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Ensuring The Emotional Well Being Of Your Maine Coon Cats


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#1 candes

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 03:05 AM

Just like in humans, your Maine Coons emotional well being can affect their immune system. Considering that they are purebred, and do not have as robust of a immune system to begin with, it is important to keep your coonie happy.

There are multiple ways you can contribute to well rounded mental health in your Maine Coon. The first is what I feel is the biggest mood lifter, some time outdoors. But, do not attempt this until your cat is fully vaccinated.

Also, it is not safe to just open the door and let them out, but there are other ways you can achieve this. The first would be harness training. Maine Coons are very easy to train to use a harness unlike their domestic counterparts. Just make certain you have a proper fit so they can not escape and get hurt. In most instances, you will need a much larger harness than that required for a domestic cat.

The next way to buy them some fresh air is my personal favorite, supervised fence training. If you are fortunate enough to have a fenced in yard, you will be able to train your cats to stay inside it. But you do need to wait until the rambunctious kitten days are over with. Otherwise your poor defenseless baby could run off. Prior to when they settle down a bit, I would use a harness. You also have to be a good parent with fence training and "ground" your cat if they leave the fenced area. If they do escape, you need to catch them immediately and pop them into the house. This works best if you have other cats outside and they can watch from a window and see what they are missing. I have safely trained my 4 present cats to do this, so yes it is possible.

You also have to watch them closely while they are outside. In fact, when just starting out, stay next to them the entire time. Get them used to you hovering over them as a condition of being outside. My Maine Coons listen very well, but my domestics can be very sneaky when I turn my head while gardening. They never go far though, just to the greener grass on the other side of the fence. But please do remember, there is always that rare risk that they could escape and get into harms way. Only you know your own cats, and must use your own best judgement.

If you can't get them outside for various reasons, another option is to keep an open widow and place either a cat tree or perch in front of it. I even do this during the winter or on hot summer days. I also have a bird bath in easy view of my cats favorite perch. Heaven!

Obviously a cat gets much more exercise while they are outside playing. But during the winter months you need to step up their inside play time. Make certain you have an ample supply of toy teasers, squeaky mice, crazy rings, and catnip if they enjoy it. Da Bird is a feather toy that I highly recommend. But please take it easy, and clear a safe play area, since cats will over do it with Da Bird. Another great idea is to purchase a cat DVD. Who would think that playing with a cat sized gerbil on a large screen HDTV would be so much fun?

Now that we covered recreational activities, it is important to note that cats are especially prone to stress from changes in their environment. Something as simple as rearranging one piece of furniture can stress some cats to the point of illness or bowel or urine accidents. Even a friend or relative staying over for a visit can wreck havoc.

So it is worthy of mention, that if your Maine Coon has a sudden change in behavior, you need to closely examine your household for even the most minor of changes.

If you think your cat is stressed for any reason, there are ways you can help remedy this. One way would be using a plug in phernome dispenser. And you could spend extra time scratching their neck, rubbing or massaging their body, or perhaps brushing them gently. And of course giving them oodles of extra love and attention. And most definitely make certain they get extra exercise. Exercise is a great stress reliever in both humans and cats!

If your Maine Coon still remains unusually stressed or depressed, you need to get them to the vet. Cats are well known for hiding illness, and unusual behavior may be the only tip off.

If I have missed anything, please contribute your most helpful hints. Participation and awareness is what Maine Coon Health Month is all about!

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#2 candes

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 02:09 AM

I would love to see some pictures of how you promote a stress free and happy life style for your Maine Coons. :2thumbsup

#3 Trinity

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 05:43 AM

Great idea there candes, so far Sebastian hasn't really expressed any interest in going outside, i do think it's important though so I am planning on having an enclosure built for him so he can do that safely
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#4 candes

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 11:44 AM

Great idea there candes, so far Sebastian hasn't really expressed any interest in going outside, i do think it's important though so I am planning on having an enclosure built for him so he can do that safely


Marvelous! He will thank you for this with extra love, just you wait and see! He will be soo much happier!

#5 Max_1

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 02:00 PM

Oh Max expressed his interest already and it cost me few years of my life.. However, it was the only time he tried to "meet the neighbors" and ended up escaping from our balcony. He's still enjoying this nice weather and nice breeze, but my balcony is now fully enclosed with a net (almost like net used by fisherman)... This way he's happy enjoying the breeze and patrolling his turf, while I know he's fully safe and sound...
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#6 maureen

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 02:57 PM

Saoirse needs places that make her feel safe (she was badly bullied in a cattery). When stressed she will climb the bookcase to "her" shelf that is so high up she knows no one can reach her. We also keep her carrier in the family room for those times she wants to nap in her "cave". It's a rule that no one touches her when she is in her cave. She doesn't reserve those spaces for times she is stressed (after the novelty wore off she didn't go up in the bookcase as often) but when she is stressed she makes use of them. For example, the neighbor's dog or the vet can't reach her when she is up in her bookcase. :unsure: Just having them available has got to decrease her stress level and I think it is a good idea to provide a safe place for every cat to retreat too when frightened or stressed.

Outside. I should mention that her last breeder told me she showed no interest in going outside (and that was in California). It was rainy and cold her first summer with us but when this summer rolled around she was jumping out windows and sneaking out doors! So I halter trained her and she loved going outside. And this is a 5 year old cat who had never gone out before except in a carrier. She'd sit on the deck with me while I read. I was flabbergasted that she didn't take off like my DSH cats would do. Golfers driving by would ask me "what" she was.
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