TruTails Kitten/Cat Care Information
INTRODUCING YOUR KITTEN/CAT TO ITS
Provide A "Safe Haven"
~ Your new kitten may be frightened, insecure, and confused about leaving
its mother and siblings for a new home and new friends. To minimize
the stress and to help your new kitten/cat acclimate to its new home,
we suggest you put him/her in a quiet room without other pets with their
food & water, litter box. (If you have other pets your bedroom may
not be the best choice, your other pets may feel excluded.) Let your
kitten explore this room completely so it can ascertain that there are
no dangers and it can start to relax.
Open the door to this room when you feel the kitten is ready to leave
of its own volition and start to explore the rest of your home. The
kitten can always run back to its new safe haven if something alarms
him or her. It is best to give your other pets some time to get used
to the idea of a new cat in the house.
Scents/Odors ~ cats have a very
powerful sense of smell. One of the things I do with all kitten/cats
before they go to their new homes is give them a bath - this helps eliminate
the scents of all the cats at our house. It would be helpful for you
to rub a towel on your other pets and bring it along inside the carrier
for your new kitten. That way (s)he can both add the scents of your
other pets onto their fur as well as get used to the smells of your
pets in advance of meeting them. When you get home, use the towel from
the carrier that your kitten has been on and bring it out so that your
other pets can get an advance preview "smell" to help them
recognize the new kitten. Another tip - put a small drop of perfume
on the shoulder blades of all of your pets; this is one area in which
the pets cannot lick or groom so they will all have a common scent on
them. Just remember they have very sensitive noses; so don't overdo
Take it slowly ~I know you will
want your new baby to become a part of your family as soon as possible,
but it is important for the kitten to rebuild their confidence as well
as to give your other pets time to get to know the newcomer. Frequently,
it is the older pets that have a hard time adjusting to the "intruder"
and the kitten will romp around the house, oblivious to the older cats
distress. Remember, give your other pets lots of attention and soon
they should be accepting of each other if not best buddies.
If you have an older cat that is just NOT accepting the "intruder"
another option to help the newcomer get to know your other cat(s). Put
the kitten in a carrier (make sure it is secure) and put him/her in
the middle of the living room. The other cats can see, hear and smell
the kitten without the kitten wandering too. Later - alternate this
system if you only have one cat and let the kitten wander around so
the other cat can see him but not be able to feel too threatened. Then
put the kitten in its "safe haven" and start again.
Dry food ~ We feed and recommend: EaglePac
Canin (Growth, Maine Coon & Special), Sensible Choice, Neutro Max, we also mix in a little "dental diet"
either Science Diet TD, Eukanuba or Friskies. While at our house your
kitten has received a mixture of these foods to help them become accustomed
to several different tastes and kibble shapes. We
recommend "free feeding" kittens, but remember dry food will
get stale if left out too long. We recommend putting out just slightly
more than the kitten/cat will eat in a day. You should always keep your dry food stored in airtight containers.
Canned food ~ We like to offer
a small amount of canned once or twice a day. We feed Neutro Max kitten,
Neutro Gormet Classics, and Friskies Prime Fillet. Canned food should
be served at room temperature. If the food has been refrigerated you
may microwave food for a few seconds, stir and serve the food a few
minutes later to prevent it being too warm in spots. Do not leave canned
food out for more than 30 minutes. If you decide to offer canned twice
a day, serve a half-day's portion morning and evening. I start by serving
a tablespoon or two and increasing the amount as needed or as desired.
Hairballs ~ There are several
hairball cat food formulas on the market that have extra fiber to help
in ridding cats of hairballs. You can also add extra fiber to their
canned food (pumpkin or baby food sweet-potatoes are a good source of
fiber that most cats like). Or you can offer a product like Petromalt
which is a brown sticky paste. Recommended dosage is once a week, approximately
one inch given orally. Many cats will lick it directly from the tube.
A dry hacking, gagging cough is usually a hairball. If your cat is coughing,
give him/her Petromalt daily until the hairball is expelled.
Unlike some breeds, Maine Coons love water!... it should be available at all times. Provide FRESH water at least once EVERY day. Oxyfresh makes a great
mouthwash for cats that you can add to their water to help keep their
Food/Water Dishes ~Use glass,
ceramic or metal and clean them daily. Plastic tends to collect bacteria
from the oils in the cat food and can lead to chin acne. I use the small
(desert size) paper plates for canned food. Maine Coons frequently enjoy
playing with their water. We recommend using heavy water bowls and putting
trays under the water bowls to prevent floods. Keep the food bowl at
least 12 inches from the water bowl. Do not keep the litter pan anywhere
near the food and water containers. Would you want to eat in your bathroom?
