If you're a good cat owner, your Maine Coon may allow you to sleep in your own bed with him/her tonight.


Coongratulations on your upcoming newest family member. To make the transition easier on both your kitty and your existing family members (to include other fur babies, I've listed answers to some of the most frequently questions asked by others who have purchased kitties from me.


WHAT SIZE CAT CARRIER DO I NEED?

When selecting a carrier, you should remember that Maine Coons grow twice as fast as a "regular" cat. Because of that, I would suggest purchasing a carrier that will accommodate your kitten until he/she is full size. The size I typically buy is one that is 26 x 19 x 17 and holds up to 25 lbs.


AIRLINE--ADDITIONAL COSTS

If you are using the airlines to transport your kitten, the following costs will be in addition to your kitten cost. 


As of 2015, a Certificate of Health is $50. You will be notified if there is a price increase. This is not my charge; this is what my veterinarian charges. If your kitten is flying cargo, it is required that every kitten/cat has a Certificate of Health. If your cat is flying in the cabin, some airlines do not require a Certificate of Health, but others do. You must check with the airlines being flown in order to determine what their requirements are. I will gladly assist you with this.


Cat Carrier (Cost depends on size, type, and brand)--If kitten/cat is flying inside the cabin, airlines require that the pet containers must fit beneath the seat, and soft-sided crates work best. Each airline has their own size requirements. If flying cargo, carriers must be hard-sided, and  cats must be able to stand up in the crate without any part of their body touching the inside"ceiling" of the crate. 


if the new owner is flying to NC, and I am meeting you there to "hand over" your kitten, you can either bring your own carrier, or I will purchase one for you. If you bring your own, BE SURE it is within airline regulations. In the event you have your own carrier, I will use my personal carrier just to bring the kitten to the airport.


Travel Fee of $100--The closest international airport to my house is RDU--Raleigh/Durham International Airport, and it takes me approximately 6 hours round trip from my home. For that reason, there will be an additional $150 transport charge if driving to RDU.


There is another option that will not require you to pay my $150 travel fee. You can fly into Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern, Nc, which is only 20 minutes from my home. I will be glad to meet you at this airport for FREE, meaning no travel charge. Because this is not a  large airport, it is unlikely that you will have the opportunity to schedule a flight to leave the same day you arrive. This would then require you to find lodging, rental care, etc.


AIRPORT & LODGING INFO


Airports:


Raleigh/Durham International Airport is approximately 3 hours away from my home. It is possible that you could schedule a flight out the same day you fly in, as long as you're flying back into another large airport. 

Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern, NC is located only 20 minutes from my home. It is a small airport, so it is unlikely you will be able to fly back out the same day, unless you're flying back to Atlanta. Of course, please double check to verify that.

Hotels in Havelock, NC (the town I live in)


The two hotels below have been stayed at by others who purchased kittens from me, and they spoke quite highly of their stay.

Hampton Inn, Havelock, NC--Check out this link for more info of this hotel. http://goo.gl/KW7S3h

Holiday Inn Express, Havelock, NC-- Check out this link for more info on this hotel:  http://goo.gl/KUYOSU

***If you are flying into Raleigh/Durham International Airport and plan to stay overnight, I will be glad to assist you in finding a hotel close to the airport or even close to shopping. I lived in Raleigh for many years prior to moving to Havelock. Please just let me know if I can assist you with this information.


VACCINATIONS

Prior to leaving my home, your cat will have received two doses of the standard core vaccinations that vaccinate against:  feline rhinotracheitis virus, calcivirus, and panleukopenia. Your kitten will also be dewormed at least four times prior to leaving my home, so they should not require additional deworming. 

Once in your possession, your kitten will still require one more dose of the standard core vaccination, as well as their rabies vaccination. The core vaccine is administered three to four weeks apart, so you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian three to four weeks from the date of their last core vaccination. Your kitten will not require another core vaccination until its one-year booster. 

In regards to the rabies vaccination, check with your veterinarian to determine the age in which your state requires rabies vaccinations to be administered. In North Carolina, kittens receive their rabies vaccinations at 16 weeks of age.Please discuss with your veterinarian what their professional opinion is in regards to vaccinations.

