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FAQ: Caring for a Maine Coon

We are often asked how we care for our CaliMaine Coons. Here are some of our care basics...

Cat trees

We have found that many cat trees do not stand up well to use by Maine Coon cats. Maine Coons, after all, are some of the largest among domestic cast, so they need adequate room to lay comfortably. You also want adequate stability in the tree itself, to avoid having the tree tip over when one of your Coons jumps into the tree.

Over the years, we have been thrilled with the safety and durability of the trees that Humberto (who resides in Palm Springs) has made for us. (They also are the most attractive we have seen.) The last time I checked, his website was located at: http://catsandcarpet.com. Please be sure to mention to Humberto that you have Maine Coon cats!

Food

With news that foods we all thought were safe may not be, selecting a healthy diet for your feline companion can be a challenge. After so many years ourselves raising more than a few cats (humorous understatement there), we feed our cats a combination of wet and dry foods, since each has its advantages.

For kittens and pregnant moms, we want them to be able to free feed (or eat whenever hungry), so we leave the dry food out at all times (since canned food should not remain at room temperature for much more than about 20 minutes). We offer canned food once or twice a day (depending on the kittens' age), and even up three times a day for the pregnant moms. The canned food has fewer preservatives, more moisture and generally fewer grain fillers, all of which we believe are beneficial for overall health (especially since many cats do not tend to drink a lot of water).

For food brands that do not say they are for "all ages," we use the kitten version of these foods up to one year of age.

Below, as you can see, we use stainless steel bowls (which we wash in the dishwasher frequently). Plastic dishes have a couple of disadvantages. First, cats can have an allergy to plastic and develop a skin condition on their chins that resembles acne. The plastic can also nick and scratch, creating breeding grounds for germs. Ceramic is another possible material for food bowls, although heavier and more breakable.

What we look for in a food

We use certain criteria to narrow our food choices to those we believe to be the healthiest for our furry friends. First, what we AVOID:

NO wheat

NO corn

No byproducts

When it comes to the protein in the food, look for NAMED proteins to be the FIRST ingredient. In other words, the food lists "chicken" or "lamb" rather than "meat." Organic, human grade quality and USDA inspected are all better than not.

Wet food

While the brands we have used have changed over the years, these are the canned foods with which we and our furry companions are currently happy:

Felidae Grain Free Cat & Kitten (widely available at pet and feed stores)

Holistic Select from Eagle Pack (available online from www.heartypet.com)

Chicken Soup (kitten food for those under one year of age and adult food; available online from www.heartypet.com)

Organics by Nature (see the Store Locator at www.bynaturepetfoods.com)

Instinctive Choice (Auto Shipped each month to our home from www.healthypetnet.com)

Dry food

The dry food we feed is a combination of several of our favorite brands mixed together and kept airtight until needed. The brands I currently mix are for ALL AGES:

Felidae Grain Free Cat & Kitten (widely available at pet stores)

Solid Gold's Indigo Moon (see the Store Locator at www.solidgoldhealth.com)

Taste of the Wild (available online from www.heartypet.com)

Evo Cat & Kitten (available online from www.heartypet.com)

Orijen's 6 fish (available online from www.heartypet.com)

Instinct (Rabbit Formula) from Nature's Variety (see the Store Locator at www.naturesvariety.com)

Be sure to introduce any new foods gradually. Note: Innova also looks good to us, but it does not appear to offer anything not already represented in one of the foods above.

Litter

After trying almost every cat litter on the market, we have for years sworn by World's Best Litter (and we receive no benefit from this recommendation). Made from whole-kernel corn, we have found it to be a great balance for odor control, safety, and convenience. Although you can read more at www.worldsbestcatlitter.com, here's why we prefer this litter. Always be sure to make the transition to a new litter gradually.

(And don't forget a jumbo-sized litter box, since we will be large cats as adults. Most of our cats prefer boxes without covers.)

Safe... With World's Best Litter, we have never had any worry of ingestion or allergy. If our kittens or cats groom their paws shortly after using the box and swallow some of the litter, we have never had any worry of intestinal obstruction. Unlike our experience with wheat-based litter, our cats have had no respiratory reactions to World's Best Litter.

Convenient... World's Best Litter is biodegradable, clumpable and flushable (even for septic systems, which we have). Even with the number of cats we maintain, we rarely need to discard the entire litter box at once. Instead, we just add more litter as needed. A couple more hints: to maintain sanitary indoor living conditions for you and your new feline, we recommend at least one litter box for every two cats in your household and daily scooping.

More helpful information

We have more great products and services for keeping your home clean and comfortable for you and your Maine Coons on our Home Care page. We also include tips on veterinary care for Maine Coon cats, based on our personal experiences.

Are two better?... what we have learned from experience

Boy or girl?... is there a difference in personality?

Grooming... it's easier than you might think

Health tips... information that will help you have more informed discussions with your veterinarian

Home care... ways to keep your home clean and comfortable for you and your Maine Coons

What do I need for traveling?... what we have learned from traveling to shows with our CaliMaine Coons

 

Don't leave without seeing our web photo gallery, featuring slideshows of our Maine Coons and our Karelian Bear Dogs set to music

© 2009 CaliMaine