
If your Maine Coon is constipated, then it’s always worth trying to up their fibre intake or swap their diet for quality meals that meet their protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
Also, ensure they have access to water every day.
A constipated Maine Coon can very quickly become a picky eater.
If this doesn’t work, then visiting your local vet is recommended.
A Maine Coon With A Sensitive Stomach
A Maine Coon can have a sensitive stomach for many reasons. Often this is related to the diet of a Maine Coon because if they are fed a diet that is high in carbohydrates and too much grain, they can quickly develop an upset stomach.
However, it is important to think about other reasons that could be causing your Maine Coon’s sensitive stomach.
Some questions to ask yourself include:
- Has your Maine Coon eaten something bad?
- Is your Maine Coon up to date with their flea and worm treatment?
- Does their current diet meet the recommended dietary and nutrient requirements?
- Are they suffering from serious illnesses like cancer or diabetes?
- Have they vomited recently?
If your Maine Coon is being a picky eater because they appear to have a sensitive stomach, then its worth considering these questions, and speaking with your vet to rule out anything serious.
A Maine Coon With Dental Issues
As you know already, much cat food on today’s market is laced with sugar that looks like an inviting and yummy gravy to your Maine Coon.
And just like if we consume too much sugar, Maine Coons can also develop dental issues with their teeth.
Dental disease in a Maine Coon is a serious issue, and it can quickly ruin their quality of life. Dental disease can manifest in three forms:
- Tooth resorption
Excessive tartar and plaque in your Maine Coon can lead to serious issues affecting their heart, liver and kidneys.
It will almost cause them to be a picky eater, so if you have concerns that this could be why, please contact your vet.
Do Maine Coons Require A Special Diet?
Maine Coons require a no different diet than any other cat breed.
What they do require is quality food that is filled with protein, healthy fats, a small number of carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
With this, Maine Coon cats are less likely to be picky eaters.
Think back to when Maine Coons roamed the wild. They fed off little rodents like mice, moles, birds and rabbits. This type of food provided them with all the nutrients they required to survive out in the wild.
Fresh mice, rabbit, bird and mole weren’t laced with a gravy that has been doused in sugar.
This is why many owners like to feed their Maine Coon a raw diet. I myself feed Ragnar and Lagertha raw food from Bella & Duke, and previously Purrform.
I recommend both, but Bella and Duke are cheaper.
Top Tips For A Picky Maine Coon
So if you are sure that none of the above applies to your Maine Coon, there are some simple tips and tricks you can implement to try and encourage your Maine Coon to eat.
Sometimes a Maine Coon cat is just a picky eater, and there is no underlying reason, and you have to go with it!
However, let’s explore some options for you.
Provide Frequent Meals For Your Maine Coon
To avoid too much calorie consumption, you can choose to feed your Maine Coon 3-4 times a day.
A Maine Coon kitten naturally would be fed smaller meals more regularly. If you have an adult Maine Coon, there is nothing wrong with trying this strategy.
I know it can be easy to get frustrated with your Maine Coon if they are being picky eaters, but don’t force them to eat.
It’s much better to go smaller and more frequently.
And as they start to eat more, you can gradually increase the amount they are getting fed, over fewer meals per day.
Avoid Free-Feeding Your Maine Coon
Maine Coons love a routine, but if they have access to dry kibble any time of the day, they can become fussier.
If you avoid letting them free feed and stick to set times per day for their food, they will soon come to look forward to their feeding time.
Texture Of Food Is Important To A Maine Coon
Has your Maine Coon always been a picky eater or is it more recent?
Maine Coons are very fussy when it comes to the texture of their food, and even the slightest change can put them off, resulting in a picky Maine Coon.
Leave Fresh Water For Your Maine Coon
You know this already, but fresh water is so important for your Maine Coon.
Leaving them a supply of fresh water daily will best ensure they don’t become picky eaters. Dehydration is a Maine Coon is not healthy, and in fact dangerous.
It’s also worth keeping the water bowl away from their eating corner.
Maine Coons Need Their Own Eating Space
Maine Coons like their own space, and if you currently have them eating close to each other, or from the same bowl, then it’s advisable to stop.
This can cause a great deal of stress to your Maine Coon, and they will eat better with their own water and food bowl, and own space.
Can I make Homemade Food For My Picky Maine Coon?
Absolutely. All you need to ensure that you meet the recommended dietary requirements. Often, a homemade meal for your Maine Coon is healthier than store-bought options, and what better way to show your affection than a special home-cooked meal.
Below is a list of some of the best homemade food options for your Maine Coon:
|Foods Maine Coons Can Eat||Foods Maine Coons Cannot Eat|
Certain Vegetables- Chopped Carrots, Peas, Green Beans, Broccoli, Pumpkin, Lettuce, Spinach
A small amount of lean deli meatsSmall amount of Melon, Banana, and Berries.
Milk and Dairy
Do you like Japanese Food?
If so, then this YouTube video might be exactly what you need for your Maine Coon if you’re looking to create some creative homemade recipes.
Why Do Maine Coon Eat Food With Their Paws?
Now, this is a common behaviour observed in all cats, not just Maine Coons.
My cat Ragnar is guilty of it. Not only can he be a picky eater, but he loves to make a mess, flinging his food out with his paw before eating it.
But I can’t blame him for this behaviour as it’s instinctual and there could be several reasons for it.
Maine Coons were used to roaming the wilderness and often they would have grabbed their prey with their paws.
They might also feel uncomfortable with their surroundings. The last thing a cat wants to feel is vulnerable when he or she is eating dinner. But this is a reality. They might live in a house with dogs, or other cats and prefer to keep an eye out!
This can force them to use their paw to grab food out of their bowl so that they can maintain an upright posture to keep an eye on their surroundings.
Another reason why a Maine Coon might eat food with its paw is due to whisker fatigue. Whisker fatigue refers to when a cat feels uncomfortable with their whiskers touching the side of their food or water bowl.
For this reason, choosing a wider bowl with no edges might be a better option.
Why Does My Maine Coon Scatter Its Food?
A Maine Coon scatters its food to be resourceful. This is another instinctual behaviour that’s imprinted in cats since evolution.
Your Maine Coon kitty doesn’t want any predator stealing its food and so it resorts to protecting it.
Have you observed this behaviour in your Maine Coon?
Maine Coons are picky eaters, there is no doubt about it, so it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to worry.
Just like some humans, Maine Coons are creatures of habit, and like familiarity and when faced with too many food choices, they can become overwhelmed.
This is often the most common reason why Maine Coon cats are picky eaters.
The best thing you can do is consider other options so you can rule out that their fussiness isn’t stemming from health, diet or behavioural issue.
If you are concerned, contacting your vet for advice should put your mind at ease.