PAYING FOR REMAINING KITTEN BALANCE

The remaining balance owed on the purchase of your kitten can be paid in two ways: 
CASH or CREDIT CARD. The remaining balance includes both the balance owed on the kitten, as well as any additional fees such as: travel expenses to the airport, crate/carrier purchase, Certificate of Health, etc. The purchaser will always be notified ahead of time as to any additional charges in addition to the purchase price of the kitten. 

On the day of pickup, Cash will only be accepted. I will not accept a check, nor will I accept a credit card payment on the day of pickup. This could definitely cause an inconvenience for you, especially if you're picking up the kitten on the weekend and you don't have cash. I am sorry, but I will not release the kitten on the day of pickup without being paid in full in CASH. 

Credit Card Payment:  You may pay the remaining balance owed on your kitten by credit card as long as the payment clears prior to picking up your cat. For those who are having your kitten shipped, your payment must clear at least 24 hours prior to me leaving for the airport. 

REGARDING CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS--FYI...there have been a few instances where credit card payments took up to three days before posting to my account. Please be aware that payment must clear/post before kittens will be released to their new homes. This includes kittens who are flying to their new homes. I will not be pressured to release a kitten prior to the balance posting just because they will miss their plane.

SPAY/NEUTER REQUIREMENTS

Your kitten was sold to you with a spay/neuter agreement, which is outlined in the purchase agreement. You must have your kitten altered (spayed/neutered) by the time they are 6 months old. This means you can have it done anytime prior to 6 months of age, but must be completed by the time the kitten turns 6 months old. Once completed, please send me verification from your veterinarian (a detailed receipt will be acceptable) prior to the kitten turning 7 months old. I will also accept a snapshot of the invoice. You can send it as an attachment via text messaging, Facebook, or email. 

WHEN DO I RECEIVE MY KITTEN'S CFA or TICA REGISTRATION PAPERWORK?

Once I have received the required documentation showing your kitten was spayed/neutered, I will send you the registration paperwork for you kitten within 30 days. Please feel free to notify me if you have any questions in how to fill out the registration paperwork.

WE ARE PICKING UP OUR KITTEN SOON. WHAT DO I NEED FOR THE TRIP HOME?

It is necessary to have a pet carrier with you when you pick up your kitten. No kitten will be allowed to leave without the owner having a pet carrier. If you arrive without having a carrier, there is a Walmart less than 10 minutes from my house. You will need to purchase one before I will release the kitten to you. I'm requiring this for the safety of everyone in the car, not just the kitten.  

Depending on the time you will be picking up your kitten, I will adjust his/her feeding schedule in order to decrease the risk of your kitten getting car sick on the way home. During your travel time, you should have water available to the kitten at all times.

For people with larger vehicles, many new cat owners have used a small dog cage/kennel to house their kitten on the way home. Inside the cage, they've placed a small litter box, a cat bed, a couple of toys, and water. This allows the kitty the ability to move around.

If you do not have a large vehicle that will accommodate a dog cage, no problem!! Make sure the cat carrier is large enough where he/she can stand up and move around. Be sure to take the kitten out of the carrier whenever you stop to get gas or potty breaks so that he/she can move around the car to stretch its legs, get some water, and use the litter box.You can get a small kitten litter box from Walmart that will fit in the floorboard of your car. Remember...do not buy a cat carrier to fit a kitten. Within 6 months, your kitty could easily weigh 10 lbs. I believe in buying only one carrier, so make sure it's large enough to carry a full-size Maine Coon.

WHAT KIND OF FOOD DO YOU FEED THE KITTENS?

While kittens are here, they are eating a balanced raw diet, which consists of chicken; chicken hearts, liver, and gizzards; eggs; and fish. I will provide you with a few different easy-to-follow raw recipes, some helpful hints in how to feed your kitten a healthy raw diet in the most economical way, as well as info on the benefits of feeding a raw diet.

