Your Maine Coon Cat’s Health

Maine Coons are marvelously healthy cats. There are only two genetic conditions associated with the breed: hip dysplasia and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. No breeder can claim to have completely eradicated either from their line, but breeders do work hard to minimize the occurrence of these conditions. 

A breeder who claims genetic issues have never surfaced in their cats isn’t being honest. In my experience, however, when you see such problems with Maine Coon cats, they are more likely to be animals from backyard breeders or worse, from kit- ten mills. 

Please understand that I am not suggesting that backyard breeders are doing any- thing “bad.” They have simply allowed their cat to have kittens and made those kit- tens available for adoption. 

The problem is that there is no control over the genetics of the pairing. It is much more likely, under these circumstances, for a genetic flaw to be passed on. 

I would never say don’t adopt a Maine Coon cat from such a person, but I would strongly recommend that you have the kitten evaluated by a veterinarian first. Also ask a lot of questions about the parents and try to get a sense of their health. Meet them if possible. 

Spaying or Neutering 

The first medical procedure your pet will require is being spayed or neutered, as per the terms of the cattery’s adoption agreement. (This is assuming you did ac- quire your cat from a recognized breeder.) 

Catteries require written proof of the surgery before they will release the final regis- tration papers. Costs vary, and there are options for having the procedure done for as little as $50 (£32.82). 

Even though this is a substantial cost savings over the prices set at many clinics, I strongly suggest you find a vet in the beginning that will care for your Maine Coon in the long term. These surgeries are the real beginning of your pet’s medical records, even though the baby will have likely received its initial vaccinations prior to adoption. 

Spaying and neutering is usually performed before six months of age, although some breeders prefer to wait until the cat is 10-12 months of age, in order to give as much advantage as conceivable from the hormones on the bone and joint improvement. If males are altered too late in life, or if the surgery is botched, damage to the ure- thra makes the cat subject to painful and life threatening bladder blockages. 

Routine Health Care for Your Pet 

In truth, you are the genuine establishment of your pet’s social insurance program. Not only is it up to you to establish and maintain a working relationship with a qualified veteri- narian, but you are also the one who will have the best feeling of your feline’s general condition of prosperity, because of recognition and day by day affiliation.

Plainly, in picking a vet, you need a specialist with experience treating Maine Coons. I am additionally an enormous promoter of the cat just practices that have been developing in fame for as far back as 25 years. The clinics are much quieter, which keeps the cats calmer, and the vets engage in ongoing continuing education in advances specif- ically related to the treatment of companion felines. 

Interviewing a Veterinarian 

Different cat owners like different styles in their interaction with veterinarians. I want a doctor with whom I can have a detailed discussion. Information is omforting to me, especially when I am anxious and unsure. My first instinct is to calm my fears with research. I want a vet who will meet me in that place. 

At the same time, however, I want a vet who will talk to me and answer my ques- tions honestly, no matter how much I may not like the answers. The animal in question is a member of my family, about whom I care very much. I have to know the truth in order to make good decisions on the cat’s behalf. 

A highly competent vet with a lousy bedside manner when interacting with me isn’t someone I can work with. As for the cat? They aren’t going to enjoy going to the vet, no matter what! 

If you don’t have a vet already, get a recommendation from the breeder, or look for local listings in the phone directory, or online.

Make an initial appointment for the express purpose of interviewing the vet. Be clear about that and about the fact that you are quite willing to pay for a regular visit. Vets are busy. Don’t expect one to sit down and chat with you for nothing. Treat your vet like what he or she is: a medical professional.

Go in with prepared questions. Don’t overstay your welcome. Get the information you need, including a basic list of costs for procedures. Only make an appointment to go in with your cat when you are satisfied that a clinic meets your needs and those of your pet. 

At that time, observe closely how the vet and the technicians work with your pet. The desired demeanor should be efficient, calm, and firm. Don’t interfere with their handling of your pet, unless asked. Vet techs know the best way to work with ner- vous, anxious cats. 

Vaccinations 

This will also be the point in your cat’s life when you decide to continue with or forego vaccinations. This is, for many pet owners, a difficult choice. I can frankly see both sides of the debate. 

Vaccinating companion animals against contagious disease has, without question, been a tremendous forward step in proper pet health care for decades. This is especially true in regard to legally mandated rabies shots. 

Unfortunately, there is also credible evidence indicating vaccinations lead to the development of tumors at the site of the injection. This is a highly individual deci- sion that I think any cat owner should only make after careful research and in con- sultation with a qualified veterinarian. 

When you adopt a Maine Coon kitten from a cattery, the program of vaccinations will likely have already begun. You will have to decide whether or not you want to continue with the required boosters. The vaccinations typically given to cats in- clude: 

Combination Distemper 

The combo for distemper, often referred to as FVRCP, is usually given at 8 weeks and again at 12 weeks, with a booster not due until 3 years later. 

 The intended protection includes: 

– panleukopenia (FPV or feline infectious enteritis) 

– rhinotracheitis (FVR, an upper respiratory /pulmonary infection)

– calicivirus (causes respiratory infections) 

Some vaccines also guard against Chlamydophilia, which causes conjunctivitis. 

Feline Leukemia 

The leukemia vaccine is given to kittens at 2 months of age, followed by a booster a month or so later. Annual boosters are then given for life. 

I cannot stress strongly enough that feline leukemia is so infectious that it can be passed on by nothing more than a nose tap. You already know my belief that all cats, including Maine Coons, should be kept strictly indoors. 

That being said, I do believe that the feline leukemia vaccine is essential for any cat that lives even part of the time outdoors. The risk of coming into contact with feral cats that are infected with the disease is simply too great. 

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