To live a long, healthy life, achieve their full growth potential, and develop a gorgeous, shiny coat, your Maine Coon kitten or cat needs proper nutrition from premium cat food. Here are some "simple truths" based on science that will help you meet your cat's needs and never fall victim to the great marketing and trendy food fads that sometimes cause owners unnecessary anxiety and expense.
Before they lived as housecats, Maine Coon nutrition consisted of animal prey with high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and minimal carbohydrates. Your Maine Coon still needs the right balance of these essential building blocks as the foundation of their diet. Like all housecats, they also require more than a dozen other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids, in precise proportions, depending on their life stage. The good news is there are many well-balanced, commercially-prepared recommended cat foods explicitly designed to meet these requirements for kittens, adult cats, and senior cats. Choosing a life-stage-appropriate combination of dry and wet foods made from high-quality ingredients with a nutritional guarantee is the best, easiest, safest, and most affordable way to ensure your Maine Coon gets precisely what they need!
Choosing a Food: Reading the federally-required nutrition label on food packaging is the best way to compare kitten and cat foods. Labeling regulations are established by the AAFCO and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All pet foods that carry an AAFCO-approved nutritional guarantee, often called the "AAFCO statement," are considered nutritionally complete and balanced for the life stage indicated (kitten, adult cat, or senior cat). There is no reason to make things more complicated than that! If you want it to be even easier, you can simply continue feeding what we feed here at Maine Street Coons. We highly recommend Life's Abundance All Stage cat food and provide it to weaning kittens, growing kittens, adult cats, pregnant cats, and retirees!
Maine Coons don't just enjoy wet food; they benefit from the extra hydration it provides! Housecats are notorious for not drinking enough water. Without the optimal amount of water flowing through your Maine Coon's urinary tract, bacteria can grow and multiply, leading to chronic UTIs and kidney disease later in life. Not good! The moisture content in canned premium cat food is 75% or more than dry, making it an excellent dietary water source. Nutritionally sound, high-quality canned food will be more expensive than dry food, but you can use it as a once-daily supplement to dry food with great hydration results. Many varieties are available, which is helpful if your Maine Coon is a picky eater. High-quality, gourmet canned cat foods generally contain meats, such as poultry, fish, lamb, or beef, along with kidney or liver, as primary ingredients. Just keep in mind that not all canned foods are created equal; some are junk food! They may be delicious, but they will not meet your Maine Coon's needs. It's important to choose a recommended cat food that is intended to be a complete source of nutrition (aka a meal) and not treat. We recommend Royal Canin, Weruva, TikiCat, and Purina ProPlan canned diets.
Although feeding cats raw meat is a very popular, almost cult-like trend, it is not recommended by Maine Street Coons or the veterinarian community, at large. No matter how popular this fad diet gets, raw meat is a potential source of harmful, even fatal, bacterial infections, including toxoplasmosis. The surface of any raw meat can carry bacteria, even commercially-prepared raw pet foods, many of which have been subject to numerous recalls after kittens or cats fell ill from consuming their diets.
Although it appears that cats can sometimes manage infectious bacteria without showing clinical signs, they can still pass these dangerous bacteria on to the people they live with. Young children and immunocompromised individuals are at risk of falling ill even when very low numbers of infectious bacteria are present. Infections caused by bacteria in or on the surface of raw meat can cause diarrhea, hospitalization, and death in both people and pets.
In addition, no scientific evidence backs up the claim that pets fed raw diets are healthier, have better coats, or in any way benefit from this risky diet. While wild and feral cats are forced to survive on raw diets, they certainly don't live very long and are often plagued with health troubles. We can do so much better for our beloved indoor Maine Coons!
Please, no matter what you are told by a well-intended "raw expert," remember that our adoption agreement expressly forbids feeding our kittens and cats a raw diet for a reason. Having experienced a salmonella outbreak in kittens we acquired from another breeder, we know firsthand how sick a young kitten can become and how they suffer. We also know how quickly the expenses of veterinary care add up! The problems that can arise far outweigh any urban legends of health benefits. With so many nutritionally complete foods available, feeding raw simply isn't worth the risk.
