Your child and your new pet

If you want your child and new pet to bond - why not get your child this Design Your Own Pet Bowl set for Christmas?  Easy to do (comes with permanent marker pens, so no messy paints to worry about) and your child will love the fact they've designed the new pet's food bowl.

Available from Amazon's Maine Coon MAD Pet Store.

Christmas Gift Ideas for your pet

I've just seen the perfect gift for my beautiful Maine Coon kitten.  How fab is this

OK it's quite pricey, but reading the customer reviews, it's excellent quality and the cat's tail is a handy way to pick it up for cleaning (no more bending down to fill up bowls).  For those with style-conscious cats, it also comes in blue and yellow!

Or there's this simple polyresin bowl with hearts...

Both are available at Amazon's Maine Coon MAD Pet Store.


Working at home with a Maine Coon kitten

I work from home 3 days each week, so Bella Cloud has been investigating my desk, computer and all those piles of papers I should have filed... Naturally the mouse is an attraction, as are the power cords which for her are irritatingly out of reach, and she's already attempted to file my papers several times (usually on to the floor). Nevertheless I've perservered just because it's lovely to have her around me whilst I'm working. At the moment rolling a pen across the desk is enough to divert her away from climbing over my keyboard, and this morning she's been happily chasing an empty toilet roll tube around and under my chair.

Oh, and sleeping of course!


From wild fluffy ball of terror to purring happy cat....

Bella Cloud is just lovely... middle of last week, I was prepared to start wearing my thick gardening gloves because my hands were being pounced on, swiped and bitten quite frequently.  But quite suddenly, she's realised that being touched and stroked is enjoyable, so my hands are now being licked.  Literally overnight, she's gone from a semi-wild fluffy ball of terror to an affectionate, purring pussy cat who even sat on my lap last night & slept.  I'm convinced she's doubled in size too, and only wish I'd found a way to weigh her when she first arrived because she's so much bigger now. 

In the last couple of days, everything has fallen into place - the dogs are no longer looking concerned when she gets too close, and she's stopped jumping in the air every time one of them moves.  She's absolutely fascinated with my border collie (can she sense that Maisie's a female too?) and spends a lot of time watching her play and copying her.  Our last cat grew up thinking he was a dog - so maybe Bella Cloud will too (no - she's too smart for that!).

Here are a few photos I took just now - can you see how much she's grown?

Life is so exhausting...!


She's here.....!

My longed-for Maine Coon has arrived.  She's currently residing in my spare bedroom and slowly dominating the entire household.  Both dogs are reacting predictably - my Lurcher has taken to talking or rather squeaking to her through the door, and my Border Collie is pretending she's invisible.

Anyway, she's gorgeous.  Her little face, fluffy white tummy and dark brown eyes (which were blue in earlier photos) make her simply irresistable.  All I want to do is cuddle her - but she'd far rather chase a ball across the floor or charge out of her room and down the corridor at 60mph.  She's an absolute bundle of playfulness, and hasn't stopped eating.  I particularly love her feathers on the tip of her ears and in between her toes.

Here's some photos of my new baby Bella Cloud, now 12 weeks old.


Breeder's recommended Maine Coon kitten food

For those in a simliar situation, we have been reliably informed that the very best food for a Maine Coon kitten is Royal Canin Kitten 36. It's a complete diet dry food which is good for the teeth and keeps well. You can also feed a small amount of wet food (good for kidneys and if your kitten doesn't drink much) but don't leave it out because it goes off very quickly. Our breeder recommended MPM Applaws for kitten wet food.

As for litter, World's Best is recommended becuase it's totally natural and can be put down the WC. It's a clumping litter so is easy to keep clean, and you won't use as much as with other litters which will need emptying more often.

To summarise:

Dry Food: Royal Canin 36
Wet Food: MPM Applaws
Litter: World's Best

All above available from most pet stores, although your breeder may also be able to supply you. Or shop from our Maine Coon MAD Pet Store.

Naming a kitten

"The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,"... from T S Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

Without wishing to cause Mr Eliot any offence, I found it quite easy to find a suitable name for the kitten. Within a few seconds, my friend Paul came up with "Cloud" (hint in the picture), and I added "Bella" for fear that "Cloud" might become "Cloudy", which has rather gloomy connotations. It seems in our household that all our pets eventually end up with an "ee" sound on the end of their names - Tinker became Tinky; Spud became Spuddy, etc.

So here is "Budletts Bella Cloud" - had to add "Budletts" in recognition of the breeder (this is the posh bit for pedigree certification).

