Cat Care

Maine Coon cats are a joy to live with. Just as you furnish your home to suit yourself, your Maine Coon needs a few things of his own. Several products are named here which you may want to acquire; read Resources to find out where they can be found.


The health and safety of a Maine Coon is preserved foremost by keeping them indoors unless they are on a halter and leash and closely supervised or in an enclosed run. Maine Coons appreciate window seats—a wide sill is fine—and fresh air, but they do not miss what they don't know (being loose outdoors).


Plates and bowls should be glass or ceramic. A plastic placemat to go under them makes cleanup easier. Have several of each so you can use clean ones daily without having to wash the dirty ones immediately.


A bed should be cozy (small enough for the cat to curl up in and feel it around him), private, quiet, with bedding that can be laundered. What works best for me is an old cotton towel inside an old cotton pillow case; it is very easy to remove cat hair from the sheeting fabric (a lot easier than from toweling). Avoid polyester fabrics.


Toys can include balls—Maine Coons are great soccer players. Provide a variety of ping pong balls and noisy balls for a variety of feline moods. Knitted objects are frequently appealing as well as catnip mice. Wands that encourage leaping in mid-air are great. Paper bags on their side, a cardboard box with egress holes cut in the top and sides. Remember, more is better.


Exercise equipment should include a sisal scratching post and at least one multi-level freestanding device on which the cat can climb and jump. I do not have a problem with cats scratching my furniture, probably because I have a scratching post in every major room of the house.


Grooming utensils should include a metal comb (one with rotating teeth is good), a flea comb, nail clippers, and a wire slicker brush. A natural bristle brush is also nice. Choose a natural shampoo for people (no sodium lauryl sulfate) for regular baths; I use Dr. Goodpet Pure Shampoo because it has no synthetic or toxic ingredients. When you want to remove a build-up of oil in the cat's hair, use Dawn dishwashing lotion. If your male cat has "stud tail" (a very greasy condition at the base of the tail), apply Goop hand cleaner to dry hair and rinse before using Dawn (a non-petroleum product is important).

Always use two hands to lift your cat. Place one hand on the tummy just in front of the hind legs and the other hand either between the front legs or just behind them. For a kitten or small cat you can put the first hand on the back of the hind legs.

Fleas happen. They can enter your house on your clothing. While you may not be able to prevent their entrance, you can discourage their stay. Fleas can be reduced by regular baths (say monthly) and flea combing (daily). Admittedly, using a flea comb on a Maine Coon takes attention, patience, and time, especially because their hair is so thick and fine. Perseverance is effective. It is also helpful to use an herbal flea powder like Natural Animal Cat Powder once a week. Excellent nutrition is the best defense against an infestation of fleas.

Some years ago we were plagued by fleas that resisted all efforts to eliminate them. We resorted to applying Advantage on the cats because we felt that having the fleas was worse.

Mats can quickly form in the long fine hair of Maine Coons. Weekly combing and brushing will prevent mats from forming and reduce the quantity of old hair shed on your furniture and floors. The New Natural Cat has a thorough description of how to do this. Most cats enjoy being combed and its attendant handling by you.

Clip claws every three weeks. Clip each claw halfway between the tip and the "quick" (the area which has a nerve and visible blood). This will minimize damage to furniture by scratching and jumping.


A litter box is best placed in a bathtub/shower where it is easy to clean and away from the cat's and your regular living space. A litter box should be washable and about 15" x 18" (much larger is unnecessary). Do have at least two boxes per cat—one for use while the other is being cleaned. Don't use a cover which concentrates the odors for the cat. Use a litter like Field Fresh (made from corn) or Cedar Lite (made from cedar) which is light (in weight—you have to carry it), soft to the touch (your cat has to step on it and dig in it), biodegradable (you can put used litter in your compost pile or on your garden as mulch—but not in the trash), and scoopable (best for puss—poop may be unsightly to people, but urine is stinky to cats). Don't use scoopable clay litter; when eaten it tends to clump in a cat's stomach and can cause death. Don't use a litter box liner.

It's a good idea to have at least one litter box on each floor of a multi-storey home. And to have one box per cat in a multi-cat household.

Use a finely slotted spoon to remove poop and urine clumps from the litter.

Revision: 8-26-2004.