FEEDING - Many people have heard that
dry food is the best food for your cat. It's better for their teeth,
etc. We're learning that this is simply not the case. Feeding a
primarily dry diet is suspected to lead to obesity, diabetes,
hyperthyroid, kidney failure and dental problems.
We feed our adult cats and kittens primarily non-fish flavors of Fancy
Feast canned food mixed with boiled chicken. We feed Royal Canin Mother
and Baby Cat, and Solid Gold Chicken and Egg (grain and gluten free) dry
food formulas. We suggest keeping them on Royal Canin Mother and baby
cat kitten food until about 6 months of age. We strongly suggest
continuing to feed what the kittens are used to, as we have a proven
track record with these foods. In the morning and evening I feed the
equivalent of about 3 oz of canned food per cat/kitten. I have fresh
water and dry food available at all times. I also feed boiled chicken
and raw beef as a treat and the cats and kittens love it. They also
love Friskies Party Mix treats.
Whenever changing a cats diet, do it gradually by mixing a small amount
of the new food in with what the cat is used to, increasing the amount
of the new food daily. This will prevent the new food from causing
intestinal distress. Table food, no matter what your cat wants you to
believe, is neither necessary nor good for them.
LITTER BOX - The main rule is to keep whatever it is clean at all times.
Scoop daily, both dry and wet material, and dump entire pan at least
once a week. If you have more than one cat, you will need to change the
litter box more frequently. Disinfect your box with Clorox bleach mixed
1:32 when you dump the pan. Let it soak for 10 minutes and wash it
thoroughly. You may choose a covered or uncovered box, the covered ones
tend to keep the litter inside with an overzealous digger. We used
uncovered boxes by Natures Miracle (high sided). We use scoopable
litter called Precious Feline Ultra by Dr Elsey available at Petsmart.
The odor control is unsurpassed. If you choose to change brands, do it
by gradually mixing the Precious Feline with whatever clay litter you
buy. Also, cats usually prefer the scoopable litter, if you want to use
that follow the instructions on the container. Try to stay basic with
your choice of clay litter, the scented ones can be overwhelming for
some cats, they may choose a corner in the room instead. If a liquid
accident happens, blot up as much as possible, flood the area with club
soda and blot again. Stain Master carpet requires a special cleaner in
order to prevent from permanently setting the stain. Contact DuPont
Chemicals or your local carpet people for info. Commercial stain
cleaners I recommend for other types of carpets are: TECK, Resolve. If
you have problems with litter box habits CALL ME, I will go over your
situation. You cannot rule out a medical problem with a chronic
mistake-maker. Remember, whatever type of litter pan you choose,
whatever litter you use, whatever additives you put in it, THERE IS NO
SUBSTITUTE FOR A CLEAN BOX.
CLAW CARE - It is a natural instinct for a cat to sharpen its
claws. It exercises the muscles in the feet and removes the dead outer
coat of the nail. A cat?s paw pads have scent glands on them which the cat
uses as a way of "marking territory". You MUST provide your cat with a
scratching post of some type. It needs to be tall enough and heavy enough
that the cat can stretch out full length and scratch without pulling it
over on top of them (36?). The sisal rope (hemp) ones are recommended, as
they last longer, and do not closely resemble the carpet on your floors
and stairs. You may sprinkle dried catnip (which they might eat) on the
scratching post to attract them to it. Your cats nails should be clipped
once every 2 weeks. Be careful not to cut into the pink area of the claw,
as it will cause pain to both your cat and your person. Once a cat has
been "quicked" it never forgets. If your cat prefers your $2000 leather
sofa to the scratching post, purchase a plant mister bottle or a child's
squirt gun and spray the cat when you catch him. Do not make a big
production out of it, don't say a word. For some reason, that way cats
don't recognize YOU as the source of the water and therefore do not
scratch the wrong stuff simply because you are not looking. If you scream
"Fluffy!! Stop it!!! "before you squirt them, well then, they know you are
behind it. Also, wide clear tape does not show on most furniture, and the
cats can't stand the way it feels. If inappropriate scratching begins to
be a problem, call me. It needs to be nipped in the bud, do not wait until
it is an established habit!
GROOMING - A Maine Coon is a shag coated (different lengths in
different areas) cat. They do "Blow Coat" at certain times of the year,
you will notice a lot of shedding. It is necessary that you comb the cat
during these periods to remove the dead hair and prevent mats. The most
common places for Coons to mat is in the under arm area, belly and
britches (back of the thigh). Hairballs can also be caused from ingesting
hair during normal grooming. They can cause deadly impaction in the
intestines, not to mention wet gooshy things you tend to step in
barefooted in the dark. Purchase a wide toothed metal comb for the
majority of your grooming. Serious mats are best clipped out with electric
clippers, a trip to the vet or groomer. Don't take your kitchen scissors
and try to cut out any mats, a cat's skin is very thin and tears easily. A
seam ripper, used for taking stitches out of fabric, can be *very
carefully* used to remove mats from a cat. Always hold the seam ripper
against your finger to keep from accidentally sticking the cat. Mats
constantly pull against the skin, and can cause tearing of the skin and
infection. (Think of how you would feel if you had your hair in a pony
tail that was too tight and you could not take it out.)
