Maine Coon

How To Check The Health Of Your Maine Coon?

Introduction

If you are a cat lover like me and own a Maine Coon, you’ll have noticed they are a little different from most of our feline friends. They are a little bit like dogs and are usually very vocal when they are not busy chilling out.

I have had cats and dogs as pets and currently one of them is a Maine Coon. This one requires a little extra care. For most of us, our pets are family and we care a great deal for their health. Thankfully, there are some signs you can catch if your Maine Coon is not feeling well.

First Things First

Maine CoonThey are one of the oldest domesticated breeds of cats. They have distinctive physical features and are good hunters. They are very gentle and friendly, having characteristics often found in dogs. They would follow you around all day long as they like human company. Maine Coons make an excellent pet for families. As such, they need to be well-fed on a healthy diet and get enough exercise to stay healthy. These guys are very social; they’ll be grateful for all the attention and love you can give them.

Maine Coon cats are very fluffy and have fur even at the tip of their ears and their paws. They are good climbers but prefer the ground. They are smart enough to pick up new things quickly. I taught my cat several tricks!

Maine Coons are large and beautiful animals and are also expensive. They come in a variety of colors. You wouldn’t usually go for this breed if you want to just let it roam and do its own thing. It takes a lot of attention, care, and love to raise a Maine Coon cat.

Physical Health

Maine Coons are bigger than your average cat. They need enough exercise to stay healthy because of their size. These guys have a tendency to just chill with no activity most of the day on your bed or couch if they are not busy following you around. I can’t even begin to count how often I found mine just lazing about all day long. Go ahead, play with them and get them active even if they seem reluctant at first. They’ll perk up soon enough. Giving it toys can help motivate it to be more active.

Your Maine Coon can wear down its claws by scratching, especially if you have a scratching post. You should have a scratching post as it’s essential to their health and your furniture. However, it’s a good idea to give it a little trim from time to time. I trim my Maine Coon’s claws once every month.

You can brush your cat’s teeth! They can get dental problems just like us. So, be sure to brush their teeth at least once daily to keep them healthy. There are brushes that are made specifically for cats. Speaking of hygiene, don’t be afraid to give your Maine Coon a bath when they get dirty. They are more tolerant of water than most breeds. Some even enjoy the water, mine does!

Emotional Health

Maine CoonMaine Coons are one of the most social cat breeds. While some cat breeds prefer to do their own thing and want you to leave them alone, your Maine Coon requires a lot of attention and love. It’s integral to their emotional health. Play with them, talk to them, give them a lot of affection. They’ll respond back with affection themselves and are usually very vocal. Sometimes, you could be having whole conversations with them. I have lost track of all the time I end up talking away to my pets as if they are my own children. It’s a lot of fun and they can be your emotional support when you need them to be.

These felines generally do well with children because of their friendly nature. However, you should keep an eye on them. They are usually very tolerant of children, but children can sometimes play rough and your Maine Coons may get frightened and lash out in defence. You should teach your kids to handle your cat gently so they can get along like the best of friends. This also gives you the opportunity to study your cat’s behavior. Is it behaving strangely? Is it in pain?

Go ahead, give them treats. It’ll help you bond. Just be careful you don’t give it too many treats.

Maine Coon Diet

Some cats prefer dry food while others wet food. High-quality brands with essential nutrients can be healthy for your cats. As a doting human parent of your cat, you should be sure what you are feeding it and if it addresses your cat’s nutritional needs. Although it comes down to your cat’s own preferences, there are some advantages and disadvantages to each kind of food. It’s always better to vary between dry and wet food to ensure your cat remains healthy and balance out its diet.

Then there is the concern of overfeeding. Sure, they are big cats and they have an appetite to go with their size, but they have a tendency to overeat if free fed. So, stick to a schedule for their mealtimes. Male Maine Coons should weigh between 15 and 20 pounds while its female counterpart usually weigh between 10 and 15 pounds.

If your Maine Coon has any special dietary needs prescribed by the vet, be sure to look to fulfilling these. For example, if your cat is overweight, your vet might recommend feeding it food meant for overweight cats. To ensure your cat’s digestive health, spread out its meals throughout the day. They’ll need ready access to plenty of clean water.

Dealing with Fur and Hairballs

Cats are known to be clean animals always grooming themselves. Take care of hairballs so you can keep your Maine Coon comfortable. Unlike most cats, they have a long lush fur coat that can collect in their tiny tummies with excessive grooming in no time. Here are some things you can do to tend to your cat.

• As mean as it seems to take away one of their favorite pastimes, discourage excessive self-grooming. It’s for their own good!

• You can groom your Main Coon regularly. The more unwanted fur you remove, the less it’ll end up in their tummies. Brush your Maine Coons fur daily. Their long coat requires daily care.

• Be careful with the knots in their fur! It’s common for cats with long-hair to get knots and mats. You can use some talcum powder to help you out.

• Grooming your cats gives you the perfect opportunity to check for injuries, bumps, or lumps. Be on the lookout for pests like flea and ticks.

• There are cat foods now that use special “Hairball Formula” made specifically to help your cats. The natural fibers they contain minimize hairballs allowing them to pass easily.

