Maine Coon cat grooming isn't actually all that hard! With a few tricks up your sleeve, these tips and tools will help you keep your Maine Coon’s coat in tip-top shape.
The first thing most people picture when they think about Maine Coon Cat grooming is all that fur. It's true, they do have a thick coat, fluffy mane and big bloomers!
The beautiful coat of a Maine Coon is actually not as long and full as some other breeds.
The fur on their shoulders and back is shorter than the longer, heavier fur below. So that helps.
Also, this shorter fur with it's natural oils is shiny, glossy and not very prone to mats and tangles.
It goes without saying that regular brushing is in order to keep it in good condition. Thankfully, most Maine Coons are so docile that they are mostly cooperative for grooming time.
But, as much as Maine Coon owners love our Coonies and think they are the cat's meow, many of them just don't like the way being brushed feels.
Sometimes a grooming session seems pointless. Maybe your Maine Coon cat’s skin is sensitive, or maybe he is scared of the brush.
Here are our Top Tips for Maine Coon Cat grooming sessions:
A Maine Coon kitten may not need to be groomed yet, but it's definitely a good idea do it anyway!
Coonie kittens are definitely fluffy, but it's a fine baby fur that doesn't seem to need upkeep yet.
Keeping a few brushes handy and using one gently during snuggle time every day will train your Coonie to tolerate being brushed.
This is the time to introduce regular brushing, and even bath time.
A calm gentle and quiet bath in a bathroom sink under nice warm water probably won't even phase your kitten.
As he grows, you can add more stimulation and noise until eventually he's accustomed to the sounds and sensations of bathing in the tub.
Try to have Maine Coon Cat grooming and brushing sessions on a regular basis, even if your Coonie looks just fine.
Keeping up with regular brushing, even just a little here and there, helps keep mats from developing.
Daily brushing may be a bit optimistic. If that's the case, a good brushing on a weekly basis is fine. Just do what you can!
Having a few favorite treats handy to reward a patient kitty helps train them to consider this a positive, pleasant time.
Don't forget to include some soothing pets and calming words of praise and affection too!
How we treat and approach our Maine Coon Cat grooming time, whether it's a quick and rough job to get done, or a nice experience together, will be something a Maine Coon will learn.
It's important not to push things.
If you get stopped by a stubborn mat, or use a brush that doesn't work easily and gets caught, or accidentally pull on a sensitive area, respect your cat's desire to be done for now.
Trust is so important! If she trusts you to let her go when she wants, she's more likely to sit patiently for a while - and more importantly, not to run away at the sight of a brush!
There are almost too many brushes on the market to choose from! Most folks have heard of the FURminator, and there is a version for long-haired large cats which works great on a Maine Coon's fur for removing dead hair and excess loose fur.
Everyone claims to have the best brushes, but there may not be one perfect, right brush. I found having a small selection to be useful.
A soft bristle brush can gently remove loose hair on the outer coat, and a nylon brush can tackle some excess hair in the softer fluffier underneath areas.
Removing this loose, dead fur is key to avoiding mats. When it stays, there becomes an excess, and then mats develop.
Sometimes it's necessary. When a cat is heavily matted, a lion cut might be the only way to go.
This happens most often shortly after a rescue situation. They will feel so much better with all those mats gone!
For the purpose of hot weather, or general avoidance of having to brush an uncooperative cat, or feeling like they have too much fur, this cut isn't needed.
Maine Coons are meant to be indoor kitties, and they should be comfortable in the same indoor temperatures as their people.
Although not outdoor cats, many have a catio or other enclosed area. A lion cut is still not needed in summer weather. In fact, a Maine Coon Cat’s fur acts as a thermal regulator.
That shiny top layer protects them by shielding them from the elements - sun damage, overheating, and rain - not to mention insects.
Don't forget that this breed developed naturally, and Mother Nature has set them up with the best possible coat for their benefit. They need it!
Some cat owners just really like the lion cut and want to do it from time to time. It's definitely situational, and up to each family to decide if it's necessary and beneficial.
I have dealt with matted fur in two ways. If I have another person to help, it's faster and safer to shave a mat right off.
One person can firmly and reassuringly hold the cat while the other shaves the mat.
The second way is to cut it off. It takes longer, but once you get a little experience it's not hard. I would take a hold of my Maine Coon's fur at the base of the mat and get a good look, and snip it off a little bit at a time.
There are special safety scissors made for this. If you don't have safety scissors or are nervous, it can help to place a fine toothed comb like a flea comb or other stainless steel comb against the skin and cut between that and the mat.
Also, there is a tool called a mat splitter on the market now. When we had our Coonies I hadn't heard of mat splitters yet.
I now have one for my dog, and he doesn't like it! It's necessary to hold the skin because it does get pulled. But with that said, it does work.
Using a mat splitter will probably go best with a laid back cat who doesn't seem to have sensitive skin and enjoys grooming and brushing time.
Not particularly! But they may need to be bathed a bit more than short-haired cats. It's a lot of fur for a cat to self-groom.
With all that extra fur comes the possibility that they get into something. It's a good idea to have them accustomed to the bath so that when it happens that they need one, it's not a big traumatic procedure (hopefully).
Reasons a Maine Coon might need a bath include getting fleas, having a problem with poo or diarrhea caught in their britches, or due to health problems or aging being unable to groom themselves and needing help to get clean.
Sometimes cats just get messy. My Coonie kittens' first baths occurred when they each, in successive order, hopped into the toilet! One was being bathed when the next one hopped in. We had no trouble all remembering to close the lid after that event!
Bathing is a part of Maine Coon grooming, so having a gentle pet shampoo on hand is a good idea. Human shampoos are all right too, as long as they are gentle, don't include conditioner, and are not heavily perfumed.
Some pet owners are not comfortable with their cat's sharp claws.
Maine Coons are very docile and won't scratch anyone. They benefit from a good cat scratcher or scratching post. There are health benefits for a cat to be able to stretch and scratch naturally.
For cat owner's who feel like their situation calls for tending to the claws, it's quick and painless to clip them with guillotine style nail clippers.
Another option is a product called Soft Paws, for covering a cat's nails in a rubber encasement. We tried them. They were a bit of a process, but they worked!
Oral hygiene is one of the last thing on the list for many people. But it's an important part of Maine Coon cat grooming!
We have a separate page on cat oral health care for more. Brushing your Maine Coon's teeth may not sound like fun, but it's important.
Most of us will never need to visit a professional to take care of our Maine Coon Cat grooming needs.
Sometimes it's really necessary, like in the case of a newly rescued cat who is very matted.
And sometimes a cat is so uncooperative that it's the only way to safely get him cleaned up without being scratched or bitten.
But for your average Maine Coon, bear in mind that it's not like taking our canine friends to the groomers.
Dogs are happy to go places, meet new people, and generally understand what's going on.
A cat will be held down by strangers, have something covering his eyes, likely have his claws covered, and there will be frightening sounds and sensations. Some even need to be sedated.
Except in the case of cats with very extraverted and dog-like personalities, grooming time should hopefully be accomplished at home.
Grooming is something that all pet parents have to do at some point, and Maine Coon cat grooming is no exception! But it's really not all that much work.
Hopefully the grooming regimen for your best friend turns out to be a fun and bonding experience.