How do 25-30 pound Maine Coon cats get on with normally sized 10 pound domestic cats? Do they take advantage of their size?

The question must refer to a multi-cat household in which there are cats of various sizes. The question is: Do the bigger cats bully the smaller cats? That’s my interpretation of the question in round terms. The reference to the Maine Coon breed is not strictly relevant.

Hobbes, a 20 pound cream tabby Maine Coon, and his BFF Stormy, an 8 pound rescued runt. They live with Josh Velson who wrote about them on Quora.com

In all the reading that I have done about multi-cat households I have never seen a reference to bigger cats bullying or dominating smaller cats by using their size. Yes, certainly some cats might be dominant over more submissive cats. Domestic cat hierarchies can be set up under which one cat dominates others or another.

However, these hierarchies are based upon the personality of the cats rather than their size. Some cats are more outgoing, aggressive and more dominant while others are more timid and retiring. That’s why in multi-cat households it is advisable to have hiding places to allow submissive cats to retreat to feel safe. It improves their mental health.

I’ve never read about large Maine Coon cats using their size and weight to dominate or bully random bred average size cats. I conclude, therefore, that it does not happen.

Of course, I can’t ignore the obvious, namely that a large Maine Coon cat may, by his nature, be a dominant cat in terms of personality. This may give the impression that he is throwing his weight around but I don’t think that’s the case normally.

Dominance and subordination – hierarchies

An expert (Knowles 2003) says:

“While strictly linear hierarchies may be found in small groups of cats, the typical large colony is likely to have a complex hierarchy that is only partially linear.”

There are a number of ways that a cat can signal submission. These include walking around a more dominant cat and waiting for the other cat to pass before moving into a certain area. Submissive cats also avoid eye contact and retreat when the more dominant cat approaches. Submissive cats take up a hunched, crouching posture with the tail tucked to either side of the thigh.

Dominant cats will block the movement of subordinate cats. They may bat at the subordinate with their paw. They may stare at the subordinate, arch the base of the tail, and holding up the ears and rotated to the side.

I recently wrote about whether domestic cats need training to use a litter box. The recommendation is to have one litter box more than you need (n+1). This can be useful in a multi-cat household where there is competition to use the litter box and where a dominant cat may prevent the submissive cat from using it.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

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