Awaiting the arrival of a Maine Coon Kitten is a bit like having a baby. In the days, weeks and months leading up to the day you bring your precious bundle of fur home, you excitedly starting purchasing all the things you think you’ll need.
Then, when you finally bring your kitten home you quickly realize that what you bought isn’t quite appropriate and you have to start returning and exchanging things.
The purpose of this article is to help you prepare your home and acquire all the things you really need to get before the exciting day arrives. You will hopefully see there are certain things you must have plus some non-essential but nice to have items too.
Things To Prepare Before Your Kitten Arrives
It really is worth giving pet insurance some serious thought before you purchase your kitten. Hopefully, you will never need to make a claim but if your kitten does happen to need expensive treatment, you will be so glad you’re covered. Things to look for when researching are:
Which type of plan to choose
- Lifetime Policies: This type provides a very comprehensive cover for life. It is the most expensive but will pay out for ongoing treatments for any lifetime conditions, expensive surgical procedures and recurring problems. If you can afford to pay out for one of these you really will have peace of mind.
- Accident-Only Policies: This type only covers the cost of treatment of injuries caused by an accident. Your cat will not be covered if it becomes ill.
- Pet Wellness Plans: These cover the cost of annual check-ups, vaccinations, flea and tick applications, and other routine treatments.
- Time-Limited Policies: These put a limit on the amount that will be paid out per condition over a defined period of time, after which the condition is excluded from coverage. These are cheaper but not do good for recurring conditions.
- Maximum-Benefit Policies: This is similar to the time-limited policy but doesn’t set a period of time
Look at what is included
Check what the policy covers you for, such as:
- Consultations and examinations
- Dental care
- X-rays, scans etc
Laboratorytesting of blood and other samples
- Hospital care
Expect this to start at around $27 per month.
A Good Local Vet
Carry out research into local vets. Ask friends and neighbors with cats for recommendations. Once you’ve found one you’re happy with,
Spend your spare time Googling everything you can about Maine Coons. There is plenty to read online, some of it factual and some of it fun. Just a word of advice … don’t believe everything you read.
I recommend fairly wide shallow dishes. We have tried stainless steel bowls, china dishes, and even plastic picnic plates in an attempt to find the type our Maine Coons prefer. Some people are convinced their cats suffer from whisker fatigue, meaning they don’t like the feeling of the sides of their bowls touching their whiskers … just something you might want to bear in mind.
You can get some fabulous water fountains (more about these later) for cats but at first, a simple water dish should suffice. Just get something relatively cheap and shallow.
A Cat Carrier
It’s nice to have one of these ready to bring your Maine Coon kitten home in. You may be tempted to just hold it on your lap but this is risky for so many reasons:
- It may wriggle out of your hands and get in the driver’s way.
- It may escape from your arms when the car door is opened.
- It may pee on you (or worse) on the journey home and cause a dangerous distraction to the driver
- You may become involved in a crash whereby the kitten could be thrown from your arms
You may be tempted to buy a cute kitten-sized carrier, but really, this is a waste of money. I recommend you buy a sturdy carrier straight away which, if big enough, will last you for all the years you need it.
We still have the first two carriers we bought 14 years ago and they are still going strong. That type isn’t available anymore but if I had to buy new ones, here are three I highly recommend.
A Litter Box
When you choose a litter box for your kitten look for one that will last until it is fully grown. You may need to change a litter box every couple of years simply because the bottom will get scratched and difficult to clean thoroughly.
Whether you buy one with a lid or not is a matter of preference but I recommend a long tray for Maine Coons that has room for them to hold their tail clear. I have dedicated a whole post this subject if you are interested in a little further reading: Do Maine Coon Cats Use a Litter Box?
There are many types of litter to choose from:
- Clumping. This type clumps together when your cat urinates on it so it’s easy to scoop just the used clumps out. This type lasts longer than other types of litter but is more expensive. It is dusty, non-biodegradable, and heavy to transport.
- Non-clumping. As it doesn’t clump you generally need to throw all the litter away every day to avoid smells. It is cheaper than clumping litter.
- Recycled paper. Made from pelleted or granules of recycled paper, it is dust-free, highly absorbent, and biodegradable. In pellet form, the paper doesn’t clump, whereas the granule form does.
- Pine. This is usually made from lumber scraps that have had toxins, oils, and allergens removed. It comes in pellets, granules, or crushed pine. The granules and crushed pine clump to an extent, but the pellet form is like sawdust once wet.
- Silicone-based crystals. This is made from tiny silica gel beads and is highly absorbent, controls odor effectively, and is fairly dust-free. It is quite expensive but tends to last longer. Some cats don’t like the feel of the crystals on their paws, and there is a danger if large amounts are ingested whilst cleaning their paws.
