Once you’ve decided on your accommodation, there are just a few other items you will need to purchase in order to prepare for a new cat. We’ve put together the following list to guide you.
Cat Litter Tray & Litter Scoop
More than one cat litter tray may be needed, especially if you have more than one cat or kitten. It also helps to prevent ‘accidents’ if you have one upstairs on the landing and one downstairs too. The type of litter used is important too.
When adopting your pet you will be told what kind of litter they are used to using and it is advisable to continue with that brand – at least until the cat is settled in. If you want to change, do it gradually. Some cats are put off using the litter tray if a new ‘substance’ is suddenly introduced.
Cat Food & Water Dishes
Old saucers are best for dried and wet food as they allow the cat’s face, nose and whiskers to be close to the food without making the cat feel ‘confined’ by the sides of a bowl (As cats whiskers are sensitive to touch, they do not like having to push their mouths into a bowl).
Make sure you have a non-tip water bowl and that the water is changed daily. However, do not be offended if the cat shuns your nice clean water and goes outside to drink from a muddy puddle – they just don’t like the smell of our ‘treated’ tap water!
Cat Bedding / Bean Bags / Radiator Bed
Don’t go overboard on purchasing these items as they can be expensive and cats, being the creatures they are, choose their own beds – usually your favourite chair!!
Cat Scratch Post
This should preferably be with sisal rope on the post and NOT carpet, as this can encourage the cat to regard using any carpet round the house as suitable for sharpening claws!
Some scratch posts have platforms at various levels. These can be placed near a window to provide an ‘observation post’ for the cat or kitten to ‘watch the world go by’ without any danger to your windowsill ornaments.
Go to town on this one. You can never have enough ping pong balls! However, beware of the lattice balls containing bells. Kittens are adept at getting their claws, or part of their toes, caught in the lattice work and need to be cut free!!
Thick twists of paper tied into a ‘butterfly’ at the end of a long piece of string are irresistible to any cat, whatever it’s age, especially if dragged across the floor inviting a chase! The simple toys are the best and need not cost a fortune.
Under supervision, a crackling supermarket plastic bag (with handles cut off to prevent heads getting caught) and a few small paper balls, can provide hours of entertainment for cat and owner alike.
Cat Grooming brush/comb
A ‘must’ for every cat and kitten whatever the length of their coat. Although cats groom themselves for hours every day, they still need to be brushed. It’s a social thing and something to be encouraged, especially when moulting, as brushing or combing can help prevent furballs.
The interaction between the owner and the cat during the grooming session can also help to strengthen their bond. Providing it is done gently and any knots carefully teased or cut out to prevent pulling on the cats sensitive skin, most animals enjoy having the work done for them. It’s also a good opportunity for the owner to give their pet an examination for possible problems, such as bites, scratches, ticks fleas and mites etc.
A good strong plastic, front opening basket or a top opening, plastic covered wire basket is best. The cane woven wooden baskets are harder to wash down, disinfect and keep clean. Make sure you get a basket that will be large enough for your pet when it is fully grown and also large enough for two animals, if you have more than one cat or kitten.
A layer of newspaper covered by an old towel or small blanket should be suitable as bedding, especially if your pet is prone to ‘accidents’ when taken out in the car to visit the vet! Except in a real emergency when you don’t have your carrier to hand, Cardboard carriers or boxes are NOT suitable for confining and transporting cats. Most cats can claw their way out of them in no time, especially when frightened or in pain.
If you do not already have a cat flap fitted to one of your outside doors, please think seriously about investing in one. They are invaluable in giving your pet access to the great outdoors without having to wait for you to let them in or out. For cats this is the ultimate freedom. You do have some control over their movements, as the cat flap can be locked at night when you don’t want your pet ‘out on the tiles’ but if you do lock the flap, please remember to leave a litter tray down for when nature calls!!
Feliway Diffuser/refill and Feliway Spray
This product can only be purchased from a vet. It is an artificial pheromone that mimics the ‘scent marking’ a cat does by rubbing it’s face and head onto objects (and that includes you, the owner!!)in the home.
Used when introducing a cat or kitten into your home or to another cat, Feliway can help to calm and charm the cat into a less stressful state, which speeds up the ‘settling in’ process. Feliway Spray can also be used to help treat behavioural problems such as spraying furniture, carpets etc and the upset some cats suffer when travelling. The purchase of this product is optional and may not be necessary in all cases.
Bach’s ‘Rescue Remedy’
Available from Health shops and Chemists. This is a very effective treatment for animals that are under stress of any kind. Although usually used by humans, we have found that it can be given to most animals needing a sedative effect without resorting to a veterinary product.
Added to either the animals food or water, it can be given at the dosage of 4 – 6 drops daily to cats, kittens, rabbits and even dogs (although the dosage is higher for dogs larger than cat size) We have observed no adverse effects and ‘Rescue Remedy’ can also be given in conjunction with veterinary medication.