How To Care For A Maine Coon: Beginners Guide – Maine Coon Central

How To Care For A Maine Coon: Beginners Guide


Care For A Maine Coon

If you have set your heart on owning a Maine Coon cat, you definitely aren’t alone. Maine Coons are loved by millions of people worldwide due to their stunning looks, playful nature, and gentle personalities. They also make ideal family pets, especially for those with young children. This special cat breed is one of the largest domesticated cats in existence though, so you need to make sure that you know exactly how to care for a Maine Coon properly. Don’t panic though, this beginner’s guide will have you clued up in no time!

Care for a Maine Coon by feeding them high quality dry food 2-4 times per day. Their diet should include carbohydrates, vitamins, fats and fatty acids. Groom your Maine Coon no less than once a week, to prevent fur becoming matted. This highly intelligent cat breed adores human company, so spend as much time with them as possible. Encourage daily exercise and play to keep your Maine Coon fit.

Beginners Guide To Caring For A Maine Coon

If you do not have any experience of how to care for a Maine Coon cat, check out the Maine Coon care summary table below, to see the key care requirements of a Maine Coon.

Maine Coon Care RequirementsDescription
FeedingFeed them high quality dry food, 2-4 times a day. Do not feed them wet food more than twice a week. Avoid overfeeding your Maine Coon
Water SupplyRequire constant supply of freshwater
GroomingBrush Maine Coon regularly, no less than once a week. Buy your cat a scratching post, to help them keep their claws in great condition
ExerciseDaily exercise needed to keep them fit and healthy
HygieneClean litter tray daily
BathingBathing is optional, though will help to reduce amount of hair shed. Bathe no more than once per month
SocialisingMaine Coons need human company. Spend regular time with your Coon.
Health ChecksRegular veterinary health checks required, to ensure Maine Coon is fit and healthy.
MedicationApply flea drops as per packaging. Make sure your cat has all the appropriate vaccinations.
Spaying or NeuteringUnless you are planning on breeding Maine Coons, make sure you spay or neuter your pet. This will stop your cat ‘marking’ your home, or breeding.

Caring For Your Maine Coon

Maine Coons are pedigree cats whom require extra care and attention, than the average moggy. They are an amazing cat breed to own, and you will certainly love having them around, but if you are new to the breed it is important to read this beginners guide now, so are able to care for a Maine Coon correctly.

The top 10 care areas that we shall focus on are:

  1. Feeding
  2. Water Supply
  3. Grooming
  4. Exercise
  5. Hygiene
  6. Bathing
  7. Socialising
  8. Health Checks
  9. Medication
  10. Spayed or Neutered

1. Feeding Your Maine Coon

With the average male Maine Coon cat weighing in at 6.8 – 11.3kg (15-25 lbs), it is not surprising that this cat breed is known to be one of the largest domesticated cat breeds in the world. In order to keep these large muscular cats fit and healthy, make sure that their diet includes the following:

  • Protein (high levels)
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamins (A,B,K, Niachin)
  • Fats and fatty acids (arachidonic acid, amino acids i.e. taurine and arginine)
  • Fresh Water

The table below summarises the Maine Coons dietary requirements:

Dietary RequirementDescriptionFood Source
ProteinFeed your Maine Coon with a diet high in protein. Protein has been proven to play a key role in Maine Coons reaching their full growth potentialChicken, Fish, Rabbit, Mice
CarbohydratesProvide cat with the energy needed, to play and exercise Dry Cat Food
VitaminsVitamins A, B, K, Niacin are essential to your Maine Coon cat, to enable them to grow healthilyDry / Wet Food
Fats and Fatty AcidsTo keep your Maine Coons fur looking shiny, and in top notch condition, ensure their diet contains a small level of healthy fatty acids i.e. amino acids and arachidonic acid, such as taurine and arginineHigh Quality Dry Food
WaterMaine Coons love water, and need a constant supply of fresh water to keep hydratedWater Bowl, Cat Fountain

a) Size

This playful breed is full of energy, and will not reach their full physical size until they are 3-4 years old, compared to ‘normal cats’ who reach their full size around 2 years. Feeding Maine Coons the correct diet is therefore essential in order to fuel their bodies with the energy needed to keep growing. A diet full of their key dietary requirements will also give them the energy required to fuel their playful nature, until late into their lives.

