Nature created Maine Coon cats for hunting in the cold and harsh environs of North-eastern America. It gave them a strong, athletic body; excellent predatory senses; an impressive ability to hunt on the ground as well as on trees; and a thick, multi-layered coat that protects them from the cold and lets them pursue their prey in every weather.
That coat needs a lot of looking after. Your Maine Coon cat may be the most amazing feline you’ve ever owned, but surely his one fatal flaw is that beautiful coat which sheds everywhere and daily gives birth to more hairball-tumbleweeds in your house.
This should not keep you from having a Maine Coon cat in your home. We realize how hard you work to keep your living space clean and guest-ready, and we have a definite guide to help you deal with the excessive shedding of those gorgeous creatures, so you can have an 18-pound feline to cuddle with, as well as a dander free home!
Thou Shalt Brush your Maine Coon cat. There is a reason that we put this one on top of our list of Commandments! Brushing your Maine Coon once or twice a week will do more to keep your house clean and your cat healthy than any other method.
When selecting the perfect brush for your Maine Coon, remember to take the length and texture of your cat’s hair into consideration. There are many kinds of combing products in the market, and it’s easy to get confused. A slicker brush has thin, dense, metal bristles which help untangle medium to long-haired coat. These are better for Maine Coon cats than double-sided brushes with more spaced out bristles, or mitt brushes which have soft, rubber teeth, best suited to brushing out dead hair from shorter coats. You may also prefer a shedding comb or a FURminator®. Both act as rakes which pull out loose hair in clumps and dislodge dirt from the coat.
If your Maine Coon cat is unused to being brushed, ease him into the routine gently. Pick a time when he’s relaxed and sit beside him while stroking his fur. Replace your hand with the brush of your choice and slowly comb his fur against the grain. This is an important technique for good grooming. Running the comb backwards through the coat gets more dead and loose fur, and stimulates the hair roots. Be thorough about brushing every inch of his body. Since, Maine Coon cats shed quite a lot, it’s advisable to have a washable mat placed under your pet during these sessions.
Thou Shalt Trim your Maine Coon Cat’s Coat. While brushing takes care of the accumulated dirt and unshed hair lodged in your Maine Coon cat’s coat, the long, dense mane and the thick fluffy tails tend to get matted without regular care.
With persistence and a slicker brush, you can untangle these knots but it takes a very long time to get it done. As an alternative, you can use a de-matting tool, like a matbreaker, to break the tangled clumps without damaging the rest of the coat. These tools have a series of blades that work through the snarls and leave you with a tangle free coat. But ultimately, it’s best to give your cat’s coat a trim on a regular basis.
Your Maine Coon may not like the sensation of scissors clipping his hair off, and the slightest tug might scare him into refusing to cooperate. To avoid your cat fleeing mid-grooming, with uneven chunks of hair on his body, do the following things:
- Use sharp scissors that will do quick work of the trimming (an electronic shaver might frighten him).
- Then, use a shedding comb with a single line of teeth to gently brush the strands from root to mid length.
- Holding the hair in position, use the scissors to cut them in a neat line. Unless you pull, the comb will keep your cat from feeling the tug of the blades.
Thou Shalt Clip your Maine Coon Cat’s Nails. While sharp claws are extremely useful to cats in the wild, they are a bit of a nuisance in human homes. Your Maine Coon cat has long curving nails with hooked ends which invariably get stuck in clothes, curtains, and upholstery, ending with rents in the material and a rise in your frustration. While keeping your home free of cat fur, it pays to remember the other damages an ungroomed Maine Coon can inflict on your furniture and person. Playtime with your over-sized kitten should end with smiles and not scratches all over your limbs.
For clipping nails, you need either a regular nail-cutter, or a specialized one made for pets. They come in two type, a scissor-like cutter with a curved notch where you place the nail before cutting off the tip, and a guillotine-style cutter that chops off a bit of a claw instead of a human’s head.
Once you’ve decided on a preferred implement, soothe your cat until he is at ease. Some cats stay calm through-out the process if you croon to them, while others require an extra pair of hands to hold them, so they don’t bolt. Before bringing the clipper close to his nails, get him comfortable with you handling his paws. This should be part of every game you play. When your Maine Coon cat trusts you to touch their paws without hurting them, they will not panic if you push the knuckle-like joint and push out their nail. Be careful to only snipe off the tip. Clipping too much could cut into the quick under their nails and cause them to bleed. Start small by only cutting the hooked end of their nails. It may take you more than one session to finish all the paws, but the untorn clothes and sofa covers will be worth the trouble.
Thou Shalt Bathe your Maine Coon Cat. Your cat will need to be bathed at least once a month to help control the shedding and to keep his coat clean. With a Maine Coon cat’s dense fur, dander is inevitable in the house. This breed also suffers during the summer month and feels enormous relief when freshly washed. A Maine Coon should be introduced to bathing early in his life. Given their size, it’s no mean feat to wrestle with a Maine Coon in the bathtub.
Begin by brushing them all over, and then filling a tub with lukewarm warm. Gently settle your cat into the few inches of water and use a hand shower to wet his coat. Avoid getting water into his ears and eyes. Rub a shampoo into the coat and bring up a lather. Pet stores sell rubber gloves with bristles which are particularly handy when massaging the soap into your cat’s fur. This will loosen the dirt and hair from the coat, which you can remove with a grooming comb. Finally, wash the shampoo out of the coat until the water runs clean. Wrap your Maine Coon cat in a thick towel to soak up the excess water, and then let them air dry the rest.
Thou Shalt Give them lots of Petting and Treats throughout the Process. While grooming a cat can be difficult and time-consuming, it’s a much more stressful experience for the feline. You cat is expected to sit still while you comb, trim, clip, and bathe him. Aside from the sheer indignity, it’s probably quite a frightening ordeal. To make grooming an enjoyable and quick process for both you and your Maine Coon, use positive reinforcement to help your cat associate a happy, fun time with your weekly sessions.
Employ generous amounts of their favorite treats during the first few weeks. Have someone around to help you, and direct them to distract his attention from the grooming by showering him with scratches under the chin, long strokes along the head and the back, and frequent rewards of delicious titbits for staying still.
Once the association is made and your Maine Coon cat is no longer tensing to bolt, you can ease off the treats gradually. Eventually, your cat will trust you enough to know that you will do him no harm.