What your new cat needs

Just a few more things to check off

You are no doubt anxious to get your new cat home, but it will be easier if you have the necessities in place before hand, litter box and food/water bowls. Staff in pet stores are knowledgeable and will be happy to help you choose what you need.

Cat Carrier
Lightweight and sturdy plastic carriers are available in different sizes and are a ‘must have’. You will need your carrier to transport your new kitty home and, later on, for veterinary checks. If you also choose a collar for your cat, make sure it is a break-away version.

A Litter Box, Litter and a Scoop
This does not have to be fancy but select a box that is roomy enough for the size of your cat. A litter box with a removable top will help contain the litter. Consider where you will locate the litter box because the cat may or may not like you moving it later. Sometimes litter sticks to kitty’s feet so consider putting a mat underneath the litter box. Options are clay litter (good for kittens) and clumping litter which, as the name suggests, clumps the urine and feces, making it easier to remove. Plan on using the slotted scoop to clean the lumps at once a day and monthly do a more thorough cleaning.

Cat Food
Ask the volunteer what your cat was being fed and initially stick to that brand to ease the transition to your home. If you want to try a different brand, do it gradually. Cats can be fed both wet cat food and dry kibble. Treats are always a hit but they are high calorie so should be used sparingly. Leaving cat kibble out all day also leads to cats eating too much.

Food & Water Bowls
The water bowl should be on the heavy side so the cat does not tip it over. Food bowls with rims (stainless steel or ceramic) are better as the cat will otherwise lick the food over the side of a plate. If you have a kitten, however, don’t get too tall a bowl. Avoid plastic as it will be harder to clean and retains smells. Put something like an easily cleaned vinyl placemat under the food and water. Change the water daily and keep the bowls clean.

A Cat Bed and/or Cat Tree, Scratching Post
Cats love to climb and enjoy being higher up so a cat tree is usually much appreciated, although optional. Many cat towers have a scratching post included or consider buying one separately. The corrugated cardboard ones are smaller in size and cats like them. Cats need somewhere to scratch. There are many cat beds or you could use a blanket of some sort or even make your own cat bed.

Even grocery stores have toys for cats and there are lots of do-it-yourself options too. A paper bag or cardboard box is always a hit. Be careful with items like string/wool that the cat does not eat it. Adult cats love catnip.

Grooming Tools
There are many types of combs and brushes for cats, taking into account the length of the coat. Ask as store representative to help you choose if you are unsure. Daily brushing promotes a healthy coat and keeps your cat from ingesting too much hair when they clean themselves. Most cats love being brushed and it is a nice way to bond. Also get a pair of nail clippers. If you are unsure of how to clip your cat’s nails or if the cat is initially resistant, your vet can do it for you.

Choose a Veterinarian
Your cat will be up to date with inoculations and have been vet checked but it is wise to early on form an association with a local veterinarian. Plan on yearly checkups.

Licensing & Microchip Updating
Some municipalities require you to annually license your pet. Your cat will be microchipped but you must update the information (usually done online). If you move or change your phone or email, don’t forget to update your microchip information too.

Author: Patti Altridge