Congratulations on your new kitty!
Here are a few things that you’ll need for the transition to having a well-adjusted family member.
A good quality, high moisture, meat-based diet is essential for your new cat’s health and happiness. An ideal feline diet contains a variety of canned or raw food in addition to (or instead of) dry food alone.
Kittens need frequent feeding for the first six months of life to support their growth and development. Introduce an assortment of tastes and textures while young so your cat won’t become a finicky eater.
Cat food bowls should be shallow and wide to accommodate whiskers, and made of ceramic, glass, or stainless steel. Avoid plastic food bowls—they can harbor bacteria or cause chin acne. Durapet saucers are easy to clean and have nonskid bottoms.
Water bowl or fountain
Water is crucial to feline health and cats are often poor drinkers. Make a water station somewhere away from their food (cats instinctively avoid water where they eat) or set up a water fountain such as the Drinkwell, where the moving water will encourage drinking. This can head off urinary problems caused by chronic dehydration.
Collar and tag
A breakaway collar and ID tag will identify your cat if she gets lost.
Litter, box and scoop
A high-quality litter will help keep your house free of unpleasant odors. We prefer plant-based clumping litters made from wheat, corn or pine for their flushability and superior odor control. The box should be large and deep to keep the litter inside. A large strong slotted scoop such as the Litter Lifter will make cleaning faster. For more information see our handout, “Cats, Litter, and Litter Boxes.”
Bring this home before an accident happens. Urine Off is a great enzymatic cleaner that dissolves the source of stains and odor from carpets, floors, bedding, and clothing to ensure your kitty won’t be drawn back to the same spot.
Brushing is a great way to bond with your new kitty. Besides stimulating the skin, it removes loose hair and dander. Use a pin brush or a stainless steel comb for long-haired cats, and a FURminator, slicker brush or Zoom Groom rubber massager for short-haired cats. Use a scissors-style nail trimmer to keep nails short. Always have a jar of styptic powder on hand in case you nick a quick. A flea comb is an essential tool for finding fleas and removing them. Grooming wipes keep your kitty smelling fresh and clean without having to bathe.
Scratching is an essential feline function. It provides exercise, marks territory and removes the outer sheath of their claws. Channel their scratching behavior to a scratching post or cardboard scratcher in your house. More is better! They can be inexpensive and will save your furniture. Posts can be simple or elaborate and provide climbing opportunities for indoor enrichment. One vertical and one horizontal scratcher works best. Phoenix driftwood trees are elegant and sturdy pieces that will last a lifetime, while Scratch Lounges offer reversible cardboard sides for double the use.
Cats will always seek something soft and warm. Give your kitty her own place and protect your stuff from cat hair with a soft washable throw, mat or bed. Older cats especially will like our Playa Pet heated pads, and self-heating thermal mats with space age technology. Kitty Caves are especially popular with kittens and shy cats for a safe and quiet refuge.
Keep your cat happy, interested and active with a variety of fabulous toys. Anything with fur, feathers or movement will elicit his hunting instinct and contribute to his rich fantasy world. Wand toys let you interact with your cat, alleviating boredom and preventing obesity. Our favorite wand is the Da Bird feathers on a swivel that flutter like an actual bird! Laser toys are very amusing—cats will chase the little red dots until they’re exhausted. Catnip toys are great too; about 60% of cats respond to catnip. Note that kittens take time to become sensitive to it, so it may not be interesting to a younger cat. Did you know that most cats love honeysuckle toys?
Cats love treats, and will actually come to the shaking of the treat jar. The best and healthiest treats are dehydrated meat or fish bits. They add high quality protein to your cat’s diet and won’t put on weight like carbohydrate based treats. There are many to choose from: Whole Life freeze dried meats, Wildside Salmon, Cat-Man-Doo bonito (tuna) flakes and many others made from beef, lamb, liver, cod and turkey.
A sturdy carrier is necessary for trips to the vet. Plastic carriers are inexpensive and easy to tote. Check out our selection of Bergan, Sherpa and Prefer Pet carriers.