If you are thinking of getting a cat from this exceptional cat breed, then it’s important to learn how to take care of a Maine Coon before making a huge commitment.
Maine Coons require a lot of exercise, playtime, and grooming. Their long, thick fur sheds heavily and needs to be brushed at least twice a week. Maine Coon owners need to trim their cat’s fur and give them baths if they become dirty or matted. This breed needs extra large litter boxes and cat trees, as well as durable, interactive toys.
If you are determined to get a Maine Coon, read this guide to find out how to care for these large cats.
Table of Contents
How To Take Care Of A Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is a mysterious cat breed that originated in the state of Maine.
There are many fanciful theories about their origins, and some even believe this breed is descended from the cats of Marie Antoinette!
Although that last part is highly unlikely, the Maine Coon is still larger than life, and they are even the largest domestic cat breed in the world!
The Maine Coon is a beautiful breed with a long, bushy tail and a gorgeous shaggy coat. They are also known for having a gentle, loving disposition.
Maine Coons are highly intelligent cats, but they are also very energetic and need a lot of exercise and enrichment to keep from getting bored.
If you want a Maine Coon cat, read the rest of our Maine Coon care guide to find out if you have what it takes to care for one of these gentle giants.
Skin And Fur Care
If you want to learn how to take care of a Maine Coon kitten, one of the most important things to learn is how to care for their long, thick fur.
Maine Coons have long, thick fur that sheds heavily, particularly during spring and fall.
They need to be brushed at least twice a week, and they often need to be brushed even more during shedding season.
When grooming Maine Coons or any other long-haired cats, you should use a slicker brush, a metal comb, and a detangler. These are my favorite cat brushes.
One of the most important Maine Coon grooming tips and guidance is that these cats usually like water. This is often a blessing for Maine Coon owners since their cat’s fur can become tangled and dirty!
While you should not bathe your cat more than once every month or two, the occasional bath is a great way to remove:
- Dead Hair
If you are wondering how to clean a Maine Coon cat that has just gotten muddy, you might feel like you do not even know where to begin!
Pet parents with Maine Coon cats that like to get dirty may want to buy some cleansing wipes made specifically for cats. Alternatively, you can bathe your Maine Coon.
4. TRIMMING FUR
The Maine Coons fur is extra long on their toes and necks, and the fur on their hind legs and tails is so long that it often becomes dirty after using the litterbox.
As a result, many cat owners choose to trim these problem areas so they are less likely to become dirty or tangled.
Maine Coons shed the most during the fall and spring when they are preparing for their summer and winter coats.
If your cat’s shedding has become unbearable, you might want to give your cat a bath to remove all the loose fur.
Most Maine Coons end up needing a trim from time to time, but most people only shave their Maine Coons before surgery or for cosmetic reasons.
If your Maine Coon’s long, thick fur is especially prone to tangles and mats, you may want to hire a groomer to shave some of the problem spots so your cat’s fur is easier to manage.
If you have found mats in your Maine Coon’s fur, you should never try to brush through them, as this can be incredibly painful for your cat.
Groomers usually only shave cats if their mats are too bad to cut or comb through, so you should run your hands through your cat’s coat regularly to prevent mats from developing in the first place.
7. SKIN PROBLEMS
While Maine Coons do not usually mind a bath now and then, regular bathing can lead to dryness and skin problems.
You should never use human products on your cat, including shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, as they contain harsh chemicals that will harm your cat’s skin and fur.
Instead, these are the best cat shampoos and conditioners.
If you notice your cat’s fur is greasy, dull, thin, or patchy, your cat may be dealing with some other skin problem such as:
- Underlying health conditions like hyperthyroidism
If your cat’s skin is red, dry, or irritated, or if your cat seems to be scratching more than usual, it is a good idea to get your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
Maine Coons are typically considered hardy cats that can be expected to live a long, happy life.
