The mighty Maine Coon is an incredibly popular cat. These big kitties are significant in both size and personality. Also called the gentle giant, this feline breed is incredibly smart, good-natured, and friendly and has become extremely popular as pets. Because they are a large breed, it can be quite easy to overfeed them, and there are many myths and misconceptions about the breed itself and what they should eat. Tools like the Maine Coon feeding chart are extremely helpful for keeping this beautiful breed fed and healthy.
Named the Maine Coon cat both for the location they are native to, New England, and their unique appearance, these cats have fascinated feline lovers for many generations. A popular urban legend claims that the cat is a mixture of a wild raccoon in a feral domestic house cat. Though this tall tale is intriguing, it is not true. Raccoons and house cats can never mate and produce offspring, as they are two incredibly different species.
Knowing how much and the right food to feed a Maine Coon cat throughout its life can be a big challenge to pet owners. Diet and nutrition play a significant role in a feline’s overall health, and it is an area that owners will need to become very familiar with once they bring one of these large, rigged kitties home. Our guide and Maine Coon feeding chart present information and guidelines on what and how much to feed a Maine Coon cat throughout the different stages of life.
- Maine Coon Diet
- Maine Coon Feeding Chart At A Glance
- How Much Should A Maine Coon Kitten Eat?
- Different Types Of Cat Food
- Kitten vs. Adult Cat Formulas
- Importance Of High-Quality Food
- How Much Do Maine Coon Kittens Grow Each Week?
- Keeping Your Maine Coon At A Healthy Weight
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Maine Coon Diet
Every feline, even those of the same breed, is different but does have some basic nutritional needs that are the same. While guidelines and recommendations are included on the labels of all commercial cat foods, they do not necessarily work for every cat. For this behemoth breed, their diet is a huge part and factor in their overall health, size, and proper development. Owners should know that Maine Coons will eat significantly more than regular house cats. These giant-sized kitties can reach between 9 and 25 pounds, and several have been known to get even bigger. They need a diet that is well balanced and rich in animal proteins, vitamins, and nutrients that will keep them healthy.
Maine Coons, just like all other felines, are what are called obligate carnivores. This means they must eat a diet primarily made up of meat and high in healthy fats and quality animal proteins. These kitties need diets that support their generous size and keep them healthy and sustained with enough energy. This is a highly active breed and combined with their larger size. They will eat significantly more than most other brands.
Additionally, Maine Coons grow for much longer than the average domestic cat. It can take them anywhere from two to five years to reach full growth. Their appetite and nutritional needs will fluctuate as they grow and enter different stages of their development and life beyond kittenhood. Owners should spend time learning about this breed, as well as what foods are safe for them to eat.
Maine Coon Feeding Chart At A Glance
|Maine Coon Age||Type Of Food||Amount Per Feeding||# Of Feedings Per Day|
|1 Week||Mother’s milk or milk substitute||N/A||As needed|
|2 Weeks||Mother’s milk or milk substitute||6 – 10 ml||Every 2 to 3 hours|
|3 Weeks||Mother’s milk or milk substitute||10 – 14 ml||Every 3 to 4 hours|
|4 Weeks||Mother’s milk or milk substitute||18 ml||Every 4 to 5 hours|
|5 Weeks||Kitten food and mother’s milk||20 – 22 ml||Every 5 to 6 hours|
|6 Weeks||Kitten food wet and dry||1/8 to 1/4 a cup||4 to 5 meals a day|
|7 Weeks||Kitten food wet and dry||1/8 to 1/4 a cup||4 to 5 meals a day|
|8 Weeks||Kitten food wet and dry||1/8 to 1/4 a cup||4 to 5 meals a day|
|9 Weeks||Kitten food wet and dry||1/8 to 1/4 a cup||4 to 5 meals a day|
|10 Weeks||Kitten food wet and dry||1/4 a cup||3 to 5 meals a day|
|11 Weeks||Kitten food wet and dry||1/4 a cup||3 to 4 meals a day|
|12 Weeks||Kitten food wet and dry||1/4 a cup||3 to 4 meals a day|
|4 to 6 Months||Kitten food wet and dry||1/4 to 1/2 a cup||4 meals a day|
|6 to 9 Months||Kitten food wet and dry||1/2 a cup||4 meals a day|
|9 to 12 Months||Adult food and kitten food mix||1/2 a cup to 1 cup||3 to 4 meals a day|
|1 Year||Adult food wet and dry||1 to 1 & 1/2 cup||2 to 3 meals a day|
|1 to 3 Years||Adult food wet and dry||1 to 1 & 1/2 cup||2 to 3 meals a day|
How Much Should A Maine Coon Kitten Eat?