b) Obligate Carnivores

Maine Coon cats are obligate carnivores, so need meat in their diet to enable them to thrive. Protein should make up a key part of their dietary requirements, and should never be excluded.

c) Dry Food

It is important to feed your Maine Coon cat high quality dry food. Although this might seem like a pricey option, it really is an important part of caring for your Maine Coon. Don’t be tempted to feed your Coon a cheaper diet, unless you have made sure that the ingredients will adequately meet this specialised breeds dietary requirements. If in doubt, check with your local veterinary practise for advice.  

Feeding Tip:

Feed Your Maine Coon

2-4 Portions Of Dry Food Every Day

I would recommend this specialised dry cat food, because it is designed with the Maine Coons dietary requirements in mind and easily available off Amazon.

d) Age

A Maine Coons diet varies across their lifespan, so make sure that you are feeding your Maine Coon with a diet appropriate for their age range.

The table below gives a quick breakdown of the food you should be feeding your Maine Coon.

Age RangeDiet Needed
0-5 MonthsFeed your Maine Coon specially formulated kitten food during the first 4-5 months of their lives. This is important for ensuring your kitten is fueled with the protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats and fatty acids needed.
5-9 MonthsDue to the slow growth rate of the Maine Coon, some vets advise owners to keep feeding Maine Coons with specially formulated kitten food until they reach 9 months old. Speak to your veterinary professional for further advice on this
9 Months OnwardsMaine Coons remain playful for most of their lives, though will start to slow down as they get older. To give them the energy to play, make sure you always feed them high quality dry food / kibble. This breed is prone to obesity, so monitor their weight and adjust their diet if required
Senior CatsSenior Maine Coons dietary requirements differ, to that of a 9 month old cat. Feed your Maine Coon will high quality dry food formulated to meet the dietary requirements of senior Maine Coon cats diet. Do not overfeed a senior Maine Coon cat

2. Water Supply

Maine Coons are one of the few cat breeds known for being obsessed with water. They are fascinated with everything to do with water, so don’t be surprised if you see them enjoying a quick swim in the lake! Many Coons are also known for enjoying a quick bathe in the bath, and patting the water in their water bowls.

If you give them the chance, your Maine Coon will love covering the floors within your home with water. The best to limit water spillage over your floors, is by purchasing a cat fountain like this one off Amazon (click here to view). I find this cat fountain to be really quiet. The continual movement of water also ensures that our Maine Coon is only drinking fresh water.

3. Grooming Your Maine Coon

Maines Coons are known for their luscious, long and impressive fur. Whilst the beauty of their long hair may catch many peoples eyes, it is safe to say that owners will need to groom their Maine Coons hair on a regular basis.

GROOMING TIP:

Groom Your Maine Coon No Less Than Once A Week

The hair on a Maine Coon is quite unique, since it is made up of two thick dense undercoats of hair, and a third longer layer of hair over the top. As stunning as the Maine Coon looks, they will require help from their owners to maintain one of their most famous attributes! Expect to brush your cat’s hair no less than once a week, though ideally you should groom their hair every 1-2 days, to limit the chance of their fur becoming matted or tangled.

Winter Grooming Schedule

During Winter, the weather can become quite wet and damp. It is important to groom your Maine Coon more often since the damp weather may cause havoc with your Maine Coons hair.

Hair that has shed is also more likely to get caught within the cats live hair more often, due to the damp wet weather holding the hair together.

Brushing Your Maine Coon

There are a range of different cat brushes available on the internet, suited for different purposes. We’ve tried most types, and found these three from Amazon offer great value for money. They are currently on offer, so grab a bargain whilst you can!

Deshedding Brush – We have found this brush brilliant for removing excess, loose hair from our Maine Coons thick fur. It hooks the hair that has shed, yet is still caught within the two undercoats, then gently removes it.

Gentle Cat Brush – I would recommend this cat brush because the ultra soft silicone pins are not harsh on your cats skin, and your cat gets a full body massage in the process!

