Maine Coon Grooming – The Complete Guide
Who doesn’t love grooming their cat? Especially when the cat is a Maine Coon, one of the largest domesticated felines in the world. Every pet owner should relish these moments and share their joy with the cat. It’s a wonderful form of bonding that’ll make your cat trust you more.
But the question remains. How do you groom a Maine Coon cat? There’s got to be some secret aspect few people know about, right? Well, not exactly.
These cats require grooming just like other cats. But they do need some special attention due to their size and other characteristics. Do you brush their coat or trim it? What about bathing? What products do you use during bathing? Their nails are very important, as well.
In this complete guide on Maine Coon grooming, we’ll discuss everything you should know about grooming!
Convince Your Maine Coon to Accept Grooming
The first step is always the hardest when it comes to grooming. Maine Coons are just like other cats – scared, annoyed, and fearful. They don’t know what you’re doing with that strange tool on their backs. And why are you cutting their nails? And bathing, we’ll that’s another monster altogether, though Maine Coons are more permissive to water than other cats.
Go about things slowly. Take the cat, place her on your lap, cuddle with her, and then take out a brush. Don’t rush into things. Let her see what you’re doing and that you’re no threat. If she looks annoyed, let her go. Most importantly, reward your cat when she’s patient. Touch her paw, her ear, brush her coat, and let her know she’s doing good by letting you do it.
If you want your Maine Coon to sit still while you trim her nails or brush her coat, then start slowly. Make her stay calm on your lap for 5 minutes before trying to clip her nails. Patience is the name of the game here. You’ll have a long road ahead but patience always wins. If the cat sees you won’t harm her, then she’ll eventually come around. Some take more than others but the result is always the same.
Interestingly enough, some Maine Coon cats will do the work themselves. They will rub against the brush and let you do your thing. But that’s not always the case with all cats. They do need a good brushing from time to time, so don’t forget this.
How to Care for Your Maine Coon’s Coat?
Maine Coons shed their fur a lot. Considering how big and thick their fur is, that’s quite a lot of shedding. Clearly, you need to brush your Maine Coon’s coat regularly. If they allow it, then it’ll be a great bonding experience between the two of you. It’ll be something like prolonged cuddling. I recommend you use a nylon or rubber brush because they apply a softer touch.
A nylon brush gets the brushing started with a soft touch. It won’t take away that many loose hairs but your cat will like it more. As you brush the cat’s coat, the brush will start untangling all those knotted hairs and move them in the same direction.
When you’re finished with this, use your wire slicker brush. This brush has a less soft touch but it’s extremely efficient at taking away loose hairs.
Look for a stiff and firm brush that’ll do the job. Your cat should still be in grooming mode now that you’ve cuddled it with the softer brush. It should not react to the firmer brush.
Shedding won’t be a problem anymore! I also recommend a stainless-steel comb for those hard-to-break hair knots. Sometimes, and nobody knows how or why, Maine Coons get their hair tangled crazy-strong. And a regular brush just won’t cut it anymore.
A stainless-steel comb is the best tool for this type of situation. It would be a real pity to cut that luscious hair with scissors. Maine Coons develop that beautiful coat in years, and ruining it for a hard knot is bonkers.
What’s more, using scissors on the more sensitive areas like the belly is a sure-fire way of making your cat hate you. No more belly rubs or cuddling for you, sadly.
If the coat is especially tangled, consider going to a professional groomer. Those guys know what they’re doing. After all, you may wash your car once in a while but if it’s caked in mud and dusty as hell, it’s better to give it a professional wash.
The same goes for Maine Coons. For at-home grooming, I’d also use a Mat Splitter to make your job easier.
Haircut For Cats – Is That a Thing?
When summer comes, many pet owners pull off the so-called “lion cut” on their Maine Coons. They shave everything other than the fur around the head and the paws. The cat sort of looks like a lion, a terribly small and malnourished lion. However, this isn’t exactly healthy for the cat. After digging up through old archives, I found out that Maine Coons don’t like having their hair cut too much. Their coat is their pride, so to speak.
Moreover, by shaving the hair on their body, Maine Coons can become vulnerable to sunburns. Not only is the cat bothered by its scarred coat but this also harms its health. So, why do it? Well, because the cat may suffer if it’s too hot outside. Infernal summers and fluffy cats don’t do well together. But wait, I sense there’s another solution incoming! How about providing your cat with a cool and shady spot to nap? And lots of water, as well.
During warm months, I heavily recommend you groom your cat almost daily. Getting rid of excess hair makes things easier for your cat. Less hair means natural oils will cover the cat’s skin, making it less vulnerable to heat. When in doubt about anything, ask your veterinarian. They should know a thing or two about cats, I assume. Unless they’re bad veterinarians.
If the vet says a haircut is necessary, then go ahead and do it. But go to a professional pet salon. This isn’t the type of job you can improvise at home, no matter how much of a professional kit you buy. It’s complicated to shave the cat’s coat with a firm yet soft touch, without scaring the cat. Leaving the job unfinished because your cat wants to nibble on your jugular and scratch your eyeballs out is not the way to go.