A Maine Coon kitten’s nutritional needs will change as he ages. He will start out nursing and then transition to eating kitten chow within the first few weeks of life. We have provided an at-a-glance feeding guide for the first few months of a kitten’s life.
Newborn kittens will be quite helpless. Their eyes and ears will be closed, and they will rely on their mother for everything. For these first few weeks, kittens will nurse from their mothers to survive. They should nurse as needed if their mother permits and is not rejecting them. For kittens who are not getting enough milk, formula substitutes can be purchased. Kittens who have trouble nursing can be bottle-fed. The mother cat’s milk is the absolute best thing a kitten can have. It is high in colostrum and full of nutrients that will provide a massive boost to their small immune systems.
Two-week-old kittens will start to become a little sturdier. Their ears and eyes will begin to open. These tiny kitties will stay close to mom, and we will continue to nurse as needed. If kittens do not seem to be getting enough milk. Talk to your veterinarian about a kitten milk replacement. There are liquid and powdered milk replacer formulas available. Kittens should nurse until they are full. 6ml to 10ml per feeding is a reasonable estimate. At two weeks of age, kittens will nurse every two to three hours.
Weight gain will start to be apparent by week three. A kitten’s eyes and ears should be fully open by now, and they will start to take some shaky first steps. They will continue to nurse every three to four hours and should consume about 10 ml to 14 ml per feeding. It is still too early to introduce them to solid foods and refrain from giving them any other substitutions other than a vet-approved milk replacer. Do not give kittens cow’s milk at this age. Contrary to widespread belief, they will have a difficult time digesting it.
Feeding should start to space out a little more by four weeks or one month old. Every four to five hours is expected, with about 18 milliliters consumed per feeding. Kittens will still be nursing, sturdier on their feet, and less helpless though they will still stick very close to mom.
Five-week-old kittens will still be relatively small. They will weigh about one pound by now. Their first teeth will start developing. It is still too early to give them kitten chow. Kittens should continue to nurse from mom or sustain on a kitten milk replacement. Feedings should occur every five to six hours and be about 20 to 22 milliliters per feeding.
At around six weeks, mother cats will naturally start beginning the weaning process. It is time to introduce solid food and begin transitioning from milk or formula to kitten food. Teeth will be close to fully grown, and kittens will be interested in chewing. A small amount of wet food or dry kitten kibble soaked in water can be introduced a few times a day. The winning process begins around six weeks and can last for two to three weeks until kittens fully transition to solid foods.
At week seven, kittens should start showing more interest in eating kitten chow if they have not yet. If they have not started weaning by now, it is time to begin. Kitten kibble mixed with water, one part food to three parts water or kitten formula, should be offered along with formula. Mother cats may still permit some nursing at this time or may be ready for kittens to fend for themselves.
Baby teeth should be fully grown by week eight, and kittens should be able to eat kitten food soaked in water or formula substitutes. By now, around two months old, mother cats will be ready to stop nursing, and their bodies will need time to recover from pregnancy and nursing a litter. Kittens can start to be offered tiny amounts of dry kitten chow and small amounts of kitten-formulated wet food. Even if a cat prefers wet or canned, try to mix some kibble in, as they need to get used to eating kibble. Aim for about 4 to 5 meals a day.
