** Care and Training **
Most breeders recommend a high-quality dry food. Most cats can free feed without becoming overweight. Middle-aged cats (5-10) are most likely to have weight problems which can usually be controlled by switching to a low-calorie food. Many Maine Coons love water. Keep a good supply of clean, fresh water available at all times.
Most Maine Coons can be trained to accept a leash. Maine Coons are creatures of habit and they train easily if they associate the activity with something they want (they train humans easily too!).
Individuals within any breed are fairly closely related, and have many characteristics in common. This includes genetic strengths and weaknesses. Certain genetic health disorders may be more or less of a problem in a particular breed than in other breeds. For example, a breed may have a slightly higher incidence of gum disease than the cat population as a whole, but have a lower incidence of heart disease or liver disease.
Genetic problems generally only affect a tiny minority of the breed as a whole, but since they can be eradicated by careful screening, most reputable breeders try to track such problems, both in their breeding stock and the kittens they produce. By working with a responsible breeder who will speak openly about health issues, you are encouraging sound breeding practices.
In the Maine Coon, the most common inherited health problems are hip dysplasia, which can produce lameness in a severely affected cat, and cardiomyopathy, which can produce anything from a minor heart murmur to severe heart trouble. Any breeder you talk to should be willing to discuss whether they've had any problems with these diseases in their breeding stock, or in kittens they've produced; how much screening they're doing, and why.
What are we doing with DNA testing of HCM? http://pawpeds.com/pawacademy/health/mybpc3/
What is feline herpes virus?
Feline herpes virus is an upper respiratory virus of cats. It is also known as rhinotracheitis virus. It is very common among cats, especially in environments where there are multiple cats or new cats are constantly interacting. The virus is spread through the air and replicates in the upper respiratory tract (nasal area, tonsils). The conjunctiva of the eye is also affected during the primary infection. Clinical signs of infection include sneezing and ocular and nasal discharge. In most cases the primary infection resolves with no residual ocular lesions. However, depending on the age when the cat is affected, the serotype of the virus (infectivity or strength of infection), and other factors, there may be various ocular signs. In very young cats, adhesions of the eyelids to each other or to the cornea may occur. Adult cats may experience recurrent conjunctivitis or corneal ulcers. The virus remains latent in the nerves that serve the eyes. When a cat is stressed or exposed to new serotypes (different strains) of herpes virus, the ocular disease can recur. There is some evidence that eosinophilic keratitis, plasmacytic-lymphocytic keratitis, corneal sequestrum, and some cases of anterior uveitis may be associated with feline herpes virus infection.
How do cats get feline herpes virus?
Most cats are affected as kittens, contracting the infection from their mothers. Stray cats, multi-cat households, and cats from households where new cats are constantly introduced are more likely to suffer infection. Feline herpes virus is not contagious to dogs or to humans but only affects cats.
How is feline herpes virus diagnosed?
History and clinical signs can diagnose ocular diseases caused by feline herpes virus. Aside from history and clinical signs, diagnostic tests for feline herpes virus include virus isolation, immunofluorescent antibody testing, polymerase chain reaction testing, serology, and cytology. Testing can be expensive and is generally reserved for specific cases. Tests that may not specifically detect the presence of herpes may be used to detect ocular disease caused by herpes. These tests include a Schirmer tear test (measuring tear production), corneal staining, and conjunctival biopsy.
How is feline herpes virus treated?
Treatment for feline herpes virus infections is nonspecific and generally directed at controlling secondary bacterial infection. A topical antibiotic such as tetracycline or erythromycin may be prescribed for use in the eye. Systemic antibiotics may also be prescribed.
Viralys Powder contains: 250 mg. L-Lysine per 1 rounded scoop. Scoop provided in container. Approximately 310 doses per container. Oral L-Lysine is recommended by many veterinary ophthalmologists at a dose of 250-500 mg twice daily.