My cats are bathed in order to keep their coats free of excess oil. It is
not necessary to do this but I prefer to look at beautifully groomed cats
running through my house. To bathe your kitten, purchase a rubber
hose/shower head attachment (around $3.00 at Walmart or your hardware
store) clip their claws, and comb them thoroughly. DO NOT ever bathe a
matted cat, it makes the mats tighter. Place them in the kitchen sink. Do
not fill the sink with water. The water temperature should be comfortable
on your wrist, not hot. Work from the neck back, you may wash faces with a
wash cloth. Wet the kitten down as best you can (oily hair is hard to
saturate) Goop the kitten (Mechanics hand cleaner) from the neck back,
rinse thoroughly. Dawn dishwashing detergent is next, again from the neck
back. Rinse. Finish with a mild shampoo, Paul Mitchell Shampoo One works
well, so does Redkin Cat or Pantene. You may use a mild conditioner if you
like: Redkin Phinal Phase or Pantene work well. Rinse THOROUGHLY. Blot dry
with clean towels as much as you can, then finish with a blow-dryer. Most
kittens are frightened of this, if you are unable to hold them by their
scruff, place them into a cat carrier and do it from the front. Comb
thoroughly when dry. If done regularly, the cat becomes quite accustomed
to this. Do NOT wait until you have a full grown cat to start.
Get your kitten accustomed to regular grooming and they will be easy to
handle as adults.
A "lion cut" is a hairstyle that can be acquired from the groomers if you
FLEAS - We have been very fortunate not to have had any fleas here
in recent years. They are horrid little creatures, almost impossible to
kill! You can bring them in on your clothes, your dog can bring them in
from the yard. If you see one, rest assured that there are at least 100.
Fleas can cause anemia, tapeworm, skin problems and poor hair coat to name
a few problems. A flea comb is great from removing individual fleas from
your cat. Immediately FLUSH them. Chemical solutions for treatment of the
house that I recommend are: Vet-Chem Siphotrol Plus Area Treatment. This
comes in an aerosol can, can be purchased from your vet, and it is not
necessary to remove the pets from the premises while spraying. For
treatment of the animal itself, there are a few new products out on the
market that are just applied topically with no bathing. Top Spot and
Frontline by Mereux are preferred as they actually kill on contact, and
each application lasts up to 3 months. Check with your veterinarian as to
new information coming out on these products. Advantage and Program are
also available, but their action is not as direct. There are documented
cases of serious problems caused by Revolution and several of the Hartz
Mountain products in cats.
TRAVELING & VACATIONS: While Maine Coons are highly adaptable and
social animals, we feel that they are better off in their home environment
as opposed to traveling with you. Cats do not adapt to new locations
nearly as easily as dogs do. A dog will walk into a new room and
immediately make themselves content, while a cat will become stressed and
more than likely hide.
Boarding your cat at a local vet or boarding facility is certainly an
option, however it is very stressful to the cat. We strongly suggest the
services of a pet sitter, someone entrusted to come to your home while you
are away and care for your cats. The cost is comparable with a boarding
facility, and your precious one will have the comfort of their own
surroundings, litter pan, food bowls and that special couch that they like
to shed on while you are away.
If you MUST travel with your cat, please observe the following:
? The cat should remain confined to a cat carrier while being transported,
including to and from the car. A frightened cat loose in your car is
hazardous. They feel more secure in a small, confined area.
? If staying in a hotel, those plastic bags left for dry cleaning are
wonderful for dumping litter pans into. Check underneath the beds to be
sure the cat cannot make its way into the box springs to hide. Cats have
been killed while in the box springs when people get into the bed. If the
toilet does not have a closeable lid, keep the bathroom door closed.
Please leave the room as neat and clean as you found it, many hotels do
not allow pets at all due to the negligence of previous guests.
? If staying at a house, it is best to confine the kitty to one room,
rather than letting them have the run of an unfamiliar house. It is very
overwhelming to them.
It really is best to leave your cat at home in capable hands while you are
GENERAL - Maine Coons like high places. Chairs, couches, beds,
windowsills, etc. If you want to open your windows, be sure screens are
secure, and open from the top only a few inches. Do not allow your cat on
the kitchen counters even once unless you are prepared for such a habit.
