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What Your New Cat or Kitten Will Need

Updated on June 30, 2014
My beloved cat Ziggie - huntress and bedwarmer
My beloved cat Ziggie - huntress and bedwarmer | Source

Welcoming your new cat or kitten home

Cats are often considered to be low maintenance pets but I do often wonder if the opposite is true. I am however confident that most cat owners will tell you the opposite is true. Cats can be notoriously picky and fuzzy when it comes to food and other day to day essentials such as cat litter.

Cats may not need taking for walks but before you bring your new cat or kitten home from the animal shelter, breeder or store, there is a whole list of things you need to buy. Finding a name for a cat or kitten can sometimes be more difficult than naming a dog.

Making your home ready for your new cat or kitten can require more extensive work than bringing a new puppy home.

My cat Cookie
My cat Cookie | Source

Vital Cat Supplies

Litter Boxes and more


Perhaps one of the most important things is a litter box. If your cat or kitten has lived in a shelter or cattery it may not know it can potty outside.

If you are new to cat ownership you will be amazed by the different types of litter boxes which are available. You can get some really fancy and expensive ones, and you can get the standard ordinary litter tray or box.

You will also be astonished at the difference in price. A nice litter box can set you back over $50 whilst the basic version will cost you about $5. I have always started off with a standard litter box, and if my cat has had any special requirements, I have “upgraded” later.

Whilst you are out shopping for litter boxes you might want to invest in a liner for your litter box as well. I would always recommend a liner with a drawstring so it easy to dispose of any dirty cat litter.

There are also other litter box products which you could invest in such as deodorizers, and scoops to deal with any mess.

Four things associated with cats and their toilet habits:

· Litter Box

· Liners

· Scooper

· Deodorizer

Cat Litter

Staying on the topic of cat litter, it is absolutely essential to make sure you have cat litter.

If you have never owned a cat before you may not appreciate how many different cat litters there are on the market.

You can choose from the following:

  • Unscented
  • Scented
  • Clumping
  • No clumping
  • Crystal
  • Instant action litter
  • Training litter

Cats can be quite choosy when it comes to litters so it could be a good idea to ask in the pet shop what the cat is used to. If you decide to buy an unscented litter, you can add some baking soda if you are concerned about an odor problem.

Once your cat and you have decided which is the best cat litter to use it is a good idea to buy in bulk. Personally I buy all my cat litter from Amazon. I get free home delivery and I find the prices to be the best around. Carrying home cat litter can be very heavy.

Toxoplasmosis

Have you heard of toxoplasmois?

See results

Pregnant ladies – a quick word of warning

Pregnant ladies are normally advised not to change the cat litter box. Cats’ feces can contain a parasite called toxoplasmosis which can be dangerous to the unborn baby.

It is quite rare to contract the parasite but just in case wear gloves and a mouth when changing your cat's litter tray. It is always better to come down on the side of caution than to take a risk.

Toxoplasmosis can also be contracted through gardening and undercooked meat.


Top tips for bringing your new cat or kitten home

  • Open the cat carrier door and let your new friend come out when he is ready
  • Leave your cat in one room for the first 24 hours
  • Next day let your cat explore the house
  • Leave the carrier out - it could be a safe place for your cat
  • Never bring resident cats to your new cat, let them just meet.
  • Don't let your new cat out immediately. Let him stay inside for two weeks.
  • Always make sure your cat has water, don't give them milk or cream

Grooming your cat

Getting your cat used to being groomed at an early is a good idea. Not only does this help to form a relationship but will make the cat easier to handle in the future. Some cats don’t like being picked up so just in case your new fury friend needs to visit the veterinarian, it is a good idea to handle and groom your cat.

Cats also suffer from hairballs. Hairballs are a really common problem with cats but I find the more I brush and groom my cats the less of a problem they have with hairballs.

Cats love to keep themselves clean but the problem is that they swallow their own fur.

The fur cannot be digested and stays in the cat’s stomach. Eventually the cat will get rid off the undigested fur by bringing up a clump of slimy fur. This is what is known as a hairball.

Combing and grooming your cat will also allow you to check for fleas, ticks and skin problems. Some cats love being groomed but there are some that don’t, be prepared to get your cat used to being groomed.

