One of the first things that almost all new Maine Coon kitten owners find themselves wondering is how to socialize a Maine Coon kitten. Luckily, with this guide on your side, you will have no trouble devising a foolproof plan!
It is vital that Maine Coon kittens are socialized correctly so that they do not struggle with anxiety and nervous based issues. Maine Coons must be properly introduced to people, household noises, common everyday interactions, and more – from an early age. Creating a feeling of normalcy is so important.
If you have ever met a Maine Coon the chances are they were sweet and loving even if you were meeting them for the first time. This is the result of proper socialization as a kitten.
However, if you have ever met a Maine Coon with poor socialization, you’ll definitely notice.
This guide has a ton of excellent tips for socializing a Maine Coon kitten so be sure to read the article closely.
How To Socialize A Maine Coon Kitten
Maine Coons are a sturdy breed with an origin wrapped in mystery and intrigue.
You get a sense of wonder and joy just by being around them so the fact that we are not super sure where they come from should not be surprising. It’s fun to speculate!
Maine Coons are graceful and elegant, powerful and regal, yet also absolute clowns. How can a cat be regal and a clown all at once? You’ll have to ask a Maine Coon cat!
Maine Coons, like all cats but especially more so, require a thorough socialization plan to ensure you are raising a happy, healthy, confident, and secure cat.
So, let’s delve into the subject matter at hand, and teach you how to socialize a Maine Coon kitten correctly.
1. Timeline For Socializing Maine Coon Kittens
Socializing a Maine Coon kitten is not an overnight process. It is best to break the process up into weeks to make the task more manageable and easier to track.
The most important thing is that you remember this is an ongoing process.
The methods used in week 1 should be used in all the following weeks too.
The key to learned behaviors is repetition. Luckily, most of these socialization stages are fun so it is not exactly a chore!
Below is a ten-week timeline for socializing Maine Coon Kittens:
During the very first week, Maine Coon kittens are not up to a whole lot! They mostly sleep and try to stick close to their mom.
Your only job in the first week is to check up on the kitten regularly and get them used to your calming presence.
Week two is the best! This is when your kittens are old enough to be picked up and held.
Holding your kitten is such an important step in their socialization process.
Get them used to being handled by people.
Allow them to learn that people are gentle and are not a threat.
A gentle calming voice talking to them the whole time is a great accompaniment. You can be muttering nonsense so long as you use a soothing tone of voice.
15 minutes per day is a good baseline for an appropriate time to hold your Maine Coon kitten.
Week three is a great week for meeting friends and family.
Kittens need to learn that all people are friendly and non-threat, not just you!
It is important to make sure new Maine Coon kittens are handled and spoken to by men, women, children, teenagers, and even elderly folk if possible.
You should ensure that all of these meetings are positive! A Maine Coon that has a bad experience with a child, for example, will grow up to always be wary of children potentially making them an issue in a family household.
By week 4 your Maine Coons will have put on quite a bit of bulk. They may have even tripled in size!
Now they are robust enough to have a very controlled meeting with other animals.
Adult cats and dogs are a must, puppies if possible are a great addition to their social calendar too, so long as the pup is VERY well-behaved.
It’s time to play!
Up until now, your Maine Coons have not really had a concept of playing. Sure they goof off with each other but that is less of a game and more just learning how the world works.
It is time to start playing games with balls, string, a laser pointer (if you ensure you are careful of their eyes), and of course, you.
Tickling, and gentle rough-housing, are great ways to teach your cat that their life with you will be pretty fun!
It is also a good time to teach your kitten when playtime ends. Make sure you tidy toys away to keep them, and especially your kittens, safe.
Grooming can be a pretty frustrating process for many cat owners. This is why it is important to start practicing basic grooming methods early on.
A gentle brush (like these) with warm soothing words a few times a day for just a couple of minutes is perfect.
Do not brush too hard, and only use soft bristled brushes.
Some people like to practice cleaning their cat’s teeth at this age too. Here’s why.
Teeth cleaning requires a VERY steady hand and a gentle temperament.
Week 7 is around the time you may want to consider getting your Maine Coon kitten vaccines done by the vet.
This is a huge socialization stage for Maine Coons as they will need to leave the house for the first time.
They are going to be getting used to cars, their crates, and new environments.
