Do Maine Coon cats like to be pets or would they prefer to be barn cats again?
Looking at their behaviour and how well loved they are, and cared for, and how much they enjoy those pleasures, it's pretty certain that Maine Coons like to be pets and if given the choice to be a pet or a barn cat they would almost always choose the former. There will be some variation between individuals because each has their own character.
Maine Coons come from medium-longhaired barn cats on the east coast of America, mainly in the state of Maine. So that's their origin and it is a philosophical question as to whether they would prefer to be living their life as they did hundreds of years ago; free of human attentions hour-by-hour.
|How a Maine Coon should enjoy the outside. Image: The Discerning Cat.|
But, the answer to the question in the title is pretty obvious because, like humans, domestic cats including Maine Coons will migrate towards their comforts and the major comfort for a Maine Coon cat is a food source. Where there is food that's where you will find a domestic cat and this very much applies to stray and feral cats where they congregate around a food source. They don't want to move away from that.
But for the Maine Coon cat it is not just about a food source. There are many other comforts and all their needs are met particularly if they are allowed outside supervised on a lead or in a garden enclosure. If there's one domestic cat which I see more than any other on a lead it is the Maine Coon perhaps because it is the only really safe way of taking them outside to enjoy the smells and sounds of nature.
RELATED: Maine Coon Cat History.
If domestic cats in general didn't like being pets, all the indoor/outdoor cats would leave home and never come back. But 99.99% of them stay put. Yes, the occasional well cared for domestic cat will leave home and return to the wild because that is their preference. It's instinctive. But these are domestic cats. They are selectively bred to be in human homes living with humans. They are socialised to humans and other animals. They don't want to be solitary animals like their wildcat ancestor.
They are happier within the human family provided of course that they are treated properly. The answer to the question does depend obviously on how well cared for they are. There are obviously many examples of cats moving from one home to another in seeking better and more loving caregiving. But that's not quite the same thing as they are moving in with another family.
The domestic cat really is no longer suited to living in the wild in any case. And that would apply to the Maine Coon even though they are pretty hardy with their shaggy medium-longhaired coat. If a domestic cat becomes a stray cat they can pretty quickly become poorly with a dirty coat, undernourished and dehydrated.
RELATED: Maine Coon Early History: Eight Theories.
They know where their bread is buttered and it is in the family home so they don't want to be set free. But full-time indoor cats - and Maine Coons are nearly always full-time indoor cats - should be allowed some sort of freedom outside under supervision in my opinion. Because to deny them the sensory experiences of being within nature, I think, is unfair. The wildcat is just under the surface of the domestic cat and that part of their character needs to be fed with a connection to nature.