We tried a variety of litters and plumped for a multi-cat clumping litter when our Maine Coons were kittens.
Don’t forget one of these! I recommend one with slots to remove clumps and a solid scoop for adding litter to the tray.
A Nice Bin To Store Litter in
We bought a smart narrow bin with a section to hold clean litter and an area to store the scoops.
We used scented nappy sacks to scoop clumps into then tied them securely before placing them straight into the outside trash bin.
You might like to buy a litter disposal system. Have a look at this good idea – The Litter Genie Pail
A Cat Bed
It’s hard to resist the temptation to buy a lovely bed for your kitten and there are so many to choose from. We did exactly this but our kittens ignored them and slept on the couch or our bed instead.
So it’s something to consider but prepare for your kitten to never use the lovely little bed you chose especially for it. In our experience, cats prefer high sided or enclosed spaces so have a look at the variety of cave-style beds available.
You can never have enough scratching posts. It’s definitely worth buying one ready for your kitten’s arrival. Then, every time it claws at anything, gently encourage it to use the post. There’s more invaluable information about stopping Maine Coon scratching your furniture here.
So what do Maine Coon kittens like to play with? It’s an old cliche that kittens love to play with wool and they really do. A strand of wool will entertain one for hours. It goes without saying that Maine Coon kittens just love to play. So buy some toys ready such as a small ball, catnip mice and teaser wands.
A laser pointer is always a great hit too. Some people wonder if Maine Coon kittens can go a bit hyper. You may well notice this kind of reaction during kitten playtime.
Pet Accident Odor Remover
Buy a good cleaning spray so you are ready to remove the smell of any toileting ‘accidents’ that may occur.
Though Maine Coon kittens can have short hair at first, they still need to be groomed regularly. Even though your little kitten will have silky fur that doesn’t seem to knot, I recommend you go through the motions of grooming as often as possible.
This way as it grows and its fur
Kitten Toothbrush and Paste
As Maine Coons are prone to dental problems, it’s a good idea to try to get your Maine Coon kitten to let you brush its teeth every day so that it will allow you to do this as it gets older. Hopefully, it will then not suffer from teeth problems in later life.
Kitten-Safe Shampoo and a Soft Towel
Apart from after one toileting accident, we never found it necessary to bath our Maine Coons. It isn’t essential for their well being and many owners we’ve spoken to say theirs hate to be submerged in water.
If you google this subject you will find that some people claim Maine Coons love water. If you decide you want to bath your kitten then ensure you have a cat-safe good quality shampoo at the ready and a nice soft towel.
A Variety of Kitten Food
All kittens have different taste buds … it seems. We tried all sorts until we found one ours really liked. Over the years they have been extremely fussy eaters. It’s best to buy a few different sample sachets of food, specifically for kittens, as it will contain the correct balance of protein, vitamins,
A Pet Cam
It’s a great idea to have a pet cam to see what your kitten gets up to whilst you are out. We bought a new one a while back but then I saw the Amazon Cloud Cam and think we’ll soon get one. Here are three pet cams I recommend.
Kitten-Proofing Your Home
Plan How To Prevent An Escape
Make sure your kitten can’t escape from your house. Ensure everyone in the house knows they must take great care when entering and leaving to prevent your kitten from slipping out of the door.
Secure Heavy Objects
Think about how well balanced and secure heavy items of furniture are. If you have a free-standing TV consider securing it to the surface it sits on. If you have bookcases make sure they are not top-heavy and can’t topple if a kitten tries to climb on them.
Consider The Dangers of Cooking Hobs
Only recently, I read about a Maine Coon who managed to knock a gas hob control, ignite the gas and catch its tail alight. Fortunately, its owner was right there to extinguish the flames. Make sure any cooking hob you have cannot be accidentally turned on (gas or electric).
If you have hot-plates that retain heat at all after cooking make sure you have a way of covering them to prevent burnt paws. I used to cover mine with pans of cold water until they had cooled down. Now we have an induction hob which is much safer and can be locked to prevent accidental turning on.
Secure Window Blind Cords
If you have window blinds operated by cords make sure there is no way a kitten can get entangled in them. Either loop them up high out of reach, cut a continuous loop so there are two straight cords or wind loose ends tightly on a cleat.
Beware of Leaving Windows Open
A kitten can squeeze through the smallest of gaps so fit windows with safety devices to prevent them from opening wider than an inch. If you open a window wide and close the door there is still a chance this could be opened by accident.
My local vets adopted a customer’s kitten which had fallen from a 1st-floor balcony and broken its back. If you have a balcony, even if you think you have blocked any gaps in the rails, a kitten might still climb over and fall. So just give this some careful thought before your kitten is allowed out on your balcony.
Block Gaps That May Lead to Danger
If your home has any gaps that lead into the eves of your home or under floorboards, you can bet a kitten will find these. Look around and block them before your kitten moves in with you.
