Maine Coon Grooming/#2

krycek1984August 1, 2010

So, I have a wonderful Maine Coon. I love him to pieces, he's my special baby! He, of course, has beautiful long Maine Coon hair, butt tufts and raccoon tail and all.

The problem I have is occasionally (once every few months) he will get "poopy butt", either because he wasn't able to fully pass a movement, or he had diarrhea. The big D happened today because I stupidly tried a new soft cat food. Well, being a Maine Coon, he did his thing in the litter box...and then there it was, a mess, on those beautiful butt tufts.

I gave him a bath, like usual. My question for others with experience with MC's/long-haired cats is: How do you dry your cats? I usually just use a couple towels, get him as good as I can, and let him go free and he eventually finishes drying.

This time, though, his butt tufts ended up getting quite matted and tangled (probably a combo of the messy butt and being wet too long) and I had to make some strategic cuts.

Do you use blow dryers? Or just towels? Do you comb the particularly long hair tufts while they're wet? What do you all do? I don't mind bathing him to clean up his mess, after all, that's what parents do. I don't want to subject him to extracting hair mats again though!

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When I bathe my MC (or any cats), I start by ensuring that the fur is wet to the skin. This makes it much easier to rinse the shampoo away. Fill a sink with nice warm water and add some wool wash (the wool wash makes the fur open up so it can get completely wet). After a short sit int he sink, bring him out and shampoo. Put a cup of vinegar into a cup of comfortably warm water and pour over him after he's been rinsed for several minutes. And rinse under the hose attachment for a good solid five minutes further. Towel him as well as you can, mainly by holding him in the towels to let them absorb the water. Rubbing the water out will make matts. Use your steel-toothed comb to guide his fur into alignment to ease the drying process. Once it's been worked gently through the wet fur, then use the blow dryer set to the lowest setting, fluff it by the wet cat while still combing. I like to place the cat into a carrier with the dryer set on a stand blowing into the carrier from a distance, then bringing the cat out to comb again. This is a long quiet process which my cats love. Dried fur is less likely to matt.

It would be a good idea to address the diarrhea problem. Are you feeding tinned food? It's by far superior to any kibble, even the cheapest crappiest tinned food is better than kibble. When changing his food, make the change a slow process, over a few weeks if possible. Also, is he overweight? There are really not that many MC behemoths, an average adult MC altered male will weigh in at about 15-16 pounds. A fat cat has a very hard time cleaning his backside. And the runny poo must be pretty disgusting to them. Another thing you can do is a sanitary shave, where the fur nearest his anus is shaved away. He'll clean up better and be a lot happier. As it grows back you can brush his britches daily to stop mats before they form.

Hope it helps. I adore MC! My MC and all my other long haired cats are 'show groomed' regularly. It keeps the poopy butt syndrome at a minimum.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 9:41AM
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This is the first time since I've had him in February that he had The Big D. I usually feed him hard food and then he gets half a can a day of his soft food. I tried a new soft food to switch it up and it must not have agreed with him. Back to the regular canned food!

Thanks for the advice! Next time I bathe him I will do what you do and see how it works.

Nope, not overweight...he weighed 14.6 lbs when I took him to the vet for shots a couple months ago. He's only 1 and a half so he still has some growing to do! He can reach all parts to groom. He is very long though, of course. His butt is hardly ever a problem - it's usually very clean except yesterday and one other time when he couldn't get a #2 out all the way.

Although, that being said, he isn't quite as fastidious as my other cat when it comes to self-grooming. He is very picky about his tail being in perfect order, though.

Here's my baby, along with my foxhound Lola:
From cliq pics

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 11:45AM
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He's a very handsome cat-and Lola is beautiful. Their portrait is great.

He's a young cat, then-my youngr MC is just turned 2 and is still a very looooong, rangy thing.

I love MC. They are such wonderful cats. I believe that male MC think they're actually dogs.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 3:51PM
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My husband's big MC gets a bath every 6 months or so, just because he gets dirty. I start by diluting a couple of tablespoons of shampoo in a big (4 cup) measuring cup and we pour that on so it's easier to get on all the fur and also easier to rinse.

We wrap him in a towel and then comb him out once he decides he's had enough of the towel. He usually dries in about three days. ;-) We've tried using the blow dryer, but he hates it more than the vacuum. Anytime we get it out, even for us, he hisses at it and runs.

This just occurred to me- he does like the window fan, maybe he would be ok with a space heater (mostly on the fan- I know cats get overheated easily).

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 1:17AM
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I will have to try combing him once I've dried him as good as possible with the towel. I don't want anymore mats or tangles for my baby. He'll hate it, but he'll live. For some reason he does not particularly enjoy being is a chore for us rather than quiet and enjoyment time! But he forgives me shortly thereafter and everything goes back to normal. The other cat loves being combed.

