A hungry Maine Coon is something every cat owner will have to deal with at some point. The typical Maine Coon reaches 18 pounds for males and stands 16 inches tall. Even female Maine Coons can reach weights of 12 pounds. These cats are far larger than your average domestic breed and therefore require a robust diet. Even with regular feeding, you might be wondering why your Maine Coon is always hungry?
Your Maine Coon is likely always hungry because they are not being fed enough. Maine Coon cats require larger portions of food than other domestic cat breeds. However, there could be other reasons that range from a medical issue to boredom.
Because hunger in cats can be caused by many things, I put together a list of every reason your cat is desiring a meal. Below are 12 reasons that your Maine Coon always seems hungry.
1. Your Maine Coon Is Bored
Even with all the toys in the world, your cat will still get bored. Maine Coons are no exception. Without regular stimulation and play, cats can become destructive. Some will also beg for food as a way to pass the time. If your cat is begging for food more frequently, try giving him or her some playtime. This could help their “hunger pains” pass.
2. You Aren’t Feeding Your Maine Coon Quality Food
If you own any type of pure breed cat, you must be cautious of what you feed him or her. The cat food found in a grocery store won’t cut it. Partner with your vet to see what food will best meet your furry family member’s needs. Some companies formulate breed-specific food. Others focus on the highest quality ingredients and removing common allergens from their products. Then there are other options like a raw diet that involves zero processed foods.
If you aren’t feeding your Maine Coon food that is suitable, this could lead them to feel hungry soon after mealtime. Switching to a diet that fits their needs should eliminate this issue.
3. You Aren’t Feeding Your Maine Coon Enough Food
If you aren’t used to having a Maine Coon, this cat eats a lot more than your typical 7-8 pound cat. You don’t want to overfeed your cat, but you need to increase how much you give a Maine Coon. Partner with your vet if you aren’t sure about how much you should be feeding your cat to encourage its growth.
While the kitten stage may pass, a Maine Coon isn’t done growing until 3-5 years of age. Keep that in mind when determining feeding amounts. The average domestic cat is done growing at 1-2 years. You don’t want to underfeed your cat and stunt their growth. Maine Coons have an extended kitten stage.
4. Your Cat “scarfs and barfs”
This condition is more common than most cat owners think. Cats get excited about mealtime, devour their food, then vomit it back up. Or they have food insecurities and eat quickly to ensure they have food. They swallow their food whole and consume it way too fast for their digestive system to handle. Thus the term, “scarf and barf.” After vomiting up their food, your cat is hungry again soon after.
And why wouldn’t they be, they don’t have any food their belly! As my own cat is a perpetual scarf and barfer, sometime the next feeding stays down, sometimes it doesn’t. But cleaning all these spots up will take a toll on your carpet, that’s for sure!
There are ways to slow your Maine Coon down, so they stop eating so fast they vomit. This habit of scarfing could cause issues for your cat, including choking on their food. There are dishes and toys an owner can use to slow their cat down while they are eating. When in doubt, speak to your vet about ways to reduce this behavior.
5. Your Maine Coon Could Be Struggling With Hairballs
This issue is quite common with all cats. They groom themselves with their tongues and end up swallowing any loose hair they pull off of themselves. This hair eventually builds up in their stomachs and digestive tracks. Some cats can pass the hair with their stools. Others, unfortunately, vomit the hairballs up.
Sadly, some cats don’t do either, and this hair backs up in their stomach and digestive tracks. It blocks their ability to eat food or get any nutritional value from the food that they do eat. This leads them to feel hungry, and they will cry and beg for food constantly—partner with your vet on the best way to handle this situation with your Maine Coon.
Maine Coons do have long, luxurious coats of fur! That coat is going to cause a few hairballs! You may need to brush your cat more, or in severe cases, your cat may need to receive regular trips to the groomer. Many long-haired breeds get what is called a “lion cut” where most of their fur is shaved off. This isn’t harmful to the cat and can help reduce the severe blockages that some long-haired breeds struggle with. Maine Coons, Persians, and even Himalayans are candidates for this cut.
6. Your Maine Coon Is Pregnant (or recently gave birth)
If you didn’t get your female Maine Coon cat fixed, there is a chance she may be pregnant. If you have an unaltered male in your house or let your female cat out, it can happen quickly. Cats in heat can also sneak out a window or do to look for a mate.
Does your cat beg for food and appear to be gaining weight? Has she been in heat recently? If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes,” make a trip to the vet for a checkup. Pregnant cats require substantially more food since they need energy for themselves and their kittens.
This also applies if your Maine Coon just gave birth. Unless you have experience with nursing cats, you have no idea how much food they consume. Many nursing mothers are supplemented with high-calorie kitten food to keep their caloric levels up high enough.
They have to eat enough to sustain themselves and make milk for their kittens. If you aren’t giving a nursing female Maine Coon cat enough food, she will cry for food quite frequently. Lack of food could also jeopardize the health of her litter.
