Maine Coon cats are excellent at cleaning themselves. They require little assistance, but when they do, where do you start when bathing your Maine Coon cat?
It can be a stressful experience, causing their little hearts to pound. Also, over-bathing your Maine Coon strips them of their natural oils. These are essential for keeping their fur coat soft and silky.
It’s crucial to find the right balance between keeping on top of your Maine Coon’s beauty regime i.e. bathing, grooming, brushing, and not overdoing it.
This guide will cover everything you need to know to ensure a positive bathing experience for your Maine Coon cat.
- Why Do Maine Coon Cats Require Bathing?
- Preparing A Stress-Free Environment When Bathing Your Maine Coon Cat
- Step 1: Getting Your Maine Coon Cat Used To Water
- Start Small: Let Your Maine Coon Play In The Sink
- Don’t Drench Your Maine Coon’s Whole Body
- Building Trust With Your Maine Coon Cat Before Bathtime
- Grooming Tools And Supplies For Your Maine Coon Cat
- Trimming Your Maine Coon Cat’s Nails
- Removing Matts From Your Maine Coon Cat
- Choosing The Right Shampoo For Your Maine Coon Cat
- Medicated Cat Shampoos
- If your Maine Coon has any medical conditions or dry and itchy skin, then a medicated shampoo might be the best option. Before using any type of medicated shampoo, however, please speak to your local vet, to ensure that it won’t cause any unwanted reactions in your Maine Coon.
- Cleansing Cat Shampoos
- Natural Cat Shampoos
- No-Rinse Cat Shampoos
- Flea and Tick Cat Shampoos
- Correct Level of Water, and Temperature For Your Maine Coon Cat
- Placing Your Maine Coon In The Bath
- Safely Wetting and Lathering Your Maine Coon’s Coat
Why Do Maine Coon Cats Require Bathing?
As I mentioned previously, cats are excellent at cleaning and grooming themselves – including Maine Coon cats. Indoor Maine Coon cats will require less bathing than an outdoor Maine Coon as they carry less dirt and are less likely to come across parasites.
Just having this knowledge allows you to identify when and why Maine Coon cats might require bathing.
However, there are times when your Maine Coon cat might need a bath.
- Maine Coon’s have a double layer of fur, which can result in dead hair and/or dander becoming trapped within their coat.
- To prevent excess shedding in your Maine Coon cat during shedding seasons – Spring and Autumn/Fall.
- Depending on your Maine Coon’s diet, and health, there might be times when they have diarrhoea or poop stuck to their fur. This can be difficult to remove with wipes alone and might require a bath.
- If your Maine Coon cat isn’t the best at cleaning themselves, they might require a little helping hand from you as their owner.
Bathing your indoor Maine Coon cat should be kept to times when it’s an absolute must in which case there are other alternatives to cleaning them. I will cover these options further in this guide.
Preparing A Stress-Free Environment When Bathing Your Maine Coon Cat
Preparing a stress-free and relaxing environment is an absolute first step before bathing your Maine Coon.
Despite Maine Coon’s being famous for their love of water, bath time can still be very stressful, especially if some essential steps are not followed.
Wet fur can be uncomfortable for your Maine Coon, especially when they have a lot of it! It also takes a while to dry which makes them less agile. Their instinctual fear is that it makes them an easy target for predators.
By following this guide, you can prepare the most positive and calming experience for your Maine Coon and mitigate any stress factors.
Step 1: Getting Your Maine Coon Cat Used To Water
Before even considering bathing your Maine Coon cat, it’s essential that you get them used to the water. Ideally, this will be from when they are a kitten so they can familiarise themselves with water and the bathing experience.
This isn’t always possible for every Maine Coon owner, but do not worry. Here are some helpful ways you can encourage your Maine Coon to like water.
Start Small: Let Your Maine Coon Play In The Sink
A bath can be daunting for any cat, but starting with the sink is an excellent way to ease them in gently. And why not make it a fun experience?
My Maine Coon cats are fascinated with the sink and the water dripping out of the faucet. They like to sit in the sink and just stare and sometimes watch the water bounce off their paws.
