Maine Coon Cat Health
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Feeding: It is very important to remember that cats are obligate carnivores that have no dietary need for carbohydrates. When choosing a diet for your cats it is absolutely critical that it be high in very high quality protein. We recommend only grain free foods like Taste of the Wild - Rocky Mountain Blend Water: Fresh, clean water is absolutely critical to your cats overall health. We recommend using a filtered water fountain for your cat to encourage drinking. If that is not possible, then it is best to use ceramic bowls because they are easy to clean and very appealing to the cats. Dishes: Use glass, ceramic or stainless steel, low sided bowls and clean them daily. Plastic tends to collect bacteria from the oils in the cat food and can lead to chin acne, bacterial infections etc. Disposable paper plates may also be used for their canned food. Hairballs: You can offer a product like Petromalt which is a brown sticky paste. Recommended dosage is once a week, approximately one inch given orally. Many cats will lick it directly from the tube. A dry hacking, gagging cough is usually a hairball. If your cat is coughing, add a little of canned plain pumpkin to their regular canned food and give Petromalt daily until the hairball is expelled. If the coughing continues please take them to your vet. Treats: We feed Greenies assorted flavor cat treats at bed time. Also, if you are trying to train them, they go crazy for a treat called “Temptations”.  While I do not think they are quality nutrition, they are really like kitty candy. Use them sparingly, and they make an excellent training tool and fun treat. The cats and kittens really love chasing after their treats, which provides them with extra exercise. Maine Coons enjoy playing with their food and sometimes their water. We recommend using heavy water bowls and putting trays under the water bowls to prevent floods. Keep the food bowl at least 12 inches from the water bowl. Do not keep the litter pan anywhere near the food and water containers. Litter: We suggest you use the jumbo sized litter pans or large plastic storage containers to accommodate the long length of the Maine Coon body. Hooded pans are fine, but if the cats end up missing the edge of the pan (i.e. their rear end is sticking out of the end of the pan by the entrance), then you should remove the hood. Put litter pans in a quiet and well ventilated place. We use Purina Layena Chicken crumble (chicken feed) and Fresh Step clay (non clumping) litter but after your kitten is acclimated to his new home, you are welcome to use whatever litter suits your cat's preferences and your lifestyle. We do not recommend Clumping litter for young kittens as it can cause blockages in their throats as well as digestive track and intestines. Clumping litter is not always safe for young kittens (they tend to eat everything!) as they have a cement additive so we recommend not using clumping litter until you are sure the kittens are past the litter tasting stage. Emergencies: Stock extra pans, litter, food and bottled water in a location with your own personal supplies in case of emergencies fires, flooding etc. Keep at least one carrier per pet. A quick evacuation tool could be a zippered pillowcase if your carriers are inaccessible. Keep your cat up to date with vaccinations and keep your pet's nails trimmed bi-weekly. Grooming: Comb your Maine Coon cat daily as a kitten, then weekly as an adult Maine Coon using a wide tooth (coarse) comb, then progress to a tighter (fine) tooth comb. Do not use brushes on Maine Coons, they do nothing more than move the top layer of fur around. Be gentle and groom the cat in a position that is comfortable for you both. Start with the britches and tummy and progress to the back and chest which are more pleasurable for the cat. Bathing: Always comb your cat prior to bathing. Fill the sink with warm water and a drop of shampoo to break the surface tension so their hair will get wet. Our basic (i.e. not a show bath) shampoo routine includes Goop on the really greasy spots (mechanics hand cleaner), Goop Shampoo or Suave Clarifying shampoo, or old fashioned Blue Dawn Dish soap and a vinegar rinse. Make sure you rinse really well, it is vital you rinse all soap residue out; a sticky coat will look worse than when you started and will attract dirt. Drying: Towel dry the cat well after the bath. Warm some thick, absorbant towels in the dryer prior to the bath and wrap your wet cat in these towels to absorb the excess water. Change the towels as needed and comb out the cat lightly as it is drying or blowing drying. Make sure it has a warm or sunny place to finish its grooming itself, or blow dry the cat. Expect to be treated with possible disdain for several hours but the cat will forgive you. :-) Now you have a fresh smelling, lovely kitty to enjoy. Bathing will also help reduce the amount of hair that is shedding and is vital during their molting seasons (Spring and Fall). Greasy coats and shedding can lead to horrific mats so it is important to keep up with their grooming. Nails: Trim the front and rear nails every week as a young kitten and every 2-3 weeks as an adult. Use small cat claw scissors and holding the cat in a stable position, like a football under your arm, press on the pads of the foot to extend the claw. Clip the translucent tip of the claw. The opaque portion should not be cut or your cat's claw will bleed - i.e. this will hurt and cause a negative reaction. Clipping claws should never hurt and if done properly, the cat will not mind. There are five claws on the front paws and four on the rear. Ears, Eyes, Mouth and Noses: Use a warm damp soft washcloth and gently wash their eyes, nose and mouth, and wrap it around your finger to swab out the ear. Do not use q-tips or put any liquids in the ears unless directed by a vet. Wipe away brown wax but report any heavy buildup or black dots to your vet. Do not get water in their ears when bathing - do not submerge their heads at all! Teeth: Check your cats teeth and gums frequently for signs of gum disease (gingivitus or stomatitus), tooth disease, tartar or teething. 