Who hasn’t had the pleasure of a long night’s sleep interrupted by the thrashing of their beloved feline? You may think your Maine coon wants to wake you up extra early as payback for not providing more treats. But it’s more likely your Maine coon is waking you during wee morning hours because they are nocturnal, right?
Are Maine coon cats nocturnal? No, despite popular belief, Maine Coons are not nocturnal. Maine Coons, like many other breeds, are crepuscular. This means they are most active during dusk and dawn. Since Maine Coons will begin their day just before the sun rises, a time when most of us are still asleep, it is easy to see why many people think they are nocturnal.
Unlike nocturnal and diurnal, you don't hear of crepuscular animals too often. However, recognizing what this means and how it relates to your Maine coon will help you understand your cat better.
Why are Maine Coons crepuscular?
Crepuscular comes from the Latin word crepusculum, which translates to twilight. And for Maine Coons, biology tells them to take advantage of these peak hours.
The reason your cat is hardwired to be active during dusk and dawn is that there is just enough light for your Maine coon to see well, while still having the ability to be cloaked in darkness.
A Maine coon’s peak active hours are also not the same as their predators’ peak hours. In the wild, your cat will be able to hunt safely and not worry so much about large birds trying to scoop them up.
Further, tasty critters such as mice, birds, and bugs tend to be active at this time.
It is also thought that crepuscular behavior has developed because of environmental factors. Dawn and dusk make for the most favorable temperature conditions. Activity during these peak hours means no harsh midday sun and no nighttime chills.
What do Maine Coons like to do during off-peak hours?
Considering that your Maine coon will sleep an average of 16 hours a day as an adult and 20 hours as a kitten, you can assume it will spend most of its time resting. It is interesting to note that these crepuscular animals do not sleep the same way humans do.
Maine Coons love to nap. In fact, they will spend the majority of their downtime sleeping lightly. You can tell if your Maine coon is taking a cat nap by observing its ears.
You will see a movement of the ears, as they are paying attention to what is going on.
You may also notice your Maine coon’s eyes open once in a while to take a peek around. Cat naps make it easy for your cat to recharge while also being able to immediately spring into action.
Approximately a quarter of the time your Maine coon spends resting will be considered deep sleep. This type of sleep is important, for it is when your cat’s cells will restore themselves. They usually sleep deeply in intervals of 10 to 20 minutes.
You can pinpoint deep sleep by gentle ear twitching and paw movements. You may even hear your Maine coon snoring.
Too much sleep?
You may notice your Maine coon sleeping more than the desired 16 hours a day. In some instances, this is typical behavior. Listed below are times it is okay for your cat to snooze more than expected:
- Your Maine coon is still a kitten
- Your Maine coon is pregnant
- Your Maine coon is a senior
- The weather is very hot, very cold, or rainy
Other times, you may want to consult your vet and look into lifestyle factors, for example:
- Your Maine coon is sick
- Your Maine coon is bored
- Your Maine coon is stressed
Sleeping isn’t the only activity you’ll catch your Maine coon doing during downtime. Keep watch for other pursuits your Maine coon will love during the day or at night.
- Grooming. Maine Coons love to be clean.
- Playing. There's nothing like chasing some fake mice during downtime.
- Following you around. Maine Coons are considered the dogs of the cat world.
- Eating and drinking. A snack will give your Maine coon plenty of energy for peak hours.
- Asking for pets. A good ear scratching will also recharge your cat’s batteries.
How to get your Maine coon to be less active during peak hours
So your Maine coon loves to be most active a couple of hours before your alarm sounds. Luckily, there are steps you can take to help your cat become less active when you are asleep.
- Give your Maine coon a big meal before bedtime. When you feed your cat a large meal, it will need time to digest. Digestion needs a rest period, meaning you’ll have more time to sleep late while your cat’s body breaks down its dinner.
- Have a long play session at night. A vigorous play session late at night could prevent your Maine coon from practicing sprinting at 3 in the morning. Instead of going crazy, your cat will replenish its energy stores. (We recommend these toys as they are loved by Maine Coons)
- Leave out puzzle toys. Try to leave new puzzle toys out right before you go to bed. Maine Coons are highly intelligent and will appreciate a toy that makes use of their brain power. Make sure to give your cat toys that do not make too much noise, or you may find yourself getting less sleep than before.
- Ignore the shenanigans. This option can be quite difficult, but it can also be highly effective. If your Maine coon makes a habit of waking you up at dawn and you react, they will recognize a pattern of behavior. Instead, ignoring your Maine coon when they try to wake you up will show your cat that its actions do not yield the desired result.
Though it's fun to imagine your Maine coon stalking prey during the most stunning hours of the day, it’s great to know your Maine coon can adapt their sleep schedules to meet yours.
With most people working during the day, your cat will have limited stimulation during hours they want it the least anyway. Therefore, your feline will not have to stray too far from what biology dictates.
How can you tell if you have a Maine coon cat? It is not difficult to tell if your cat is a Maine coon by observing some well-known features. Even as kittens they are a very big breed with square, muscular bodies. Maine Coons have long fur along their necks that resemble a lion’s mane. Also look for large, furry paws and ears with hair tufts on the ends. They are also very outgoing.
- If you need help with that, read our Maine Coon Identification Guide!
What is the price of a Maine coon? If you are obtaining a Maine coon from a breeder, expect to pay $500 to $1500 for a kitten. Be wary of “reputable” breeders who charge $400 or less for a purebred cat. They may not come from a pedigree line or may not be a Maine coon at all. You can always look online or in shelters for an adoptable Maine coon as well.
What is a Maine coon cat’s lifespan? The average life expectancy of a Maine coon is 10 to 12 years. However, they can live well beyond the average to almost 20 years. Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle, a nutritious diet and vet visits when needed will help extend your Maine coon’s longevity.