Salon Grooming Brush – This brush has always been a wonder to me, if I’m honest. It doesn’t look very impressive, but boy does our Maine Coon love it. It’s simple, you could even argue that it looks rather basic, but, either way, it works, and that is enough for me!

Maine Coon Claws

Purchase your Maine Coon a large cat scratching post, or tree. This is beneficial for your cat, since it enables them to keep their claws in great condition, whilst also limiting the chances that they will claw at your furniture.

It is important that your cat scratching post is strong, and sturdy because your Maine Coon will grow to a significant size, becoming strong and extremely powerful creatures. Small cat scratching posts are unsuitable for your cats needs, but this scratching post is really large, and an ideal choice for any Maine Coon owner (currently sold on Amazon).

If you are looking for something more substantial, this large scratching post is a great buy since it includes an extra large seat on the top that weighs the scratch post down, keeping it stable whilst in use, and also gives your Maine Coon somewhere high up to sit.

4. Exercising Your Maine Coon

Maine Coon cats are prone to obesity, so owners need to ensure their cat is exercising a little, every single day.

OUTDOOR

Outdoor Maine Coons generally exercise more than indoor Maine Coons because nature offers them a variety of ways to exercise, e.g. cats love to climb trees, or chase live prey like mice. Their playful nature, and sense of curiosity helps your Maine Coon stay fit and healthy because they will find countless ways to exercise in the outdoor world.

INDOOR

Not everyone is comfortable with letting their Maine Coon venture outdoors on their own, maybe due to the location they live, nearby busy roads, or fear that their precious Maine Coon may not return.

If you own an indoor Maine Coon cat, encourage them to exercise regularly by purchasing them an extra large cat tower. These do take up a considerable amount of space within your home, but will give your Coon ample opportunity to exercise.

Ways To Exercise Your Maine Coon Cat

There are a variety of ways to enable your Maine Coon cat to exercise, including:

Playing Games With Your Maine Coon

It is important that all Maine Coon owners play with cats on a daily basis, whether they allow their large cat outdoors, or not. This is because Maine Coons adore human company, and playing with them will strengthen the bond between your cat, and you.

Purchasing A Cat Tower

Many of the cat towers sold on the internet just don’t meet your Maine Coon kittens future size requirements. They are simply too small for a full size Maine Coon to play on, and you will quickly need to upgrade to a larger cat tower as your Maine Coon kitten continues to grow and grow each week! Trust me, I stupidly made this mistake, and ended up having to buy a second larger cat tower within a the year!

Either of these two cat towers will make ideal purchases for your Maine Coon kitten / cat:

  • We bought this extra large cat tower from Amazon, and our cat loves to jump around the different levels, just for fun! He regularly scratch the posts to keep his claws in great condition, and can often be found sleeping in one of the hammocks (super cute). Yes it is pricey, but has been a great investment for ‘Pippin’, our Maine Coon.
  • If you are looking for a more budget friendly cat tower, consider buying this cheaper extra large cat tower from Amazon. I bought this cat tower when our cat never seemed to stop growing, and it lasted for many years before I chose to re-sell it. In fact, this particular model held its value well, because I re-sold it for a great second hand price when I decided to upgrade to an even bigger cat tower!

Walking Maine Coon On A Leash

Many people take their Maine Coon cats out for a walk, on a leash. If you don’t believe me, Google it!

Walking a Maine Coon on a leash is a great way to get your cat to exercise, particularly if they are prone to laziness. This concept should be introduced to the Maine Coon whilst they are still a kitten, in order to maximise your chances of success.

Cat Proofing The Garden

Owners with indoor Maine Coon cats often cat proof their gardens so that their treasured cats can roam freely within the safety of their garden.

