BRINGING YOUR KITTEN HOME

Your kitten has been checked by our vet prior to leaving, vaccinated and wormed and is in good health. You will receive a record of shots and worming and when next vaccinations are due. Your kitten should be taken to your vet within two days of pick up for a check up.

Upon arrival home, your kitten will need time to get accustomed to a new home and owner before putting in a face to face situation with other pets and household members. Introductions to existing cats and dogs, etc should be supervised and done slowly. Bring the kitten carrier into one room, and keep the kitten confined to that one room for the first few days with its litter, food, water, scratching post and perhaps a bed. Always speak in soft, soothing, loving tones, and don't force the kitten to come out of the carrier until ready. Show the kitten where food, water and litter box are located. Give your kitten some time to get used to things at his/her own pace. As your kitten gets more comfortable with the first room, gradually start allowing the kitten into the rest of the house (making sure it can always retreat to the initial room if frightened). Don't worry if your new kitty doesn't eat the first day. Sometimes a dab of Gerber's baby food such as lamb or chicken on your finger may entice the kitten to come to you and eat a little treat. Your kitten may cry or meow and seem frightened the first few nights. That is perfectly natural, in an entirely new place with new people, new smells, etc. Give the kitten plenty of cuddling, and soft talk and let it sleep with you if it wants to. Entice the kitten with teaser toys to get it to feel comfortable coming to you. This will also allow the kitten the opportunity to pick up your scent and begin to recognize you as a friendly human.

Maine Coons drink a lot of water, so be sure to provide fresh water at all time. It is important to keep the kitten on the same food that it is used to eating, For the first few days to a week, feed the food provided by the breeder. Gradually add your own food to the food the kitten has been eating so that it adjusts with no stomach upset. Sudden changes in food can cause diarrhea and vomiting so take it slow. A scratching post will start the kitten off right before it is allowed in other rooms in your house.

KITTEN PLAY

Be sure to reinforce at all times the importance of teaching your new kitten that human hands are for giving and receiving love, NOT for biting and playing. Kittens begin to get permanent teeth around 5 months and will be teething off and on and have a strong need to bite. Just like baby children, kittens are born without teeth. They start getting their first baby teeth at about 3-4 weeks old. The trick is not to keep them from biting; but rather to provide them appropriate items to bite. Use heavy-duty plastic drinking straws, and train them from the start that toys and straws are fine to bite, but human body parts are off-limits! If a kitten learns this from the start, it hardly ever has an inappropriate biting behavior as an adult. Often the quickest way to teach them not to bite you is to immediately blow on their face, as soon as you realize the kitten is biting or is about to bite you. Saying "NO!" firmly at the same time reinforces this training.

INTRODUCING TO OTHER PETS

Put your kitten in a carrier and allow the other pet to observe the kitten in its room. The kitten is safe in its carrier and the other pet(s) can investigate what all the fuss is about. Take your kitten out of its room and allow other pets to come in the room to smell the kittens scent. Take the kitten to other pet areas and allow the kitten to smell their scents. As the kitten becomes more comfortable you can open the door and allow the kitten to wander out. If it becomes scared it can always retreat to its safe area. Provide cubby hole cat trees or a place where the kitten can snuggle up when it want to be away from other pets

Give your existing pets lots of attention. Jealousy and a bit of hissing is normal and not unusual. It takes time and patience to introduce pets to each other.

 Once your cat is comfortable in your home , you can help the kitten get started learning your household and family routines. Cats seem to thrive on consistency and keeping the kitten feeding of canned food and play times to a specific part of the day will be very calming for the kitten. Place your kittens litter box in an area that does not have a lot of traffic. If your kitten is afraid to walk past another cat or dog to get to the box it is not going to use it. If you have a large home you may want to place two litter boxes in different areas. Just like humans, each cat is a unique individual, and it is important not to have unrealistic expectations of your kitten until it has become used to your routine. It is best not to use a scented litter when first bringing your new kitten home. Young kittens often do not recognize the perfume smell and will not use the litter box if it does not smell familiar to them.

 

A cat spends about one third of its time when it is awake grooming itself. The claws are a very important part of this function, and used extensively to help keep the cat's fur smooth and clean. Claws also help the feline to climb, which is part of the instinctive nature in almost all cats. The act of scratching itself is often a form of greeting by felines, and provides a source of psychological comfort through its rhythmic action. In addition, scratching is a source of reassurance to the cat of its ability to defend itself or to choose not to defend itself, which can be witnessed by watching the cat contract its claws and "knead" its owner with contentment and trust.

