Maine Coon cats are long-haired or semi-long-haired, and they are particularly large. They are incredibly beautiful, fluffy, and poofy when it comes to their coats. You might expect that they provide a challenge for those who are not used to shedding animals in their home. But do Maine Coon cats shed?
But don’t be discouraged. The fact is that most pets shed to one degree or another. Shedding is a completely manageable aspect of owning a pet – and in this case, a Maine Coon. Even in cases where there may be extra considerations or problems, you’ll find that dealing with the shedding is a lot easier than one might imagine.
Here’s what to know when your Main Coon Cat sheds and how to manage it.
The Reason for Maine Coon’s Lush Coat
The Maine Coon breed originated in a cold climate – the US state of Maine – and may be a descendant of the Norwegian Forest Cat. Its coat is double-layered and waterproof. Maine Coons are one of a few rare breeds that actually love the water!
At the very least, they do not mind the water as much as most other cats do. The downside of their coats when it comes to water is that it tends to get heavy when soaked. These cats also have extra fur where others may not – like on their paws, which helps them navigate the cold ground or snow.
Do Maine Coon cats shed: A Reality Check
So if you adopt a Maine Coon, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of hair everywhere, right? After all, those spectacularly long locks must just drop like autumn leaves everywhere in your home. Not quite!
Here’s something you may not be expecting to hear or read: Maine Coons do not really shed as much as you might expect compared to normal cats. Considering their size and long hair, the Maine Coon’s shedding relative to some other cats is surprisingly little.
Many cats, even shorthairs, shed noticeably more than the Maine Coon. But that doesn’t mean you can forget about it. All cat owners expect at least some cat hair shed around the house. You can also do quite a bit to mitigate even this cat’s shedding, minimal as it may be.
Like with most seemingly complicated problems, it begins with a little understanding of what shedding is, when and why it happens, and what influences it.
The Basics Around Shedding
Shedding in most pets involves lots of different aspects. Most go through a seasonal cycle. But sometimes genetics, health, and other environmental factors play a role. In the case of Maine Coons, some subtypes – like fluffier ones – may shed more than silkier-haired ones.
Maine Coons do shed seasonally, usually. But cats that live in warmer climates tend to shed year-round or more often than cold climate cats as well. Sometimes, diet even plays a role, as it contributes directly to the condition of your cat’s coat as well.
Shedding is the way that cats and other pets discard dead hair, which would normally be replaced with healthier new hairs. It is a perfectly natural process, which can also be managed for the purposes of living in our homes.
Spring and Fall
For those that shed seasonally, spring and fall are the main reasons for changing coats. That’s a natural part of animal life, as nearly all mammals and several other species undergo changes to accommodate climate fluctuations.
It’s fair to say that the Maine Coon will shed much more during that time than in the other seasons. This is especially true because of the broad temperature ranges of some states (including Maine) between summer and winter.
For you, this might mean a bit more brushing and grooming throughout various stages of the year, and perhaps just a little more in terms of managing hair on your furniture. This may not be the case at all, though, as your Maine Coon might not shed that much more than usual.
4 Ways to Manage Your Maine Coon’s Shedding
Whether your Maine Coon is a top shedder or just an occasional one, you may want to take various steps when trying to manage and maintain your cat and your home. Fortunately, it isn’t that hard, and it will result in a happier home and family (and cat) overall.
In some respects, you may be able to reduce some shedding. But the most practical approach is to think of it as shed management. A consistent program is easier to maintain and will help avoid harder tasks and more serious problems (more on that later).
Here’s a basic rundown of what you need to do in order to maintain a great cat coat on your Maine Coon.
1. Grooming and Brushing
Grooming is an essential part of a happy cat’s regime. Cats usually do a great job of grooming themselves, and they learn it from their parents, who take care of them for the first stage of their lives.
Humans can be part of it by helping long-haired cats brush and clean their coats. In the case of a Maine Coon, regular brushing is key in three specific aspects:
- It will clear away dead hair and help prevent its spread around your home.
- It will help keep the coat free of matting, knots, and bunches.
- It will help to spread healthy oils evenly around the coat. Cats produce these oils naturally, but as you can imagine, getting it all-around a long thick coat is tricky. Brushing assists with this.
Aim for a brushing session at least once a week with a fine grooming brush or these stylish hand gloves. Aside from keeping your kitty happy and groomed, the quality time spent will bond you even more.
Some owners do prefer a daily brush. This might have benefits during the peak shedding times mentioned above. So, during seasonal changes, it may be better to at least consider doing it more than once per week if once a day seems excessive.