Lysine competes with another amino acid, arginine, that herpes virus must have in order to reproduce. Lysine has been demonstrated to decrease the severity of ocular symptoms associated with herpes virus infection (1) and reduce viral shedding during periods of disease recurrence (2). Depending on symptoms, other medications such as topical antiviral drugs, topical polysulfated glycosaminoglycans, topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or topical interferon may be used. In some cases the ocular diseases resulting from feline herpes virus may require surgical intervention. The key to managing the clinical signs associated with feline herpes virus is controlling the cat's environment. Cats exposed to multiple cats (indoor-outdoor cats), cats in multiple cat households, or cats that are frequently introduced to new cats are difficult to keep disease free. Reducing stress by maintaining a stable routine is helpful in preventing recurrences of disease. Keep in mind that it is the nature of the virus to see recurrences of the disease and periodic treatment is often necessary.
**PET CARE BEFORE & DURING DISASTERS**
Here are some resources from the web that can help you create your plan and give you things to think about that perhaps you omitted from a plan you may already have in place.
1. "How big do they get?"
A full-grown female typically weighs between 9-12 pounds and males tend to be in the 13 to 18 pound range. Yes, neutered cats gain weight and coat better than whole cats. Some male Maine Coons have grown to 20-28 lbs.
2. "Do they need much grooming?"
Maine Coons do not need much grooming and a weekly combing is all that is usually required to keep the coat in top condition.
3. "But I thought Maine Coons had extra toes...?"
Some "original" Maine Coons were polydactyls (had extra toes). However, modern purebred Maine Coons are rarely polydactyls. This is because all cat associations automatically disqualify polydactyls from competition in the purebred classes. Because of this, most polydactyls were culled from the Maine Coon breed decades ago, and only a few breeders continue to work with them. Since the polydactyl gene is dominant, you can't get a polydactyl kitten unless at least one of the parents is also a polydactyl.
4. "I think my cat is part Maine Coon. How do I tell?"
The Maine Coon is America's native longhair cat; it evolved naturally in response to the New England climate. Your cat's ancestors might be similar to the cats that founded the Maine Coon breed. However, it's impossible to tell from just looking at your cat if it is related to the Maine Coon or to any other breed. Because the Maine Coon is a natural breed and hasn't been bred to extremes, there are cats all over the world that resemble the Maine Coon. The only way to tell for sure if your cat is a Maine Coon is to look at the pedigree.
5. "Is that a Maine Coon? I thought all Maine Coons were brown."
Maine Coons come in a wide variety of color combinations. The only colors you won't find are the Siamese-type colors.
Information from http://www.fanciers.com/breed-faqs/maine-coon-faq.html
~ Interesting Kitten Facts: Purring in cats first occurs at about one week of age. It serves as a signal to the nursing mother cat that all is well with her babies and that the milk supply is reaching its destination. She, in turn, purrs, letting the kittens know that she too is in a relaxed and cooperative mood. It is believed that purring among adult cats and between adult cats and humans is derived from this primal parent-offspring context. Contentment is not the sole condition for purring, however. A more precise explanation is that purring signals a friendly social mood and can be employed by an injured cat to indicate the need for friendship and help. It has been observed that cats in great pain often purr loud and long and can hardly be considered to be contented.
~ Kittens have 26 temporary teeth that begin to erupt at about two to three weeks of age. They have 30 permanent teeth that erupt at about three to four months.
~ Cats have small barbs on their tongues. The barbs point backwards. The function of these, aside from making the cat's tongue feel like sandpaper when he licks you, is to make grooming more effective. These little barbs also make it very difficult for a cat to remove string or fabric from its mouth. If a cat is playing with, or chewing on, one of these materials, and it gets too far back in the mouth, it will catch on these little barbs. The cat is not able to pull it back out again, and will reflexively start to swallow the string. Little by little he will be forced to swallow the whole thing.
~ Cats produce pheromones in three parts of their bodies. The pheromones from their cheeks give the friendly message of "Hi there, I like you, I'm happy." The pheromones that come out with their urine and feces are very different and tell other cats "Hey buddy, this is my territory." Cats don't tend to urinate and/or defecate where they smell the 'friendly' pheromones!
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