Nine-week-old kittens are growing rapidly and are not busy exploring the world around them. They will expend a great deal of energy and need plenty of food to sustain them. Continue to offer them several, around four small meals a day. They can continue to eat kitten chow mixed with formula or water but gradually try to decrease the amount of extra moisture. It is okay to continue adding moisture to their food as long as necessary and to ensure they stay properly hydrated.
Four meals a day is a good standard for the next few weeks. By week ten, kittens should be fully transitioned from formula to kitten chow. Provide your kitten with a variety of wet and dry options. Also, make sure to provide them with plenty of water to drink and make sure they are getting enough moisture in their diets. Avoid supplements, excess treats, and additives like raw meats until they are a little older and their digestive systems have matured.
Continue to feed your 11-week-old kitten a protein-rich dry kibble. If he is not interested in dry kibble by now, you will need to take extra steps to get him to eat it. Alternate between wet and dry foods, but try to avoid substituting with formula. By now, kittens need more than formula can provide and need the nutrients and vitamins found in dry and wet kitten foods to sustain their rapid growth and energy expenditure.
Although a twelve-week or three-month-old kitten will grow rapidly, he will need to stay on kitten chow for several more months. Maine Coon cats take longer to reach full growth and maturity than many other breeds. While some breeds will switch to adult kibble between four and five months, these cats can eat kitten-formulated chow until they are several months old. Some veterinarians will even recommend feeding them kitten-formulated food until they are nine- or ten months old. Because these cats grow so large, their bodies need the extra calories, high protein, and fats found in kitten formula. Your cat should be eating three or four regular meals a day now. Serving sizes will be small, around 1/4 cup.
4 To 6 Months
Continue to feed your Maine Coon kitten the same brand of kitten formula that he likes. You do not want to start switching around unless it is necessary. By six months, you can reduce meals from three to four, down to two or three a day. This process should not be done quickly. This is also the time to consider spaying or neutering a cat, as they will hit puberty between four and six months old. Puberty may include increased appetite. The amount one feeds their cat at this time will vary. Look to food labels for serving sizes and recommendations. About 1/2 a cup per feeding is expected.
6 To 9 Months
It should eat between two and three meals a day by now. They will alternate between kibble and wet. Make sure they are getting enough moisture. Stick to about half a cup per meal, though some cats, especially larger ones like Maine Coons may need a little more. Keep a close eye on your cat to see if he feels or looks skinny or overweight. Adjust his meals accordingly. Continue to feed him kitten-formulated wet and dry foods.
9 To 12 Months
Between 9 and 12 months, owners should begin transitioning their Maine Coon from kitten-formulated chow to adult food. Continue to offer a mix of wet and dry foods. Start to mix in adult formula with kitten kibble and gradually reduce the amount of kitten food until your cat is entirely on adult formulated food. Along with chow, owners must ensure their cat has plenty of access to fresh, clean water. Provide wet food and add extra water or broth to kibble if necessary.
1 To 3 Years
Owners should remember that Maine Coon cats will continue to grow for two to three years until they reach full maturity. They may continue to need a little more during this growth cycle. Cats should eat two meals a day, of about one cup per feeding. Gentle giants on the larger end may need a little more. Some cats will eat three cups of food a day. Owners should ensure that the chow they are feeding them has the appropriate levels of protein, fat, and other nutrients. Be careful of offering access treats and extra feedings.
Free feeding is not recommended, especially with a breed like the Maine Coon. These cats are large and are prone to overeating. If allowed to free-feed, they will eat more than is healthy and encounter obesity, diabetes, joint issues, low energy, and other health concerns that come along with being overweight or consuming too many calories.
Different Types Of Cat Food
It can be a big challenge for feline owners to find the right food for their pets. It is a balance of seeing what a cat needs and what they like to eat. Even when owners pick a brand and stick with it, they should still offer a variety of flavors within that brand. Cats can get very bored with what they eat, so they may need a switch up of flavors every now and then. They can also be offered various kinds of treats and additives to their meals if their owners see fit. There are five main types of cat food Maine Coon owners will have to pick from.
