Table of Contents
- 1 The History and Origin of Maine Coon Kittens
- 2 Coon’s Temperament and Character
- 3 Before Bringing a Kitten Home
- 4 Buying and Choosing a Maine Coon Kitten
- 5 Taking Care of Your Long Haired Maine Coon: 7 Steps
Maine Coon kittens are fabulous. They are bigger than any other normal cats, have unique amorousness towards owners and other people and by default are more companionable than many other breeds.
The History and Origin of Maine Coon Kittens
Nobody can tell for certain the ancestral origins of the breed. What we know about them derives from folk tales only. One of them tells that the Queen of France – Marie Antoinette attempted to escape from France with the help of Samuel Clough, a ship captain. She took with her most valuable possessions like jewelry and… six Turkish Angora cats. Though she did not make it to the US, her cats reached the shore of Wiscasset in Maine, where they bred with other shorthaired local breeds thus giving an offspring of modern-known Maine Coons.
Another tale tells us about some Charles Coon, also a captain, who kept longhair cats aboard. Every time he would anchor his ship in New England port, his cats would leave the ship and mate with local feline population. Thus, in the litter of local cats longhaired kittens began appearing, which were soon proclaimed as “those that Captain Coon brought” or simply as “Coon’s cats”.
Another myth on Coon’s origin states that matings between bobcats and domestic cats resulted in hair tufts commonly seen on the ear tips. Another more plausible myth says that the Maine Coons descend from local shorthaired domestic cats and longhaired cats brought from overseas by seafarers (like Captain Charles Coon) of England or even by Vikings more than 900 years ago. What else points out at the credibility of this fact is the resemblance of Maine Coons to the Norwegian forest cat that is also said to be a descendant of cats that traveled with Vikings.
Today Maine Coon is the official cat of the state of Maine as well as the third most popular breed
Only in 1861, the word “Maine Coon” was heard publicly for the first time in Frances Simpson’s “The Book of the Cat”. In the late 1860’s farmers of Maine held the “Maine State Champion Coon Cat” contest at local fair. In 1895 at Madison Square Garden in New York, the first North American cat show was hosted. Mrs. Fred Brown’s Cosey, who won a medal and a silver collar, was named the best in show.
With the appearance of other longhaired cats like Persians from the Middle East, the popularity of the Maine Coon in the 20th century began to decline. After another win at national cat show in 1911 in Portland, Oregon, this breed was rarely seen after. In was declared almost instinct in the 1950’s. At this time in order to increase the popularity of the breed, Ruby Dyer, and Alta Smith created The Central Maine Cat Club. For consecutive 11 years, the club held car shows and exhibitions and is noted for developing written standards for the breed. Only in 1976, the breed was accepted by the CFA (The Cat Fanciers’ Association) and was approved to participate in championships. Today Maine Coon is the official cat of the state of Maine as well as the third most popular breed, according to The Cat Fanciers’ Association registry.
Coon’s Temperament and Character
Maine Coon kittens at early age show an array of personalities – almost as humans do. They may differ in appearance and behavior but their ability to recognize and understand human emotions is a common feature. If your Maine Coon kitten finds you alone in a bad mood, it will stay by your side trying to ease your condition. Among other notable traits of their character, one can outline:
- Their intelligence and impatience. If you forget to leave them food or water before leaving the house when you get back, you may find your fridge door open and a drained vase with flowers thrown out. As you see, they are quite opportunistic.
- They are not as independent as other cats usually are. They prefer staying with humans as long as possible and it’s better to be without any communication gaps due to absence or busyness at work. They thrive on contacting with us but not just one human who will be considered the boss only but many humans that will be cat’s friends – all of them at the same time. You may have noticed that only owners that feed the cat and care for it are considered to be its bosses/masters while other people around are deemed by the cat as retinue for His Majesty only. They can feed the cat at all times and sometimes even touch and only one human in the house has the right to take the cat. This universal “royal” approach doesn’t apply to Maine Coon kittens, as they tend to endow everyone in the house with the same right to feed, play and take care.
They are surprisingly attracted to water
- Being headstrong, a Maine Coon kitten may prefer to keep distance from certain people, as they feel no affection to them or cannot trust them completely. It may sound contradicting to the previously stated fact but it is something that is not common with them. They want to believe you but if you don’t show them anything that could be a reason for undisputed trust, they will evade your society at all times until another chance to prove your trustworthiness shows again.