Still, there are some health concerns they are prone to. These include:
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Spinal muscular atrophy causes the muscles of a cat’s spine to deteriorate, leading to reduced mobility in the hind legs.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: Genetic condition that causes the walls of the heart to thicken over time until blood can no longer flow properly. This disease always leads to death. Responsible breeders do a genetic test for this condition.
- Polycystic Kidney Disease: This condition causes cysts to form in the kidneys and can lead to sickness and in some cases death.
- Obesity: If your Maine Coon doesn’t get enough exercise or is given too much food or food that is too high in carbs, it can become obese. This puts more strain on the joints and leads to an increased mortality rate. Since the average weight of a Maine Coon varies from 12 to 22 pounds, you should visit your vet regularly to ensure your Maine Coon is the proper weight.
- Periodontal Disease: If you do not take care of your cat’s teeth, it will likely suffer from cavities, gingivitis, or other forms of periodontal disease, which can be deadly if left untreated. Learn more about this, here.
- Hip Dysplasia: This condition causes the ball-in-socket joint of the hip to become loose over time, leading to pain and decreased mobility. It can be treated with veterinary surgery in some cases.
- Patellar Luxation: Patellar luxation causes the kneecap to slide out of place, which can cause pain and mobility problems.
Overall, many of the health issues these cats are prone to will be screened for by your Maine Coon breeder.
You should also take your cat in for yearly checkups for bloodwork and to stay up to date on vaccinations. This will also allow your vet to keep an eye out for any developing health conditions (source 1).
Diet And Water
Maine Coons require high-quality cat food with a high amount of animal protein.
The first ingredient of your cat’s food must list a specific kind of meat, such as:
Cats need only a small amount of carbohydrates and a moderate amount of fat, particularly:
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Most vets recommend dry food throughout the day and a portion of wet food every day. However, Maine Coons should have 2-3 wet sachets a week, rather than 7 portions.
Dry food helps reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar, while wet food provides hydration and reduces the chances of your cat developing kidney disease later in life.
Since domestic cats originated in the desert, they get most of their water from their food and do not drink water quite as often as they should.
Cats are especially prone to kidney problems if they do not have access to clean water at all times.
While water bowls are a great way to provide hydration, cats tend to prefer moving water and are more likely to drink from water fountains.
The Maine Coon is a huge, interactive cat that needs plenty of exercise. They require at least 30 minutes of interactive play each day, so it is a good idea to get all of your family members to share playtime.
If you are wondering how to entertain a Maine Coon cat, make sure you are rotating your cat’s toys every few weeks so it does not get bored.
Training your cat to do tricks or commands is a great way to keep your cat’s mind and body occupied, as well.
It is essential to have large cat trees or even shelves along the walls so your Maine Coon can run, jump, and climb to its heart’s content!
Maine Coons do not do well in small, crowded houses, so if you think your cat is feeling cooped up, you can also train it to walk outside on a leash and harness.
Spaying / Neutering
Unless you are purchasing a Maine Coon with breeding rights, chances are the breeders you are purchasing from will require you to get your Maine Coon spayed or neutered.
This is the best age to neuter a Maine Coon cat.
Spaying or neutering your cat has many advantages. Cats that have had this surgery are also significantly less likely to get Maine Coon Cancer.
Spaying and neutering also curb many behavioral issues like:
Overall, getting your cat fixed is usually the best option as it removes the chances of having a surprise litter to care for and it greatly reduces health and behavioral problems.
The best option for keeping your Maine Coon’s teeth healthy is to brush its teeth every day to avoid tooth and gum disease.
However, most vets know that the average cat simply will not tolerate tooth brushing, and they may suggest using a gel or dental treats instead.
If you get a Maine Coon kitten, you should try to get your cat used to having its teeth brushed early on.
You should check your Maine Coon’s ears every few weeks to once a month for debris and buildup.
You can use cat ear cleansing solutions to remove ear wax, grease, and buildup, but you should discuss this with your vet before introducing a new product to your cat’s care routine.
Maine Coons are not typically prone to eye care issues, and the most they need is usually a quick wipe down with a damp cloth.