Around about now it is time to start introducing your Maine Coon to everyday household noises that they may find scary or confusing.
Such noises include:
- Hair dryer
It is best to only do short bouts of these noises and quickly follow up with praise, treats, and affection.
Depending on the breeder, some Maine Coons may go on to their new home during this week. Other breeders, however, will wait until their Maine Coon kittens are 12-13 weeks.
If you do buy a 9-week-old Maine Coon kitten it is important to make sure that you follow a socialization regime and sensitize them to noises in your home.
Your Maine Coon kittens are now 2 and a half months old!
He or she is probably starting to look a little more like a Maine Coon rather than a generic cute kitten.
It is now a good idea to start getting your kitten(s) used to the idea of being on their own.
Leave them in an enclosed room where they cannot see or hear you for 5-minute intervals. Slowly working your way up towards an hour or so.
Maine Coons hate being left alone for long periods but should certainly be capable of being left for a couple of hours now and again (sources 1,2,3,4,5).
2. Human Contact
Human contact for Maine Coon kittens should be a methodical process.
A few minutes here and there every half an hour or so for the first few weeks and then half-hourly and hourly interactions between the ages of 2 weeks to 2 months.
By now, your Maine Coon should be well used to human contact and will likely seek it out with you themselves whenever they feel like a Maine Coon cuddle!
3. Holding and Stroking Kittens
Luckily you do not need to spend any time wondering how to bond with your Maine Coon kitten.
Holding and stroking is the best way and is a wonderful chance for you to get to know each other.
Kittens take a couple of weeks to grasp who you are and why you are holding them, but once they do, they become cuddle addicts.
Remember that young kittens must be held and stroked very gently.
4. Encourage Playtime With Other Kittens
Playtime with a kitten’s litter mate are more often than not organically created by the kittens themselves. They are exploring their world and their relationship with their siblings on their terms.
Sometimes it takes a little encouragement, as not every kitten is a social butterfly, so try to keep your kittens close together as this is more likely to spark playtime.
After about 5-6 weeks they will be more receptive to games with string, feathers, or balls.
5. Introducing Kittens To Other Household Pets
Introducing your Maine Coon kitten to other members of the household, including household pets, is a big step. Ensure that the kitten is safe at all times, and the other pets are gentle with the Maine Coon kitten.
It is a good idea to introduce pets first through a door so they can see, hear, and smell each other without actually touching.
If this stage of the process does not go well, it is perhaps not time for them to meet yet. However, generally speaking, animals tend to have a pretty good sense of whether they are dealing with a baby animal or not.
A full-grown dog will likely be able to identify a kitten and will treat it gently.
6. Getting Kittens Used To Household Noise
This part of socializing a Maine Coon kitten can be tricky!
The best method for doing this is to use the noisy item away from the kitten as “quietly” as possible. This may sound silly but it is the best way to protect their gentle ears.
As the Maine Coon kitten grows up you can slowly increase the household noise volume and your kitten’s proximity to the noise.
Whilst it is ideal to socialize a kitten to the most common household noises, it will not matter if you miss one or two. The idea here is to teach your kitten that strange loud noises are not necessarily something to freak out about.
7. Introducing Kittens To Children
Kids are not always great at the concept of gentleness, so be careful.
Maine Coon kittens need to be robust enough to deal with young children before they can be picked up and petted.
However, a simple meeting in the same room where a child can speak to and maybe hold a kitten in a pleasant environment is a great way to ensure your Maine Coon does not grow up to be wary or aggressive towards children.
8. Grooming Kittens
Maine Coon kittens need to learn to be groomed regularly.
Although we generally associate Maine Coons with being addicted to being brushed, this is not always the case.
Enjoying being brushed is a learned behavior. Or more accurately, knowing that the brush will not hurt them is a learned behavior.
Gentle brushing several times a day for a young kitten is a great way to keep them nice and tidy. Brushing is also a fun experience for the kitten and owner alike.
Should I bathe my Maine Coon kitten? Yes – you are in luck! Maine Coons love water! A monthly bath is a welcome treat, just make sure the water is lukewarm, not hot, and very shallow.
How To Socialize A Maine Coon Kitten When You Bring A Maine Coon Kitten Home
As we covered above there are a few major points to consider when you bring a Maine Coon kitten home for the first time.