Dry Cat Food/Kibble
Dry kibble is often the most economical choice for feline owners. This generally comes in bags, and it is made up of a variety of crunchy tidbits. Kibble can come in a gravy-coated option, as well as include semi-moist and softer pieces in certain varieties. Most dry kibbles will include all the nutrients a cat needs, and many cats enjoy eating kibble every day. There are some drawbacks to kibble, including that it can be very hard on a feline’s teeth. Aging kitties and cats with dental disease or injury to their teeth may not do well with kibble. In some cases, owners can soak or mix dry food with water, softening it and making it more malleable for felines to eat.
Kibble is convenient, affordable, relatively easy to store, and stays good for a long time. Kibble should be stored in an airtight container that does not allow any additional moisture Or air to get in. A drawback to a dry food-only diet is that cats can become dehydrated if they only ever eat dry food. This is especially true for male cats of large breeds, just like the gentle giant. Cats also run the risk of getting dehydrated easily, and those who eat only dry food will need lots of water around and can sometimes even be offered broth to ensure they are getting enough water in their systems.
Semi-Moist Cat Food
Semi-moist chow is an option with pieces of food shaped like kibble that have a much softer consistency. These taste delicious but may not be the best choice when it comes to nutrition. This chow choice often has added sugar, salt, and filler ingredients. It is also often dyed to attract human eyes. Cats love semi-moist chows. Owners must carefully read the labels before choosing these varieties for their cats.
Wet Or Canned Food
Wet cat food, also called canned, is tasty and something that almost all cats love. It comes in cans and pouches as well as resealable plastic containers. There are a large variety of wet food options for a Maine Coon. Wet cat food can come As chopped meat in gravy, stew, in a pate, flakes, pureed, or even in a broth. Some varieties are very heavy on the gravy, while others will have a lesser amount. Ideally, a Maine Coon should be fed a mixed diet of both dry and wet foods. Wet food is rich and high in fats, so it should not be the only chow a cat is being fed.
Owners can work out a mix that works best for them, offering their cat a well-balanced kibble with alternating meals of wet food. Some owners choose to feed their cats dry kibble during the day and wet chow around dinner time, others will pick certain days of the week to feed wet food, and others choose to mix the two together.
Raw diets can be greatly beneficial to cats, and some people believe them to be more in tune with the natural diet a cat would eat in the wild. These diets must be carefully monitored to keep a cat healthy. There is more to it than just feeding your kitty cat chunks of raw meat. Owners will want to discuss this carefully with their veterinarians. A raw diet is not a great choice for a kitten. Younger cats need a careful balance of calories, protein, healthy fats, nutrients, and minerals. They are best served by being fed high-quality cat food.
Some owners can choose to prepare a raw food diet themselves or frozen raw meat diets that have been developed to be similar to a cat’s diet in the wild. These diets are high-quality, rich in healthy animal proteins, and do not have added artificial ingredients. This can be a much pricier option than some of the other diet choices.
Freeze-dried cat food is generally of excellent quality and full of all the healthy nutrients cats need. It can be served dried or rehydrated and is usually very high in protein. Some cat experts believe it is one of the best options, while others think it is better as a treat or snack between other meals. Keep in mind that freeze-dried chow has much less moisture than wet or raw foods, so cats on this diet will need to have plenty of access to water. For this reason, some recommend rehydrating freeze-dried chow to ensure that cats get as much moisture as they need.
Kitten vs. Adult Cat Formulas
Though kitten and adult formulated food looks similar, they are not identical. Kittens and adults have different nutritional needs and therefore need different dietary formulas. Kitten chow is packed with more calories, fats, proteins, and nutrients than adult cat food. While adult cats might be happy to eat kitten food, it can cause them to gain weight as it has higher calories and fats than they need. A kitten can eat adult cat food. It will not have the nutritional balance needed to grow strong and healthy. Especially with a breed like the mighty Maine Coon, feeding a cat the proper formula for their age is advisable. Indoor cats and outdoor cats will also have different nutritional needs.