Cat proofing is a great way to encourage indoor Maine Coons to exercise outdoors, but will require owners to purchase mechanisms such as this from Amazon, to prevent their cats escaping:

Best Maine Coon Cat Toys

Cat toys are a great way to encourage Maine Coons to exercise more regularly. I have found the following cat toys to be particularly effective:

  • Catnip Fish: This is our Maine Coons favourite toy of all time! He prances around our home on most days, playing with his fish. I purchased it from Amazon (click link), and it has been great value for money. Here’s a short video of him playing with his fish!
Pippin’s favourite cat toy!
  • Selection of cat toys: This selection of 10 cat toys is a great value bundle of fun for your Maine Coon (available on Amazon). There are so many cat toys for your Maine Coon to enjoy, that it would be unlikely that your cat does not love this set. 
  • Cat Circuit: This fab cat toy really encourages your Maine Coon to develop and practise their hunting skills. I couldn’t believe how cheap it was being sold on Amazon when I just checked, so don’t miss out on this incredible deal.
  • Cat Roller: I love this great value cat toy on Amazon, because it can provide hours of entertainment for your curious playful Maine Coon! Our cat can be pretty rough with his cat toys, but this toy has stood the test of time. Highly recommended. 

5. Hygiene

Cats are known for being extremely clean and hygienic animals. In fact, many will exhibit clear signs of distress if they are unable to poop in a clean and hygienic litter tray. 

Practising good hygiene is very important when you own a Maine Coon cat, so make sure that you clean your litter tray out on a daily basis. The sooner you can remove their cat poop from the tray, the better. Failure to do this might cause mental distress to your cat, who potentially might then find another less desirable place to do their business.

If you allow your Maine Coon outside, it is likely that you will not need to use a litter tray at all. However, if you would prefer to keep a tray within your home to reduce the chances that your cat does their business in your own garden, or that of your neighbours, then give this extra large cat litter tray from Amazon a go. The extra large proportions of this tray will enable your Maine Coon to fit within the tray comfortably. 

Maine Coon litter tray requirements:

  • Extra large litter tray
  • Tray with lid (not essential)

Self Cleaning Cat Litter Tray

If you are like me, and hate cleaning out the cat litter tray on a daily basis, check out this self cleaning litter tray available on Amazon. Before you get too excited by this concept though, I will warn you that it is pretty pricey, but definitely worth the investment.

6. Bathing

Maine Coons are well known for their fascination of water. They are one of the few cat breeds that love to play in water, and have even been known to enjoy a quick swim or bathe in the bath tub!

Bathing is a great way to help your cat keep their long thick hair clean. It also helps to remove excess dander, and dead hair that has become caught within your Maine Coons thick fur.

Before you rush off and start bathing your Maine Coon, make sure that you do not bathe them more than once a month. You should also only use shampoos that are specifically designed to be used on cats. This is extremely important, since human shampoos will contain chemicals that might be harmful (toxic) to your Maine Coon.

With many different cat shampoos on the market, it can be a confusing business trying to pick one. I personally settled with this great value cat shampoo, available on Amazon. It arrived quickly, and our Maine Coon smells super yummy! If your Maine Coon isn’t a fan of bathing, give this cat dry clean spray a go, to help keep their fur in a great healthy condition.

Cat Allergies

Cat allergies are very commonly misunderstood. Many people assume that they are allergic to cat hair, when in fact they are actually allergic to a cat’s dander (dead skin cells). Dander sheds regularly, and often becomes caught within the cats fur, which is why people claim they are allergic to cat hair. 

Bathing a Maine Coon can help to reduce allergy sufferers symptoms, because the washing process removes the cats dander, and also detaches excess cat hairs that are covered in dander.

BATHING TIP:

Wash your Maine Coon no more than once per month

7. Socialising

Maine Coon cats are very different to ‘normal cats’, so it is important that you always take their social needs into consideration. They are very sociable cats, and love nothing more than being able to spend time with their human family. Spend as much time with them as possible, even if they are only lying at your feet whilst you watch TV during the evening, to prevent your Coon developing mental health issues as a result of lack of human contact.

They are often nicknamed the ‘dog of the cat world’, partly due to their large physique, but also due to their dog like personalities and love of human company. Don’t be surprised if your Maine Coon follows you around the home, like a dog would. They won’t need encouragement to do this, they are extremely loyal, and will naturally just want to be by your side at all times.

8. Health Checks

The Maine Coon cat is known for a being a very hardy cat breed capable of  withstanding the harsh Winter elements of New England. They are prone to a few health issues though, so it is important that you visit the vet regularly, to check your Maine Coons is fit and healthy. Regular vet check ups are beneficial because they may uncover underlying health issues that an owner may not be aware of. Early detection of unwanted diseases will allow treatment to start sooner.

