When buying a kitten, particularly a pedigree kitten, it is difficult to know what exactly you’ll need to buy in order to care for them. Advertising will convince you that you need to buy every gadget under the sun, and this can make it really confusing.
When buying a Maine coon kitten you will need to factor in their eventual adult size so that you don’t go buying everything twice! Litter trays, cats trees and cat carriers for Maine coons need some thought prior to purchase.
First of all, I’ll discuss the obvious items that every cat owner is aware of but discuss how you need to modify your purchase to account for your new friend being a Maine coon. I’ll then let you know some of the more surprising items which I have found essential for coping with two crazy Maine coon Kittens over the last few months.
The cat carrier you choose will probably depend on the number of Kittens you are getting. If you are just getting the one kitten, then initially you’ll just want a regular-sized cat carrier. This will serve you fine for picking the kitten up from the breeder and taking them for a few trips to the veterinarian.
As your Maine coon gets older, or if you have more than one kitten to begin with, then you’ll need a much larger carrier. Look to purchase a carrier that has been designed specifically for large breeds of cat, or one for a medium-sized dog.
If you intend to travel with your Maine coon then you may want to look for other features such as a foldable carrier, pockets for cat care items and sides which open up/allow the cat to see outside. Take a look at my guide to the Best Cat Carriers for Maine coons.
At nearly five months old, we are just about considering getting a second carrier, just because of their combined weight. Our boy is very big and already weighs over 4kg so he could probably do with his own carrier and we’ll buy a smaller version of the same carrier for his sister.
Here is the one we are currently using. We bought this from Amazon after a lot of research and we are really pleased with this purchase. You can see the listing via this link. Just for comparison, this carrier is the ‘large’ size.
I won’t say a lot on this subject as I’ve written a separate post all about Litter Boxes for Maine Coon Cats. What I will say is that although you are getting a kitten, they will grow at an amazing rate, so purchase a litter tray with their adult size in mind.
If you have more than one kitten, then a large litter tray is a must. Also, you might want to consider getting a second litter tray. Cats have a tendency use the litter tray as soon as another household cat has used it. This can get messy as they won’t necessarily know where any presents may have already be buried. When it comes to the clean-up, you’ll appreciate the extra pooping space.
Ceramic bowls are the most hygienic option as they are easiest to clean. They also do not get cracks and scrapes in them like the plastic options, which can harbour bacteria and cause infection. Your kitten is less likely to develop feline acne on their chin if they are eating from a ceramic bowl.
You’ll need a bowl for drinking water and then other bowls will depend on your preferred feeding option. We have one large bowl for dried food between two Kittens. We then have a smaller bowl for wet food, and this is one per kitten as they need to be fed separately to keep track of who is eating what (especially as one of our Kittens was very small to begin with).
Maine coons are often kept as indoor pets. I won’t discuss the reasons why here, but you can read more about this in my specific article, via this link. Certainly, you’ll want to keep your Kittens indoors until they have been micro- chipped, vaccinated and neutered. This means that you’ll need to provide plenty of opportunities for exercise and entertainment inside the house.
When it comes to cat trees, you need to factor in how big your Maine coon will end up. There are specific cat trees available which have been designed for Maine coons. You’ll want one which is several levels high and with sleeping baskets which can cope with a 20lb cat sleeping in it. Ideally buy a cat tree with a weighted base.
Our Kittens absolutely love theirs; they chase each other around it all the time and then crash out asleep together on the top. The base contains concrete so that it does not topple over when they jump on it. Importantly for us, there were a range of colours available, so we managed to find one that went perfectly with our newly decorated living room.
You can buy cat trees designed for Maine coons from sites such as Cat Tree King and CattreeUk. Our lovely cat tree came from a company called RHR Quality. You can click here to see the listing for the Corner Coon. For more ideas you can also look at my guide to the Best Cat Trees for Maine Coons.
A Double-Sided Brush
Now, you can buy brushes which have been specifically designed for use on Kittens. These are essentially the same as the adult brushes, just with a much smaller head. Unless you are a breeder, with Kittens around you all the time, my advice would be to save your money. Just buy some good quality brushes which will last your Maine coon for years.