Cats don't either. We have one male who will drag his litter to the
water or vice-versa just for the pleasure of making "mud."
New kittens/cats may not appear to eat or drink for several days.
Don't worry - they will eat when they feel relaxed. Stress may also
cause some temporary illness such as dry or wet sneezing, watery eyes
or a slight fever. As long as the eyes are clear and the nasal discharge
is clear, then the kitten will recover quickly as they adjust to a new
environment but, any green discharge should be investigated by a licensed
veterinarian. Changes in water or food (and stress) may also cause diarrhea. We
recommend using bottled water to begin with and only the food we provide
to minimize any temporary digestive problems. You can change them gradually
to your water and food.
We recommend the jumbo-sized litter pans that accommodate the long
length of the Maine Coon body. Put litter pans in a quiet and well-ventilated
area. We use pinewood "stove pellets" when we can get them,
or Feline Pine http://www.felinepine.com/
during the months the wood stove pellets are not available. Compressed
pine pellet are excellent at absorbing moisture and eliminating odor.
We have also used PaPurr a recycled paper litter and the World's Best
(both of these are flushable and compostable) You are welcome to use
whatever litter suits your cat's preferences and your lifestyle (clay,
clumping, etc.). Scoop the litter 1-2 times daily, dispose of litter
appropriately and clean/disinfect your litterpans regularly. We keep extra
litterpans to use so we can rotate while some are being disenfected.
PLEASE NOTE: Clumping litter is not safe for young kittens since they
tend to eat everything! The clumping litters have a cement additive
so we recommend waiting until kittens are six months of age prior to
introducing them to clumping litter.
Be prepared with extra litter boxes and to put them in different
areas of your home to prevent accidents from occurring. Make sure the
cats all have access to litter and food/water. Some cats will stalk
the babies or bar them from the litter pans so be sure that you observe
everyone closely and make sure the new kitten is not at risk before
leaving them all alone together.
Combing ~ Comb your cat weekly
using a wide tooth (coarse) comb, then progress to a tighter (fine)
tooth comb. Do not use slicker brushes on Maine Coons, they do nothing
more than move the top layer of fur around. Be gentle and groom the
cat in a position that is comfortable for you both. Start with the britches,
tail and tummy (get the tough parts out of the way first) then progress
to the back and chest which are more pleasurable for the cat.
Nails ~ Trim your cat's claws
at least once a month. Use small cat claw scissors and holding the cat
in a stable position, press on the pads of the foot to extend the claw.
Clip the translucent tip of the claw. The opaque portion should not
be cut or your cat's claw will bleed ~ this hurts, clipping claws should
never hurt and if done properly, the cat will not mind. Remember, there
are five claws on the front paws and four on the rear.
Ears ~ use a cottonball or thick
kleenex wrapped it around your finger to swab out the ear. Do not use
q-tips or put any liquids in the ears unless directed by your vet. Wipe
away brown wax but report any heavy buildup or black dots to your vet
immediately. Do not get water in their ears when bathing - do not submerge
their heads at all!
Teeth ~ check your cats teeth
and gums for signs of gum disease (gingivitus), tooth disease, tartar
or teething. Very bad breath is not normal for cats ~ your cat may have
a problem. Juvenile gingivitus may be seen when the cats are 7-11 months
this usually clears up by 1-1.5 years of age and can be helped with
treatments of clindamycin (antirobe aquadrops). Discuss brushing your
cats teeth with your vet. Starting this as a kitten makes it easier
Bathing ~ A basic shampoo routine
includes Goop (mechanics hand cleaner), Dawn dishwashing liquid soap
and a medicated shampoo you can buy from your vet. Use Woolite in the
water to help get the cat's coat sopping wet. Rinsing well is vital;
allow a minimum of 10 minutes to thoroughly rinse your cat - kittens
require a little less time, but set you timer - do NOT skimp on the
rinse time - a sticky coat will look worse than when you started and
will attract dirt.
Drying ~ Warm some thick, absorbent
towels in the dryer prior to the bath. "Slick" the excess
water off your cat/kitten while (s)he is still standing in the sink.