Put the cat on the floor and say NO. If the problem persists, try the
plant mister. For health's sake, NEVER introduce another cat to this cat
unless the other animal has been tested by a veterinarian for Feline
Leukemia, Feline Aids, parasites, and general health! If down the road you
want to introduce another cat into your home, please refer to the sheet
enclosed with this package called "Introducing your new Cat/Kitten into
DANGER- Do not leave strings, twist ties, rubber bands, sewing
materials, paper clips, used dental floss etc. about. *ALL* of our trash
cans are covered. Do not let your cat rummage in the garbage. Various
houseplants are poison to cats. Always check your dishwasher, clothes
washer and dryer before operation. For some reason, cats are very
attracted to plastic and paper bags from grocery stores, and usually try
to stick their head through the handles. If they are successful, it
results in a terrified cat running away from something that's closely
following it and doesn't go away. They can be injured as a result! Please
make sure that you put all bags out of their reach! Maine Coons are
intelligent, and curious. Take precautions
INTRODUCING YOUR NEW KITTY
THERE IS A VERY SIMPLE, FAIRLY PAINLESS METHOD TO
INTRODUCE A NEW KITTY.
HERE IS THE PROCEDURE:
"Furnish" a room for the New Kitty to come home to. This
is where he/she will
spend 3-8 days getting to know YOU and your family.
Provide food, water, litter pan, a few toys, a scratching
post and a "bed".The bed can be an old comforter folded to make a nice soft
bed to snuggle in, an
old sweatshirt or two, or a couple nice thick towels
Give the New Kitty some toys: balls with bells,
catnip-filled toys, & furry
mice. Have a couple feather toys placed out of the New
Kitty's reach too.
These come in handy for if the New Kitty gets frightened
and goes under a piece of
furniture. They usually can't resist.
When you come home with the New Kitty, take him/her to
"his/her room". Place
the carrier near the litter pan - this is a reference
point he/she needs to
know immediately, before anything else happens, where the
litter pan is located.
Open the door to the carrier - let him/her come out when
he/she is comfortable.
Some come out immediately, tail waving, head up - looking
around to explore. Others
will slink out, and go under something. This is ok - just
talk softly to the
kitty, put food in the dish, and leave him/her alone for a
little while, to
listen to the new noises and smell the different smells in
Go in several times during the first day - the New Kitty
may not run up and
leap on your lap - so please don't be disappointed.
He/she's very much out of
his/her known territory. So what do you? Go into the New
Kitty's room, sit down, and
talk, watch TV or read a book, and talk to the New Kitty.
The New Kitty may or
may not come out. If he/she does, that's great, and shows
he/she will probably
not need the full 8 days in the room.
Second day & Third day, same routine. Go in before leaving
for work, give
fresh food / water, scoop the litter pan - the New Kitty
should now have nibbled and used the pan. Some will wait about 24 hours; others have
no qualms at all.
When you arrive home from work, go visit the New Kitty.
Get down on the floor and
entice him/her to play. (This is where the feather toys
come in handy.) On
each trip to visit the kitty, notice if the balls or any
other toys have been moved
or anything else in the room. If things have been
disturbed, that means he/she
has been exploring.
I cannot emphasize enough how much patience may be needed
during the first
couple weeks with a New Kitty. An older adult may require
much more time and
Fourth day - pick up the New Kitty, and open the door.
Allow the Existing
Resident Cat (ERC), if you have one, to come in, while
you go out and close the door. Allow about an hour or so for the ERC to sniff
and investigate where the
New Kitty has been. During this time, take the New Kitty
to where the ERC's
litterbox is (again, a reference point) - and allow the
New Kitty to explore
at his/her own pace from there. Then, exchange the New
Kitty and ERC again - New
Kitty back to "his/her" room, ERC back into "his/her"
Do this 1-2 more days. The New Kitty should become
and this is the best way to prevent the ERC from taking
great offense that another
creature has moved in.
On the 6th or later day - when you arrive home, go in and
spend a little time
playing with the New Kitty. When you exit the room, leave
the door open. For a few more days, leave the New Kitty's litter pan and
dishes in the room - then
remove them. The New Kitty should be using pans in both
locations, and should not mind the removal of "his/her".
THE BENEFITS OF INTRODUCING A NEW KITTY IN THIS MANNER
1. The New Kitty gets used to new sounds, smells and
people in a confined
area, and this area is likely to be a comfort zone if for
some odd reason later on
in life, he/she gets frightened by something or must be
2. It allows observation for both you and the New Kitty.
You can see what the New Kitty likes in regards to toys, petting, and
grooming, plus it gives you a chance to see how much he/she's eating, and using the
litter pan for the first
week and just generally observe his/her general behavior.
The New Kitty is
given a chance to get to know and bond with you, without
interference from the ERC.
Take your time, allow the New Kitty to progress at
his/her own pace. Its well worth the time spent!
And remember, this could take a few days, weeks or even
months. Just do not get discouraged.