- They welcome back their owners after a tiring day at work. When
you come home, they show you that they’ve been missing you and stay with you for some time as if trying to know how your day was.
- They are hyperactive which means that you should pay them more attention and spend more time with them than with any other cat. If you evade fulfilling your duties, they will turn own energy into sheer destruction thus compensating your absence.
- They usually don’t get along well with other animals unless being raised among them.
- Naturally, they are very territorial. It means that they constantly show territorial dominance. This is why you’ll find them stretching along your sofa which is a “private spot” from now on. This is commonly attributed to…dogs! However, Maine Coons are no ordinary cats, right?
- Kittens mature slowly. Even adolescents behave like kittens. Nevertheless, they have a sense of moderation about how and when to stop overwhelming games. They are not lazy pets and neither are energy wasters.
- They are surprisingly attracted to water. They may go for a little dip or even share a shower with you.
- Their common behavior may be described as that of a three-year-old child.
- Your dog, despite its size, may be bossed around without any aggression by the kitten. It looks really funny indeed: for instance, your dog may lay its head on your knees and while you scratch its forehead, your Coon will come by and push dog’s face away thus becoming your best friend at this very moment. And for getting hugs and effleurage for free as well.
- They are very smart, thus, training may become a funny experience instead of some obnoxious duty you have to do against your mood and will.
- The final and the most bizarre thing worth mentioning – head butts. Maine Coons like to butt heads with owners. It is their own way of bonding with those who they like and also a way to demonstrate in a playful way their contest for dominance.
- Maine Coons are outstanding personalities that are rarely met in any other cat if ever. Indulge their propensities and you will reveal all their tricks and inclinations to general approval completely.
Before Bringing a Kitten Home
Before bringing a kitten into its new home, make sure you are well prepared. We have prepared a list of necessities that you will absolutely be in need of when welcoming a Maine Coon kitten in your house:
Dishes for food and water. Heavy-duty dishes better made of stainless steel are the best. Some owners may end with a dish best suited for a big dog, as it will be the only one that your kitten won’t be able to flip.
Special food. High-quality dry food that your kitten was already used to before you took him home will be his main nutrition for a couple of weeks to come. However, you may take a transition to other food label but do it gradually.
Cat litter box. Every cat needs its own separate box. Good litter habits are not born with the cat – they are shown as good manners and taught.
Their scratching is the instinctive mechanism destined to keep claws sharp at all times for the possible prey
Litter box content and scooper. It’s just a part of sanitation habits for both your kitten and you. Some kittens prefer clumping kind of filler, while other can do it in ordinary sand.
A cat carrier. It is the only way to transport your cat but can also be a hideout spot. Place it in distant corner of the room, put in old towel or a blanket and your kitten will certainly appreciate its new private den.
Grooming devices. Shampoo, proper brush, scissors and a comb – nothing extraordinary.
Meds against parasites. Flea and tick products are a necessity that you will be resorting to once in several months.
A cat bed. It’s optional as you may improvise ad make one out of an old basket.
Toys. Any Maine Coon is born already pre-wired for play. The ultimate toy is a cat tree. However, their natural roughness when playing makes any toy other than solid a mere bauble that will break in no time. Toy mice and catnip can help to while away countless hours.
There are also optional things that you don’t need absolutely but which may brighten up every day for your kitten:
A cat tower. The ultimate playground that will save your furniture.
A cat scratching post. Their scratching is the instinctive mechanism destined to keep claws sharp at all times for the possible prey. You may buy one or get an old log from the backyard, clean it up, hew away pointy snags, upholster it with firm fabric like enameled cloth and it will serve just fine.
A cat door. An access indoors and outdoors provided that your cat won’t get away completely and is fully domesticated.
Keeping a Maine Coon kitten is not challenging. The aforementioned preparations are unique for almost any breed of cats, beside maybe… tigers, panthers, cougars and caracals.
Buying and Choosing a Maine Coon Kitten
Let’s be honest: Maine Coons are not ordinary domestic cats. They are another breed – a bigger, with unique temper and all these features make them relatively valuable specimens. That’s why the average price is near or above 1.000 USD. And believe us – they are worth every penny spent. But where can you or should you buy a Maine Coon kitten? There are two options we are about to consider:
- First of all, you should visit sites like Maine-Coon-Cat-Nation.com and cffinc.org (United Maine Coon Cat Association) which may provide you with contacts of reputable breeders. This way of buying a kitten may take you long time due to getting necessary papers, providing prove of solvency so that a breeder can trust you for keeping a valuable pet properly. These respected people do care about every kitten and thus want to ensure the best environment that their fosterlings will be living in.
