Learning how to raise a Maine Coon kitten can be a daunting task, even if you’ve already had a cat before. After all, Maine Coons are a special breed that requires a special kind of care.
However, these clever, loving cats are so rewarding to keep as pets, and are well worth the extra work!
Maine Coon kittens need a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, and they also require lots of playtime and sturdy toys to keep them occupied. Special care should be taken to cat-proof the house of dangers like sharp objects, cords, or poisonous plants. Maine Coon kittens are full of energy and have a tendency to get into trouble.
As rewarding as it is to raise a Maine Coon kitten, these cats are incredibly rambunctious and prone to getting in trouble. They require a lot of hard work during the first few months of their lives, and you need to make sure you’re financially and emotionally prepared to care for one of these cats.
Read on to find out all the steps you’ll need to take to cat-proof your house, as well as the supplies you’ll need to help your kitten settle into its new home!
How To Raise A Maine Coon Kitten
Before bringing home your own Maine Coon kitten, you’ll need to learn all the care and maintenance that goes into keeping these precious cats as pets.
The table below highlights all the factors an owner must consider or prepare for when raising a Maine Coon kitten:
|Diet||Require High-Quality Diet, |
Containing High Protein And
|Medical Care||Checkups, Vaccinations, |
Deworming & Flea Liquid
|Cat Proofing House||Make house safe for kittens|
|Get A Companion||Maine Coons need company, |
to prevent loneliness
|Introduction To Other Pets||Slow process to introduce|
kitten to cats living in home
|Regular Play||Playtime stimulates the active|
Maine Coon kittens mind
|Climbing Areas||Purchase A Sturdy Cat Tree|
|Grooming||This long-haired cat reed requires|
regular brushing and grooming
Here is a more detailed look at the key things you’ll need to do when owning a Maine Coon kitten.
All cats should be put on a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
This is especially true for Maine Coons, however, who grow to be much larger than the average house cat.
These cats are also highly active, so a diet made of high-quality ingredients is a must for this breed.
An improper diet can lead to malnutrition and stunted growth, among other health problems. It’s also a good idea to feed your cat a mixture of both dry food and wet food.
Dry food is good for your cat’s teeth, while wet food is more enjoyable and provides more moisture.
2. Medical Care
Kittens are far more vulnerable to infection and diseases than adult cats.
They need proper checkups, vaccinations, and things like deworming and flea liquid to stay happy and healthy!
3. Cat-Proofing The House
Kittens are notorious for getting into everything they shouldn’t!
Before bringing home a kitten, you’ll need to keep all cords protected, put away any poisonous plants, and generally cat-proof your entire home.
If you have anything valuable within reach of the kitten, keep in mind that it may get destroyed.
It can take a lot of time and patience for a kitten to learn proper manners, and until then, you’ll probably end up parting with a few material objects.
4. Getting A Companion
It’s highly recommended to get two kittens instead of one! Here’s ‘How To Buy A Maine Coon Cat‘.
Even if you already have a cat at home, kittens have far more energy than an adult cat and can end up annoying any other pets in the house. Two kittens are able to socialize with one another and keep up with each other’s energy.
Maine Coons are also known for being a lot more sociable than other cat breeds, and they can easily suffer from loneliness.
5. Introduction To Other Pets
Do you have any other pets at home?
If so, you’ll need to make a careful and proper introduction between your pets and the new kitten.
If your pet or pets have already shown positive interaction with other animals, then this is a good sign. Keep in mind, however, that not all cats or dogs will take to a newcomer, and in extreme scenarios, you may have to return your kitten.
Introductions can take up to a few weeks, as your pets may be territorial and unwilling to share their space with a newcomer. Introduce the two slowly and carefully, and make sure that your kitten is always under supervision with the other pet or pets until you’re certain they get along well.
Thankfully the Maine Coon cat is not known to be overly territorial. Discover more about this and the common Maine Coon breed traits, in my article about ‘Maine Coon characteristics‘.
6. Regular Play
You should get your kitten a variety of sturdy, interactive toys to keep it stimulated throughout the day.
Having tried most cat toys on the market, I concluded that these were the best 5 Maine Coon cat toys. These toys stood the test of time with my massive Maine Coon’s power and intelligence!
