Any new addition to the family requires certain key items for their health, happiness and well-being. Cats are no different! Like a baby, they may be small, but they come with lots of 'stuff'.
Here are a few things to stock up on before bringing your kitty home for the first time.
Collar and tag
Your kitty will need a collar to hold one or more tags. These might include a tag with:
your cat's name and your mobile number engraved on it as large as possible
the words 'I AM LOST' and your mobile number engraved on one side
your cat's microchip number engraved on it for tracking purposes
your cat's registration number, if you need one from the local council.
Cat tags are available online or at your local pet store.
All cats need toys no matter how young or old they are. Playing with toys makes them exercise and helps to keep them young.
There are many cat toys available. The problem is every cat is an individual and often quite picky about their toys. For instance, one cat might like to chase string. Another cat might only like catnip-filled gadgets. Another cat might only like cardboard boxes, while another might only play with things made of wood.
So, my advice is to get to know your cat and provide the toys they like. Keep in mind that a homemade toy can be just as fun as one bought in a pet store.
Brush and flea comb
Cats like to groom themselves, but they also LOVE to be gently stroked with a brush.
A flea-comb is another must-have tool, especially if your kitties play outside. Any dark specks found in the comb are usually flea droppings. Then, you know that it's time to go on flea control.
Flea control product
It is better to protect your cat against pests than to get rid of the pests once they move in. It is a good idea to apply flea control products regularly throughout the year.
Some say that a cat tree is a 'cat toy' - others say it's a piece of 'cat furniture'. Whatever the label, the kitties love them! Choose one that suits the personality of your cat. The best trees have at least one platform to sit on, something to scratch and somewhere to hide.
Another essential piece of cat furniture is a cat scratcher - or two, or three. This item gives the kitties somewhere to sharpen their claws - other than on your couch, your curtains or your carpet.
Cat basket and bedding
While a cat will quite happily create its own bed (sometimes in the strangest of places) a dedicated cat bed is an excellent thing to buy. Having a special place to curl up and sleep, helps keep the cat hair off your furniture and gives kitty a beautiful warm home of their own.
Warm soft bedding is also important to your cat. This might be an old towel, a micro-fleece blanket, a small fleece or even an old jumper. Again, it is important to wash the bedding regularly. This helps to keep the fleas and cat hair under control.
Litter box and scoop
Most vets recommend one litter box per cat. Some cats prefer the hooded variety for privacy. Other cats prefer bigger, open boxes that give them more room to sit and scratch.
A scoop for the poop is also a good idea. Cats are fastidiously clean animals and do not like their litter box to remain dirty.
Water bowl and food bowl
If you have more than one cat, you will need more than one bowl. It's generally a good idea to offer each cat a separate bowl for food. However, most cats don't mind sharing a single dish or container for water.
Wet and dry food
Dry food is more convenient than wet food because it takes less space to store, smells less and you don't have to recycle the packaging. But wet food contains more moisture, which your kitty needs. Most vets recommend a balance of both wet and dry food.