Congratulations on the decision to adopt your first kitty!!! We know you are ready to give your new cat tons of love and snuggles, but do you have everything else you need to make your home ready for your new family member? Take a moment and look over this list to make sure you are prepared to give your cat the best home ever!
#1– Pet Carrier
You will need a pet carrier to bring your cat home and to travel safely anywhere else. You can choose a soft sided carrier or a hard carrier-just make sure it is big enough for you cat to fit in -and if adopting a kitten-big enough for her when she grows into an adult.
#2 – Food & Water
While this seems obvious, it is one of the most important decisions to make to ensure your cat lives a long healthy life. With a myriad of brands to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming. Look over the ingredients and talk with your vet to decide what type of food would best to meet the needs of your new kitty. A better quality food generally results in stools that have a better form and less odor. Initially, try to find out what your cat is currently eating so you can do a slow transition to the new food and avoid any belly upsets.
#3 – Litter and Litter box
There are many options to pick from-clay, clumping, non-clumping, pine pellets and wheat to name a few. A couple beginner tips- If choosing clay litter- cats tend to prefer non scented brands. Make sure your litter box is big enough for your cat to go, walk around and scratch…the larger the better. If you keep the box clean and somewhere safe, quiet and out of the way, chances are you will have no problems with your cat not using the box.
#4 – Collar with an ID tag or a Microchip
Even the most diligent owner can have a cat escape out the door. If your cat decides to make a run for it, you will have a better chance of getting your cat back home if she has some type of identification. Microchips are fairly inexpensive and vets, shelters and many police departments have scanners to quickly identify your pet and get her back home to you. If you are buying a collar, make sure the collar is a “breakaway collar” that will break apart and avoid choking if you cat accidentally gets caught on something.
#5 –Safe Toys
Jingly balls, furry mice, teaser toys, feather birds….the choice goes on and on. Try a couple different types to see what intrigues your cat. Just make sure there are no small pieces that could break off or cause choking. Catnip toys are another option, but know that not all cats carry the gene that makes them react to catnip and if they do have the gene, they will not respond to the catnip until they are 8 months old.
#6 – A comfy place to sleep
Cats spend the majority of their day sleeping and appreciate a snuggly warm place. But cats being cats, don’t be surprised if they prefer to sleep on your couch, bed or pile of clothes!
#7 – Grooming Supplies
A soft brush or cat comb will help keep your cat free of tangles and mats as well as help decrease hairballs. You will also need cat clippers to make sure your cat’s nails don’t get too long and uncomfortable. If you need help in clipping your cat’s nails, your vet will be happy to show you how.
#8 – Scratcher or scratching post.
Scratching posts or scratchers are important because cats need a way to naturally stretch their bodies and file down their nails. . An added bonus- if your cat has somewhere appropriate to file his nails, he will be less likely to use your furniture. Cats tend to be either a vertical scratcher (scratch up and down) or a horizontal scratcher (scratch on the floor). You may want to wait and observe your cat first before choosing one or you can purchase a sloping type scratcher which should please both types. A scratching post should be at least 3 feet high to give your cat enough room to fully stretch his back and legs.
It can be a little intimidating for some cats to come into a new home…new sights, sounds and scents can be a little scary. It is recommended that you start your cat out in one room. Place her food, water, bed, litterbox and toys in one room, close the door and let her get her bearings. If you let your new kitty have full roam of the house when you bring her home, you may end up with a cat who hides under the couch or closet. Slowly introduce your cat to the rest of the house and if she seems anxious, bring her back into her “safe room” and let her chill out. This will give her a safe place to retreat until she feels comfortable in her new surroundings.
Article published by Katie Tontala, CFMT