The Ultimate Maine Coon Care Guide
Taking care of a Maine Coon requires commitment, but it’ll prove to be very rewarding. Find out what you need to know about feeding, grooming, and raising a healthy Maine Coon.
In essence, Maine Coons require nutritious food and regular grooming. Maine Coon owners should keep their feline healthy with plenty of exercise and play. Items that cat owners need for their Coon cats include shedding brushes, scratching posts, and large litter boxes.
Read on to understand the many facets of caring for these good-natured cats.
Don´t forget, if you have any questions, leave a comment. We are here for you!
1. FEED YOUR MAINE COON NUTRITIOUS FOOD
Given a Maine Coon’s large body and active nature, it’s important to feed the feline sufficient nutritious food. Dry food (or kibble) usually forms an integral part of a cat’s diet, and this is supplemented by wet food.
There’s no exact formula to what and when to feed a Maine Coon. Some cat owners practice free-feeding by giving their cat unlimited access to kibble. They only offer wet food two or three times a week.
Others prefer to give wet food exclusively as it provides more moisture and evokes more delight. You can structure a regular feeding time for your cat, such as twice a day in the morning and in the evening.
It is also fine to break the meals to smaller portions multiple times a day, especially if your Maine Coon is eating too fast or eating too much.
Ultimately, it’s really up to you to determine the combination of food and how often you’d like to feed your Maine Coon, as long as it meets its daily caloric intake needs. If you are unsure, talk to the vet to get their advice.
What’s more important is that the cat foods you pick are of high-quality.
The ideal cat food for your Maine Coon should be
high in proteins (about 52%),
moderate in fats (about 35%)
and low in carbohydrates (about 12.5%).
Proteins in the form of chicken, turkey or fish are essential as cats are carnivorous. Steer clear of excessive carbohydrates which will pass through the liver and get stored as fats.
While grain-free food is not entirely necessary, it’s good to avoid grains (like wheat, corn gluten meal, and rice) as they are not part of a cat’s natural diet. Also, avoid food that has low-quality fillers like soy.
2. GIVE YOUR MAIN COON A SUPPLY OF CLEAN WATER
This hardly needs to be said. Provide your Maine Coon continuous supply of water in a clean bowl. Maine Coons are known to love drinking water – they may even try to drink right out of the faucet!
3. PREPARE A LARGE LITTER BOX OR TWO
You can avoid messy mishaps by choosing the right litter boxes and placing them in a suitable location. Maine Coons require large litter boxes that give them enough space to poop and move around while burying their excretions.
As to where to place the litter box, don’t assume that your Maine Coon wants privacy while doing its business. Some do, of course, but others prefer to have it at the corner of the kitchen or the living room.
You might need some experimentation to figure out where your cat prefers its litter box. Just don’t place it beside its food or a noisy appliance like a washing machine.
Many cat owners recommend having two litter boxes because their cats do not like to pee and poop in the same place, share their litter box with their furry friends, or use a litter box when it’s already full.
For whatever reasons your Maine Coon decides to assert its quirky preferences, having two litter boxes could save you from cleaning the carpet.
The Litter box is very important as getting the right litter box and placing it in the right spot is key to keeping your Maine Coon happy and your house clean.
4. GIVE YOUR MAINE COON EXERCISE
The plus-sized Maine Coons are imbued with high levels of energy. Its muscular, athletic bodies need to spend all that excess energy through exercise. Known for its crepuscular nature, Coon cats are typically most active during dawn and dusk.
To keep your Maine Coon healthy (and to avoid waking nights), you should give it room to be active in the daytime.
While Maine Coons don’t have special exercise needs to take note of, you can offer them opportunities to be active. Maine Coons are quite adept at climbing.
If yours is inclined towards scaling things, install a cat tree or cat castle for it.
Just determine the comfort level of your cat when it comes to height before building something that touches the ceiling.
Some Maine Coons also enjoy being taken on walks, just like dogs. For this activity, you will need to start slow – get your cat used to wearing a harness and walk it around the house before attempting to go further.
5. PLAY WITH YOUR MAINE COON
Another great form of exercise is through play. Maine Coons are full of enthusiasm when it comes to games. Put aside at least fifteen minutes of your day to engage your Maine Coon with interactive toys like laser pointers and wands with tassels.
It might also love to play fetch, so give that a try.
Let your Maine Coon run around and jump to its heart’s content. For the rest of the day when it’s not snoozing, your Maine Coon will appreciate being left with plastic balls or stuffed animals.
Not sure what kind of toys to add to your cat’s collection? As a Maine Coon never loses its hunter’s instincts, you can get toys that stimulate its drive for preying, such as a battery-operated mouse.
You should observe what your cat enjoys, and buy (or make) the toys accordingly. However, cats do lose interest in their toys when they’re no longer novel to them, so it’s good to hide some toys or offer them only occasionally to your Maine Coon.