I WANT TO FEED MY CAT ANOTHER BRAND OF CAT FOOD. HOW SHOULD I MAKE THE CHANGE?

No problem with wanting to change food, but for the sake of your kitten, let's do it smart. The worst time to change a kitten's food is when they've first joined a new home. That first week of being in a new place and away from their litter mates can be extremely stressful to some kittens. For that reason, it is important to keep their food the same for at least the first week. If possible (depending on mode of travel), each new owner will be provided a tube of their kitten's current raw food, as well as the recipe to make it once you get home. After the initial week, begin to introduce some of the new food into their existing food and continue until you see they are accepting the new food, and then it should be fine to switch them permanently. Please be aware that switching food can cause gastrointestinal issues with cats and kittens, so your kitten may experience some diarrhea or loose stools. Of course, diarrhea can be extremely dangerous for kittens, so please do not ignore it; seek veterinary care.

WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THE KITTEN WHEN I FIRST BRING HIM/HER TO MY HOME?

Choose one room in the house in which you can enclose the kitten for about a week. I always suggest the master bedroom because it allows the kitten to bond with the new owners at night, plus they can snuggle with you. Remember, unlike most cats, Maine Coons are very dependent on people. They need that human interaction, so being able to be with you, even if it's while you sleep is so important for their socialization skills.

Place their food, water, litter box, and toys in the room with them. Remember, the first week away from their litter mates can be stressful,so we don't want to stress them more by introducing them to a new and large environment. Even more so, you don't want to risk the chance of the kitten not being able to find the litter box. 

When you do allow them to roam the entire house, be sure to carry the kitten to each of the litter box locations and place him/her in the box. This will ensure that they know where the litter boxes are located.

I HAVE OTHER CATS AND/OR DOGS. HOW DO I INTRODUCE MY NEW KITTEN TO THEM?

Being exposed to other household pets should be quite easy for your new kitten, as long as your other pets are not aggressive or rough with him/her. Your kitten was exposed on a daily basis to our three small dogs (2 yorkies and 1 chihuahua). 

Begin the introduction process by following the instructions above regarding to what to do with them when you first bring them home. Please read that section, and I will continue to add information to that scenario. 

While the kitten is in the bedroom during the first week, rub the kitten's fur with a dry hand towel or wash cloth. Take that wash cloth and place it in the area with your other household pets. This will allow your existing pets to "smell" the kitten without the kitten actually being in the room with them. Now, it is important for you to do the same thing with your existing pets. Rub them with a dry washcloth and then place the washcloth in the room with the kitten. By doing this process, it will allow both your existing pets and your new kitty to get to know each other prior to meeting face-to-face.

I cannot stress the importance of being very observant when you do introduce the kitten to the rest of the fur family. The kitten will be extremely vulnerable during this introduction time. Also, I strongly suggest separating the kitten in the beginning from any larger pets when you're not home. This is just an extra precaution to keep your new kitty safe.

BECAUSE MY KITTY IS AN INDOOR PET, IS IT NECESSARY FOR ME TO ADMINISTER FLEA MEDICATION?

Your kitten received flea treatment while with me. We administer Revolution, because not only does it treat fleas, it is also a heartworm preventative. It is administered topically on the skin, just between the shoulder blades. 

Trust me; your kitty doesn't have to go outside to get fleas. If you have dogs, they can bring fleas in with them, which will then jump on your kitty. I was told by a veterinarian that for some reasons, fleas liked being on cats more than dogs, so that's why your indoor cat can have a multitude of fleas and your dogs have a minimal amount. Cats/kittens end up with tapeworms after ingesting fleas.Please read the dangers associated with tapeworms at http://goo.gl/YczjNJ. 

"Even if you have no pets inside your home or on your property, fleas can easily be carried into your home by humans.  Adult fleas respond to movement, vibrations and exhaled breath.  The simple action of walking across a flea infested area (your lawn, a public park, etc.) sets off the natural jumping action of adult fleas.  They then can easily hitch-hike into your home, once they cling to your skin, shoes, socks, pants or other articles of clothing" (http://goo.gl/DCOVHX).

HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO GROOM MY KITTEN?

Compared to other long-hair cat breeds, Maine Coons are quite easy in the "upkeep" department. Brushing their coats once a week should keep their coats silky smooth, as well as free from those dreaded mats.

Kittens/cats with furry back sides sometimes have difficulty with keeping clean after going to the bathroom. In order to keep them "clean & fresh," just do a little "catscaping" by trimming the fur around their backside.  

Bathing them???? Maine Coons do a great job in keeping themselves clean, so unless their fur is dirty or oily, there is no need to bathe them. If you are going to bathe your cat, ONLY use shampoo specifically for cats. DO NOT USE DOG SHAMPOO!!! Many dog shampoos treat for fleas, and the main ingredient for treating fleas is pyrethrin, which is fatal to cats. Also, human-grade shampoo can cause adverse effects to your kitty, as well. So, for the health of your cat/kitten, PLEASE choose a cat/kitten shampoo.

Nails should be trimmed every two weeks. Also, keep their ears cleaned. I bought a bottle of pet ear cleaner and the women's circular cotton pads used to remove make up to clean their ears. I just squirt the cleaner on the pad to wipe the inside of their ears. Also, the liquid can be used to squirt in their ears to clean internally.

WHAT ITEMS WILL I NEED AT HOME FOR MY KITTEN IN REGARDS TO TOYS, ETC. 

Maine Coons like to climb to higher grounds, so a cat tree is a must. When choosing which one to purchase, remember that you are purchasing a cat tree for a LARGE CAT, not a kitten, so make sure it is sturdy. Also, many cat trees have small enclosures on them, which kittens love, but become useless space when the kitten gets over 6 months old and can no longer fit in the enclosures. Although you may be afraid of heights, your kitten is not. Don't be afraid of buying a cat tree because you think it is too high for your little kitty to climb. They love climbing on the highest thing in the room so that they can watch everything down below. 

Cat trees can be either reasonably priced or extremely expensive, depending on where you purchase them. From experience, I have purchased most of my cat trees from Amazon, and I've been thoroughly pleased with the quality and price. 

Let's talk toys!!!! I learned the hard way that there's no reason to spend a lot of money on toys for your Maine Coon. My cats spend more time playing in a cardboard box than they ever did playing with a toy I bought them. Also, when you go to the grocery store, get a couple of paper bags for the kitties to play in. Many Maine Coons LOVE to fetch, and a balled up piece of paper becomes their best friend.  It's lightweight and easy for them to grasp in their mouths. Although none of mine have tried to eat the paper, always be cautious when your kitten is playing with paper.

My cats and kittens both love playing with "springs." Here is a link that shows what I'm talking about. http://goo.gl/4qQChU. The only two places I've seen them available is at Tractor Supply (actually was sold in store) and on Amazon. My cats also love playing with ping pong balls, which I purchase in a pack of 6 at the Dollar Tree. These balls are extremely lightweight, so they're easy for the kittens to knock around.

WHAT TYPE OF LITTER HAS MY KITTEN BEEN USING?

At the time you pick up your kitten, he/she will be accustomed to using clay litter. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals recommends kittens should not use clumping cat litter until they are at least 4 months old. This is because kittens have a tendency of ingesting litter, and if ingested, clumping litter can cause gastrointestinal blockage and even be life threatening. 

LITTER

I've used just about every kind of litter out there (chicken feed, wood pellets, clay, and scoop/clump) in order to find the product that does the job required, as well as being economical. Below I've listed some of the items I've used, as well as my opinions to each product. I am not being specific as to a particular brand, but rather the "type" of litter used.

Keep in mind that all litter has the potential of getting tracked onto the floor when the cat exits the litter box. Also, I'm providing you with MY personal experience when I used these different types of litter, but keep in mind that my opinion is based on me having multiple cats.

What if I want to use a different type of litter at my house?