Often, lion cuts are the only solution you have when the cat’s coat is impossible to untangle. Not only this but a lion cut is great if your cat has a skin condition that requires the application of medicine on the skin.
Maine Coons and Bathing
Cats and water have never gotten along well. Is that what you think? Well, I’m here to bury the myth and splash some fresh water on this cat. Maine Coons are one of the only species that love water. At first, they may be reticent to get near water or, God forbid, swim in deep water, but that’s only at first. Through constant experimenting, Maine Coons can learn to love their bathing time.
What’s the secret, you ask? Patience, and more patience. Cats are feral and instinctual, so they’re reticent of anything that poses a danger. If you lift your cat and volley her into a 7-feet-deep pool, you’re making great steps already. Great steps toward traumatizing your cat, that is. She’ll never set foot anywhere near water ever again. But if you slowly get her used to water, then she’ll come around eventually.
- Prepare for the bathing by bringing all your tools together (shampoo, brush, comb, and other tools). Make sure you won’t leave the cat alone in the water for even a second. If she feels you close by, she’ll be braver. I recommend placing a bathing mat in the tub for extra comfort but it’s not necessary. Now fill the tub with a few inches of warm water.
- Place the Maine Coon in the water, after you’ve already gone through the introduction phase. The cat needs to be familiar with water, the tub itself, and the noise of the shower. Now soak your cat from head to toes using the water in the tub. Be patient because a Maine Coon’s coat is quite thick. Don’t use running water because it may scare the cat. Now use a brush to gently soften her coat and let the water get in there. Avoid getting water in the cat’s eyes and ears, though.
- Use shampoo now: All professional shampoos come with instructions, so use those. Ideally, you should use a soft brush to spread the shampoo around the cat’s coat. It would be a good idea to give your pet a few treats right about now. She’s probably stressed from all the strange things you’re doing to her. Let her know everything’s fine!
- Rinse the Maine Coon: with lukewarm water. Let your showerhead run for a bit so the water gets to the desired temperature first. Now run the showerhead through the fur and use a brush to get all the shampoo out. Don’t use the showerhead on the cat’s head. Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe the shampoo off. It’s very important to be meticulous about any remaining shampoo, so wash it all off!
- Shampoo and rinse again Maine Coons need a second round of shampooing with all that fur going around.
- Dry the Maine Coon with a few towels. First off, take away all the excess water from the coat using your hands. Now, wrap the cat in a towel and place her on another towel. Then, start drying her with the towel but only go in the direction of the hair. Don’t rub the fur like you would with a dog. Dogs may enjoy that but cats? Uhh, no, that glorious coat deserves a royal treatment, not a shabby rubbing. A second or even a third towel may be necessary. I personally recommend microfiber towels because of their absorbent properties.
Drying out your Maine Coon takes the longest but it’s also a risk-free process. Almost nothing can spook your cat. The worst part is over. Alternatively, you can try blow-drying the cat but it’s going to take some getting used to. All that noise, the hot air coming down on her, it’s downright terrifying. But Maine Coons are trainable.
Cats have nails for a reason. They use nails to climb trees, defend themselves from threats, maintain a steady balance, and they’re comfortable to have around. So, you’d better be careful when trimming your cat’s nails. Maine Coons aren’t any different. As for declawing, I strongly advise against that. It severely impacts the cat’s lifestyle, overall comfort, and happiness. Unless the cat has a severe illness that requires declawing, never do that.
Nail maintenance is as simple as a scratching post, most times. Cats need exercise, especially Maine Coons that are at risk of obesity. A scratching post will wear down the tip of her nails in a natural way. Didn’t you ever see cats going up to a tree and scratching the bark? They do it because it feels good. That’s also how they keep the nails’ length in check. But if you don’t have any trees in your vicinity, a scratching post will do.
Buying a scratching post also prevents your cat from tearing apart your couch or the drapes. Cats scratch everything they see because they feel like it. But trimming the cat’s nails has its uses. Kittens don’t know how to wear off their nails, so you need to show them how it’s done. No, I don’t mean going up to a tree and scratching the bark with your hands. I mean trimming the kitten’s nails with a special clipper. Or better yet, a nail file does a good job.
Cats don’t cut their nails while scratching trees or other surfaces. They wear them down, which is what a file does. Many Maine Coons end up loving this filing process and they’ll actively look forward to it. As usual, let your cat get used to the file by slowly introducing it. This applies to any new tool you use. Don’t press hard on the nails and only use a circular motion.
If the cat doesn’t let you do more nails in one go, accept them. Under no circumstances should you force-file your cat’s nails. They’ll become scared, annoyed, and won’t let you do it again. Electric clippers or nail files are even better for the job. Though, you’ll have to familiarize the Maine Coon with the buzzing noise of the electric nail file. However, the potential is great enough to be worth it.
When grooming your Maine Coon, you need to be patient. I must have used the word “patient” dozens of times throughout this article but I can’t overstate its importance. Cats are animals who don’t know what you know. They get easily scared and spooked off. So, be calm about it and understand their natural fear of new things. Introduce them slowly and steadily until they become used to it!