Add a toy fish or two, and you might just find they start to love water time! You can gradually ease them into the bath for this sort of playtime.
Don’t Drench Your Maine Coon’s Whole Body
If you think about the ancestral roots of most cat breeds, they evolved in the Middle East and Turkey. This is one of the schools of thought as to why most cats dislike water- they were never near it.
This instinctual distaste for water is perhaps why cats do not like baths. So we have to take extra care of them – especially our Maine Coon companions.
When introducing your Maine Coon to water and bath time, start with a small section of their body, and gradually build. Wash their paws at first, then move onto their tail and body. If you wish to do this over several bath sessions, then absolutely do so. It’s better to get them used to water and baths slowly than not at all.
Building Trust With Your Maine Coon Cat Before Bathtime
Building trust with your Maine Coon cat is going to be important if you are hoping for them to have a pleasant and relaxing bathing experience.
When introducing them to bath time, provide verbal reassurances the whole time, rub their ears and chin and reward them with treats for their positive positive behaviour.
This will also help reduce fear and anxiety in your Maine Coon. If you show patience and take things slowly during bathtime, it will be a more calming experience for both you and your kitty!
Step 2: Preparing Your Maine Cat Before Bath Time
Preparing your Maine Coon’s coat will ensure you are off to the best start prior to bathing them. This doesn’t require much preparation, just a couple of tools, and your patience.
Grooming Tools And Supplies For Your Maine Coon Cat
Some tools that will come in handy before bathing your Maine Coon include:
- A brush
- Matt breaker
- Nail clippers
- Shampoo and conditioner
- A couple of pet towels
- A face cloth
- Treats (don’t forget the treats!)
- A hairdryer (optional, depending on how your Maine Coon responds)
- An assistant (if you have one!)
Trimming Your Maine Coon Cat’s Nails
Maine Coons are typically good at keeping on top of their nails. They might maintain them on their scratching posts, or chew at them during grooming time. Ensuring your Maine Coon’s nails are trimmed before bath, keeps any scratching down to a minimum.
Have a look at your Maine Coon’s nails, if they are short and stubby, then they’ve been keeping on top of it themselves. If they are long and curved at the end, then you can safely trim them.
Important: Please be aware that when you are clipping your Maine Coon’s nails, do so only at the tip of the claw. You want to avoid the pink part of their nail, also known as ‘the quick’. It can cause your Maine Coon a lot of pain if you trim too far back.
Removing Matts From Your Maine Coon Cat
When it’s time for your maine coon to shed its undercoat, particularly in Spring before Summer, matting can form. This is because the fur becomes trapped with the top coat.
You might also notice matting can appear in places where your Maine Coon sweats, particularly under their armpits. They can also become matted in parts of their body where there is a lot of movement.
Keeping on top of mats is important to preventing pain and discomfort in your Maine Coon. It can become rather painful and cause infection and flair-ups in the skin.
You can remove mats by brushing them out and using your fingers to untangle them. For more stubborn mats, you will require a mat remover. These are really useful, but be careful not to nip their skin when doing this.
Choosing The Right Shampoo For Your Maine Coon Cat
When it comes to choosing a shampoo for your Maine coon, there are several factors to consider including ingredients listed on the bottle, the type of coat on your Maine coon, whether their coat is oily or dry, and any medical conditions.
There are plenty of options on the market when it comes to cat shampoos, but it’s important to read the ingredients list carefully and make sure you are choosing the best shampoo for your Maine Coon’s needs.
Some types of shampoos on the market include:
Medicated Cat Shampoos
If your Maine Coon has any medical conditions or dry and itchy skin, then a medicated shampoo might be the best option. Before using any type of medicated shampoo, however, please speak to your local vet, to ensure that it won’t cause any unwanted reactions in your Maine Coon.
Cleansing Cat Shampoos
If your Maine Coon is perfectly healthy, without any medical conditions, then it becomes easier to select a shampoo. Cleansing shampoos can be a great option for cats with no issues. These shampoos are usually a 2-1 and will wash out any dirt, or poop from your Maine Coon’s coat.
