We can all agree that cats are some of the cutest creatures on this planet. With fluffy hair and big eyes, they can capture just about anyone’s attention. As cute as they are, cats are also quite rambunctious, and require a lot of attention. Before you take home your new cat, there are a lot of things you will need to purchase to ensure that they have a safe, comfortable space to call their own. Here we have gathered all of the information you will need on what to buy for your new addition.
Set aside a space just for them
Because cats are both territorial and curious, it is important that you designated a specific, relatively small space for your cat to live in when they first come home. This could be a spare bedroom that does not get a lot of use, a section of the family room that can be easily cordoned off, or any space where they can feel safe while still being able to explore. This will help them ease into the new home, exploring the house piece by piece, without getting overwhelmed. This is very important for the cat’s development, as well as the potential for successful bonding with the new family.
Cats also need a space to get away, and if your new cat comes home in a cat carrier that might be the perfect place. Set the carrier in a location that is away from the hustle and bustle of your household and drape a towel or blanket over top of it. Having a quiet, dark place to return to will give your cat a sense of safety they desperately need.
Your shopping list
Once you have designated a space that will be your cat's home and safe space, it is time to go shopping! Here is a (brief) list of all of the items you will need in order to make sure your cat is well taken care of.
- Food and water bowls
- Food (canned and/or dry)
- Litter box and scooper
- Kitty litter
- ID tag with your phone number
- Hard plastic carrier
- Nail clippers
- Feline toothbrush and toothpaste
- Brush or comb (depends on your cat’s coat length and type)
- Super-absorbent paper towels
- Sponge and scrub brush
- Non-toxic cleanser
- Enzymatic odor neutralizer
- Variety of toys (toys including catnip are a favorite)
- First-aid supplies
Food and water bowls
Many people gravitate toward plastic food and water bowls for their cats, but this can be a mistake for a number of reasons. First, many cats can be allergic to plastic, which can cause them serious discomfort and could deter them from wanting to eat. This allergy causes a skin irritation that looks like acne and is very uncomfortable for your cat. Second, plastic could scratch your cat and could become a breeding ground for germs, which is the last thing you want for the place where they eat.
The best materials for food and water bowls are stainless steel and ceramic, as they are virtually unbreakable and can be reused. It is also important to use a mat for your bowls, both to catch anything that falls out but also to keep the bowls in place as your cat eats and drinks.
When considering what food to purchase for your cat, keep in mind that cats need to eat meat from high quality sources, which means the packaging will list meat as the first ingredient. It is important to understand how your cat’s digestive system works in order to ensure that you are feeding them a good diet. As cats have evolved, they have become hunters who eat high amounts of protein, average amounts of fat and a small amount of carbohydrates. Their digestive systems also require many more ingredients than is required for dogs, such as vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids. With so many cat food options to choose from, we understand it can be quite confusing to distinguish high quality from low quality.
Dry cat food is a popular product among cat owners because it is easy to store and can be used to add some variety to a cat’s diet. It is also more affordable than wet cat food, making it very attractive to owners. As with any food you purchase for your cat, be sure to do your research. In general, dry foods contain meat, poultry, grain, fish meal, fiber sources, milk products and vitamin and mineral supplements. It is recommended that when you feed your cat exclusively dry food you also provide them with lots of water. This is especially important for cats who are susceptible urinary tract blockages. It is possible, however, that because the dry food does not have as much apparent flavor that it may not be suitable for all cats.
Wet cat food helps to ensure your cat has a balanced diet and remains hydrated. Some cats tend to be picky eaters when it comes to dry food, so wet foods can help them overcome any such issues. With a moisture content of 75 percent, it is also a great source of water. Wet foods generally contain meat and whole meat by products. Because wet food can be so enticing to cats, with its strong smell and taste, it is important not to allow constant access to the food.
Litter box and kitty litter
Kitty litter can be made from a lot of different materials, according to Petfinder. The litter that is right for you will depend on your cat’s personality, likelihood of ingesting the litter, and how much you are willing to spend on the box and the litter. In order to determine what kind of litter to choose, try setting up a “litter cafeteria.” In order to set this up, you will need a number of uncovered litter boxes. These should all be the same box, and should be filled with different litter. Your cat will relieve themselves in the box that contains the litter they like the best, making the decision for you.