Move Breakable Object Out of Reach
Move ornaments that might shatter into dangerously sharp pieces to a safe place.
Remove Indoor Plants Dangerous to Kittens
There are several indoor plants that are dangerous to kittens and cats. So check out those in your house to see which ones you should remove. For instance, the pollen of lilies is poisonous. If your kitten gets this on its fur and then licks it off it could become seriously ill … or worse. Ask your chosen vet for more information on this subject.
Get Secure Waste Bins
Some of the things you dispose of in your kitchen bin can harm a kitten if ingested, for instance, coffee grinds. So to be safe, ensure you have a bin that your kitten can’t accidentally open.
If you have an open fire, a wood burner or a gas fire, make sure you have a fireguard to prevent your kitten from getting anywhere near it. When I was a child. one of our cats managed to poke its tail through the bars of a gas fire and ran across the room with its tail on fire. My mum patted it out – the smell of singed fur was horrendous. Thankfully, the cat wasn’t injured.
Things To Think About Once You’re Kitten Has Moved In
Make sure you know when your kitten needs its next set of vaccinations and book an appointment.
Whether you decide to let your kitten out or not, do get it microchipped. It’s relatively cheap and can be used to identify a kitten if it escapes and becomes lost. Ask about the type that can be used to read your cat’s temperature too.
When should a Maine Coon kitten be spayed or neutered? Unless you are planning to breed your kitten talk to your vet about the best time to have her/him spayed/neutered. Maine Coon kitten females can go into heat for the first time between the age of 5 and 10 months. Male kittens reach sexual maturity at between 8 and 12 months.
An Indoor Cat Tree
These are fabulous for indoor cats but outdoor cats love them too. They are great for exercise, scratching, playing, sleeping, jumping, and climbing. Here are some great examples.
A Bird Table
If you keep your Maine Coon kitten inside, try setting up a bird table where it can while away some time just spectating the activity through a window.
An Outdoor Run
If you don’t like the idea of your cat roaming free outside it’s worth thinking about having a large enclosure built. If you can attach this against the wall of your house and allow your cat an access point in and out so much the better. Maine Coons usually grow quite large and have lots of energy to expend. They love the outside world and all the stimulants it provides.
A Cat Harness
Some people successfully walk their Maine Coons on harnesses. If you are thinking of doing this, you should train it to wear and walk with a harness from a young age – as soon as all its vaccinations are complete.
A Safety Collar
If you want to use a collar, do use one that snaps off easily so that your kitten can’t get snagged on anything.
A Lockable Cat Flap
If you want to allow your Kitten outside, it’s a good idea to have a flap that operates with its microchip and can be locked at night once your cat is safely home.
Your Kettle, Hot Drinks and Sharp Objects
Make sure your kettle is in a safe place. Never leave hot drinks where your kitten may jump and scald itself. Don’t leave sharp knives where a kitten could reach them.
If you can’t burn these where a kitten can’t reach, then it’s best not to burn them at all. We had a power cut recently and our Maine Coon, Harry, appeared from nowhere and ran across a tealight candle as we lit it and before we could move it to a safe place. His tummy ignited. We were right there but it happened so quickly. Somehow the flame went out on its own in seconds and he was unharmed. Again the singed fur smell was awful.
GPS Pet Locator
You could attach one of these to your cat’s collar to see where it is when it’s outside. If it wanders too far, this could be invaluable. Of course, there is a chance your cat will lose it if its collar comes off. Then at least you can still locate the collar and know the direction if headed off in.
Once your kitten is settled, you might like to get it a drinking fountain. Maine Coons
Prepare Your Garden
Keep your Maine Coon kitten inside until it has had all its necessary vaccinations and until it is completely settled in your home. If you decide to let your kitten go outside you may want to take these measures:
Install High Fences
If you have the ability to, install high fences that a kitten can’t climb.
Add Locks To Gates
Lock any gates to stop them from being opened by accident.
Remove Outdoor Plants That Are Toxic To Cats
Have a good look at all of your garden plants and remove those toxic to cats, lilies for example. Again a vet should be able to advise you on this subject.
Consider Creating a Large Cat Enclosure
If you are unable to secure your garden and really would like your Maine Coon kitten to get out in the fresh air every day then why not have a bespoke enclosure built.
These can look similar to sunrooms only they have wire instead of glass and if tastefully done, don’t spoil your house. If you can, have a flap installed, then your cat can go in and out as it pleases. Make sure you have something to climb added as well as shaded areas and somewhere to snooze. Fill it with toys too just to keep it interesting.
Hopefully, I have covered everything you need to know to prepare for owning a Maine Coon kitten. Now all you have to do is get yours home and enjoy watching it mature from a bundle of fluff into a glorious Maine Coon cat. Enjoy!