Because leaving its litter mates can be stressful on some kittens, I would recommend sticking to the same type of litter (if all possible) when first getting your kitten home. This is to reduce the chance of your kitten relieving himself in places other than the litter box. After a couple of weeks, begin to sprinkle the new litter of choice on top of their existing litter. Over time, increase the amount of new litter while reducing the amount of their old litter.

Be aware that cats/kittens will tell you when they don't like their litter, so you really need to listen. This is a true story that happened to us. We had been using pine pellets for about a year when suddenly one of our males began to urinate on the floor. Because he lives in a room with three other males, I initially thought it was a "male thing" and this was his way of claiming his territory. A few months later, I had a female who began doing the same thing. Now...it's not unusual for a cat to refrain from using their litter box if it is dirty, but this was not the case. We clean our boxes multiple times daily.

Although months went by, I FINALLY listened to my cats. We stopped using the pine pellets and began using clumping litter. Ever since we switched litter, both cats began using the litter boxes again. We have not had pee puddles since. 

I am not telling you this as a way to discredit pine pellets. Other than my male and female peeing outside the litter box, my other cats and kittens seemed to have no problem with using it. As you will read below, it was quite economical, which definitely received two thumbs up from me!!! But...my cats spoke...and I had to listen!!!

Pine Pellets/Equine Bedding:(http://goo.gl/he6P74)  This product is available at Tractor Supply, but could also be found at any feed store. At Tractor Supply, a 40 lb bag costs $5.99. When the cat urinates, the pine pellets turn into sawdust, so the only scooping being done is when the cat poops. The pine works great at neutralizing odor. In regards to litter tracking outside the box, some sawdust does get on the floor, as well as the occasional pellet, but nothing too bad. BENEFITS: Very economical.

Chicken Feed 100% Crumbles: In the beginning, I sometimes use chicken feed crumbles (or clay litter--see below) when kittens are first learning to use the litter box. Kittens are like small babies in that they put everything in their mouths, including litter. In the beginning, their litter box is more like a play space than a litter box. Unlike clumping litter that can clog their gastrointestinal tract, the chicken feed crumbles is animal food grade, so it is harmless for them to ingest. The chicken feed works similar to a regular "clumping" litter in that urine forms into a clump, which allows you to easily scoop the litter.

I've used this product for both my cats and kittens, but I found that it did not provide the necessary neutralizing power needed for my adult cats' litter boxes. Of course, I was using the product with multiple cats, so I cannot comment on how it would work with one or two cats. In regards to cost, I believe a 40 lb bag costs around $12. 

Clay Litter:  What I like about clay litter is that like chicken feed crumbles, it is harmless if ingested. I also like that it has a similar texture and consistency as clumping cat litter, which makes it an easy transition when switching a kitten from clay litter to clumping cat litter. Kittens appear to enjoy scratching and digging in the clay litter. The litter comes scented and unscented, but does not clump. Urine soaks down to the bottom of the litter box, so it needs to be emptied more frequently than clumping litter.

Clumping Litter: The clumping litter had the best odor control, yet some brands can be quite dusty. I do like how easy it is to scoop both pee and poop, but the biggest negative for me regarding the scoopable litter was the cost. But, happy cats  makes a happy cat owner. Having cleaner litter boxes and cats that actually use the boxes definitely outweighs the cost. 


WHAT TYPE OF LITTER BOX DO YOU USE?


I currently use 6 Open Air Litter Robots, which are automatic self-cleaning litter boxes.  Although they are costly, to me, the benefits outweigh the initial cost. The biggest positive is that every time a cat/kitten has to use the litter box, they are doing so in a clean litter box. Also, I find that with the Litter Robot, I use less litter than when I used conventional litter boxes. The Litter Robot uses clumping cat litter. Litter Robots can only be used for cats that are at least 5 lbs. 


My kittens use a more conventional-style of litter box that is filled with clay litter. I use large concrete mixing tubs that I purchased from Lowes Home Improvement. These tubs are large enough for adult-sized Maine Coons to use. Here is a link that shows what they look like.

http://www.lowes.com/pd/36-in-x-24-1-2-in-High-Density-Polyethylene-Large-Black-Mixing-Tub/1226689. 











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