Cat litters made of clay are the oldest type of cat litter. Clay is an ideal material for kitty litter, because it is highly absorbent. Traditionally, clay litter can absorb its weight in cat urine and is somewhat odor resistant. Clay can only absorb so much liquid, however, and once it can no longer absorb any more, the odor becomes significantly worse.
For those who are concerned about their cat ingesting the litter, biodegradable litters are a great alternative. These litters are eco-friendlier than traditional cat litters and are generally made from recycled paper products. They can also be made from natural materials such as pine, wheat, corn, beet and soybean. These are great litters because they will not clutter landfills and you can even make these at home by using similar materials. One of the disadvantages of making your kitty litter at home is that you will need a lot of it. You can ask your neighbors or coworkers to save their junk mail and old newspapers for you. You will also need to have a shredder in order to create a size that will work well for the litter box.
Collar and ID tag
Collars are very important, even for indoor cats, because if your cat were to get lost the information on the ID tag on their collar will make it more likely that they will make it home safely. Collars can be uncomfortable for cats, and it make take them some time to get used to wearing one. If your cat appears to not be able to handle wearing a collar, you can also consider microchipping your cat.
Toothbrush and toothpaste
It might not be the easiest thing to do, but brushing your cat’s teeth regularly is a very good way to help prevent plaque buildup. Most cats do not need to have their teeth brushed every day, but the more often you can do it, the healthier your cat’s teeth will be. When brushing your cat’s teeth, make sure you are only using toothpaste that is designed for cats, not toothpaste designed for humans. Human toothpaste contains a number of ingredients that can be quite toxic for cats. The specially-formulated cat toothpaste also comes in a variety of food flavors, which will help them stay still during the cleaning process. It is also very important that you use a feline toothbrush, not a human toothbrush. Some feline toothbrushes can even fit over your fingertip, so that it is easier for you to make sure you are cleaning all of your cat’s teeth.
Brush or comb
For short-haired cats, most people prefer to use “oven mitt” brushes with rubber teeth. It is important that you brush your cat’s hair in the direction it grows, to avoid causing your cat any further pain. Long-haired cats require specialized tools, such as a “cat rake,” which is a wide brush with small wire bristles. This tool helps remove mats from the surface, and is also very helpful in handling those tricky, hard to reach hidden mats. Again, it is important that you brush the cat’s hair in the direction that it grows.
Cat-proof your home
We always like to remind people of the importance of making sure your home is as safe as possible for your new cat. Before your cat arrives, take some time to walk through the house and cat-proof every room. Pay special attention to small objects that could be easily swallowed, or materials a cat may scratch at or chew on. Remember, too, that cats are quite agile creatures – and are also quite small – so they could get up on top of counters or tables or windowsills very easily. Put yourself in the cat’s position and look at each object in your home to ensure it is the safest it can be for your new cat.
Here are some common items that cats like to chew on:
- Paper towels
- Toilet paper
- Pens & pencils
- Rubber bands
- Window cords
- Electronics cords
- Ant traps
There are a number of things that are generally forgotten when cat-proofing the house. For example, leaving electrical outlets uncovered could be very dangerous to cats, as they cause electrical shocks when they are licked. When cats are exploring their new home, they are likely to be up on countertops and tabletops, so it is important to secure anything you do not want toppled, such as lamps. If you have a home entertainment system that includes a lot of wires, be aware that cats enjoy chewing on cords and could be shocked in the process. Either tape the cords together and out of reach, or purchase vinyl covers so that they are less accessible to the cat.
Any large pieces of furniture that are not secured in place could be incredibly dangerous for your cat. Something like a tall, unsecured bookcase could cause potentially fatal injuries to a cat if it falls over. Additionally, anything that hangs over a table, such as a table cloth can be very dangerous to your cat, as they will likely want to play with it, and cause it to fall off the table. Anything that is on top of that table cloth with come crashing down and could fall on the cat.
Here are some other hidden dangers:
- Open windows
- Swinging doors
- Open fireplaces
- Cleaning supplies
- Pills and medications
There are lots of things to purchase when your first get a cat, and it may feel like a lot all at once. Just keep in mind that everything you are doing is to ensure that your cat enjoys their life with you to the fullest. In taking care of you cat, be sure to take some time to consider what their new world looks like. Your home offers all sort of new adventures for your cat, and that could include some areas of your home that may not be safe for a young, inexperienced cat. Take a look around your home and try your best to identify what potential risks there are for your cat.