• If all else fails to give your cat comfort, you may resort to hairball products designed to help with hairballs or use laxatives, but be sure to consult with your vet.

Living Conditions

Remember, Maine Coon cats are domesticated animals. They might be hunters at heart, but they need safe indoor living conditions for optimum health. If you let them outdoors on their own, they are in danger from traffic and predators; it could be strays or other animals they encounter on their free trek. They are large and expensive. In most cases, you can’t afford to get it all roughed up. Although it’s rare, because of their beauty, there are people who steal these breeds if they wander about on their own.

So, by now you understand that these are indoor cats, right? That comes to our next point. You have to ensure their litter boxes are maintained. Having a clean litter box is integral to your cat’s health and well-being. Maine Coon cats especially require a clean litter box because of their long fur, debris and waste from their litter box can easily get stuck on their fur. You’ll have to clean it out daily at least once. It can affect their health to keep on using dirty litter boxes. Some cats will even stop using their litter box if it’s dirty causing distress.

Examing Your Maine Coon

Maine Coon

How wonderful would it be if our feline friends can come to talk to us when they are not feeling well? Unfortunately, they can’t so we have to examine them for signs of health issues and catch various behavioural cues they use to communicate their discomfort. Let’s start with a thorough health check examination, shall we? It’s easy and you don’t have to be a vet to do it. Start from the front and work towards the bottom. Place your cat comfortably on a flat surface.

 

Check if their eyes are clear without any discharge. You can lightly pull back its eyelids to make sure. Be gentle while doing this. You’ll be surprised how cooperative your cat can be. Next comes the nose; ensure there is no discharge. Look around the mouth for signs of dribble or discharge. Now, gently lift up the muzzle. The cat will usually cooperate and open up its mouth so you can get a clear view of its teeth. Look out for signs of teeth decay or heavy build-up of tartar. The gums should not have heavy reds. Then ensure your cat’s tongue is healthy. Usually, there are these tiny hooks, but they shouldn’t have any ulcers or red patches. Take note of the condition of its whiskers. Now, let’s look under its chin to any signs for chin acne. Feel around the neck for bumps and lumps. Let’s look at the ears for ear mites or wax. Then work your way towards it’s back feeling along the spine. The skin should usually be pink under the fur.

Behavioural Cues

You might just write it off as cats being cats when you see them be finicky and unsociable. However, pay attention to their behaviour. It could be their way of communicating discomfort. Your cats can get stressed out, yes, hard to believe? Sometimes they get stressed out when their needs are not met. Just like how stress can negatively impact our health, so will theirs. A lot of cats likes to lay in high places like bookshelves. Sometimes, they’ll get stressed out when they don’t have this. Something like a cat tree is a good place to start. Some place for them to get away from everything and relax.

Cats are clean animals and they hate dirty litter boxes. Having a clean litter box is not only good for your cat, but it keeps your home odour-free and more hospitable for yourself. Cats like to have their privacy, especially when they are using their litter box. So, give them all the privacy they need. They are complex little creatures. If you have more than one Maine Coon cat, it’s recommended to have multiple litter boxes.

If your cat doesn’t need to breed, then consider getting it spayed or neutered. It comes with a host of health benefits and also makes your cat have fewer mood swings as well as live a longer and healthier life.

They can suffer from a lot of anxiety and stress when they are being chased or when being dressed up by small children. They get easily startled by loud noises. Cats are smart and will usually try to convey to us when they are troubled through their behaviours even when they are in pain or injured, we only have to be open to them.

Check Ups

Maine CoonLike most cat breeds, Maine Coons needs vaccinations and regular visits to the vet to checkup on their health. Maine Coons are prone to some health problems more than other breeds. You need to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms for these so you can get your cat treated as soon as possible. Don’t worry, Maine Coons are usually a very healthy breed, but it is susceptible to some genetic diseases.

• One of the things you have to watch out for is hip dysplasia because of its size. The males are more at risk because of their larger size thereby putting more stress in its ligaments and muscles. Unfortunately, this disease may cause arthritis and in worse cases paralysis in your Maine Coons.

• Hip dysplasia can be painful, but it’s not life-threatening. You need to be more concerned about its heart health. One of the most common forms of heart disease that plagues Maine Coons is feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This usually affects older cats. Sadly, if your cat has this disease it has a high fatality rate.

• They can have polycystic kidneys resulting in renal failure.

• Another genetic disease that affects Maine Coons is spinal muscular atrophy. The symptoms of this disease are visible earlier in life as young as a few months old. While this one is not fatal, it can cause weak muscle development.

Thankfully, there are many tests you can do to ensure your cat is free from various genetic diseases. Rest assured, even if your cat has genes that are cause for concern it’s no indication your cat will develop the disease. It may just be a carrier.

Conclusion

You can take preventive measures to catch diseases or injuries early to get your cat treated and secure its health. Here is the good news; unlike a lot of other breeds that are affected by deadly diseases, Maine Coons are relatively healthier than most.

If your cat comes from a reputable breeder, it greatly reduces the risks of genetic abnormalities. I make sure to get my cats checked up frequently at the vets. Having a happy and healthy pet makes my life easier and more enjoyable. The companionship these fluff balls can give you and your children is invaluable.

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *