Before you bring Kitty home, you need to do some “redecorating”.
Your cat will need a safe indoor haven (usually a room with a door that can be closed), complete with all the comforts & necessities of a cat’s home.
Take this shopping list with you
- Litter box & scoop: Choose a box without a lid. Make sure it’s roomy enough for Kitty to comfortably stand & turn around in to scratch.If you have a small kitten or a less agile senior cat, get a shallow box that she can easily enter & exit. Be prepared to upsize the box as needed. A snap-on rim is a nice feature; it catches litter if Kitty digs with gusto. Pick a scoop that is large enough to do the job — it will get a lot of use! If you have more than one cat, the ideal rule-of-thumb is at least one litter box per cat — plus one.If your house has 2 or more stories, strategically place at least one box on each level of your house.Sounds like a lot of boxes? Do your best to reach the guidelines. Trust me; you’ll be glad you did. Also, avoid self-cleaning boxes. They are only a human convenience — that is until Kitty becomes terrified of the noises they make & stops using them.
- Litter: Use a litter that’s unscented and as dust free as possible. Feline personal preferences vary from clay to clumping litters. Clumping litters allow you to daily scoop the box more thoroughly in between weekly box washings.However, clumping litters are generally pricier and have a sandy consistency that’s harder to clean up when Kitty tracks it out of the box.You will change the litter completely at least weekly, depending upon how many cats use the box, so have plenty on hand.
- Scratching post: Your cat will scratch. Provide a post, or Kitty will get creative in her scratching locations. Pick one that is tall enough & sturdy enough for her to stretch all the way up & drag her claws down it. If the post is light weight or wobbly and falls over while she’s scratching, she might not use it again. Cats have preferences for post textures & shapes. Start out with a sisal or carpeted vertical, cylindrical post. Place it near a window & entrance way. This is where Kitty’s likely to scratch & enjoy a resting spot with a view.
- Food & bowls: Choose a quality diet that you can buy from your vet or a pet store. These are usually higher quality diets than those sold in grocery or drug stores. Consult with your vet about your cat’s diet, including feeding frequencies & amounts. Avoid feeding Kitty tuna regularly, as it can become habit forming to the point where she might refuse other foods & compromise her health. Also, don’t give Kitty milk; many cats have trouble digesting milk.Water, of course, is fine; have plenty of it on hand, and keep it fresh. If you have more than one cat, get them used to eating from separate bowls.This helps to prevent conflict over food, and it makes it easier to put one cat on a special diet, if need be.
Have enough bowls to accommodate all of your cats, including clean bowls to use while others are being washed.Some cats like bowls (or plates) that are big enough for them to eat without touching their whiskers on the sides. Stainless steel & glass bowls/dishes are much healthier than plastic or glazed ceramic ones that are often made with toxic materials that might contaminate Kitty’s food/water.
- Toys: Here’s your chance to spoil Kitty! She’ll need a variety of toys. As you get to know her better, suit her toys to her play style & preferences.Start with an interactive toy that you can play with together — daily. Feathers on a wand or paper rolls on a wire are options easily found in stores — cats love them! Don’t forget to leave some crumpled pieces of paper, paper bags without handles, cardboard boxes, stuffed toys, & ping pong balls scattered about for when you can’t play. If you have a dog, don’t allow him access to small cat toys. Keep safe toys available & cat proof your home so Kitty plays with the right items. Pick up paper clips, rubber bands, strings, sewing items, etc.
- Collar & tag If Kitty will be venturing outside, you may want to buy a reflective, breakaway collar. ID tags attached to the collar might help someone return her home someday.But cat collars are meant to come off if Kitty gets tangled, and her ID would be left behind with the collar. So have your vet microchip her, ideally when she’s neutered. If you adopt a cat who’s already neutered, she’s likely microchipped. Make sure her chip is registered to you. Microchips contain Kitty’s ID & your contact info. They are easily injected just under Kitty’s skin, like a vaccine. If your cat is lost, without her collar, she can be identified & returned to you because most shelters & vets can scan for chips.
Read more on Kitty’s first days with you:
“When You Bring a New Cat or Kitten Home”.
Enjoy your new feline family member!