Maine Coons are prone to the following health issues:

a) Obesity

b) Hip Dysplasia

c) Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

d) Spinal Muscular Atrophy

If you have any health concerns relating to your Maine Coon, contact your preferred veterinary practise as soon as possible. Alternatively, if you want to learn more about the lifespan of a Maine Coon cat, check out my article “How Long Do Maine Coon Cats Live“.

a) Obesity

The Maine Coon is one of the largest domesticated cat breeds in existence, yet their growth rate has always been surprisingly slow. Whilst most cats achieve full growth when they are two years old, the Maine Coon doesn’t reach full size until 3-4 years! A downside of this slow growth rate is that some owners mistakenly overfeed their Coon, because they worry that their Maine Coon isn’t growing quick enough. This error often leads to obesity, which needs to be combated with a calorie controlled diet prescribed by a vet.

b) Hip Dysplasia

Larger cat breeds are more prone to developing hip dysplasia, than smaller cat breeds. Although hip dysplasia might not be a massive issue for many cats, the condition can cause arthritis which can be painful to your feline companion.

Look out for the following symptoms in your cat, since hip dysplasia can cause paralysis (source): 

  • Reduced levels of activity
  • Joint looseness or laxity (early sign of disease)
  • Joint degeneration and osteoarthritis (later sign of disease)
  • Cat avoids jumping, climbing, running
  • Thigh muscles lose muscle mass
  • Shoulder muscles may become enlarged
  • Hind-limb lameness

c) Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is uncommon in Maine Coon. It is extremely serious and should never be ignored.

d) Spinal Muscular Atrophy

This hereditary genetic disease may shorten the lifespan of your Maine Coon kitten, and is usually visible when your kitten reaches 3-4 months old. Despite not being regarded as painful, or fatal, it will cause “progressive instability with unsteady gait and posture abnormalities due to loss of motor neurons in the lower spinal cord, and atrophy of muscles in the hind limbs” (source).

9. Medication

To ensure your cat has a long, healthy and happy life, make sure that they are up to date with all their vaccinations. If you are unsure what medication your cat requires, speak to a veterinary professional.

You should also ensure that you regularly apply flea drops to your cat, to prevent their thick dense fur becoming infested with unwanted itchy fleas.

Recommended: I swear by these cat flea drops from Amazon. They offer great value, and are crazily simple to apply. Just make sure that you part your cats fur as far apart as far as you can so that the drops actually reach their skin. Voila! No need for tablets, or jabs, it literally couldn’t be easier.

10. Spayed Or Neutered

This is an emotive subject, but one that needs to be addressed under the ‘care for a Maine Coon’ subject banner, since every owner will need to make a decision. To spay or neuter your Maine Coon, or not …

Spaying is described as “the surgical removal of a female cat’s ovaries and uterus”, whilst “neutering is the removal of a male cat’s testicles” (source). These medical procedures are considered routine, and should only be completed by trained licensed veterinary professionals.

Benefits of spaying or neutering include:

  • Prevention of unwanted cat births
  • Reduces the number of unwanted animals being euthanized, to control cat population
  • Some male Maine Coons become more docile, after neutering.
  • Will eliminate or reduce sexual behaviours in cats
  • Cats less prone to fighting with cats in your neighbourhood
  • Avoid urine spraying from female cats.

Conclusion

Taking on a Maine Coon is a big responsibility, and it is imperative that you know how to care for a Maine Coon properly. Much of what I have described is common sense, yet so easily forgotten. If you have never owned a Maine Coon cat before, keep this article handy so that you can refer to it when required.

This fabulous cat breed is truly unique, and their playful loving personalities make them truly irresistible. I have no doubt that you will adore owning a Maine Coon cat.

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My names Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a self confessed CRAZY CAT LADY! I've been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 8 years ago. We called him 'Pippin', but he also goes by the names ‘Pipsteroo’, and ‘Pippikins’! Our enormous, kind hearted cat genuinely thinks he's a dog, and has convinced me that cats are Man's True Best Friend!

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