Your kitten has (hopefully) been socialized somewhat already but that does not mean your work is done.
Here are the key points to consider for socializing your newly rehomed Maine Coon kitten:
- Handle them gently and often.
- Speak calming words regularly.
- Acclimatise them to household sounds.
- Introduce them to every member of the family – pets included.
- Practice grooming regularly to normalize the sensations.
- Engage in quick games to keep your kitten stimulated and get them used to playing with you.
- Give them lots of love! Maine Coons love affection and return it tenfold. If you don’t neglect them, they won’t neglect you!
Things To Buy For A Maine Coon Kitten
A lot of people find themselves wondering what do you need for a Maine Coon kitten?
Here is a list of everything you will need at home for when it is time to bring your Maine Coon kitten home:
- Cat bed
- Kitten Food
- Bowls for food and water
- Litter tray
- Toys! And lots of ’em’!
- Scratching post – Cat Tree
- Cat Carrier / Kitten Carrier
- Kitten Shampoo
Training Your Kitten
If you are wondering how to train your Maine Coon kitten – have no fear!
Maine Coon kittens learn best from playing games and being rewarded with love, even more so than food.
There have been studies into the effectiveness of different rewards for cats and guess what -cats prefer you over any treat!
Many people ask me why is my kitten biting me, but the truth of the matter is they are just exploring. The same way babies do, with their teeth, chewing, nibbling, basically learning what is what.
If your Maine Coon kitten bites you, simply replace your hand with a toy whenever they get a case of the nibbles.
Here’s are some full ‘how to’ training guides for your Maine Coon kitten or cat:
- How to train a Maine Coon cat to play fetch
- How to toilet train your Maine Coon
- How to teach your Maine Coon cat to walk on a leash!
How To Discipline A Maine Coon Cat
There are various methods to discipline a cat, though, they are never advised by cat specialists. For example, a firm “NO” so the kitten can associate the word with the action of stopping doing what they are doing.
It is thought that cats learn best with positive reinforcement which means you should reward good behaviors rather than punish bad ones.
Thus, when your Maine Coon kitten is biting your hand, tell it “NO” or “STOP” firmly and replace your hand with a toy. Then, when your Maine Coon kitten chews the toy instead of your hand offer love, praise, and even treats!
How Long Can Maine Coon Cats Be Left Alone
Maine Coon cats do not like spending lots of time on their own since they are massively sociable felines.
If your Maine Coon kitten is a few months old, do not leave them on their own for longer than one hour. At a couple of months old though, you can leave your Maine Coon kitten for a few hours.
As full-grown adults, Maine Coon cats can be left for as long as 12 hours on their own, so long as long as this is not a regular event.
So, do Maine Coon cats need a companion? Not necessarily, they will be perfectly fine without one. However! A companion, especially another Maine Coon, can tremendously improve their mental well-being.
Hopefully, you now have a much better idea of all the important aspects of how to socialize a Maine Coon kitten correctly, as well as why proper socialization is so very important.
Remember, there is not necessarily a magic order or magic method for socializing all Maine Coons. Each cat is different just as each owner is different. It is about finding a method that works for you both as a team.
How To Know If Your Kitten Is A Maine Coon
Maine Coon kittens are not always much bigger than regular kittens so you cannot always tell. A bigger issue is telling the difference between a purebred Maine Coon and a mixed breed. Some key things to look for are their size, their tail’s “bushyness”, whether they have tufted paws, and if they have long shaggy fur.
Maine Coon Kittens For Sale
You have found some Maine Coon kittens for sale! Before you buy one make sure you do some proper digging into whether or not they are legit Maine Coons.
Our blog post How To Tell If Your Cat Is Part Maine Coon covers what to look out for.
How To Cool Down A Maine Coon Cat
Maine Coons are big and fluffy. This can lead to them overheating which can be very uncomfortable for them. Methods for cooling down a Maine Coon cat include creating shady resting places, cranking up the AC, and providing plenty of cool water for them to drink.
How Big Should My Maine Coon Kitten Be?
Maine Coon kittens vary in size and weight over the first few months. Gender plays a role in the expected weight. First 6 months:
- 1 Week: 6-8 ounces
- 1 Month: 20-28 Ounces
- 3 Months: 4-8 Pounds
- 6 Months: 6-12 Pounds