Maine Coons are lovable creatures. Known as the gentle giants of the cat breeding world, Maine Coons are distinguished by their independent, easygoing attitude, enormous size compared to other breeds, and lusciously long fur.
Much like other breeds of cats, the Maine Coon has health issues associated with its breed, notably skin problems that can develop if you’re not diligent with grooming your long-haired companion.
If you brush your cat frequently, avoid bathing too often (bathe only once a month or as needed), and give them adequate nutrition and water, you can prevent most skin problems that can develop with Maine Coons and other long-haired breeds.
Natural Treatment for Skin Care
Common Causes of Skin Problems in Maine Coons
Most cat skin problems have a direct cause that you can solve by changing their environment. As long as you take proper care of your cat, most issues you can solve yourself. However, some skin problems are caused by unknown factors and underlying health problems that require professional intervention from vets or groomers.
Atopic Dermatitis in Maine Coons
Atopic dermatitis means your cat has a skin issue from…something. The reality is that there are such minuscule amounts of chemicals and other allergens in our homes that it's impossible to say what triggered your cat’s skin issue.
What is evident is the symptoms. You’ll see your cat scratching its belly and feet and rubbing its snout the best it can. Atopic dermatitis causes redness in their snout, itchiness in their paws and nose, and dander.
Since you have no idea what caused it, you’ll have to take your cat to the vet and get medicine to treat its symptoms. Once the symptoms fade, you can try taking your cat off the medication to see if it comes back, but if it does, you might have to spend some time searching for the exact allergen your cat is reacting to.
Fleas, Mites, and Ticks Oh My!
Fleas and other parasites are a common cause of itchiness in cats, and in Maine Coons, it can be hard to detect due to their long dark-colored hair. If your cat is itching more than usual, look them over carefully for parasites, and pay special attention to areas your cat is scratching.
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You’ll have to treat your entire house if you find parasites. Do all the laundry, spray bedding and cushions that you can’t wash with parasite control spray, and wash your cat with specialized shampoo for fleas and ticks. You’ll also want to take a long shower and wash your hair well, as fleas can potentially jump onto you for a temporary hiding spot while you clean them.
Bacterial, yeast, and fungal infections are all common causes of itchy skin in cats. Check your cat’s skin thoroughly for any red spots or wounds that have become infected. If you find an infection, you should immediately take them to the vet for treatment.
Infections left unchecked can become life-threatening, so it’s not something you’ll want to let fester, especially since long-haired cats can’t properly clean or air out infections caused by excessive moisture.
Long-haired breeds have specialized grooming needs, and Maine Coons are no different. They should be brushed once or twice a week at the very least, more if they’re older cats who can no longer clean themselves as well as they used to.
Excessive bathing can dry out cats’ skin and remove essential oils from their fur. Grooming can also cause problems. You would never need to bathe your cats unless they’ve gotten into something or are allowed outdoors.
Dehydration can cause dry skin in any living creature, not just cats. It’s no wonder cats are picky when it comes to fresh water.
You can help avoid this by frequently changing their water, feeding them wet food twice a week, or getting a fancy waterfall, so your cat always thinks it's getting fresh water.
Different breeds can have additional nutritional requirements, and Maine Coons are no different. Maine Coons are a gigantic and active breed of cat, requiring a lot of energy daily.
Ensure your cat food has a lot of protein, few carbohydrates, moderate fat levels, and other nutrients. Food for outdoor or active cats is especially good for Maine Coons as it gives them all the energy they need while fulfilling their nutritional requirements. Don’t forget to tailor their food to their age as well! Kittens and elders have very different dietary needs.
Underlying Health Problems
If your cat doesn’t match any of the above conditions, it may have an underlying health issue causing skin problems like hyperthyroidism, eczema, allergies, or even cancer. These conditions are less common than the others, but if you can’t pinpoint the exact cause of your cat’s skin problems, then it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Take your cat to the vet for a professional opinion and tests that can precisely pin down your cat’s health condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Treating cat skin problems can be tricky, and sometimes it’s best left to the professionals. Knowing when it’s time to take your cat to the vet and what issues you can solve on your own is an essential skill for all pet owners.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an issue you can quickly solve at home. The best course of action is to take your pet to the vet and get some medication to give your pet every day for allergies. Steroids are a popular prescription, as is an allergy medicine.
Sometimes, this condition only pops up at certain times of the year, so many pet owners dismiss it as allergies, but this condition is worse. It can cause cats to rip open skin, causing other health issues that are pricier than the medication alone.
If you want, you can take the time to run the tests and see exactly what your cat is allergic to, then give your cat medicine targeted for that specific allergen.
In a perfect world, all pet owners would take their pets to the vet when something abnormal popped up. But this is an imperfect world, and pet owners have budgets. Go through this list to try and determine the problem yourself.
If you can quickly fix something on your own, like flea infestation or improper grooming, then make the changes and observe your cat to ensure the problem has been solved. If it’s something more complicated like an infection or dermatitis, or you can’t determine the issue on your own, take your cat to the vet.
You should brush out their fur two or three times a week and keep bathing to a minimum once a month. However, if your cat is older and has trouble grooming itself, you’ll have to up the time you take grooming your cat.
For cats unable to wash effectively, you should brush them out once a day and gently wipe their fur with specialized conditioner to replace their essential oils.
An Ounce of Prevention for Your Maine Coon
Ultimately, you should follow the proper guidelines for caring for your Maine Coon to prevent these conditions. However, even the most spoiled cats can develop adverse skin conditions that require special attention, as it’s one of the health issues with the breed and most kinds of long-haired kitties.
However, proper grooming, nutrition, and care can keep your cat happy and healthy for several years to come, preventing skin conditions and other health issues to let you enjoy their companionship to the end of their lifespan.