According to ASPCA, Americans adopt about 1.6 million cats in a year. Most times, people prefer adopting small kittens who are meeting their families for the first time and are still learning how to coexist with and trust pet owners.
Bonding with a new Maine Coon kitten can be challenging if you don’t know how to handle it appropriately. To make the process easier, as a new parent, you should learn how to create a bond with the kitten during the first few weeks.
Here are 11 expert tips to help you bond with your Maine Coon kitten.
- 1. Play With Your Kitten
- 2. Feed Your Kitten
- 3. Stick to a Consistent Routine
- 4. Groom Your Kitten
- 5. Give the Kitten a Name
- 6. Make Your Home Comfortable and Safe
- 7. Pet Your Kitten
- 8. Talk to Your Kitten
- 9. Learn Your Kitten’s Body Language
- 10. Get On Their Level
- 11. Avoid Punishing Your Cat
- How To Tell if Your Maine Coon Kitten Loves You
- Final Words
1. Play With Your Kitten
Just like all other young animals, Maine Coon kittens enjoy playing. Playing allows your cat to exercise, promotes curiosity, strengthens the kitten's predatory instincts, and makes the cat happier. The happier your kitten is, the easier it becomes to create a bond.
After adopting a Maine Coon kitten, spare at least 15 minutes three times a day to play with your cat during the first few weeks. Don't allow your kitten to pounce on your feet or hands when playing. Instead, encourage your pet to play with kitten-safe toys like feather wands and wicker balls.
2. Feed Your Kitten
Feeding your kitten is another way to build a strong bond with it since animals tend to trust people who feed them and provide for their needs.
The first time you bring your Maine Coon kitten home, stick to high-quality and delicious kitten treats. This way, your pet will associate you with good things, and they will look forward to the next meal.
While your kitten is feeding, stroke their back and tail. But, if the kitten is shy, give it food and walk away until it becomes comfortable with you. Take time, and don’t rush trying to force your Maine Coon kitten to accept you; rest, you make it even more scared of you.
Although you want to bond with your kitten through feeding it, limit the amount you give it. Check the nutritional components of the treat. Otherwise, you risk raising an obese cat.
3. Stick to a Consistent Routine
Cats are routine-oriented animals, and they don't like interruptions. When you adopt a Maine Coon kitten, try to create a routine as soon as the cat gets home.
For instance, schedule a consistent feeding time, playtime, and litter box management. Set a specific sleeping time for your cat.
The kitten will trust you making it easier to create a strong bond. Inconsistency is a threat to cats since it brings confusion. It also contributes to stress, leading to antisocial behavior, which makes bonding difficult.
Stress caused by an inconsistent routine can make your kitten develop health problems such as urinary, digestive, and skin-related conditions.
4. Groom Your Kitten
Cats are excellent at grooming themselves. But, it is also important to regularly groom your Maine Coon kitten to ensure it’s clean and comfortable.
When grooming your kitten, trim the nails and ensure they are always short. Long nails can curve into the footpad resulting in pain and movement problems. Generally, you should trim your kitten's nails after every two weeks.
Grooming also involves gently brushing your cat's fur. Use a soft brush to avoid causing pain or injuries when brushing your Maine Coon kitten. If you injure your kitten, it may not trust you.
To make grooming easier, introduce your kitten to the routine when it is young. A routine will make your kitten get accustomed to you handling it and foster bonding in the process.
5. Give the Kitten a Name
One of the essential things you should do after bringing home a Maine Coon kitten is to name it. Giving your kitten a name makes you feel connected to it. Naming conveys a strong sense of ownership, which helps you get more attached to your kitten.
When choosing a pet name, pick one that you like, maybe the name of a popular character in your favorite movie or book.
Pick a name that’s easy to pronounce. If possible, choose a name with two syllables. It will make it easier for the kitten to learn, recognize its name and respond when called.