- Second possible option is contacting directly someone who has a pair of Maine Coons and wants to sell newborn kittens. This someone is usually a couple who cannot afford to raise another cat and wants to give it to someone, sometimes for a nominal charge.
Contacting a breeder is the best way to get a healthy, vaccinated and properly socialized kitten. Moreover, cat breeders are not so widely spread as dog breeders that are notorious for their inhuman business. If you buy a kitten at breeder’s, he will provide you with everything you should or want to know about particular kitten:
- Date of birth
- Who the kitten’s parents are
- Vaccination history
- History of diseases
- Food preferences
- Tips on training, feeding and grooming
- Will give you some kitten food for the first time
Now let’s go through a strategy of choosing a Maine Coon kitten done in nine simple steps.
Step 1. What do you want exactly?
Before thinking of buying a kitten, look at your lifestyle and family needs. Getting and keeping a pet is always a life-changing decision, so you should focus on what and how can you do to ensure kitten’s safety, health and development but not be focusing on Coon’s color, markings and size. You should know that Maine Coons develop at different pace – some grow fully adult at age of three years while other don’t reach full size until 5 years of age.
Step 2. Visit the breeder.
When visiting, pay attention at conditions that cats are being kept in. Ideally, kittens should be active, have access to toys and litterboxes. Also, see how the breeder communicates with his cats. A reputable breeder loves his cats, handles them and surrounds with care from the very birth.
Don’t be brusque, don’t be noisy otherwise they won’t approach you at all
Step 3. Watch the kitten’s behavior.
When visiting the breeder, stay with kittens for some time and observe their behavior. They should approach you and explore who you are and whether they can trust you. You should avoid a kitten that’s sitting in the corner while his mates are playing. It may be a sign of fear or mistrust. However, it does not mean that this particular kitten is “defect” in some way. It just may take him more time to get used to you, new home and family.
Step 4. Play with them!
Now it’s time for fun! Install yourself on the floor and interact with kittens offering them your hand for play. You can take a toy and draw kitten’s attention and see what it does. Don’t be brusque, don’t be noisy otherwise they won’t approach you at all. At this point, you may notice the level of socialization of each kitten and develop own preferences in regard to this particular kitten.
Step 5. The personality.
Within the same litter of kittens, you may notice different personalities or a homogenous pack. Can you notice that someone is more talkative, friendlier or more lively than others? Some may be staring at you, other will be chirping in order to get an answer from you, another will be attacking you in a playful manner – make your choice on which one you are going to take with you.
Step 6. Health.
Kittens should be playful, alert and constantly interacting with each other. If you notice coughing, sneezing, discharge from the nose or eyes, these are signs that kitten experiences health problems. Also, take a kitten and watch it paw pads, gums and tongue – they should be pink. However, such colors as smoke, solid black, blue or chinchilla have black pads. Breeders safeguard their kittens by vaccinating them against calicivirus, rabies, herpesvirus and panleukopenia at the age of 16 weeks. If your breeder does not provide you with a written health guarantee from a veterinarian, you should leave him immediately.
Step 7. Kitten’s parents.
Maine Coons kittens reflect their parents’ physical features and temper. While kitten’s parents remain unneutered/unspayed, you should consider desexing your kitten. A neutered cat will behave better than its parents did and will grow larger than its predecessors did.
Step 8. Genetic issues.
The dam and sire of the chosen kitten must have been checked forinherited diseases that Maine Coons are prone too. If they were ill at some point, it may happen with your kitten in distant future as well.
Step 9. Talk to breeder.
You should discuss with the breeder kitten’s quirks and temper, socialization and litterbox habits, veterinary history, health certifications, vaccination history and history of genetic diseases.
Taking Care of Your Long Haired Maine Coon: 7 Steps
Maine Coons are formidably looking creatures that need particular care in order to retain their exquisite beauty, especially that of fur. Thus, the first step is simple…
Brushing you cat daily.
Using special wire brush helps to prevent hairballs that you will have to pick. When using the brush, go down to the skin in order to avoid matted areas. Brushing must be done alongside the hair growth, which feels naturally. Should you do it in reverse, your kitten will be displeased. Also, consider that grooming belly is not that necessary and evolution made all cats feel themselves vulnerable in this spot, so your kitten may react very aggressively. Sometimes combing away is not an option, so you should switch to proper scissor grooming.
