What sets apart Maine Coons from all other cat breeds is their zeal for life. Maine Coons remain kitten at heart well into their adulthood. Every moment is lively and exciting with a Maine Coon.
With proper dietary habits, care and attention, a Maine Coon cat can live a healthy life for as long as 18 years. A healthy Maine Coon is a package of absolute bliss with its playful, endearing and goofy tricks. For your furry friend to stay healthy, it is important that they get the best diet.
Maine Coon cats are genetically prone to certain diseases. Improper diet might accelerate such conditions if they are present in the dormant state.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is one of the serious diseases your Maine Coon could fall victim to. In HCM, the walls of the cat’s heart gradually thicken reducing the ability to pump. A serious implication might lead to deposition of fluid around heart and lungs. A food rich in carbohydrates can cause complications if your cat is suffering from HCM since it can increase fluid deposition.
Another genetic condition your Maine Coon might have is polycystic kidney disease or PKD. This condition causes the formation of cysts in the cat’s kidney. As the condition progresses, these cysts start to replace the kidney tissue ending in renal failure. In such condition, any food with phosphorus content can be harmful since the breakdown of phosphorus will put extra load on the kidneys and weaken them.
Hip dysplasia is a common occurrence in Maine Coon cats. This means abnormal growth of hip joint. It causes degeneration of the bones over time since the movement causes friction. If no proper measures are taken to control the weight, it puts more load on the foot thus causing great discomfort to the cat.
As the Maine Coons reach their middle age, they run a huge risk of developing diabetes. A well-balanced diet from the beginning reduces this risk to a great extent.
Cats diagnosed with diabetes are prescribed for diet low on proteins and fats. They also need to take special care to maintain weight.
The diet of your Maine Coon also depends on the fact whether they spend most of their time inside the house or outside. If your cat comes home in evening after a day’s endeavour outside, they indulge in a lot of physical activity and hence, need that much food to replenish their energy.
However, if your cat prefers to spend all of their days inside, you might want to cut a little on the diet to avoid them getting overweight.
Unlike other cat breeds, Maine Coons take time to grow into adulthood. Many pet owners are unaware about this fact.
As Maine Coons are known to be large, many owners feed them huge amounts of food in order to achieve that fluffy look. Mostly, this results in obesity and many complications related to it.
Proteins form an important part of the diet since they provide large amounts of energy and play a key role in growth. For Maine Coon cats, meat-based protein like chicken and fish are recommended. It is estimated that Maine Coon kittens should get a daily protein intake of 30 to 50 percent and adults should get a daily protein intake of about 25 to 40 percent.
Although cats usually prefer protein-based food, a limited intake of carbohydrates is necessary for healthy growth.
A limited amount of healthy fat is also important for the health of your feline. Fatty acids help maintain the shine of the coat.
Vitamins and minerals
Like us, cats need all kinds of vitamins. Regular intake of vitamins A, B, K, niacin etc. is necessary for healthy growth. Monitored intake of supplements would do the trick.
Large fish might contain more concentration of harmful components like mercury. It is better to restrict your cat’s diet to small fish and tried and tested pet food.
Grains are not a part of a cat’s dietary habits. Although not specifically harmful, a regular intake of grains might lead to obesity. It is best to avoid them.
A wheat based meal is high in gluten content. It sticks to the teeth and might cause deposition of tartar. It is also not good for digestive health.
No one likes to have same food every day. Your Maine Coon is no exception to this. Maintain variety in your cat’s diet. A set menu for a week is one way to do it. Include a diet of meat, supplements, cat food, a meal of wet food twice every week etc. Also, since Maine Coons are tolerant to almost all kind of food, give them normal home food once in a while. Do not forget to indulge them in some treats occasionally. I’m sure your Maine Coon won’t let you forget.
Maine Coons are active in nature for the most part of their life. They indulge in enough physical exercise compared to most cats. Hence, giving them free feed is preferable. However, if your cat is not so active, it is better to opt for a smaller bowl size. The cat usually asks for food whenever they need it. Cats usually take 20 small meals daily. It is better to decide this after consulting the vet.
Maine Coons require nutrition in direct proportion to the physical activity done by them. No matter the age or gender, Maine Coons require some exercise daily to stay fit. If your Maine Coon is not keen on exercising, they should be given a diet not so rich in fats and proteins.
In their early years, Maine Coons are very lively and energetic. They perform enough physical activity on their own. Hence, minimum special care on diet is required. You just have to make sure that you don’t overfeed them.
As they reach middle age, however, they become less enthusiastic to play. During this time, they need encouragement to exercise. It is the time to regulate their diet to prevent obesity.
As the Maine Coon’s age, many health issues like HCM, PKD etc. start to crop up. During this time, it is essential to give due attention to their diet.
Maine Coon cats come from a family of wild cats accustomed to hunting. They have broad jaws which need exercise to stay strong. A diet of dry food requires vigorous chewing and in the process keeps their jaws strong and teeth sharp. Choosing dry food over wet also maintains dental health as unlike wet food, it doesn’t have too much moisture and deposition which might damage the teeth.
Never undermine the importance of consulting the vet while setting up your pet’s diet schedule. A vet can alert you to any allergies or infections your pet might have. They can also give better advice on how to reduce the risk of diseases.
For new owners, what to feed their pet could be a huge concern. This article should put you at ease about the diet of your Maine Coon. While owning a pet is a big responsibility, it is a great joy as well. We wish you many years of happy companionship!