Commonly known as the “American Longhair”, the Maine Coon Cat is the largest domestic cat breed in the world. Larger than life, this breed of feline requires your undivided attention in order to look and feel supreme.
As cats in general are known for their sassy, temperamental behaviour, looking good is going to be one of their top priorities. So, as your Maine Coon owns you, it should be yours too.
As with most felines, grooming is not a Maine Coon’s favourite pastime. To get your Maine Coon used to grooming, start the process from an early age so it becomes a normal part of their daily routine (or weekly routine, depending on your time constraints).
Ensuring that you spare some time to groom your cat on a regular basis, as it will set them up for a long life of looking awesome.
Your Maine Coon will become accustomed to their daily or weekly grooming session and this will keep stress levels at a low for yourself and your cat. If you make sure their grooming session is fun and a positive experience, they may even look forward to it.
If your cat is nervous, slowly introduce grooming tools around them in day-to-day life and let them see that they’re not as scary as they think.
Letting your cat become used to you handling them is also important. Try and be tactile with them, stroking them on all four legs and their underbelly, as well as their paws.
Do short grooming sessions with your cat and provide treats and cuddles so they remember it as a positive experience.
As Maine Coons have both an undercoat and an overcoat, best practice requires two types of brush, which are recommended for the best outcome. Using a combination of both will help keep their fur looking sleek, as well as getting rid of any loose fur. It will also prevent the dreaded problem of matted hair.
A metal pronged brush should be used for the first comb through and then a soft bristled brush for the final brush through. Be sure to use the metal comb gently to avoid any skin damage.
Brushes with soft bristles are the best tool to use with your Maine Coon’s daily grooming routine and can be purchased at most good pet stores or online. Soft bristles will keep their long hair under control and will avoid causing any unnecessary damage to their skin.
Another option available is a ‘shedding comb’. This is like a comb but it softly pulls out any loose hair from the section you are combing. Your cat will feel lighter from not carrying around that excess hair, and your carpets will be fur free – win win!
Sometimes you are starting with an extremely matted cat so here’s a great video on the subject that I found;
Bathing a cat can sometimes be a tricky job, so having a friend or family member around for another pair of hands will be helpful. Because of their long hair, Maine Coons benefit from a bath every few months, especially if you allow it to roam around its outdoor surroundings.
Cats are usually pretty good at self-grooming and can clean themselves up well with a quick lick. However, if your cat is older and in need of some help, baths will bring their fur back to life and hopefully make them feel better within themselves.
Although try not to do this too often, as over bathing a cat can lead to limp, dull looking coats and dry out their skin.
Ensure you have all the essentials prepared before the bath, as grabbing things last minute could result in a very wet bathroom. A bath mat may also help to ensure your cat doesn’t slide around the bath too much.
I have another article on Bathing Your Maine Coon.
Due to their long hair, matted hair can become a problem. Luckily, it is not too difficult to resolve. Clipping your Maine Coon’s hair can help keep your cat happy and the matted hair at bay.
If you find any matted parts, simply cut them out with scissors. If the matted hair is too close to the skin or you are unable to cut it out, most professional groomers will be able to rectify it in no time.
Once you have clipped, be sure to give your furry companion a brush through with your soft bristled brush.
If you find that matting is becoming too much of a problem, professional groomers can give your cat the ‘lion’ cut. This involves shaving the entire body of your Maine Coon except for the feet, tail and head, leaving your cat looking like its friendly cousin, the lion.
You may also want to only trim your Maine Coon’s hair. Doing this with long, sharp scissors is the best way to get an even line within a short amount of time. If your cat is wary of scissors, holding the hair up as you clip will decrease the tugging feeling that your cat may experience.
Domestic cats don’t have a need for long nails in their day to day life and keeping them short will also benefit you as the owner.
Clipping your cat’s claws to a suitable length is essential. If their claws are left to overgrow,
your furniture is likely to become a scratching post and even clothes can get torn, which is definitely something you don’t want.
There are different types of nail clippers that you can use to clip your Maine Coon’s nails – regular nail clippers as well as the guillotine style nail clippers or clippers that are designed to keep your cat’s paw in position. The type you use will depend on which you feel comfortable with and how docile your cat is when having their nails clipped. You may want to research the different types or speak to your vet before trying this out.
When clipping the nail you must ensure you don’t go too far down or cut down to the ?uick’. This can cause discomfort to your cat and the nail bed will bleed. You can get advice from your vet before trying this.
Not only does good dental hygiene get rid of bad breath and built up plaque, it will keep your vet bills at a minimal, due to keeping any unwanted dental related health problems away.
Brushing daily, or every other day, is essential to good dental hygiene and this will also help your cat get accustomed to the process.
