We know that some breeds have intense genetic problems, like Scottish Fold, which has cartilage development issues. These cats suffer from arthritis even during their middle ages and have a very low quality of life.

We also know that Maine Coon life expectancy is slightly lower than that of the average cat, i.e., 12 vs 15. I cared for a Maine Coon a few years ago and saw that he aged dramatically only in a year after he turned 13.

So, I wonder if they are prone to any genetic conditions. If there are any, are they as seriously debilitating as arthritis or are they preventable if they are cared accordingly starting from their kittenhood?

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


Maine Coons, like many cats, are at risk of developing Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (“HCM.") This is the most common heart disease in cats. One HCM mutation has been linked to Maine Coons and Rag Dolls specifically but all cats are at least a little at risk.

HCM is a condition in which the muscles that form the walls of the heart grow thick. This makes the heart less efficient and can leave your cat more at risk for things like blood clots or other cardiovascular trouble. There are some treatments, but the prognosis for cats with HCM is very mixed and much can depend on how early it was caught.

Your concerns with arthritis are pretty well-founded, too. The large size of these cats contributes to increased risk of luxating patella and hip dysplasia, both of which can be ascertained with X-ray exams. Cornell's vet school even specifically names Maine Coons in their public-facing resources on the subject but does provide some small hope for treatment and prevention. Keeping your cats slim and well-exercised can help manage their conditions but you might be looking at surgery down the road.

  • Thanks! I have one further question, is arthritis only related to cat size or do Maine Coons have cartilage issues? I mean, is the chance of arthritis higher for a Maine Coon compared to a mixed breed cat with a similar weight?
    – C.Koca
    Feb 10 at 18:17
  • 1
    From what I can tell, it's size-related. Some of this literature is above my current reading comprehension but it sounds like this is mostly due to a shallower-than-optimal hip joint. See the section on musculoskeletal diseases here: sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/…
    – Salmon_of_Wisdom
    Feb 10 at 18:35

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