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FAQ: Grooming a Maine Coon

The Maine Coon breed evolved over many years of natural selection into a breed able to survive among the New England forests. The Maine Coons needed their long fur to keep warm in wintertime, but they also needed to walk through the woods without getting tangled up. So fortunately for us, Mother Nature did not create a cat that required the daily attention necessary for some other longhaired breeds.

Routine grooming: the essentials

For general care, there are two routines that should be done at least every couple of weeks. Comb your Coon and trim his or her nails.


Generally, an occasional light combing is all that will be necessary to prevent a pampered house cat from matting. You needn't be surprised if you don't feel the need to routinely bathe your Maine Coon. Most Maine Coons keep themselves very clean, and only if the base of their tails appears to be getting a little too oily do we find the need to bathe one of ours (unless we are getting ready for a show, of course).

So that combing will be enjoyable for your cat, you will want to establish a regular routine that is fun for your cat. Even a cat who appears not to enjoy being combed can ususally become adjusted. Sweetly talk to your cat as you comb them. Avoid feeling anxious yourself, because you will transmit your anxiety to your cat. I announce that it is time for a kitty massage, so my cats anticipate a positive experience from my cheerful voice. Try starting one day by letting the cat smell the comb in your hand as you speak sweetly to your cat. From there, progress at the cat's pace, which may mean no more than one slight additional action each day for a week or more. In other words, each new day start by allowing the cat to smell the comb and repeat all the actions with which your cat is already comfortable, adding only one new action at the end. Start with a slight combing at the top of the cat's head. (Your cat's head won't really need combing, but almost all will enjoy how that feels.) The next day, try to move slowly down to one cheek. Then the next day, both cheeks. Then the next day, under the neck. Keep it mind that the most difficult areas are usually the exact areas that need combing the most--under the front legs, behind the back legs, and along the tail--but be patient. As a last resort, consider taking your cat to the vet. The technicians will generally be happy to help, and your cat will almost always behave much better in public than at home (just like kids!).

We find that the Untangler comb--with its rotating teeth--minimizes the pulling that can tear hair out by the root. (Certainly not what you want in preparation for show presentation.) You also want the avoid making the combing regimine painful for your Coon, because that will only make it more difficult to maintain a regulary combing routine. Find this comb at the Untanger e-SHOP.

Trimming your Coon's claws

The objective here is to remove the curved end of the nail without cutting the triangular-shaped nail bed. Most cat's paws are sensitive, so you want to move quickly before the cat has the opportunity to be anxious. Err on the side of cutting off too little, rather than too much to avoid bleeding. Iit is sufficient just to remove the very tip of the nail, which is the sharpest point. Trimming less just means you may have to trim more often, but making the process a positive experience for your cat will make the job easier the next time.

While human nail clippers can be used, I find it much easier to use a JW Gripsoft Cat Nail Clipper available from Pet Care Rx, left. Navigate through cat supplies then grooming then tools and you should see claw clippers.

We include more extensive recommendations should you wish to give your Maine Coon a bath, based on our years of getting our CaliMaine Coons ready for the judges.

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

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

Care essentials... the everyday needs of a Maine Coon, including the foods and litter we prefer

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