I know, you are thinking soap, water, hockey mask, chain mail, and gloves right? Eh. there is a little more to it than that. You see Maine Coon cats have exceedingly fine dense fur and a LOT of oil glands to go with it. As a result, the fur is dang near impermeable to water. Washing them adequately using just soap and water is an exercise in frustration (not to mention death by a thousand cat scratches). Therefore more extreme measures must be taken.
Here are the supplies you will need:
1 jar original Goop hand cleaner
1 bottle of original ivory liquid dishwashing soap
1 gallon jug of white vinegar
1 bottle pet shampoo/baby shampoo
1 curry comb, waterproof
Optional equipment as needed:
personal protective equipment as required (gloves, chain mail, hockey mask, etc.)
sedatives (feline and/or human) as required.
plenty of gauze and turniquets as needed to staunch the flow of blood.
Using the curry comb, brush the cat thoroughly to get as much loose hair as possible off. You may find that your cat may undergo an incomplete form of mitosis during this procedure, resulting in copious quantities of excess hair, often enough to make another whole entire cat, while not actually loosing any of her own. This is normal and expected. It is impossible to do this too much or too long, as the cat will continue to generate hair as long as you continue to brush. At no point will the cat go bald. this is a physical impossibility. The only exception to this is if instead of brushing you shave the cat. While doing so will certainly assist in the washing of said feline, it is rather embarrassing for the cat (and possibly dangerous for you). This certainly would fall under an alternative process category however.
After the excess hair is disposed of properly and the garbage trucks are on thier way to the landfill, or perhaps the clothing manufacturer, slather the cat liberally with Goop. Rub it in thoroughly in order to help loosen and dissolve the vast quantities of oil that the cat hair has absorbed. Scientists are currently studying means to exploit these oil deposits for use as motor fuel. However, current extraction methods tend to be rather hard on the cat and results in oil contaminated with vast quantities of fur and crushed cat guts and blood. And unfortunately results in a non-renewable resource as the cat gets pureed in the process. While Goop is non-toxic, it might be best if you can prevent your cat from attempting to lick themselves while this process takes place. Also try to keep the Goop out of thier eyes.
Rinse the Goop off the cat and then lather the cat up with the Ivory Dish Washing Detergent. While the cat is lathered up, curry comb the cat again to remove as much hair as possible. Make sure you have a strainer over the drain to prevent massive greasy furballs from hopelessly clogging the sewage system. Your MUD district/Public Works Department will thank you as will your neighbors.
Rinse the cat using a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water. Ensure you keep the vinegar out of the cat's eyes unless you just like the feeling of having your flesh flayed by a very irate cat.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat using the baby shampoo/pet shampoo. Your feline is now soaking wet but clean. Use several large absorbant towels to both protect you from claw marks and dry the cat. Did I mention that Maine Coon Cats have very absorbant thick dense fur? Be prepared to work at this for some length of time, and even then, your cat may look like a very large and bloated drowned wharf rat, especially when your cat is as fat a mine is, (with a furry tail) for several hours afterwards.
good luck and godspeed....