Natural Cat Shampoos
These are a popular choice amongst cat owners as they are less harsh on a cat’s skin. Usually, they come with organic and/or herbal ingredients listed on the bottle. It’s always best to check the ingredients list beforehand.
No-Rinse Cat Shampoos
As the title says, some cat shampoos are designed for a quick spray and groom, rather than having to bathe your cat at all. These are like human dry shampoos and are very popular options for Maine Coon owners, especially given their double layer of fur which requires maintenance.
Flea and Tick Cat Shampoos
Sometimes, a certain shampoo is required to keep those pesky parasites like fleas and ticks, at bay! This type of shampoo works by coating parasites with an active ingredient – Pyrethin- to kill off any living pests and their eggs.
From personal experience with my two indoor Maine Coon cats, I prefer to go down the natural shampoo route. I avoid any strong fragrances, or ingredients that can irritate your Maine Coon’s skin.
Step 3: Safe Techniques When Bathing Your Maine Coon Cat
As we begin the process of bathing your Maine Coon, there are some helpful techniques to familiarise yourself with beforehand, to ensure a safe experience.
These are basic techniques you would apply to yourself when showering or bathing, and so they are easy to remember!
Correct Level of Water, and Temperature For Your Maine Coon Cat
You want to ensure that your cat can walk around in the bath, therefore, do not fill the bath to a level that will frighten them. A level that is a couple of inches or so below their belly will let them put their paws safely down into the water.
The temperature of the bath water should be close to their body temperature. This is because a Maine Coon’s core temperature is between 99 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit ( 37.2-39.2 degrees Celcius). This is slightly higher than our own body temperature. Anything higher or lower than a Maine Coon’s body temperature will result in them feeling uncomfortably hot or cold.
If you have a thermometer, this will ensure you get the right temperature for your Maine Coon.
Placing Your Maine Coon In The Bath
An important note to begin with – cats do not like slippy surfaces! Therefore, placing a towel at the bottom of the bath will ensure your Maine Coon has plenty of grip during bath time. Something as basic as this could be the difference between them having a successful or stressful experience.
While you or your assistant gently place your Maine Coon in the bath and support them, one of you can be tasked with shampooing and rinsing duties.
Safely Wetting and Lathering Your Maine Coon’s Coat
While you or your assistant is holding your Maine Coon steady, begin the process of gently rinsing and lathering shampoo into their fur. Avoid delicate areas such as their face, eyes, ears and paws. You wouldn’t want shampoo on your face, it can get stingy! Neither does your Maine Coon.
If the bath is fairly shallow, then using the shower hose at a gentle pressure can be used to rinse off excess shampoo on your Maine Coon. Once all the shampoo has been rinsed off, grab a face towel, and gently wipe their face down with clean water. This will get rid of any eye bogies and dirt on their face.
Step 4: Squeezing Off Excess Water And Drying Your Maine Coon Cat’s Coat
When it comes to drying your Maine Coon’s coat, there are a couple of options available. You will know your cat’s temperament and therefore can decide accordingly.
Be prepared to get your clothes soaking wet, this part can get messy! I don’t think I’ve ever bathed my Maine Coons, and not had to replace my clothes afterwards! But it’s fine, we do this because we love our Maine Coon pets!
Squeezing Off Excess Water From Your Maine Coon’s Coat
If you have experienced bathing your Maine Coon before, then you will know there can be a lot of water drenched into their long coat. This is why it can be useful to have an extra pair of hands helping you out.
Gently lift your Maine Coon up from the bath, holding them under the belly at both front and rear legs. When you do this, you will notice water pouring from under their belly. This is the perfect time for your assistant to squeeze out any excess water before moving them into the towel.
You might hear some meows or cries as your Maine Coon starts to feel the cold but provide verbal reassurance during this time. It doesn’t last long!
Towel/Air Drying Your Maine Coon
If your Maine Coons are anything like mine, they will not want a hair dryer anywhere near them. It’s simply a noisy and unpleasant experience.
I always use a couple of pet towels to dry them off as much as possible, as they soak up a lot of the water. You can get microfibre towels, which are really great at doing the job.