Senior cats may need a diet specially formulated for their diverse needs. As cats age, they will eat less and may require a boost of different elements like protein and calcium. Additionally, some cats may need food formulated for digestive care, coat care, urinary care, and other common feline issues.
Importance Of High-Quality Food
Proper nutrition is the cornerstone of your cat’s lifelong health and substantially impacts how long they will live. While there are plenty of bargain options, the lowest price tag is usually not the best quality food to sustain a feline. Pet food labels are often confusing and may make claims that seem too good to be true. Cats are obligate carnivores, and they need nutrients that are found in animal meat products to survive. They are natural hunters, driven by diets with high protein and minimal fat, with a small number of carbohydrates. Learn more in our best cat food for Maine Coons article.
Cats who are fed a high-quality, well-balanced diet will be healthier overall, live longer, and live better lives. Food made from real ingredients with high nutrients will have more energy, healthier skins and coats, less exposure to allergies, a better digestive process, and a higher quality of life. Owners must remember that the food they choose to feed their pets will impact every aspect of their health and vitality. While saving a few dollars on a bargain brand may be tempting, your pet’s quality of life is worth every penny spent on the best food an owner can afford. Cats who have poor nutrition can develop a variety of symptoms and ailments.
When choosing a food for their pet, owners can look at the brand themselves to learn more about their practices and development. They can look to see if the brand employs a feline nutritionist or board-certified vet. They can also look at what research the brand has published, their quality control standards and testing, and where the food is manufactured.
It is essential always to read food labels to make sure cats are getting what they need. Pet food, including cat and dog food, have guidelines set by The Association Of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These guidelines determine whether a formula for pet food meets the animal’s nutritional needs. These are the industry guidelines for healthy, nutritionally balanced pet foods. Brands that mention these guidelines on the labels are a good thing to look out for.
Cat Food Nutrients
According to the AAFCO, commercial cat food should have at least 26% protein for adults and 30% protein for kittens. Protein plays a pivotal role in Maine Coon growth, health, and energy. Look for foods that use chicken, Turkey, fish, and other fresh animal proteins. Avoid foods that use animal meal as a first ingredient. These products are not as high in the high-quality animal protein felines need. Try to find the best food you can before it with the highest healthy protein content. Owners must be careful of giving their kitty excess protein, especially a big breed like the gentle giant that can overeat. Too much protein and salt can severely impact the kidneys and even increase the risk of chronic kidney disease.
Cats need carbohydrates but should avoid foods high in sugars and starches that they have a tough time digesting. In particular, they use glucose as an energy source. Glucose helps fuel numerous systems in the body, including powering the brain. Dietary carbohydrates help provide a cat with enough energy to keep the different body processes going. Cats should have a moderate level of carbohydrates in their diets, and most high-quality commercial cat foods will have an appropriate amount. Cats rarely need carbohydrate supplements or additions to their diets, and owners should always look out for these in snacks and treats.
Fats and Fatty Acids
Healthy fats provide cats with another energy source, and some like Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids support skin and coat health. These are often found in animal proteins, especially fish and fish oils, and owners can add supplements or look for foods with additional amino acids.
Vitamins & Nutrients
Amino acids like Taurine are important for felines and play a role in vision, heart health, and muscle function. Diets need to be rich in things like Vitamin A, which is essential for skin and vision health. Vitamin B supports the digestive system, nervous system, and immune system. Vitamin K aids in preventing blood clots. Niacin is a vitamin that supports and boosts Maine Coon cat’s metabolism and energy levels.
How Much Do Maine Coon Kittens Grow Each Week?
Maine Coon kittens, like any growing baby, will experience growth spurts and plateaus. However, there are some guidelines owners can stick to. Expect a gentle giant to grow at about twice the rate of other kittens. From newborns to a few weeks old, they will gain a few ounces a day. Around three months old, they will start to put on between a pound and a half to two pounds every month. This high growth period will last until about seven months, when weight gain will slow down. It will continue to put on between half a pound and a pound per month for the next several months. Around one year, weight gain will slow, and they will add one to two pounds per year.