While it’s a good idea to have toys that your kitten can play with on its own, you’ll also need to take time out of your day to play with your kitten, as well. Kittens need a lot of playtimes, and if you don’t spend time playing with them on your own, they’re much more likely to get into trouble.
7. Safe Climbing Areas
Maine Coons love to climb, and they love to climb even more as kittens!
It’s important to provide a large, sturdy cat tree for this breed, and you might want to consider installing some cat shelves on the walls, as well.
However, you should wait until your kitten is about four months old before allowing it to climb onto high spaces. Young cats aren’t as coordinated, and can easily get injured from a fall.
Maine Coons are famous for their long, thick fur.
As beautiful as it might look, it does require a bit of extra care. Your kitten will need to be brushed regularly, at least two or three times a week, and possibly every day during shedding season.
While baths aren’t required for grooming Maine Coons, if you do plan on bathing your cat once every month or so, you should start at a young age so your kitten gets used to it.
You will also need to trim your kitten’s nails every couple of weeks.
Finally, it’s recommended to brush your cat’s teeth once a day to reduce plaque buildup and prevent dangerous infections in the future.
How To Choose A Maine Coon Kitten
If you are looking for a Maine Coon, you might be tempted to find a cheaper option than some of the more expensive breeders that are available.
However, finding Maine Coon kittens for sale isn’t just about finding the cheapest option. In fact, it’s usually the opposite!
While it is possible to find “Maine Coons” for sale for about $200 to $400, these are usually sold by backyard breeders.
Backyard breeders are unregistered by reputable cat fanciers’ associations, and usually like to pawn off mixed breed cats like Maine Coons so they can make fast money. In fact, some people claim to sell Maine Coons that don’t actually have a drop of Maine Coon blood in them!
Read our complete guide to buying a Maine Coon cat to lessen the chance of being duped into paying for a non-pedigree Maine Coon cat.
A reputable Maine Coon breeder will not only be registered by a reputable cat fanciers’ association, such as TICA or the CFA, but they will also ensure that your Maine Coon is in the best of health.
Here is a full list of ‘Maine Coon Cat Breeders In United States, By State‘.
A first check to see if your breeder is a good choice is to ask if you can go and see the kittens.
Good breeders won’t be afraid to show you the cat’s living conditions, while a bad breeder might be reluctant.
Good breeders will also sell kittens that have already been spayed/neutered, dewormed, and had all the vaccinations needed up until that date.
In fact, this is one of the reasons why purchasing a Maine Coon from a responsible breeder is so expensive; they’ve already taken care of many of the costs of raising a kitten.
A reputable breeder will also provide you with an official pedigree paper, so you can be sure your cat is 100% Maine Coon.
Finally, good breeders will never sell a kitten before it reaches 8 weeks of age. Kittens should never be separated from their mothers or littermates before this age, as it is harmful to their social needs and can cause undue stress.
Preparing For A Maine Coon Kitten
Before bringing home a Maine Coon kitten, you’ll need to make quite a few purchases to ensure that all of its needs are met.
Here are the most important things you’ll need to get for any Maine Coon kitten:
- Food: Of course, one of the first things you’ll need for your kitten is food. As mentioned earlier, getting your cat on the proper diet is essential for helping it grow up to be big and healthy. You should feed your Maine Coon food that is specifically meant for kittens for about a year before gradually switching to adult food.
- Food Bowls: Getting the proper food bowls for your cat is more important than you might think. Bowls that are too deep or narrow can actually be difficult and uncomfortable for cats to eat out of. Choose wide, shallow bowls made of stainless steel or ceramic; keep in mind that other materials, like plastic, make it easier for bacteria to grow.
- Water Dispenser: While you can give your cat water from a bowl, most cats prefer running water. Cats are highly sensitive to taste, and can sense when water has been sitting stale for a while. You might want to consider getting your cat a water fountain to drink from, so it always tastes fresh to your cat! Keep in mind, however, that because Maine Coons are known for their love of water, they might make a mess in whatever water dispenser you choose to get.
- Cat Treats: Cat treats are a great way to add a few calories to an underweight cat’s diet, and they’re also wonderful for helping you bond with your kitten. Give your kitten treats during and after your first few interactions, so it associates time with you with positive interaction. You can also use cat treats to train your Maine Coon to do all sorts of tricks!