6. KEEP YOUR MAINE COON INDOORS AND MAYBE OCCASIONALLY OUTDOORS
Maine Coons can be perfectly happy indoor cats. However, if you feel that the environment outside your house is safe for your Maine Coon to be wandering around, you can let them out too.
Just take note that Maine Coons may not be able to discern man-made dangers like rat poison, speeding cars, and the horrible cat-nappers. They might also catch diseases or get into territorial fights with other cats in the neighborhood.
With so many threats, what are the upsides of letting your Maine Coon outdoors? While your Maine Coon may be domesticated, don’t forget that this breed was once fearless feline hunters that roamed freely in the wild.
Some Maine Coons love adventure and the mental stimulation they get when discovering new places. They would leave in the morning and come home in the evening – if their owner lets them, that is.
This is, of course, entirely up to you to decide. Most Maine Coon owners keep their cats indoors, away from the dangers of the outside world.
Instead, they try to improve the quality of the Maine Coon’s life within the confines of the home through play sessions and installing cat trees. Their Maine Coon’s contact with the world will be through the windows.
7. SET UP SCRATCHING POSTS AROUND THE HOUSE
Like all cats, Maine Coons have a natural urge to scratch. It shapes their claws while providing a form of exercise and a release from stress. If you don’t provide it with scratching posts, you may find that your cat directs its tendencies to your precious upholstery instead.
Therefore, you need to get a sturdy cat scratcher for your Maine Coon and replace it once it’s worn out. Ensure that the cat scratcher either has a heavy base or can be mounted on the wall so that it does not topple over while your cat is busy clawing.
8. DON’T LET YOUR MAINE COON GET LONELY
Caring for a Maine Coon is not just about taking care of its physical needs.
Maine Coons are social creatures that will grow affection towards the people it lives with. While it won’t demand your attention, your Maine Coon certainly wouldn’t like to be lonely.
It loves following kind people around the house, and its curious nature will lead it to participate or at least watch what you’re doing.
To keep your Maine Coon emotionally healthy, you should give it some love when it’s in the mood for a cuddle. Always treat it gently and speak to it in a calm tone. Also, don’t ignore your Maine Coon or leave it in isolation constantly.
Even if it has to be left alone, you can offer it a piece of clothing belonging to its favorite person so that a familiar scent lingers.
The Maine Coon breed is one that gets along with everyone – not just humans but also dogs and other cats. If you feel that your Maine Coon is lonely, you can consider adopting a friendly furry friend for your Maine Coon.
Just introduce them slowly in a controlled environment to ensure that they get used to each other before you let them spend unsupervised time together.
9. TAKE YOUR MAINE COON TO THE VET
Maine Coons are prone to illnesses such as hip dysplasia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidney disease, and spinal muscular atrophy – all of which are foreign-sounding terms to the layman but familiar conditions to expert veterinarians.
What every cat owner needs to know is when to seek veterinary help. These are some of the alarming signs that your Maine Coon needs medical attention:
Lack of appetite
A runny nose or frequent sneezing
This list is not complete by any means. As a rule of thumb, when you notice your Maine Coon behaving out of character, pay a visit to the vet immediately.
Even if you don’t observe any of these symptoms, you should bring your Maine Coon to the vet every six months to a year to get a diagnosis on its state of health.
10. BRUSH YOUR MAINE COON’S COAT
The Maine Coon’s luxurious coat is made up of three layers: the undercoat, the middle coat, and the topcoat.
The soft undercoat is closest to the skin and is designed to keep the cat warm. The middle coat comprises bristle-like hairs that also have insulating functions.
Lastly, the thick and long topcoat protects the Maine Coon from the elements.
The coat of a Maine Coon has a rather silky feel, but it can get matted if it’s not groomed regularly. This is especially the case for the undercoat.
Matting is when the cat’s fur becomes tangled or knotted. Prevention is better than cure for this problem, as mats can get worse in time, making it trickier to remove.
Therefore, Maine Coon owners should definitely invest in sturdy brushes that can reach into the depths of the Maine Coon’s coat.
The brushes should serve the function of deshedding, detangling and dematting – essentially removing the loose, dead hairs while soothing out or snipping away the knots.
Considering the large size and thick coat of a Maine Coon, slicker brushes and shedding brushes would be much more effective than brush gloves or rubber brushes.
The best brushes for a Maine Coon would have a large head, simply for efficiency in grooming the big cat.
The brush should also be able to collect large amounts of hair and preferably be easy to clean. The brushing session should be comfortable not just for the cat but its owner too, so keep an eye out for brushes with an ergonomic handle.
How often should you brush your Maine Coon? There’s no fixed answer, but as a guideline, bi-weekly brushing sessions that last around ten minutes should suffice.
Stop brushing when it no longer yields dead hair. Read the instructions on the brush that you’re using to understand the best way to utilize it.