Time to prepare the house for the new arrival

OK, so I've ordered the extra large litter tray, tidied and cleaned the spare room (yes, she will have her own room... to start with), won a Cat Activity Centre on Ebay which I assembled with some difficulty yesterday, what now?

Asiatic Lily plantMy other love is gardening and plants, so I do have quite a few house plants in my home. I remember once reading an article about lily pollen being extremely dangerous for cats if ingested, so I decided to look up my house plants to find out if they too are toxic. That's when I found the ASPCA website, and their list of toxic and non-toxic plants for cats, dogs and horses. Really useful and with a search facility in case you don't know all the Latin names.

OK so all house plants now gathering dust in the garage, where's the cat carry and will it be big enough? Perfect timing, my Mum called me and asked if I wanted the cat carry back which had been in their loft. Thankfully, it is big enough (for now) as I bought it originally for 2 kittens which eventually went to live with my Mum when I went travelling well over 10 years ago.

So, here comes the commercial stuff - I've found that PetPlanet is particularly good for Van Ness products (recommended by Maine Coon breeders). TIP: don't stint on size - Maine Coons grow big and you don't want to have to buy a bigger litter tray/cat carry/cat bed etc in a couple of years.

I just couldn't resist one more visit

blue_white_Maine_Coon_kitten6 weeks seemed a long time to wait for Bella Cloud to be ready to come home with us, so I plucked up courage and drove over to Uckfield one more time to see how she was progressing. Now almost 9 weeks old, she'd moved into the lounge with all the other kittens who were waiting to go to their new homes. There were 5 of her brothers and sisters, 2 from another litter with Mum, Raja the 14 week old boy kept for breeding due to his unusual colouring and his Mum.

Entering the lounge, Guinevere immediately approached me for a stroke (and probably to check blue_white_Maine_Coon_kittenme out) and then allowed me to locate Bella Cloud from behind the sofa where she was having a great rough and tumble with one of her brothers. It took a little while, but eventually she started playing with me (my jumper, my handbag, my shoelaces, etc). My camera was of particular interest.

Breeder Terrie Lyons and her Maine Coon mad house

With help from The Maine Coon Cat Club Kitten List, I eventually found a breeder in East Sussex who still had a blue/white female kitten available. After various telephone conversations, we went the next day to visit.

pedigree_Maine_Coon_Budletts_Prince3 hours later, having accidentally become embroiled in one of the Goodwood car rally days, we arrived in Uckfield at Budletts. Terrie showed us around her bungalow which was totally given over to all her 28 cats. Only one bedroom and the kitchen were free of cats, although the latter room had 3 resident collie dogs. Boy cats were keep in specially built shelters - opening one, Terrie picked up the most enormous cat and plonked him in my arms. He immediately started purring and put his paws around my neck - I'd met Bella Cloud's grandpa Prince (winner of numerous breeding awards) and he was simply huge!

pedigree_Maine_Coon_Budletts_GuinevereSome time later, having been introduced to several other Maine Coons and Bengals (all of whom were gorgeous), we were ushered into the 'kitten room' where Mum Guinevere was nursing and keeping a watchful eye on her six kittens. They were almost 6 weeks old and most were little balls of fluff with sharp teeth and claws. Bella Cloud stood out immediately - blue/white is my favourite and with good reason. She was so pretty, if a little timid, but didn't seem to mind being picked up and cuddled. My mind was set... we just had to have her!


Our black and white moggy, Tinker

Having met my first Maine Coon about 5 years ago, I longed to get one, but it didn't seem fair on my moggy Tinker. Tinker ruled the roost and had managed to successfully train my 2 dogs into thinking he was the leader of the pack. Secretly, I think he thought he was a dog (a bad knock on the head from a car in his early years seemingly leaving him one can short of a six pack), although his favourite trick was to rugby tackle my ankles as I was coming downstairs first thing in the morning.

black_and_white_moggy_TinkerWe all loved Tinker, and when he 'went ski-ing' (meaning was put down by the vet), we were all, dogs included, at a loss. Bless you Tinker, RIP.

Nevertheless, it took 2 more years (including a big house move) before we started the search proper for a blue/white Maine Coon kitten to replace our great black/white moggy. What an act to follow!

Welcome to the mad world of the Maine Coon cat

blue_white_Maine_Coon_kittenBeing about to become the proud owner of a Maine Coon cat, I've become obsessed with these beautiful creatures, and determined to find out as much as possible about them.

There are lots of great sites out there, most run by breeders. You'll find the best of these in my links.

In the meantime, I await the arrival of my new kitten, Budletts Bella Cloud - only 5 days to go! Here she is at only 5 weeks old.