Wrap your wet kitten in the warm towels to absorb water out of the coat.
Change the towels as needed and comb out the cat lightly as it is drying.
Be careful as the wet hair is easily damaged. Make sure the kitten has
a warm or sunny place to finish its grooming itself. You have a fresh
smelling, lovely kitty to enjoy, give kitty a treat for being so good
and congratulate yourself for a job well done. Bathing your cat will
also help reduce the amount of hair that is shed, greasy coats and shedding
can lead to horrific mats so it is important to keep up with their grooming.
Fleas ~ Fleas are not usually a problem in the high dry climate of Colorado,
but if you live in a climate where fleas are a problem use a topical
product such as Advantage or Frontline on your cat monthly to kill the
fleas and be sure to treat your home. Fleas are very detrimental to
your cat's health - they can kill a cat through anemia and give cats
tapeworms as well as make them miserable.
Toys ~ When purchasing cat toys, make sure
they are cat safe and do not have parts that can come apart and be easily
swallowed. Avoid glued on parts and make sure tails, bells, etc. are
very secure. Kittens love the Mylar teasers, but do not leave them down
for the cats to chew on - the metal strings can cause intestinal damage
if swallowed. Thread and strings are VERY dangerous. Cat's tongues are
like Velcro, once something like a ribbon is licked, it is nearly impossible
for a cat to spit it out. Ribbons can get stuck in their stomachs and
cause an intestinal blockage that require surgery to remove. Cats are
like toddlers ~ you need to keep dangerous items out of their reach
to keep them safe (and their reach is incredible).
Toys need not be expensive ~ cats love cardboard boxes, paper bags (be
sure to cut the handles), tinfoil balls (large, tightly compacted),
ping-pong balls - especially in the bathtub, etc. Cat tracks and turbo
scratchers are great. Most cats love Catnip. The best quality you can
buy is from Alaskan CloudBusters http://www.alaskancloudbuster.com/
in the Matanuska Valley of Alaska. It is incredibly potent! - Cat Faeries
offers fantastic cat toys and divine catnip extract mist.
Cat Furniture ~ Cats love
to be up high as it gives them both a great view as well as a sense
of security - http://www.7thheavencatfurniture.com/
A cat tree at least four feet tall is a necessity for Maine Coon cats.
They need something tall and sturdy so that they can scratch - they
need a good workout and a cat tree with a sisal post works great. Give
them a piece of furniture they can call their own and they will spend
less time on yours.
~ Stock extra litter pans, litter, food, dishes and bottled water
in a location with your own personal emergency supplies. We recommend
you keep at least one carrier per pet. A zippered pillowcase provides
a quick evacuation tool if your carriers are inaccessible. Keep your
cat up to date with vaccinations and keep your pet's nails trimmed regularly.
Hazards ~ Many products and situations
are hazardous to your cats. Pine based cleaners are toxic. Do not use
toilet tank cleaners, it only takes one time to forget to put the toilet
lid down and if your cat drinks from a toilet with a toxic cleaner it
could be fatal! Many plants are poisonous ~ http://www.cfainc.org/articles/plants.html
Treat your cat like a curious child ~ look for hazards. Cover electrical
outlets, cut dangling blind cords cover electrical cords, screen off
your fireplace, be very careful with recliners, (the mechanism could
seriously injure a cat and decapitate a kitten), hide-a-beds, rocking
chairs, slamming doors. Be careful with needles & thread, plastic
bags, shopping bags, cigarettes, styrofoam, packing peanuts, yarn, cellophane,
open refrigerators, dryers, garbage cans, sharp tin can lids, chicken
bones. Be observant and try to deal with hazards before your cat finds
Health and First Aide ~ A cat's
average temperature should range from 100.4 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Kittens can be slightly higher. A temperature of 104 degrees is cause
for alarm and an immediate vet visit. Measure temperatures with a rectal
thermometer or an ear thermometer. Pulse should be 110-130 beats per
minute. Respiration should be 20-30 breaths per minute.
Keep your vet's phone number handy and locate an emergency or after
hours vet nearby if your regular vet is closed. Emergencies always seem
to happen at night or on weekends.
Stay in touch ~We love updates
on TruTails Legendary Pets, we appreciate fun,
wacky and cute photos we can use on our website. Let us know how your
kitten is adjusting to its new home. Please call or email if you have
any questions. ENJOY your wonderful new
Maine Coon Cat!