Grooming and trimming.
Apply a fine-toothed comb placing it between the mat and the skin, then snip of the mat with scissors. Do it fast; otherwise, your cat will run for its life. Use scissors when mats are too big or too stuck to be brushed away. Grooming can go even beyond common mat trimming and represent very popular cat cuts like “lion’s coat”. These are done for proper hygiene once in several months or especially for cat exhibitions only. Actually, there is no serious point in making these fabulous cuts. When grooming, hind legs and the “bum” should be immobilized with a towel, also use protective glass and wear some long-sleeve outfit so that your cat doesn’t scratch you trying to run away.
Bathing must be done with warm water only and no more than once in 2-3 weeks
Washing?! Yes. Tigers, for instance, adore soaking in improvised tubs in wild when the Sun is scorching their tough coat down. Tigers are one thing but domestic cats are another so it may take you serious effort in an attempt to bathe your cat. But as we already now, Maine Coons are prone to bathe on their own, but your kitten will consider its bathing with shampoo as some aggressive or frightful ritual that must be evaded at all times. Therefore, bathing must be done with the help of someone else as kitten won’t like the process at all and will apply all force possible in order to get away. Before bringing kitten in for the washing session, switch off the faucet so that it won’t understand what is about to happen. Prepare a towel, a cup for pouring water and shampoo beforehand. If you don’t have a special cat shampoo, use a gentle baby one. Now this is how the proper bathing should be done:
Do not use shower or faucet! You may only pour water on your
cat gently but not pouring the whole bowl at a time. Pour the bowl gradually and rub kitten’s coat trying to soak the fur completely. Their coat is destined to withstand long exposure to snow and rain, that’s why they must be soaked well.
After soaking the fur well, apply some shampoo and rub it gently but thoroughly. Do not rub its muzzle!
- After your kitten is dully foamed with shampoo and water, rinse him meticulously to wash away all the foam. If you don’t rinse carefully, your kitten will spend countless hours afterwards, trying to lick away all bitter shampoo left in his coat.
- After washing is done, dry the kitten manually with the help of towel, clean his muzzle, paws and between the pads, tousle his coat and let him be on his own. He’ll find a warm spot near the heater or under direct sun light and will dry in a couple of hours completely.
- Bathing must be done with warm water only and no more than once in 2-3 weeks.
Feeding a pet properly is the biggest milestone in the care strategy. The food and feeding regiment have a big impact on the overall well-being and behavior of your kitten, so you should follow the path approved by specialists. What do these specialists can recommend?
Maine Coons are more muscular than their other “associates” of the feline kingdom are
Firstly, feed him both dry and wet foods. Dry food is everything packed and fit for cat consumption. Get some advice from a veterinarian that will give you information on what dry food is the best choice, will recommend particular brands and teach how to read the content and directions – all these carbs, proteins, fats, fiber and salt that are inside the chow. Wet food is any that you may cook or at least steam for your cat: chicken liver, for instance is a great example of wet food for cats, but consider asking your vet first as he may have own opinion on the matter (read more about healhy kitten food).
Secondly, the feeding schedule is important, as it is a part of training
and a habit that your cat may work out. Eating habit will help your kitten to establish own regiment and the habit of eating when being really hungry.
Thirdly, the quantity of food given and its calorific value do matter. Caloric surplus/excessive volumes of food affect the fat/muscle ratio and also the hormonal system. Maine Coons are more muscular than their other “associates” of the feline kingdom are. They are larger, stronger and have larger bones that tend to gain more muscle or fat, depending on the way you feed you Maine Coon.
Adequate fluid intake.
Keep the bowl full with fresh water at all times. Change the water every day. In addition, you must clean the bowl once a week. Hydration is the vital component of health that stands for physical performance, proper intestine functioning, coat condition and overall well-being of any cat, dog – any living being, in short.
Maine Coon kittens are very energetic and more open to any interaction with humans than any other breed. Give them more freedom to wander around the house, invite them and show them to your guests, let them be on their own at all times and don’t forget to tickle them, play with them and encourage contact with other people.
An absolute must! Visit your vet at least once 2-3 months to make sure your cat isn’t prone to any serious diseases. In addition, countermeasures taken long beforehand are better and will cost you less than any possible consequences.
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