Maine coon Kittens take a while to develop the furriness of their adult counterparts. It can take a good year or two for their tails and mane to reach their full glory. In the meantime, you will want to get your kitten used to you brushing them. For this you will only really need one or two good brushes; a double-sided brush is ideal.
These brushes are two-in-one. The pin side gets deep into the fur and removes any knots or tangles, whilst the pin heads massage your kitten’s skin. The bristle side is great for remove dead fur and any debris or dead skin from the fur.
I like this particular example because it is made of bamboo rather than plastic, making it an eco-friendly option. Click here to check current pricing on Amazon.
Eventually you will want to invest in a range of brushes and devise a regular and thorough grooming routine. Take a look at my Ultimate Guide to Grooming Your Maine Coon for more information on this. You can also click here to see my guide to the Best Brushes for Maine Coons.
You may not plan to bathe your Maine coon; many owners do not. We had thought we might do it occasionally as part of a grooming routine.
Over the first couple of months of having our Kittens at home they ended up having some sort of bath around once a fortnight. This is because Kittens are messy, especially if you have two of them. Kittens are clumsy and still learning to groom themselves, they end up with poo in the strangest of places.
This is the kitten shampoo we have been using and it has been fantastic. It lathers up well, washes out easily and then leaves their fur soft and shiny. Click here to see the listing on Amazon or you can see my guide to the Best Shampoos for Maine Coons.
We seriously underestimated how frequently we would need to clip our Kittens’ claws. Both my husband and I sustained some quite significant injuries as the result of Kittens climbing us in excitement as we prepared their food. Kittens are also quite clumsy so they may accidently catch you with their claws unintentionally.
Invest in a pair of nail clippers before you bring your kitten home and take some time to learn to use them. We usually wait until they are in a sleepy state, usually after a meal, before we attempt clipping their nails. Be prepared that it may take several attempts to get all the claws done and if you have to choose then I’d say prioritise the front paws.
In general, the Maine coon breed loves water. As a result, a bowl of drinking water left out in the kitchen will often end up all over the place. Just as an example, the other day I ended up changing the water for my Kittens three times.
The first incident I found them attempting to drown a toy mouse. The second time I saw one of the Kittens cleaning litter off his paws by dipping it in the water. The third time they had put a selection of dried food pieces in the water and these had broken down into a soggy mush at the bottom.
Thankfully I had been warned about these behaviours and had bought a water fountain before the Kittens arrived. The breeder also had a fountain at their house, so the Kittens were already used to drinking from it. You can see some clips of them using the fountain on this YouTube video, and this link will take you to the Amazon listing for our particular cat fountain.
I can quite confidently say that having access to a constant flow of running water means that the Kittens are drinking a lot more than they would otherwise. It also means that they are not trying to turn on the kitchen tap to gain access to running water. I have had them jump in the bath with me though, which was quite amusing, but also my fault for leaving the door open.
Just a word on filters for cat fountains. With two Kittens we find that the filter needs changing every 2-3 weeks, rather than every 4 weeks. This is because they tend to wash their paws in the running water, leading to a build up for litter particles inside. Click here to see the filters we use from Amazon.
Crinkle Ball Cat Toys
Kittens go totally nuts for these crinkle balls. They are fantastic when you need a break as a kitten parent. They play with them so enthusiastically and for so long that they’ll need to sleep it off afterwards.
These toys will get lost though, so make sure you have plenty. You’ll find them under the sofa, under the TV unit, under the refrigerator. Before long, any crevice in your house will have one of these foil balls poked into it.
Fortunately, Amazon are doing them in packs of up to 24 so you’ll have plenty to be going on with. Click here to see the listing.
Now, the list of items mentioned above is by no means exhaustive. These are just the items that we would not have survived the first few months of kitten ownership without. As your kitten grows you’ll find that their needs change and you may need to invest in further items to groom and care for your beloved pet.