Essential Gear for Cat Owners
If you’re about to adopt your first cat, here is a guide to the essentials you’ll need to have on hand before bringing a new cat or kitten into your home.
The safest way to transport a cat is in a carrier. When choosing one, start by selecting the right size and making it cozy. Then try sprinkling some catnip or spritzing pheromones inside to make it extra appealing.
Cats can be finicky eaters. Choose the right food for your pet. Make sure you buy well-balanced, age-appropriate meals for your cat. (Ask your vet for some recommendations.) Then, make sure you’ve got a proper bowl. Some may be sensitive to plastic containers and can develop feline acne if fed from one. Older cats often develop arthritis in their necks and need a flat plate propped up to mouth level for comfortable finicky eating.
Litter box, Litter and Scooper
When shopping for the litter box, remember that size matters. Get a size-appropriate box and one for each cat in the family. Also, there’s a wide variety of litter types—not every cat likes every kind of litter. Choosing one is hit or miss. Your cat will let you know. Finally, be diligent about litter box maintenance. Keep it clean.
Scratching Post and Perch
Scratching is a natural behavior for a cat, so if you don’t have something for them purpose-built to focus on, they will often shred your furniture. Providing them with a perch, cat tree or climbing system will allow them to survey their territory, stretch and exercise.
Cats love to play. Toy mice, string, feathers and even empty boxes make for great amusement. Just make sure there’s enough to keep your cat happy, active and mentally occupied.
Collar and ID
You don’t want to lose your cat if he or she manages to sneak out of the house. Put your new cat in a cat-safe collar with a slide-on ID tag and, better yet, add a microchip for extra security. If you’re hoping to teach your cat to walk on a leash, you’ll need a halter rather than a collar for that.
Make sure you put your cat on a regular grooming routine early in life. Older cats are not as open to getting a bath, brushing or combing their hair, getting their claws trimmed, or having their teeth cleaned. Start early and they will look forward to grooming time, rather than as something to dread.
Cats will bring so much into your life: love, entertainment and plenty of mess. Be prepared with the right pet-safe cleaning products, especially carpet stain remover and odor remover.