75% of cats do develope Gingivitis sometime in their lives because of the type of bacteria in their mouths, and they cant chew bones and toys like dogs can. Very bad breath is not normal - your cat could have a problem. Juvenile gingivitus may be seen when the cats are 6 months-18 months old and occurs when the adult teeth are in and in unaltered cats, when their hormones start to kick in. This usually clears up by 1.5 years of age and can be helped with treatments of clindamycin (antirobe aquadrops)an antibiotic prescribed by your vet. Discuss brushing your cats teeth with your vet. Starting this as a kitten makes it easier to do as a habit. Fleas: There is no excuse to tolerate fleas. Use a topical product for CATS ONLY such as Revolution, Advantage or Frontline on your cat monthly to kill the fleas and treat your home. Fleas are very detrimental to your cat's health - they can kill a cat through anemia and give cats tapeworm, bacterial infections as well as make them miserable. Do not let fleas invade your home - keep your cats indoors and be alert. Toys: When purchasing cat toys, make sure they are cat safe and do not have parts that can be easily removed and swallowed. Avoid glued on parts and make sure tails, bells, etc. are very secure. Mylar kitty teases are great, but do not leave them around for the cats to chew on - the metal strings can cause intestinal damage if swallowed. Thread and strings are also very dangerous. Cats tongues are like scratchy velcro. Once something like a ribbon is licked, it is nearly impossible for a cat to spit it out. Also strings and ribbons can get stuck around their necks. Ribbons can get stuck in their stomachs or cause an intestinal blockage and require surgery to remove. Your cats are like toddlers - keep dangerous items out of their reach (and their reach is incredible) and keep them safe. Expensive toys are not necessary - cats love cardboard boxes, paper bags (handles must be cut), tinfoil balls (large, tightly compacted), Ping-Pong balls, etc. Cat tracks and turbo scratchers are great. Catnip toys are wonderful. Pipecleaner toys (bugs) make great fetching toys. Furniture: Cats love cat trees. They love to be up high as it gives them both a great view as well as a sense of security. Cats try to defy gravity all the time and we get to enjoy it when gravity wins. :-) A cat tree at least four feet tall is a necessity for cats. They need something tall and sturdy so that they can scratch. Scratching allows cats to have a mini-workout. They work their upper bodies, they work their lower bodies, their back, their abdomens.... well, ok - you get it! They flex, they crunch - they need a good workout and a cat tree with a sisal post works great. Declawing: Declawing is not an option for one of our kittens. Our contract explicitly states that you agree to never have the cat you purchase from us declawed. Keeping a cat indoors: Cats are perfectly happy to live indoors if you provide them with affection, attention, a scratching post or cat tree, toys and quality food and fresh water. They've never been outdoors and don't miss what they don't know and they will never miss the following: • Being hit by a car • Being attacked or killed by dogs • Being attacked or killed by coyotes, raccoons, great horned owls or other carnivores • Injuries from other outdoor cats or diseases such as FIV, FIP or FeLV • Coming into contact with toxins or poisons (antifreeze, snail bait, rat poison) • Dealing with poisonous insects or snakes • Dealing with bees, wasps or hornets • Injuries or diseases from eating birds (splintered bones, toxoplasmosis) • Injury from a sadistic or cat-hating neighbor • Being stolen - Maine Coons are beautiful and affectionate and theft is not uncommon! Please have your cat Micro chipped by your vet Harnesses: Many pet buyers have had success training their Maine Coons to walk around on leashes and harnesses. Always carry your cat outside, do not allow him to walk out the door on his own. Don't allow them any unsupervised time in a yard that is not fully enclosed. Just fencing is not enough as cats can EASILY climb over and get stuck outside your yard. You can find some really neat outdoor enclosures for your cat if you would like them to enjoy the outside with you. There are many options to screen in a portion of your yard or porch/patio so that your cat can have fun enjoying the outside for short periods of time. Precautions: Many products and situations are hazardous to your cats. Pine based cleaners are toxic. Keep toilet lids down and do not use tank cleaners if your cat ever drinks from the toilet (I know, groan, but some do!). Treat your cat like a curious child and look for hazards. Cover electrical outlets, protect them from dangling blind cords or electrical cords, firescreen off your fireplace, candles, potpourri, be careful with recliners, hideabeds, rocking chairs, slamming doors. Be careful with beds (box springs, dangling threads), needles and thread, plastic bags, shopping bags, tape and sticky tags, cigarettes, styrofoam, packing peanuts, yarn, cellophane, open refigerators, washers & dryers, garbage cans, sharp tin can lids, chicken bones. Be observant and try to deal with hazards before your cat finds them. Poisonous Plants Visit these web sites for lists of plants to avoid: CFA's list of plants at Health and First Aid Basic info: A cat's average temperature should range from 100.4 to 102.5 degrees farenheit. Kittens can be slightly warmer. A temperature of 103 degrees is cause for concern and an immediate vet visit. Measure temperatures with a rectal thermometer or an ear thermometer. Pulse should be 110-130 beats per minute. Respiration should be 20-30 breaths per minute. Keep your vet's phone number handy as well as locate an emergency clinic or after hours vet nearby if your regular vet is closed. Emergencies seem to always happen at night or on weekends. (Thank you to Gigi and Gene Haag of Cabincoon Maine Coons for all of this excellent information compiled into one area!)