With pregnant and nursing cats, feed them as often as they need it!
7. Your Maine Coon Could Be Experiencing A Health Issue
Cats are infamous for not showing that they are sick or experiencing any type of health crisis. If your cat is begging for food more often than usual, this could be one of the first signs that your Maine Coon is suffering from some kind of health condition. Schedule an appointment with your vet so they can run some tests to see if there is an underlying issue you need to know about. Some of the things your vet should be on the lookout for include:
• Intestinal parasites- parasites like worms inhibit your cat from feeling full or enjoying the nutritional value of their food.
• Hyperthyroidism- an overactive thyroid will cause your cat to lose weight but crave more food at the same time.
• Diabetes- problems with insulin levels can interrupt appetite and your cat’s weight. Correct their levels will return them to normal health.
• Cancer- there could be a tumor causing interruption of your cat’s food absorption.
Many of these conditions will trigger hunger in your cat that is atypical for him or her. These conditions may also result in weight loss. So if you notice your Maine Coon eating more and losing weight, schedule a visit right away. There is some kind of underlying issue.
8. Your Maine Coon May Be Stressed Or Depressed
Do you know any humans who stress eat? What about humans who binge eat when they’re sad or mad? Cats are no different. If something has your Maine Coon feeling some kind of way, they may solve their problems with food. If your cat seems to be chronically stressed/angry/depressed, speak with your vet about how to handle it. Being in a chronic upset state is not good for your cat. You don’t want them to overeat and gain weight. You also want to get to the bottom of what is causing their sour mood.
9. Your Maine Coon Has A High Metabolism
We have mentioned how large a Maine Coon can be. These cats are also fairly active. Also, consider that a male Maine Coon isn’t finished growing until somewhere in the 3-5 year range. What you may have is a growing cat with a high metabolism. Make sure you are feeding your cat to support their growth and their active lifestyle. Kittens need to eat practically all the time. Just because your cat is beyond what some consider the kitten stage, doesn’t mean they have shed their kitten appetite.
10. You Aren’t Using The Right Bowl For Your Maine Coon
How is this even possible? Do cats even care about the bowl they eat out of? It turns out that answer is yes! The wrong bowl could cause them to eat less at mealtime, therefore, making them hungry more often.
For starters, wash any dishes before using them. Cats are sensitive to smells, and a new, unwashed dish could be loaded with them. Also, make sure the bowl is designed to accommodate their whiskers. A cat’s whiskers are highly sensitive! If their whiskers bump the bowl, it could be very uncomfortable for them. If that happens, they may refuse to eat from that bowl.
Make it a point to use stainless steel bowls for your cat. Other materials could trigger an allergic reaction.
Bottom line, you don’t want your cat to associate their bowl with anything negative or discomfort. If that happens, they will refuse to east from it. Once that happens, they will either refuse to eat or pick at their food with their paw. They will still be hungry, but they will reject the food they have been given. Use clean, stainless steel bowls for your cat to eliminate this issue.
11. Your Cat Is Used To Eating On A Specified Schedule
With my own cat, I swear he has a clock in his belly. He isn’t as picky for when he has breakfast, but he begs for his AM snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and bedtime snack at the same time every day.
If I try to put him on a different meal schedule, it is a battle. Your Maine Coon could be crying for food because he or she is used to be fed at certain times, even if they aren’t hungry. If you are trying to reset your cat’s feeding schedule, speak with your vet or an animal behaviorist on ways to avoid the begging behaviors that are sure to occur. Cats are good at wearing us down and getting their way!
12. The Manufacturer Changed The Formulation Of Your Maine Coon’s Food
This is the bane of a cat owner’s existence. Cat food producers tweak and change the formula of their foods more often than we know. Cats are also finicky creatures. Even one small change can set a cat off and make them either refuse their food, be sickened by the food, or start to eat less than they need. As a long-time pet owner, I wish cat food companies would give us notice when this happens.
When my youngest cat was still on kitten food, I had an incident with this. After finishing one bag, I opened her new bag and noticed her food appeared to be a different color. Once I started feeding it to her, she hated her dry and would only eat her wet food. It turns out the company switched to brown rice in their kitten dry formula. My girl cat hated the change. To this day, she still won’t eat food with brown rice in it.
If you notice your cat eating less of their regular food but crying in hunger, this could be the reason. Check with the company to see if adjustments were made to their formula or ingredients. If they aren’t forthcoming with that information, go to pet owner boards or even chewy.com. Pet owners are quick to give feedback if something doesn’t make their feline happy!
If you find out their formula has changed and your Maine Coon refuses it or doesn’t eat with the same zeal, you’ll have to change their food. Work with your vet on the best way to do this and to find food without the offending ingredients or formula.
There could be so many reasons why your Maine Coon seems always to be hungry. Some are benign, like changes to their food or the need for more food intake. Others could be more serious, like hair blockages and other illnesses. Partner with your vet to determine the best course of action for your Maine Coon to keep them happy and healthy for many years to come!