Trimming claws will help protect human hands and belonging. A good time to trim claws is when the kitten is sleeping or resting. Kitten’s claws may need trimming every couple of weeks. Adult cats only need to be trimmed once a month. If you choose you do not have to trim at all or you can have your vet trim on visits.

The living portion of the nail bed contains sensitive nerves and blood vessels. If your pet is instinctively cautious about having its feet touched, and even if it shows sign of withdrawing its paw, teach your pet that this interaction is not unpleasant. Before you ever attempt to trim you pets nails, begin by touching its legs, feet and toes, and associate this with an activity it enjoys. When it is resting, begin petting it, gently passing your hands over its back and legs. If this is well tolerated, you may wish to give it a small food treat. Do not try to do too much the first time.

 

Step 1 : Place your cat facing away from you in your lap.

Step 2 : Squeeze the toes between your forefinger and thumb, which will extend the claws. Hold your cat gently and talk softly to calm her.

Step 3 : Using cat clippers, carefully clip the claws, being careful not to cut into the sensitive quick (the area of flesh containing blood and nerves beneath the toenail). Remove only the tip.

Gradually manipulate the kittens paw. Gently squeeze each nail, putting gentle pressure on the toe to expose the nail. Do not attempt if you kitten is in an agitated or playful state, as it is most likely to resent any restriction to its movement. Once your kitten tolerates having its paws touched during quiet times, you may begin to incorporate this into elements of play time. The nail bed is seen as a pinkish triangle at the base of the nail; however, it may not be evident in dark-colored nails.

It is better to cut less than to cut more than necessary! Trim off small sections at a time and stop well short of the sensitive part of the nail. Cut your pets nails frequently, a little at a time, rather than occasionally when toe nails are uncomfortable to both your pet and to you. In this way, nail trimming will become a routine event, rather than a periodic wrestling match. Continue to manipulate your pets feet and toes between nail trims so that it remains a familiar sensation.

Trimming claws is not a necessity but can be more comfortable for owners, especially with cats that enjoy kneading. Most cats are very good at having their claws trimmed.

 BATHING AND GROOMNG YOUR KITTEN

Combing your kitten will keep the coat looking nice and keep the kitten from ingesting hair and also keep excess hair off your furniture.

Starting at the head, comb gently with a wide-toothed metal comb. Do not use a nylon brush, as it can build up static electricity in the fur and actually encourage tangling. Pay special attention to the areas behind the ears and elbows, on the flanks and abdomen and under the tail. When you encounter any mats or knots, gently work them out carefully with your fingers.

Weekly grooming when kept up regularly, should take no more than five minutes. In addition to removing dead hair and tangles, and keeping the skin healthy; brushing and combing also helps prevent the cat from ingesting loose hairs (which leads to the formation of hair-balls in the stomach).

Although bathing is not generally necessary you can bathe your cat as often as you see fit. If begun at an early age, cats become accustomed to being bathed. Make sure you are prepared with everything you will need. Place a rubber mat in the tub so your cat will not slip. Fill the tub with two to three inches of warm water before you bring your cat in. Running water will scare him. While talking quietly and stroking him, place him in the water. Continue talking and petting as you scoop water with your hand or a container and run it down the cat. Have the shampoo bottle open and ready. Mix shampoo with water in a container and pour it slowly over the cat, as you continue to stroke and talk. It is a good idea to place a wad of cotton in the ears. Water in the ears can cause infection. Have a bucket in the tub with clean warm water to rinse the cat. Use a cup to pour clean water over him to remove all soap residues. Wrap the kitten in a towel to absorb moisture and then take a dry towel and dry again. Blow dry or allow the kitten to dry naturally. Placing your kitten in a carrier until dry will help prevent it from jumping in the litter box when wet.

KITTEN PROOFING YOUR HOME

Being prepared ahead of time will greatly ensure that the actual transition for your new furry family member is as quiet, calm and comfortable as possible. Kittens and cats are by their nature VERY curious about their surroundings, so you will need to make sure there are no hidden "escape routes" that lead outdoors for your indoor-only kitty. If you have young children, or any concerns about the cat getting out, you can even make and post small signs at each doorway reminding the family to close them carefully and watch for kitties!!