Giving your Maine Coon a reasonable amount of treats is a great way to express your love and affection! Just be careful about what and how much you give. At Maine Street, we try to limit treats to 5 -10 percent of our Maine Coon's daily caloric intake, and we stick with freeze-dried proteins (our favorites are listed below). Otherwise, we find treats interfere with their appetite for the balanced foods they need to be healthy. Despite what you see in the cartoons, cat owners should avoid some treat foods altogether. Milk and milk products, like cheese, are not generally recommended, as most Maine Coons are lactose-intolerant and develop gastrointestinal problems when fed dairy products. Some Maine Coon cats that have consumed canned fish products meant for humans have developed potentially serious neurological disorders, so it's best to avoid those, too.
Cats can be choosy about where they eat. Keep in mind that heavy-traffic areas, noise, the presence of other animals, dirty food containers, or nearby litter boxes can deter a cat from eating. Try to be sensitive to your cat’s eating behavior, and make necessary adjustments.
Maintaining a healthy weight is another important consideration. Cats vary greatly in the amount of food they need to consume to ensure they don’t become over-or underweight. Obesity is the most common nutrition-related problem in cats, and makes cats susceptible to a number of health problems, including arthritis and diabetes. Ask your veterinarian to help you determine the ideal body weight for your cat and follow their suggestions for adjusting your cat’s diet to reach and maintain that weight.
Although many cats are content to eat a single food, some cats may develop finicky eating habits and become very selective about what foods they’ll accept. Feeding your cat two or three different cat foods provides flavor variety, and may prevent your cat from developing an exclusive preference for a single food. A cat that refuses to eat can develop serious medical problems. This is true for sick cats that lack an appetite, for cats on a diet, and for the finicky cat that refuses to eat. A veterinarian should examine any cat that refuses to eat and is losing weight.
Just like our vet, we strongly recommend avoiding raw diets and grain-free foods. Yes, they're trendy, but that's primarily a result of great marketing, not nutritional science. Cats and kittens fed a raw diet are at significant risk of foodborne illness, something kittens may not have enough immunity to survive. In addition, Maine Coon cats fed exclusively raw or grain-free diets can develop a Taurine deficiency, contributing to heart disease.
Maine Street Coons feeds Royal Canin Mother & Babycat canned food to all of our pregnant queens and weaning Maine Coon kittens from four weeks to four months.
This specially formulated kitten food's unique nutritional solution supports mother Maine Coon cats (pregnant or nursing) and the high energy needs and healthy development of growing newborn Maine Coon kittens between the ages of four weeks and four months.
Royal Canin Maine Coon Kitten Dry Cat Food is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of the long growth period of purebred Maine Coon kittens from four months up to 15 months old.
Maine Street Coons feeds all of our cats and kittens aged fifteen months or older Royal Canin Maine Coon Adult Dry food. Our vet recommends it and our cats enjoy it. They grow large, have thick and shiny coats, and have minimal health issues. We find it to be one of the highest quality readily available premium cat foods available and appreciate the larger kibble size that is more appropriate for the large jaw of a Maine Coon cat.
Your Maine Coon doesn't just enjoy wet food; they benefit from the extra hydration it provides! Housecats are notorious for not drinking enough water. Without the optimal amount of water flowing through your Maine Coon's urinary tract, bacteria can grow and multiply, leading to chronic UTIs and kidney disease later in life. Not okay! In addition to providing a constant source of clean, running water (using a fountain), you should supplement their dry food diet with one to two cans of wet food daily. If feeding two cans, separate those feedings to morning and night. We use several brands including Royal Canin Kitten, Weruva Cats in the Kitchen, TikiCat After Dark Velvet Mousse, and Purina Pro Sensitive Stomach for anyone with tummy troubles.
You love your Maine Coon and we all know food equals love. So, what is safe and appropriate when you want to provide them with a special treat? There are a ton of freeze-dried protein foods that make great treats and rewards for special occasions, like nail trimming, show training, and so on, Some of our favorites are: Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Cat Treats, Duck Liver 0.9 oz, Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Cat Treats, Minnows 0.5 oz, Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Cat Treats, Rabbit Bites 0.9 oz, and Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Cat Treats, Chicken Breast 1 oz.