Shopping List: There are several items to gather or acquire before bringing your new cat or kitten home, so your cat will feel more like a member of the family than a guest.
To avoid tension on the “big day” when you realize you forgot to buy cat food, do this a few days in advance. You don’t want to find out at 8:00 p.m. in the excitement of bringing your kitty home. The following are the bare minimal requirements for your cat:
It’s probably advisable to feed your new pet anything she’s used to eating if you can get in touch with the caretaker from the cat’s previous residence. Most frequently, a breeder’s contract may strongly advise or demand you to feed a specific kind of food if you buy a cat from them. Here are some suggestions for choosing what to feed cats and kittens with unknown backgrounds:
Purchases for Kittens
Look for diets with “Complete and Balanced Nutrition” and the AAFCO animal feeding tested statement “for all life stages,” as these newborns require more fats and proteins than grown cats. Additionally, there are foods created especially for kitties. The phrase “easily digestible, nutrient-dense, and specially created to satisfy kittens’ nutritional requirements” will help you identify them. Eight weeks and older kittens can manage dry food very well, while canned food is definitely preferable for them.
Purchases for Adult Cats
Although canned food is preferable for cats, your cat may only be accustomed to dry food. Dry food is ideal for grown cats, and any of the quality brands is suitable. In order to finally transition your cat to canned food solely, you need also supplement with canned food.
Water and Food Bowls
Although you can feed your new cat in any stainless steel or ceramic (non-lead-glazed) bowl you have in your kitchen, you might feel better about giving her her own set of dishes. It is not advised to use plastic plates for cats because they can get chin rashes from plastic, and softer plastic scratches offer a breeding ground for bacteria (possibly a case of cause-and-effect here.) Right now, there are several stainless steel pet dishes that won’t tip over. If decorated ceramic plates are your preference, ensure sure the glaze is lead-free. Buy only American-made things if you want to be safe.
If the humans will be gone for extended periods of time during the day, such as to work or school, automatic food and water servers are extremely convenient. The majority of cats enjoy the pure, natural taste of running water, and automatic water dispensers guarantee a steady supply of hygienic water.
All cats enjoy playing, so you can start your time together by interacting with Kitty and her toys. For interactive play, the “fishing pole, dangling bait” type of toy is a huge favorite. Simply check to see if it will be robust enough to prevent little kittens from ripping out feathers from the dangling part. The catnip mouse is a classic favorite. Simple cardboard constructions to custom-built “cat furniture” combinations costing several hundred dollars can be used to make cat towers and houses.
A great opportunity for bonding with your cat or new kitten is during grooming time.
Look for a rubber-backed pin brush and a fine-toothed comb. A cat-specific nail clipper is a plus. If you begin trimming your kitten’s nails from a young age, it will be much simpler for you to do so as she becomes older.
Carrying a cat
This is essential. Never attempt to move a cat without one. When bringing a new cat or kitten home, a simple cardboard carrier (available from your veterinarian) is good, but you’ll need to replace it later with a solid-bottomed fiberglass or durable plastic container with a secure lock and a screen the cat can peer through. If travel is in your near future, a heavy-duty fabric carrier that has been certified by airlines is a suitable solution.
No matter how you feel about it, your cat will scratch. Investing in a scratching post will help your partnership get off to a good start. You may make it as plain or elaborate as you wish, and if you are skilled with tools, you could even put one together yourself. To attract your cat, some scratching posts sold in stores have catnip aroma added. Start with a cardboard scratcher, like the Cosmic Alpine Scratcher, if your budget is tight.
Litter and Litter Box
Both indoor and indoor-outdoor cats require the best litter box, so make sure you acquire one for your pet. For mature cats, use a large box with high edges as they have a tendency to scatter their waste quite a bit. These can also be as simple or as elaborate as your budget permits, but to get started, install a simple plastic litter bucket in the right location for your cat.
A box that kittens can easily enter will be necessary. There are several types of litter, but the one made from plants seems to be the safest. All clay litters have a tendency to churn up dust that is unhealthy to breathe, neither for you nor your cat, and clumping clay litter contains an element that can hurt cats if consumed.
To capture stray litter, think about placing a pad beneath the box. You can purchase mats for that purpose from a pet store, or you can get a few cheap samples of carpet or linoleum that will likely just be thrown away and replaced when they become too soiled.
A Bed (Optional, but Recommended)
Since this is your first cat, it’s likely that he or she will sleep on your bed, but it’s still a good idea to provide kitty her own unique, comfy space to rest. The bed should be cozy, cleanable, and big enough for an adult cat to curl up securely without being too big to make her feel exposed and defenseless.
Make a veterinary appointment
Although it’s not exactly something you’d put on a shopping list, your cat should visit your local veterinary clinic before you even bring her home if she doesn’t have papers proving a recent veterinary visit, proof of vaccinations, and negative test results for a variety of illnesses and medical conditions. So, while you’re contemplating it, make the appointment.