6. Make Your Home Comfortable and Safe
Most animals, including cats, are sentient creatures and can tell when you're trying to give them security and happiness. After adopting a Maine Coon kitten, try keeping it in one room during the first few days to avoid overwhelming it with the new environment.
To make your pet more comfortable, place a few toys in the room to encourage your kitten to become active. You should also place food and water in the room so the cat can access them when hungry or thirsty.
Provide the kitten with a comfortable bed and blankets to keep it warm. As time goes by, the kitten will trust you, helping you to create a strong connection.
7. Pet Your Kitten
Petting is the easiest yet most effective way to create a bond with your Maine Coon kitten. It emulates the social traits cats usually display and will demonstrate that you are trying to be friendly and caring.
When petting your Maine Coon kitten, gently stroke it on the cheeks or the top of the head with your fingers. You can also nap with it on your bed or cuddle when watching TV.
Although petting a kitten is healthy, some don't like snuggling or holding. If your cat hesitates, don't force it. Leave it alone until it starts feeling comfortable around you.
8. Talk to Your Kitten
Verbal communication is among the most crucial aspects of bonding with a Maine Coon kitten. If your kitten meows, respond to them. Meowing signifies that the cat wants to communicate with you and is unlikely to stop until you respond to its needs.
Meowing is an adaptive trait that cats use to communicate and get along with their owners since they know humans tend to respond to vocal cues.
Use a soft, low, and friendly tone when talking to your kitten. Although the kitten won't understand what you are saying, it will recognize your warm and kind tone. Your pet will know that you are caring and friendly, helping to strengthen your bond.
9. Learn Your Kitten’s Body Language
A kitten can't speak to you, but you can learn about your cat's behavior or attitude by observing its body language.
Maine Coon kittens have distinct personalities and will react differently to various stimuli. Some kittens could be timid, and if you play rough with them or start exposing them to many people or things at once, they may get nervous.
Watch out for the following signs to know if your cat is nervous:
- Bristled tail
- Moving away from you
If your kitten shows any of the signs above, give it space until it becomes comfortable.
10. Get On Their Level
You can bond with your Maine Coon kitten by squatting to get to its level and look into its eyes. When looking into your cat's eyes, blink at it slowly.
Gently lower your eyelids, blink, and slowly open your eyes to soothe and connect with your kitty. If the kitten blinks back at you, it's reacting to your affection.
11. Avoid Punishing Your Cat
Maine Coon kittens can develop bad habits, which can be annoying. Although it can be tempting to punish your cat, behaviorists don't advocate for it.
Punishing your kitten will only make it nervous, making it challenging to create a bond, especially during the first few days after adopting it.
Instead of punishing bad behavior, reward your Maine Coon kitten when it does something good, since cats best learn through positive reinforcement.
How To Tell if Your Maine Coon Kitten Loves You
Cats don't always make their feelings obvious. Regardless, there are several body languages that they can display and let you know how they feel.
The following signs can help you know if your Maine Coon kitten loves you.
Cats often groom each other as a sign of affection. If your cat loves you, it sees you as part of its feline family. It will try to groom you by licking your skin.
Try to return the affection when your cat licks you by gently brushing its fur.
Shows You Its Fluffy Tummy
Kittens rarely show their bellies, especially if they don't know you, since cats are vulnerable when their tummies are up.
Therefore, if a Maine Coon kitten rolls and shows you their tummy, they trust and love you.
Headbutting is when a cat rubs their cheek or bumps its head against you. When a Maine Coon kitten headbutts you, it leaves its scent on you. It's a way of marking its territory and letting other cats know you are its special person.
A cat's tail can also help you know if your cat loves you. If your Maine Coon kitten raises its tail and twitches its tip from side to side, it shows that the cat loves you.
Adopting a Maine Coon kitten is among the most satisfying experiences for you and your family. Bonding with your new friend comes in handy in ensuring you enjoy peaceful coexistence.
It is important to note that different Maine Coon kittens have different personalities. Study your kitten’s behaviors to determine the best way to bond with it.