Tip: It’s best to get a cat familiar and comfortable with brushing as early as possible. If you acquire your cat as a kitten, get it used to brushing as early as possible. Adult cats may have a harder time getting used to the idea of letting you hold them while you “attack” them with a “large stick.”
You could even associate brushing time with a treat, at least at first. No one ever said that a small bribe for the quality time was bad. Start by showing the brush and offering a treat. The association of the tasty treat with a brush will take, making it easier to get to the important bit as time goes on.
One tip that might work is to lightly coat the brush with some catnip, especially if the cat is especially doubtful of the brush.
2. Cat Bathing
Now, under normal circumstances, it’s not necessary (and dangerous to you sometimes) to bathe a cat. Cats are remarkably clean and do a good job of keeping themselves that way. Besides, most don’t like water, right?
Here’s where the unusual comes into play. We’re talking about Maine Coons. And Maine Coons happen to like water. They will, therefore, not mind an occasional bath as much as other cats do. This does not mean they absolutely love it.
If a Maine Coon is familiarized with water from an early age, it will less likely protest when you try to bathe it. So, like with brushing, the best time to start is when it is a kitten. Let’s be clear, though: it’s not absolutely necessary to bathe the cat at all.
Find a large water bowl and mix up some play and bath time, just like you would a baby. Maine Coons love to make a mess when they are enjoying themselves in water, so make sure you’re in a space that allows a bit of play and splashing.
If you opt to bathe your cat, medically balanced wipes and waterless cat shampoos are a great option. Whatever you do, do not use products like soaps and shampoos intended for human use, as these could be harmful to pets.
A recent addition to the arsenal of pet cleaning products is waterless grooming shampoo wipes – this would be an option if your cat is not particularly fond of water.
3. Maintaining a Pest-Free Coat
Pets with long hair are more prone to natural pests like fleas and ticks, and other bugs around the home. Regular grooming, brushing and allowing for shedding help to control pests.
Check your cat regularly for these pests, especially if you notice that your cat is scratching or licking excessively. These pests, directly and indirectly, affect the health of your cat and its coat and may lead to excessive shedding or even bald patches from unnatural hair fall.
In extreme cases, it could create skin breakages and infections. If you’re unsure about how to control ticks and fleas, consult a vet for your specific situation.
4. Managing the Cat’s Diet
As with humans, diet plays a significant role in maintaining overall health. In cats, this includes its coat and can indirectly influence the amount of shedding that occurs in a normal cycle.
Cat food should contain Omega 3 and 6 fats for coat health. A balanced-formula Maine Coon cat food is recommended for this. You might also look into supplements for coats, though it may be useful to ask your vet about these first. Also, remember it’s not entirely necessary to overthink your cat’s coat health if there are no glaring issues.
A Note on Healthy Coats
It may be useful to mention a few items to note when it comes to components of your cat’s healthy coat care.
We’ve mentioned Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. This is important to look for in your cat’s diet. Fatty acids help the heart and assist in creating healthy cells. Usually, fish ingredients assist with omega fatty acids.
Protein is another important aspect of a cat’s general diet. They are specifically engineered to eat proteins and meats. Cats are not ideally suited to vegetable-based diets, and those are not recommended for a healthy cat.
Managing Shedding in Your Home
Most cats enjoy finding a spot in your home and claiming it for themselves, whether to relax and nap or just sit and contemplate the world. This may become a hotspot for your cat’s hair shedding in that it’s the place your cat spends most of its time.
Make a point of cleaning that space regularly, with a vacuum, for example. The idea is to prevent excessive buildup of hair in any one space.
How Much Is Too Much? When Hair Loss Becomes a Concern
So we now understand that shedding is natural and happens all the time. But what if shedding becomes a problem – in fact, when is it a problem? If you suddenly find that your cat is shedding much more hair than usual, you may want to take a closer look.
When checking for ticks and fleas, you may find bald patches. That’s usually a sign that something is out of balance or suggests excessive scratching or possible illness. As with all things of this nature, if you cannot determine with certainty what is causing the issue, consult your vet.
Several factors may influence the cause of too much or rapid hair loss. The aforementioned pests like ticks and fleas, poor diet, allergies, and even stress play a role in cat health.
Final Thoughts on Maine Coon Shedding
With their long and thick coats, Maine Coons often face a particular question from prospective owners. Do they shed? The short answer. Yes, they do. But questions like this are so much more interesting once you dig down into the hows and whys.
When you factor in the idea that your Maine Coon will shed only as much as an average shorthair, you don’t have as much problem with shedding as you might expect.
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