Adult cats can be small and dainty or jumbo sized. Large breeds (and their mixes) like the Maine Coon, Ragdoll and Norwegian Forest Cat are common housecats. We have a large, Maine Coon mix that we adopted several years ago. She arrived with a unique list of demands for her new humans, most of which we figured out along the way (with the help of our veterinarian). In this article, we’re sharing a few of those tips for other pet parents to try with their XL cat.
5 Things Your Large Cat Needs
Most of the requirements for large cat care are perfectly reasonable, when you consider their size. It impacts their accommodations, health and entertainment needs in some obvious ways. For example, a larger pet carrier, bed and litter box. Other requirements become obvious the longer you have your big fur baby.
1. Large Toys
One of our cat’s favorite toys is an old tennis ball she found in the closet (she opens closet doors herself). It’s big enough to pounce on, lightweight, and it sticks to her claws so she can throw it. She also likes her feather wand toy (AKA ‘Birdy’). It has to have replaceable feathers, of course, or your XL cat will make short work of it.
If you’re having trouble finding larger, lightweight toys in the cat aisle, try the dog section. Some of those made for small dogs will be perfect. Puzzle toys for small dogs work well for large cats. The usual cat-sized ones are harder when you’re wearing giant mitts.
2. Large Cat (or Small Dog) Harness or Collar
I recommend buying your cat’s harness or collar locally from a store with a good return policy, so your cat can try it on. Follow the directions for a secure, comfortable fit. Collars should have an auto-release safety mechanism.
3. Large, Stable Scratch Post & Cat Tree
Cat trees come in all shapes and sizes, and many of them weren’t built to handle extra large cats. Our cat likes to reach up and pull herself into the lounging sections, for example, which tips all but the most stable cat trees.
Scratch posts also have to be tough & stable. Our cat prefers a carpeted scratch post, but the rope or cisal withstands her bear claws better. Choose a scratching post that’s large enough around for a big cat to ‘hug’ and tall enough to really stretch, like the popular SmartCat Pioneer Ultimate Scratching Post.
4. High Quality Food
Large cats often have trouble maintaining a healthy weight, be it low or high. There are plenty of cat foods and diet plans available for losing weight or preventing weight gain.
However, if your large cat is like ours and has a difficult time gaining weight, you’ll need an entirely different plan. Large cats with long fur are often plagued by digestion issues and hairballs from grooming that fluffy coat. It leaves them with a belly full of fur and little appetite, while throwing up the little they do eat.
Our vet recommended we give our Maine Coon canned kitten food in small amounts, multiple times/day (three, in her case). It contains the extra protein, fat and nutrients she needs. She also eats whatever meat we’re having and dehydrated meat treats. She has premium kibble available to graze on, so we never miss an opportunity to get more calories into her. A little fish oil keeps her digestive system moving along. She now maintains a healthy weight and the hairballs are under control.
Speaking of which, large cats are prone to a few size-specific issues, so we have to pay close attention to their muscle & joint health. Natural supplements like Agile Joints for Cats make it easy to nurture their joints, along with natural treats containing supplements like Green-lipped Mussel.
Learn more in our article about the Natural Diet of Large Breed Domestic Cats.
Our cat is enjoying the new 65″ Sony Bravia XR Smart TV as much as we are!
5. Smart TV
Don’t overlook your Smart TV when your big baby is bored. Tablet screens just won’t cut it for them! We move a small cat tree in front of our Bravia 65″ TV and play a YouTube cat video with sound. Our princess immediately comes into the room and hops into her tree, mesmerized by the HD action on the screen. Note that many of the larger cat breeds have a very strong prey drive, so they shouldn’t be left alone with the TV.
??? Have you overcome any big cat challenges? Please share them in the comments below.
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