They are such long gangly things, they can be so awkward to pick up and hold even though they only weigh 15 lbs or so! LOL I get a kick out of it every time I pick him up.

They are such pathetic sights when they are still wet. They look more like ferrets than cats.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 1:40AM
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I would suggest two things:
First, to make your job much easier for cleaning his behind you may want to look into taking your kitty to the cat groomer and having them cut his back area short. I think that will help whenever he gets a bit messy back there. I think most grooming places call it a "sanitary clip" and that will make your life much easier!

Second, since you kitty doesn't like to be combed, but it has to be done I would suggest using grooming gloves. I saw it on Animal Planet's Housecat Housecall and it looks like it works really well on kittys that don't like combs. That could make the combing part seem like less of a chore for you and more of the quality time I'm sure you and your kitty love together!

Hope this helps, and good luck!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 10:07AM
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I don't have a MC but I have a 14 lb fluffy medium haired black and white boy.

He has never had diarrhea, but very rarely he will have a "cling-on" as I call them. I have never given him a bath (he has absolutely no odor to him -- plus a value the skin on my arms too much!

What helps is a "butt trim." I have a very sharp pair of hair cutting scissors. I put some yummy treats on the ground and while he is eating them up, I use one hand to pull up the tail the other to clip away at butt and back leg fur. He wiggles a bit but is too interested in eating to mind.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 12:19PM
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I am interested in the picture of your beautiful cat with Lola. I have a 7yo MC and recently got a 9month old pug-beagle mix from a rescue group. I want them to be friends so bad! Who came first in your household and do you have any tips on getting them to get along?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 12:49PM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

ems, I have a 9 year old cat and a new puppy. The puppy has quickly learned to respect the cat having gotten swatted a couple of times. Give them limited time together, so they can get used to each other. If you can, keep the puppy on a leash in the presence of your cat. It may take a little while, but they should come around.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 4:13PM
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Well, different things work for different people. I wouldn't say Fatty (The MC) is "friends" with Lola, but they do like each other and Fatty just jumps on the couch for my attention and sometimes acts as if Lola isn't there. Sometimes Fatty will lay next to Lola and they cuddle a bit, but nothing major. You know how MC's are. They have a mind of their own and don't always seem all "there".

We have two beagles and Lola(the foxhound). Because they are all hounds, we were very strict when introducing them to the cats. We had all three dogs and then I acquired the cats, so the cats were the new ones.

All dogs are different, but hounds are obviously hunting dogs, and tend to have rather strong chasing instincts. The most important part of it all is that the CATS had control over their exposure to the DOGS, not the other way around. This is really important. The cats need to meet the dogs on their own time and way. Doing it the other way around will not work.

Anyhoo, we taught our dogs the "leave it" command with the cats. Because they are all hounds, we can't trust the dogs to be "friends" with the cats. When the cats started coming to the gate to the living room, and then started exploring the living room, everytime one of the dogs:

1. Started staring.
2. Started running.
3. Started sniffing and investigating the cat or the area they were.
4. Actually was staring,

We said "leave it" very sternly. The key to us was training the dogs to essentially "ignore" the cat. It has worked very well. After about a week of training, the dogs were acting like the cats weren't there. After a year, they still pretty much ignore the cats. They sniff sometimes, and every once in a while try to say hello, but for the most part, the dogs act as if the cats are not even there.

This was the only way we felt that we could have them co-exist. We have not had ONE problem with them coexisting using this method.

Lola is by far the most laidback one, so the cats do not mind being around here. Sometimes they chase her long tail. The beagles though, eh. The cats aren't too fond of them. I know the beagles want to chase and sniff the cats, but it's strictly not allowed.

The cats get to do as they please, within reason. They aren't allowed to tease the dogs, but if the dogs get to close to the cats for any reason, and the cats swap, then that is fine.

And it depends on the cat. Fatty (the MC) couldn't care less about the dogs. He goes in the kitchen with them when it's feeding time and drinks from their bowl. He'll beg in the kitchen with the dogs. He doesn't care.

Baloney (our other cat, just a regular short hair), does not care for the dogs really. It took him several months to be comfortable down here with them. He's a lot better now, but if the dogs get too close, he does swat them.

So, in essence, after that long post, the best way we treated the situation was to teach the "leave it" command and teach the dogs that the cats were to be ignored as if they were simply moving fixtures. After the dogs have been taught that, the cats and dogs may become friends, or may not, just depends on the personalities involved.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 4:57PM
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Thanks for your helpful comments. So far they have touched noses through the puppy gate but that is it. I think the cat is curious about the puppy, but puppy moves so fast it makes the cat nervous. Will try the Leave It command and some limited exposure on the cat's terms to see what happens. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 9:08AM
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