Keeping your toilet bowl closed after use is a must for small kittens and Maine Coons in general who seems naturally attracted to water . Move glass or breakable treasures to a safe place. Always keep your washing machine and dryer doors closed, and check carefully before and after each use to make sure your kitty hasn't somehow gotten inside.

Move all toxic materials so that they are out of reach. Store all poisonous items: this includes household cleansers, car products such as anti-freeze, small sharp objects, poisonous plants, etc. Cover outlets and hide or heavily cover with tapes or plastic conduit electrical cords as cats and young teething kittens like to gnaw on such items. Watch for lightweight table lamps that can fall over; heavy irons that can fall off ironing boards; reclining chairs that kittens and cats can get up way inside and suffocate, or get trapped and badly injured or killed when someone unknowingly sits down at the wrong time.

Be careful of houseplants that may be harmful for your pet. A veterinarian should be contacted immediately if your cat suddenly collapses, has repeated vomiting or severe diarrhea, or shows signs of excessive irritation (red, swollen, blistering or raw) skin of the mouth or throat. Any cat or kitten that becomes lethargic and loses interest in their food for a day or more may also have ingested something potentially dangerous, and professional help should be sought. If you actually see your cat eat something that you suspect to be poisonous, do not attempt to make the cat vomit yourself. Take the cat to the vet with a sample of the plant (a plant label or means of identification would also be most helpful). This will help the vet to find a treatment or antidote to the poison. Keeping notes of the time of eating and any symptoms may also be very helpful to your vet, as sometimes several days can pass between the ingestion of the harmful material and the actual effects showing up in your cat. Contact with the leaves, stems or sap of certain plants can cause rashes and hypersensitivity to sunlight resulting in sunburn. In cats these plants may cause blistering or itching of the mouth and gums, which can sometimes be misdiagnosed as gingivitis. Sneezing and eye problems can also be caused through contact with these plants.

Be very aware that not all cat toys are safe - be especially

Be very aware that not all cat toys are safe - be especially careful about leaving any string, yarn, thread, needles, safety pins, rubber bands, small pieces of a toy like eyes or bells that can easily come off and be ingested. Teaser toys especially those made of mylar or tinsel should be placed safely away after play time. Unfortunately, having a feline swallow a foreign object is a fairly common and often fatal event which almost always could have been prevented. Make sure that any toys you make or purchase have no small or sharp pieces that can poke or be chewed off and be swallowed. Cats seem to love household items such as twist ties for plastic bags, but these can be deadly. Twist ties can be swallowed and perforate intestines. Make aluminum foil balls that your cat will love because they are easy to bat around and make a nice noise on hard floors, but be sure to wad the foil up very tightly so your kitty can't chew off and swallow bits of foil, and also be sure the ball is large enough that we can't swallow it.

Other types of potential hazards for kittens and cats include anything with loops on them, such as grocery paper or plastic bags with the carry handles still on them; litter box liners of the drawstring type if they are pulled closed and the loop is left kittens can get stuck in them, and even the vertical pulls for window blinds. All of these can be deadly if the kitty gets his or the kitten head caught in the loop. Keep plastic bags safely away from kitties.

If you see a piece of yarn, audio tape, string, tinsel, etc. protruding from your cat or kitten's mouth or anus, do not attempt to pull it out! It could be wrapped around your cat's intestines and by pulling, you might inadvertently cause damage. Instead, take your kitty in to your vet. Other symptoms that might occur even if nothing foreign is showing: your kitty is having difficulty breathing, vomiting or trying to vomit, coughing, bleeding from the mouth or anus, convulsing, frothing at the mouth or intensive salivating, or has a swollen tongue. Any of these symptoms require veterinary care and intervention. If your regular vet is closed or unavailable, take your kitty to the closest emergency veterinary hospital.

Signals that you should visit your vet are severe diarrhea, runny nose or an eye infection. It takes time for a kitten to build immunity and vaccinations do not prevent only lessen severity of disease. A vet visit will put you at ease and prevent worsening of any condition.

Maine Coons are wonderful, loving, funny cats and become very attached to their humans. Congratulations and we hope you enjoy many years with your new kitten!