- Cat Tower and Shelves: Maine Coons love to climb, and it’s absolutely essential for this cat breed to have access to an extra large, sturdy cat tree. Your cat tree should be made of high quality materials, like good wood and sisal rope. You might also want to install shelves on the wall for your cat to climb around on. This will give your cat its own space to retreat to if it’s feeling overwhelmed, and also allow your cat to explore the entire living space without getting bored. You should wait until your kitten is four months old before introducing it to a cat tree or any heights, however, as they are prone to falling and getting injured while they’re still young.
- Sturdy Toys: Your Maine Coon will need a wide variety of toys to stay enriched. All kittens love to play, but Maine Coons especially can become bored and destructive if their needs aren’t getting met. These clever cats tend to become easily bored by standard cat toys, and prefer more interactive toys to stay entertained. These large cats are also famous for playing rough, so it’s better to buy sturdy, more expensive cat toys that can take a beating without falling apart right away!
- Litter Box and Litter: To start out, your kitten will need a shallow, open litter box that it can easily climb over. While good breeders start litter training before selling their kittens, it can still take a few more weeks for your kitten to really get good at it. Expect a few accidents at first, especially in the beginning. At first, you should only keep your kitten in one room, and make sure the litter box is in plain sight. Cats prefer secluded corners, where they feel that they have more privacy to use the litter box. You should also take some time to choose a litter that is right for you. Most owners prefer low-dust clumping litter that’s good at absorbing smells. Try one of these extra large cat litter trays.
- Catnip: Catnip isn’t a necessity, but it’s a fun treat to consider getting your kitten! While not all cats react to catnip, some go absolutely crazy for it. You might want to get toys that are stuffed with catnip to encourage play, or you can buy a tube of dried catnip to give to your cat for fun. Some owners even grow their own catnip, which adds another level of enrichment. This is great for cats who love to chew on plants, but aren’t allowed to mess with your houseplants!
- Scratching Posts: Scratching posts are an essential for any cat owner. You should have at least one large, sturdy scratching post made out of high quality sisal rope. If you ever catch your cat scratching at the furniture, simply pick your cat up and set it right next to the scratching post. If your cat is having difficulty figuring out how to use it, you can even demonstrate scratching by dragging your own nails down the post! Sometimes, one scratching post isn’t enough, though. You might want to get a few cheap scratchers made out of cardboard to place around the house. It’s usually a good idea to place scratchers next to rugs or furniture that your cat has a tendency to scratch.
- Large Cat Bed: Even though your Maine Coon might be small when you first get it, it will someday grow up into a gentle giant! Make sure you get an extra large cat bed that your cat will be comfortable in no matter how large it gets. Some Maine Coon owners even get medium-sized dog beds for particularly large Maine Coons. If you want, you can even get several cat beds to place around the house, so your cat can settle down for a cozy nap wherever it wants to.
- Large Cat Carrier: Similarly, your Maine Coon will need an extra large carrier so it can be comfortable on trips. Normal sized cat carriers will be far too small for a Maine Coon, so make sure to read the sizes before making a purchase. It’s a good idea to get a hard plastic cat carrier with breathable holes so your cat doesn’t get stuffy or overheated during trips.
- Grooming Supplies: You’ll need to purchase grooming brushes to keep your Maine Coon’s coat silky and healthy. You should get a fine brush or comb to remove any dead hairs in your cat’s coat. While optional, you can also get a bristle brush to finish off a grooming session, so your cat’s fur will be shiny. You’ll also need a good quality pair of nail clippers, as well as a toothbrush and toothpaste that are specifically designed for cats.
- First Aid Kit: Kittens are huge troublemakers, and unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to accidents. You should keep a first aid kit around filled with things your cat might need, including bandages, gauze pads, medical scissors, medications, tweezers, blood clotter, disinfectant, activated charcoal, and a saline flush, among other things. You’ll also want the number and address to your vet, as well as the number and address to the nearest 24/7 emergency vet in case the unthinkable happens.
- Leash and Harness: Although optional, a leash and harness is a great way to give your cat some enrichment, especially if you have an indoor cat. It’s best to start training your cat to use a leash and harness at a young age, so they can get used to it. Many cats dislike the constricting feeling of a harness at first, but once your cat learns to associate it with the positivity of exploring outside, it should learn to like its harness. Start out small, with little strolls around the garden, and then you can gradually build up to half hour walks around the neighborhood.