Typically, you should remove large knots with the dematting tool before moving on to brush the cat’s abdomen, legs, chin and belly using long and gentle strokes.
11. TRIM YOUR MAINE COON IN SUMMER MONTHS
Even though Maine Coons shed more fur during warmer months, their dense coat may still leave them sweltering. That’s why some Maine Coon owners would send their cat for a hair trim as part of their grooming routine.
You can choose several types of haircut depending on what the cat grooming service offers. One that won’t grow back quickly would be more cost-effective, of course.
If you’re considering giving your Maine Coon a lion cut, which is basically shaving the whole cat with the exception of its head, neck, tail, and feet, do consult the vet first.
12. BATHE YOUR MAINE COON AS NEEDED
In general, cats do not actually need to be washed with water as they groom themselves regularly.
However, giving your Maine Coon a bath once a month (or every few months) would be beneficial if you notice that its coat is getting greasy or stringy.
Since Maine Coons are known to love water – to the extent that some enjoy swimming in a bathtub – giving it a bath should not be too difficult. Just fill the tub with lukewarm water, lather the cat with shampoo and rinse it thoroughly, making it a point to avoid splashing water on your cat’s face.
A wet washcloth can be used to clean the Maine Coon’s face, but be careful not to get soap into its eyes and ears.
A Maine Coon’s fur is actually water-repellent so it will not become thoroughly soaked as some other cats would. You should still towel dry your cat as best as you can to remove excess water before setting it free.
13. TRIM YOUR MAINE COON’S CLAWS
A Maine Coon’s claws, which is long, curved and hooked, is geared for hunting in the wild. In homes, however, they can prove troublesome when they get stuck in clothes, carpets, curtains or upholstery.
To prevent damages to your belongings and to avoid scratching accidents while playing with your Maine Coon, it’s wise to clip your Maine Coon’s claws with a clipper meant for cats.
These would come in the form of manicure scissors, tweezers, or nail guillotine; any will do as long as you and your Maine Coon are comfortable with it.
When clipping your Maine Coon’s claws, ensure that the feline is relaxed so you won’t accidentally snip its paw flesh. Get help if you need someone to hold the Maine Coon steady.
Hold the claw between your fingers and zoom into the area you’re about to snip off before actually doing the deed. It’s fantastic if your Maine Coon agrees to let you hold its paws.
If it’s not, make it a habit of doing so in future when playing games with your Maine Coon. Clipping your cat’s nail may take you more than one session at the beginning, but this should improve in time.
14. BRUSH YOUR MAINE COON’S TEETH
Many cat owners neglect the dental care of their beloved feline simply because they do not realize its importance. Yes, there’s such a thing as dental health for felines!
To keep your Maine Coon free from periodontal disease, tooth decay, or basically any problems with its gum and teeth, you should learn how to brush a Maine Coon’s teeth. Begin a routine at home with a fixed time and spot for this activity.
You should load the cat toothbrush with cat toothpaste, lay your cat on its side, and let it sniff and lick the toothbrush. Only after your cat is comfortable with the routine and the toothbrush can you attempt to pull its lip and brush its teeth.
End the session with a reward as a form of positive reinforcement.
Once you’re successful in your endeavor, you should brush your Maine Coon’s teeth daily, every other day, or at least once a week.
15. CLEAN YOUR MAINE COON’S EARS
A Maine Coon’s ears are prone to getting dirty and waxy – the perfect conditions for brewing an infection. Recurrent ear infections are common in cats, including Maine Coons. As a cat owner, you should understand how to clean a Maine Coon’s ears properly to prevent such infections.
Dipping a q-tip into an ear-cleaning solution and swabbing the ears of the Coon cat once a week or two weeks would suffice if your Maine Coon has light ear discharge. (Note that you should never stick a dry q-tip into a cat’s ear it may lodge itself into the wax lining the ear canal.)
If your Maine Coon has a heavy ear discharge, the problem lies deeper beyond the ear opening.
A q-tip will not reach deep into the ear canal – you’ll need a cleaner that has an applicator to drop the solution directly inside. Then you should massage the cat’s upper cheeks, which is the area below the ear opening, to loosen the wax and dirt.
After a few seconds, release your cat. It will probably shake its head, releasing the debris out of its ears. From there, you simply need to clean the cat’s outer ear with a cotton pad.
If your Maine Coon’s ear discharge is still heavy a few days after cleaning, or if the discharge has an odor, bring your cat to the vet to check for infection. Infected ears will require a special antibiotic ointment.
While some Maine Coons might require some ear cleaning, most of them are great at doing that themselves. (Our Maine Coon, Maze, doesn´t need our help with cleaning her ears.)
ENJOY YOUR MAINE COON’S COMPANY
Information overload? Don’t worry. You’ll quickly get the hang of being a Maine Coon owner. With these fifteen pointers, you’re more than ready to bring a Coon cat home!