When bringing home a new kitten or cat take everything slow and easy. You need to get to know your new baby and he/she needs to get to know you. Remember, they are young and they’ve just left their families and everything that is familiar to them. Here are some suggestions.

Before you pick up your new addition be sure you have the basics. A cat scratching post is a must. If you don’t give your cat somewhere to shed his claws he’ll find somewhere on his own and it will probably be your carpet, furniture, or wood doorways. This is natural behavior so channel it somewhere appropriate from the beginning. Trillcatz kittens may NEVER be declawed! This is amputation. Please take a moment to read about declawing.

Your kitten has been litter box trained for many weeks. You will need cat litter and a litter pan. Maine Coons are big cats and we’ve found that they can really make a mess by throwing litter all around. We use the big under-the-bed storage units that can be purchased at K-mart or Wal-Mart. The jumbo litter pans work well if you get the extra deep ones. We use wood stove pellets for cat litter and advise against using clumping litter as it is hazardous to cats and landfills. Please read a true story about the dangers of clumping cat litters.

Let’s talk about food. Nutrition is so important to growing bodies. We feed Nutro Natural Choice kitten food, both canned and dry to the babies and Natural Choice Maintenance to our babies over one year. Have you ever checked out the ingredients in pet foods! I won’t go into the gory details but it’s pretty bad. Nutro Max foods do not use any by-products in any of their foods. They also use natural preservatives (vitamin E). Corn is either not used or kept to a minimal amount. Many animals cannot tolerate corn. If you feed foods high in corn you may see digestive problems or skin allergy problems. Cats are carnivores and need meat… they require lots of protein derived from meat. Feeding a premium cat food will guarantee your cat a balanced diet with less digestive upsets. Dry food is a must as it helps keep teeth clean thus resulting in fewer dental visits to the vet. Watch out for the “dental diets” as many are high in corn and fat and result in major digestive upsets. You can use them for treats… most cats really like them but use sparingly.

Let’s talk a little about behavior. Maine Coons are big cats with the males approaching twenty pounds or sometimes more. When a kitten is doing something that is “oh so cute” be sure it will be acceptable behavior when they are grown. A simple kids squirt gun is great for behavior modification… keep one in every room… just an inexpensive one not the blasters. You don’t want kitty on the kitchen table, let him know. A squirt to the rear is a great deterrent. Never squirt them in the face. Maine Coons are persistent but they are also smart so training doesn’t usually take long. Just be consistent.

Maine Coons are smart, loving animals. They are very adaptable… but remember, they are animals… there are some traits that are just naturally feline. When cats exhibit a negative behavior they may be trying to tell you something. Not using the litter box appropriately? Is it being cleaned everyday? Hissy behavior? Is someone playing too rough with kitty? Most times we can look at our cats behavior and figure out what the problem is but if you can’t, ask someone with more experience for help. As breeders, many times we hear about a lovely cat that now must be rehomed… why? Generally because something changed at home and the cat’s behavior reflected the change and the owners didn’t want to work it out. Your animal companions are family members aren’t they? We raise our children with boundaries and consistency and love… feline companions should be raised the same way.