Best Food For Maine Coon Cats
Maine Coon cats require a diet that is low in carbs and high in protein.
The best foods are made with high-quality ingredients and low to zero amounts of filler content.
Cheaper cat food brands fill their food with cornmeal and other grains that are cheaper to produce, but much worse for your cat.
You should feed your cat both dry food and wet food. Dry food is best for your cat’s teeth, while wet food is more flavorful and provides a higher moisture content. Most owners feed their cat wet food two or three times a week, and dry food throughout the rest of the week.
When it comes to quantity, a growing kitten should be allowed to eat until it is full.
It is very easy for this active breed to become underweight while they’re growing, and they need a lot of calories to grow to full size.
Once they become adults, you should feed your cat about 25 to 35 calories per pound of body weight.
Royal Canin Maine Coon kitten food is often agreed to be one of the best brands for this breed.
Two other good options are:
- Blue Buffalo.
You might have to try out a few different brands and flavors before finding something that your cat likes, but be sure to switch foods gradually to avoid digestive problems.
When you first get your kitten, your breeder should give you the name of the food they’ve been feeding, and some might even give you a small portion of the food to start out.
Wean your kitten off of the food over a period of about a week or two, gradually mixing in more and more of the desired food.
Can Maine Coons Go Outside?
Choosing whether or not to let your Maine Coon go outside is a huge decision and one that many owners have strong feelings about.
While deciding whether or not to let your adult cat outside is a personal decision, however, you should never let your cat outside while it’s still a kitten.
Many breeders, particularly in the US, have strict rules regarding the cats they sell, and some require you to sign a contract stating you will not allow your Maine Coon outdoors.
Kittens are too curious and uncoordinated to be left outside to their own devices.
There are far too many dangers for a young cat outside, and it isn’t safe or responsible to allow them outdoors at least until they’re older.
There are a lot of pros and cons to letting your cat outside:
- Maine Coons are an active breed that needs a lot of enrichment. Some people argue that keeping them inside prevents them from getting the enrichment they need.
- Outdoor Maine Coons are also less likely to be overweight, and more likely to feel properly entertained.
On the downside:
- There are countless dangers to allowing your cat to roam outside.
- Too many cats have been injured or even died from car accidents, wild animals, and other cats.
- There are many ways a cat can contract illnesses or parasites from outside.
Furthermore, not all humans are friendly, and some cats have been hurt and even killed by cruel humans.
Other times, Maine Coons are accidentally “kidnapped” by well-intentioned cat lovers who think an outdoor cat is a stray. Some Maine Coons simply wander too far, and they might get so lost that they can never find their way back home again.
Finally, allowing your cat outdoors isn’t just dangerous to your cat; it’s also a huge problem for native wildlife. More and more wildlife preservationists are realizing that outdoor cats often have a devastating impact on local birds and other wildlife. Even if your Maine Coon is well fed, these naturally strong hunters love to hunt for sport, and might end up hurting an already endangered species.
Thankfully, if you choose to have an indoor cat, there are still ways you can provide it with lots of enrichment.
Training your cat to walk on a leash and harness will allow your Maine Coon to explore the outdoors without the chance of getting injured or ill from walking around unsupervised!
Overall, it’s a completely personal choice as to whether or not you allow your cat outdoors (unless, of course, you have signed a contract with a breeder saying you will not allow your cat outdoors).
What’s most important is that you understand the consequences of either path, and choose what you believe is best for your cat.
Learning how to raise a Maine Coon kitten can be a daunting task. These special cats need a bit more care than the average cat, due to their special dietary needs and high activity levels.
It takes a lot of time, patience, and money to properly raise a Maine Coon kitten, but these loving cats are well worth the effort!
It’s important to provide your kitten with all of its basic needs, including food, water, a litter box, plenty of toys, and a scratching post, among other things. You should also take care to cat proof your house against any dangers, as well as to keep your cat from destroying your things!
Before getting a kitten, you should do lots of research on breeders, as well as all of the necessary steps you’ll need to take to give your cat a long and healthy life with you.
Maine Coon Rescue UK
Some organizations keep an eye out for Maine Coons in need of a home. The Maine Coon Cat Club is a UK-based organization that promotes various Maine Coons in need of homes.
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