If you notice lots of discharge, swelling, or irritation, then you should take your Maine Coon to the vet (source 1).
Paw And Nail Care
Your Maine Coon’s claws will grow throughout its entire life, so you will need to get used to trimming your Maine Coon’s claws every few weeks.
Alternatively, your Maine Coon will maintain their claws naturally if you provide them with plenty of scratching posts for them to claw at, safe access to the outdoor world, and cat trees.
Cats prefer to have different materials to scratch, and you should also provide both vertical and horizontal scratching furniture.
When Maine Coons do not have enough options for scratching, they are more likely to scratch carpets or furniture. Here are 13 hacks on how to stop this!
Make sure you place scratchers all over the house and in front of any furniture you do not want your cat to claw.
One of the most important Maine Coon care tips to keep in mind is this cat’s enormous size.
Since Maine Coons are so big, they need an extra large litter box or tray that they can comfortably turn around in.
If you want to know how to properly care for a Maine Coon, you should provide at least one litter box per cat in the household, plus one extra.
When learning how to look after a Maine Coon cat, you should also choose a low-dust, absorbent litter.
Keep in mind that cats are sensitive to changes, so switching suddenly to a new litter could lead to accidents.
Indoor / Outdoor
Choosing to keep your cat indoors or outdoors is a controversial opinion. As pet parents, we all want our animals to stay safe, but it is also important to provide enough space and enrichment for them.
Be aware that outdoor cats are responsible for killing 1.3 to 4 billion birds each year, and even more mammals.
This has led to the extinction of dozens of bird species and in small countries like Britain or Ireland, many of whose endemic species have already been wiped out. The presence of outdoor cats is an ecological disaster.
Furthermore, while the average indoor domestic cat lives between 12 and 18 years, outdoor cats only have an average lifespan of two to five years.
As a result, many registered cat breeders include in their contracts that any Maine Coon they sell should not be allowed outdoors unless on a harness and leash.
Overall, keeping indoor cats is safer for all of your family members as well as the environment.
How Much Does It Cost To Take Care Of A Maine Coon Cat?
If you get a Maine Coon cat, you can expect to pay between about $125 to $215 a month, or between $1,490 and $2,580 a year.
Here are the annual and monthly expenses you can expect a Maine Coon to incur (source 1):
- Vet: Visiting the vet typically costs about $200 a year, but you might want to budget for between $200 and $400 a year, plus extra if your cat needs emergency care. (From my personal experience in October 2023, removing one cat tooth in the UK cost us the equivalent of $870!!).
- Insurance: If you choose to get pet insurance for your cat, it will probably cost between $180 and $500 a year. (Lifetime cover for our two Maine Coon cats costs us the equivalent of $73 a month, in December 2023).
- Food: You can expect to pay between $50 and $70 a month on cat food for Maine Coons, since they need high-quality food to match their large size and high energy.
- Litter: Litter for Maine Coon cats typically costs about $40 each month, though there are cheaper options available.
- Toys and Other Supplies: Toys, catnip, scratchers, and other supplies will likely cost about $30 a month.
Are Maine Coons Hard To Take Care Of?
Maine Coon cats are a bit harder to take care of than most domestic cats due to their energetic nature and long coats.
These cats need to be brushed at least twice a week, and you may need to trim their fur or even bathe them if they are prone to tangles and mats.
It is also important to provide at least 30 minutes of playtime each day.
Since Maine Coons are so active and large, they need durable, interactive toys like robotic mice to stay entertained while you are not around.
Overall, Maine Coons are relatively high maintenance compared to other cat breeds, but if you have the time and patience to care for one they make rewarding family members!
If you want to learn how to take care of a Maine Coon, you will have to get used to regular grooming and providing plenty of playtime and exercise.
Maine Coons make great pets as they are not as prone to as many health problems as other cat breeds, and they are highly affectionate and social.
If you have the time and space to care for one, then a Maine Coon will make a wonderful addition to your family!