Best cat grooming tools:

Kong Grooming brush

Grooming gloves

Slick brush for long haired cats

Shedding comb

Nail clippers

Harmful House Plants for Your Cat
Dangerous Areas of the Home
Foods that can harm your cat
Azalea
Kitchen
Chocolate
Ferns
Bathroom
Raw meat
Amaryllis
Laundry Room
Ready made human food

How to Groom a Long Haired Cat

Cat Beds

The choices of cat beds can be totally bewildering. There are cat beds which are enclosed, floor beds and beds which can comfortably fit on the sofa.

A lot of cats do like to snuggle down for a good sleep so a nice snug cat bed can be very important.

Unlike puppies kittens do not normally chew their beds so investing in a good quality bed can be a good idea. Here are my top tips for choosing the right bed.

  • Make sure it is not too big for your cat as an adult. Cats like to make their beds into their own little kingdoms so make sure he or she will be snug when sleeping.
  • Washing – cats love a clean basket so make sure yours can be washed easily.
  • Back support – your cat will almost certainly appreciate a bit of back support.

I personally always avoid cat beds which are enclosed. Cats know when they are about to travel somewhere and may retreat to their bed. Getting a cat out of a covered bed is much more difficult, and you could potentially come out a bit worst for wear.


Cat Toys

There is of course a bewildering range of cat toys as well. One of my cats is really into cat toys whilst the other cat only plays with shoelaces. You will soon realize cats are as picky and choosy about their toys as everything else in their lives.

Cats can be very brutal with their toys so make sure any toy is well made, and next to indestructible. I have learned my lesson and never buy cheap toys anymore. All my cats’ toys come from Kong toys who do an excellent range of sturdy and interactive toys.

The Cat Wobbler from Kong from Kong Toys has provided my Siamese cat Luna with endless hours of fun. It is a well thought out toy, it can be filled with food, easily cleaned and has a lovely tail which makes it easy to hang on to and kick at. Quality toys which are easy to clean are always the best.

My Siamese cat Luna prefers the rug in front of the TV to sofas, baskets and even beds.
My Siamese cat Luna prefers the rug in front of the TV to sofas, baskets and even beds. | Source

Cat Food and Feeding Dishes

Quality cat food equals a good start in life for your new kitten and good health for the future. There are as many discount brands as there are quality brands but remember good food always equals good health.

It is also important to recognize cats have very different needs which might change as they go through life. Don’t expect your 11 year old cat to eat the same thing as your 3 year old cat.

It is also important to bear in mind energy needs. If your cat is an active outdoor cat he will need a different choice of food than an indoor cat.

Always make sure you feed the right quantity of food. We all tend not to think about cats as overweight animals but cats can easily put on weight. Obesity and diabetes in cats are both on the increase so make sure you feed your cat the right amount.

Top things to keep in mind when it comes to cat food;

  • Age of the cat
  • Activity level
  • Long haired
  • Short haired
  • Health problems
  • Hairballs – some foods will help with this problem
  • Wet Food
  • Dry Food

Some cats prefer wet food over wet foods but dry food is a good alternative. Not only does it encourage good dental health but it is easier to feed. It can be left in a bowl for your cat to help himself. Cats do have a tendency to eat when they want to, not when it is convenient for you.

Feeding dishes

It might be tempting to feed your cat on the best bone china but this is not really a safe option.

Feeding and water bowls made from plastic or metal is a much better option, and you may also want to consider a feeding mat so you can easily deal with any spills.

Finally . . .

In conclusion cats may not be low maintenance and remember cats are more often than not much harder to please than dogs.

© 2014 Annie Messeri

Comments

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    • Healthyannie profile image
      Author

      Annie Messeri 4 years ago from Spain

      Thank you, and a lot of cat owners are not aware of toxoplasmosis. Great photo of you by the way. You look at least a million bucks!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you for teaching the word toxoplasmosis and its meaning, among the other care instructions you teach about cats. Voted Up.

    • Healthyannie profile image
      Author

      Annie Messeri 4 years ago from Spain

      Thank you so much, cats are certainly not low maintenance.

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Lots of great advice to anyone bringing home a new feline and you have provided many important details to consider. Voted up and useful.

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