Keeping Your Maine Coon At A Healthy Weight
Along with providing top-quality, well-balanced kitten food and supplements as needed, owners are responsible for keeping their Maine Coons at a healthy weight. This breed is large, and because of this, it is easy to allow them to overeat. Overeating, eating low-quality food, and not getting enough exercise can lead to obesity.
Do not free feed a Maine Coon. They are prone to overeating, and something owners want to avoid. Obesity comes with a slew of profoundly serious health conditions that can impact a cat’s life expectancy and quality of life. Owners should always follow feeding guidelines, read food labels, and not overfeed their cats. For this reason, it is recommended that Maine Coon cats be meal fed and not free fed. This means offering them chow at regular mealtimes every day and then putting it away in between. If they do not eat out of mealtime, they will have to wait until their next feeding rather than be fed extra snacks in between.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should Maine Coon cats eat a raw diet?
Because they are a large breed, many owners wonder about feeding Maine Coons a raw food diet. Raw diets can be beneficial to cats. But, it must be done the right way. Raw diets should only be fed under the supervision of a nutritionist or veterinarian. Owners will need to take great care to ensure their cats get all the nutrients they need. There is more to raw food diets than just feeding cats meals of raw chicken or beef.
Owners will want to take their time to do research, consult with professionals, and make sure they have both the budget and time to commit to raw diets. Essentially, they will be hand preparing every meal for their cat, something not every owner can commit to. Maine Coons will do very well eating a traditional commercial brand cat food diet.
Can Maine Coon cats eat rodents?
The mighty Maine Coon is a highly skilled hunter and is likely owners will experience their cats catching mice and other small rodents. In the wild, cats hunt, kill, and eat their prey. They can process and digest eating rodents. Owners should avoid allowing their pets to eat rodents they catch.
Rodents are often infected with bacteria, disease, and parasites like roundworms. These can pass to your cat and cause them to become quite ill. Owners who want to help their Maine Coon express their natural desire to hunt are better off providing them with mouse toys, laser pointers, and other opportunities to chase and hunt rather than allowing them to eat rodents they catch.
Is it safe for Maine Coons to eat raw chicken?
Yes, these enormous kitties can eat raw chicken. Make sure it must be prepared properly and not fed to them at every meal. Lean, fresh raw chicken cut into bite-size pieces is best. This is a nice treat but should not be a daily addition to their meals.
Can A Maine Coon eat steak?
Yes, a gentle giant can eat steak. Just like raw chicken, it should not be fed to them every day and is an occasional treat. Cooked, lean steak with no other ingredients can be a tasty treat for a Maine Coon. Additionally, it is a reliable source of vitamin B12, protein, iron, niacin, and zinc, among other nutrients. The lines do not naturally produce B12, so red meat is an excellent source of this vital nutrient.
Feeding a giant-sized cat like the Maine Coon is a considerable responsibility. Owners need to know what to expect from kittenhood to adulthood. All cat’s nutritional needs will change as they age. Kittens expend more energy growing and exploring and need diets higher in fat, protein, and calories. Adult cats still need prominent levels of protein but do not need as much fat or calories. Knowing what to feed a newborn kitten can be a big challenge, and owners often worry if their cats are getting the proper nutrients as they grow.
Our guide can help feline parents feel better about what they are feeding their gentle giant and know what to look out for. Owners should remember that this information is the guideline only and not meant to be a substitute for advice from a veterinarian or nutritionist. Any feline owner worried that their Kitty is not getting the proper nutrients from their diet should consult their veterinarian and come up with a nutritional plan. Avoid bargain brands and cheap pet foods, especially those that use a lot of fillers, artificial ingredients, and colors. Stick to natural, high-quality brands that use natural real meat sources as the first ingredients.