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Grooming my Maine Coon, HELP!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have a Maine Coon girl, Stella, who just hates being brushed. I am very gentle with her, and I don't pull. I know that stresses them out, and I find that if I accidentally pull on her hair, it's more likely to matt in that area. I use a either a slicker brush, or a wide tooth comb.

She'll let me brush her just for a little bit, but then she runs away. If she seems me with that brush in my hand, she darts underneath something. She does let me brush her back, but never her belly and her arm pits, and that's where she needs it the most.

The thing is that she really needs to be brushed daily. Her fur is very fine, and mats very easily.

I always give her praise and treats when she is done.

I would think with all that fur that she would actually appreciate the help of brushing, but she really does hate it. Does anyone have any suggestions to make it any easier on her? ((and me! )
post #2 of 9
I'm eager to hear the reply, too. There's a cat at my school (yes, our school has a cat) who hates brushing, too. He's started to tolerate me brushing his back but, like Stella, he needs to be brushed on the belly and under the arm pits most!
post #3 of 9
I'm sure there are plenty of experts who can give you way better advice here, all I can say is a little about dealing with a persian and a maine coon who weren't grooming fans. James (persian) had been badly abused before he was rescued, and loathed being groomed. Absolutely loathed. I did eventually find a plastic hairbrush that he liked the sensation of on his neck and shoulders, and I used that often as part of petting him, to try and get him to associate any brushing with not being a dreadful experience, and after a while I did manage to get a very quick brush of his tummy squeezed in between lots of head and shoulder brushing. Not at all the right equipment for a persian but at least something he'd tolerate. Done absolutely every day that helped to keep the tangles down, but every year when he lost his winter coat he matted. My local vets were great in helping with this and in the end we lion clipped him (under reversible sedation) about every 18 months, and then took him inbetween times to the nurses there in the very early stages of a problem when he was just starting to tangle, and they'd do a proper brush through under light tranquilisers, and clip any forming matts. They'd usually do this while I was there, and it took anything between five and twenty minutes, with him coming straight home afterwards. Using any sedation really wasn't ideal and not something I'd have chosen to do regularly without a real need, but James had been through a lot, he had a genuine problem with grooming and the priority with him was comfort and finding quick and low stress ways to manage his coat. The risks were better than having a seriously unhappy and matted cat, and matts can be very painful.

Mark (maine coon) didn't have a serious problem with grooming, he was just busy and didn't want to. I'd had him since a kitten so he was used to being groomed - he also had a habit of diving through the thickest undergrowth he could find and coming back COVERED in burrs, in need of immediate brushing, so it wasn't optional! With him I was gentle, interspersed grooming with petting and a lot of talking to him, but was firm and didn't let him get down until I was ready. (If he was really fed up I might only groom for a minute or two or less, but still let him go when I was ready rather than when he fussed, so he didn't associate fussing with getting out of it.) I groomed him in my lap rather than on a table, tended to put him on his back on my lap which made those long maine coon legs a bit easier to manage, and just was gently persistant. Mostly after a few minutes wriggling, he'd give up, co operate and start purring.

If you still have contact with your girl's breeder it might be worth asking her advice- most breeders with long hairs are expert groomers and can show you holds and positions for grooming that make it more comfortable and more effective for the cat- maine coons aren't the easiest cats to hold when they want out! They might also make some suggestions on things like baby powder, a little of which on easily matted areas like under the arms help stop tangles, but you only need a little and it's not good to use it too often as it can dry out the skin. If you have a good vets it might also be worth talking to the nurses there as they're usually very experienced in grooming, and see if they can help you work out some strategies.
post #4 of 9
I would say you might 1stly need someone to help you to hold her before you start brushing... and if maine coon i don't think you need much grooming... so you can try to brush him... part by part separate in few hours... try not to do it one shot... see if she get better to used to the brush....
post #5 of 9
First of all you should never use a brush on a longhair cat - always use a comb - fine/wider teeth combo. Brushes do nothing to keep mats out of the coat.

If your kitty has a lot of mats, she will object to combing. I would do a little at a time and reward her with treats. Start with the neck/ruff and do that; then give her a treat. Then do a bit more on the body and again, reward her for being calm. You can stop if she gets too fidgetity but don't let her tell you when its time to stop. You choose.

Most times when I combed my angora (which really didn't like it much), I'd hold his feet together and comb a little at a time and talk to him quietly. You have to be firm and not "afraid" - once the cat knows you are in control, they will relax. If they sense you will stop the minute they complain, well...you know what will happen.
post #6 of 9
Just a small though, you can also use a sowing stitch puller to cut out mats on extra hairy coons. Mine mats up at the drop of a hat and she tolerates me doing this.
post #7 of 9
i have a maine coon who used to hate getting groomed. i started brushing her with a wide-bristled brush when she was almost asleep; i gradually moved up to a slicker comb.

if all else fails, get a zoom groom--chloe actually brings it to me to brush her lol
post #8 of 9
I've got a longhair cat that won't tolerate picking up or holding at all, but she LOVES the zoom groom. She doesn't mat that easily, though, so sorry I'm not much help there.
post #9 of 9
Combs are a must have when grooming a long haired cat. Brushes do help get some of the loose, dead hair and thus will help minimize mats. ONe of the other posters is right though, that brushing won't take out mats. The trick is to try to prevent them or at least minimize them! I've had a couple cats that didn't care for grooming. I had to just catch them for a minute here and there. Of course it always does help to have a second pair of hands around!
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