As with bathing, ensure that you have everything prepared before you begin brushing your Maine Coon’s teeth. You can purchase cat toothbrushes and cat toothpaste from most good pet stores or at the discretion of your veterinarian.
I have a post on Dental Care for your Maine Coon
A Maine Coon’s exercise and diet regime is not much different to other domestic cat breeds. Feeding your cat good quality dry food can help with keeping their teeth sharp as well as getting rid of built up plaque.
Incorporating wet food 2 to 3 times a week will help keep variety within their diet. Supplements introduced into your cat’s diet can improve the look of their coat. Things like fatty acids, usually found in fish, can help keep your cat’s fur looking glossy and sleek as well as being good for their joints. If you want to add supplements into your pet’s diet, always seek advice from your vet before doing so.
Like humans, cats with long, thick hair can be prone to skin conditions such as dandruff. It’s always best to look firstly at these problems, from the inside out.
Although dry skin can be caused from bathing too often, fleas etc, it could be an issue with their diet. Your cat may be missing out on vital vitamins and minerals so speak to your vet and see if they need a switch up with their daily food.
As well as food, ensure that a source of fresh clean water is available for your cat at all times. Don’t place either of the bowls near a litter box. As with most self respecting species, cats aren’t keen on eating or drinking next to their toilet.
It’s recommended that you feed your cat from a stainless steel or glass bowl to prevent any unwanted bacteria making contact with their chin/hair while eating. Rough plastic can also cause scratches which in turn leaves their skin prone to infection.
As long as you play with your cat regularly and feed it enough to burn off during their bouts of high energy, they shouldn’t need any extra input into their daily exercise needs.
Vaccinations, de-worming and flea treatments are a must in order to keep your cat looking and feeling at its best. Most vaccinations are non-invasive and will cause little to no long term discomfort.
If your cat is self-grooming or itching excessively, there might be an underlying issue. Parasites, rashes, fungal bacterial, allergic reactions, dermatitis and even cancer are all possible causes.
Your vet can identify the cause and advise on appropriate treatment. A recent discovery in the animal kingdom, OCD, mental health disorders like anxiety, and depression can also affect a cat’s physical appearance or habits. This is covered more in the next section.
Even if you don’t have a reason to go to the vets, frequent health check-ups allow you to keep a general eye on how your Maine Coon is doing.
The vet or vet’s assistant will advise you on topics including your cat’s weight, diet and exercise etc. You can also voice any other concerns you have, and they can give you recommendations on how to best care for your pet.
Ensuring your cat is checked regularly by a professional not only increases their quality of life and lifespan, it prevents unwanted future visits, saving you money in the long run.
Increasing awareness of mental health issues is not something exclusive to humans. Your pets, especially Maine Coons, are prone to bouts of anxiety and compulsive disorders and can even suffer from depression. These are usually due to periods of sudden change.
These can manifest in the form of physical symptoms such as agitation and excessive grooming which in turn has an effect on how your cat is feeling and how it looks.
To help ease any anxiety experienced by your cat, implement changes slowly and plan in advance if you’re going away for a period of time or introducing someone new into the house. Maine Coons are very sociable animals once they know they are wanted, so ensuring you have enough time to give to your pet should help with this process.
If you are leaving for a longer length of time than usual, introduce the cat to the people looking after it a few times and allow them to get used to any new surroundings and people. If you have any further concerns, your vet can advise on the best way forward.
If your Maine Coon is allowed to roam free, be cautious of who it’s choosing to acquaint with. Although Maine Coons are known to be a friendly breed, some others are not so nice. If your cat is coming home with scratches or cuts, maybe make the decision to keep them indoors, or build them a run in your garden so they can still get their daily dose of fresh air.
Also, look at your feeding habits, if you are feeding your cat outside, or throwing out scraps of meat for your cat to eat, you’re essentially inviting the rest of the neighbourhood’s cats to a free banquet. Fighting over food is a common occurrence between animals so try not to encourage this behaviour.
If you know the owner of the animal causing your pet upset, simply talking to them could alleviate the problem and you never know, you may get a complimentary bottle of wine for the trouble!
By following the above advice, your Maine Coon should be looking and feeling very regal, but some owners may want to go the extra mile and spoil their feline friends rotten.
Additional items that can jazz up your cat’s appearance include designer collars, cute onesies, funky t-shirts, and even little baby booties. But, it’s all down to your personal tastes and of course, if your Maine Coon will wear it for long enough!
Maine Coons need significant upkeep to keep them looking and feeling great, but the time and effort put in to them is definitely worth the companionship you get in return. I’m sure when your Maine Coon is looking and feeling its best, it’ll be the happiest cat in town.