Once you have towel dried your Maine Coon as much as possible, you can let them air dry. They’ll probably wander off and find a quiet spot in your home and begin cleaning themselves.
Note: My Maine Coons prefer to be left to air dry, but even at this they can become cold, and start shivering. I try to encourage them to sit on the couch with me and wrap a clean dry towel around them and snuggle for a bit. Putting the heating on for an hour or bathing them at a time when the sun’s rays are shining in your house can make this process more bearable for them.
Step 5: Post-Bath Care And Grooming
The final step in your Maine Coon’s bathing routine is all about giving them as much love and reward as possible and helping them in the grooming process afterwards.
Bath time for maine coons is in most cases, not a pleasurable experience. Even with the best prep beforehand, they still deserve extra love from their owners.
Rewarding And Comforting Your Maine Coon Cat
Having some tasty treats for your Maine Coon whilst they dry off will reward them for their positive behaviour during bathtime. Rewards can be a great way to teach your Maine Coon new behaviours or routines that require their patience, and resilience.
Showing them plenty of love and affection after bathtime will be especially comforting to your Maine Coon. Keep them warm, and encourage them to snuggle into you to dry quicker. Use verbal reinforcement to show they have done well during well bathtime.
By rewarding your Maine Coon during and after bathtime, your bond is strengthened. This will make for a less stressful, and more calming experience in the future.
Brushing Your Maine Coon’s Coat After Bathtime
It can take time for your Maine Coon’s coat to fully dry after bathtime but there are some things you can do to help quicken the process.
There shouldn’t be any tangles, or matts at this point, as you would have got rid of them prior to bathtime. Brushing her/his fur after bathtime will comfort your Maine and encourage them to groom.
You should brush his/her coat in the direction the fur grows, including the chest and stomach area. You shouldn’t need to spend long doing this at all, as the detangling, de-matting and shampooing process will have done most of the job. And relax!
Alternative Solutions To Bathing Your Maine Coon Cat
An indoor Maine Coon cat doesn’t require bathing as much as an outdoor Maine Coon. Therefore, it should be optional.
So what are some bath-free alternatives for your Maine Coon?
As I touched on earlier, there are various types of cat shampoo on the market. Some of these are no-rinse shampoos, meaning you can avoid the bathing process altogether.
However, this is not intended to replace a bath, if that really is the only option to get rid of any stubborn dirt or poop.
When using a no-rinse shampoo, first pump some on your own then work it through your Maine Coon’s coat with your fingers. This will get rid of any dirt on their coat. You can also use a dry cloth to pat dry their fur.
Wipes are also a great option for getting rid of dirt or dry poop that is on a section of their body.
If all else fails, professional groomers are a great option to use when needing to bathe your cat. They should have the experience to do a great job, whilst comforting your Maine Coon during the process. They will follow a similar process of prepping your cat such as brushing, de-matting and trimming their nails, followed by a good clean. Overall, this will be a pretty luxurious experience for your kitty!
The Importance Of Having A Clean And Happy Maine Coon Cat
Keeping your Maine Coon clean, including your home environment ensures both are free from any parasites such as fleas, ticks and mites.
Cleaning your Maine Coon regularly, even if that is just daily brushing and using a no-rinse shampoo every other week, will keep their coat shiny and their nails healthy. This will also prevent any mats appearing under their belly and armpits which can cause them a great deal of discomfort.
Finally, helping your Maine Coon to keep clean, will strengthen the bond and trust that you both have with each other.
For indoor Maine Coon cats, bathing can be kept to a minimum. They are good at cleaning themselves. They can be bathed on an ‘as and when’ basis such as if they have any accidents, or have parasites on them. For outdoor cats, bathing them once a month will keep dirt and dander at bay. However, it’s best to use your own judgement, as you will know your Maine Coon better than anyone.
For the price you pay for Fairy Liquid, you can find a shampoo alternative that has been created for cats. Some detergents come with ingredients that could irritate the skin of your Maine Coon cat. Cat shampoos are designed to be gentle and it is recommended to use this and avoid detergents.