I know you must be feeling really excited about welcoming your new cat into your home. But with great excitement comes great responsibility.
You will need to ensure that your home is well prepared for your cat’s arrival.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the key steps and considerations to help you transform your home into a cat haven.
1. Cat Food
You have to ensure that there is sufficient food for your new cat. There are so many options now when it comes to cat food that it can be mind-boggling.
Here are the three most common types of cat food:
Dry food is made by mixing wet and dry food together to form a dough.
This dough batter is then heated under pressure to make them puffy and then passed through a dryer to remove any remaining moisture which explains why it’s so hard.
The removal of moisture is required to prevent it from going bad once the package is opened.
Wet Or Canned Food
The various ingredients are mixed together and cooked in a huge commercial vat. Once done, the contents are then vacuum sealed in tin cans to ensure freshness.
B.A.R.F Or Raw Food Diet
BARF means ‘Bone and raw food’ diet which is similar to what a cat owner would make for the cat at home.
It is the commercial term for a raw meat diet as many pet food manufacturers are jumping on the raw diet wagon.
You can buy freeze-dried BARF from most pet shops these days.
What Diet Should You Start Your Cat On?
When it comes to your cat’s diet, the answer is rather straightforward.
Choose the diet which is the most natural for cats and that would be a raw meat diet.
You can check out our guide here which explains this diet in greater detail.
Cats are obligate carnivores.
This means that they need a high-protein diet of fresh meat to thrive and be healthy. Dry food is very bad for cats because it contains carbohydrates that cats can’t digest.
It also lacks moisture which is not ideal for cats. Cats aren’t frequent water drinkers and are prone to kidney issues as they age.
The high moisture in raw food or canned food will help hydrate your cat.
Wet or canned food is the next best option but not all canned foods are made equal.
Many contain artificial flavoring, by-products instead of actual meat and other harmful chemicals.
If your cat is a kitten then it’s better to get them started on a raw food diet.
Cats are imprint eaters and tend to stick to a diet that they have been on since young.
So the longer you wait, the harder it will be to switch your cat to a new diet.
2. Food And Water Bowls
There’s some science when it comes to picking up the correct food and water bowl for your cat.
It is more than just using what you have at home or buying one that looks cute.
The most important aspect to consider is the type of material that the bowls are made from.
Plastic bowls are commonly sold at pet shops. It’s sturdy and durable but many cats are allergic to plastic and can develop chin acne when eating or drinking from it.
Furthermore, plastic is easily nicked or scratched which can then be a breeding ground for bacteria if not thoroughly cleaned.
This is the best material to use for your cat’s bowls. It’s sturdy, cheap, easy to clean, very durable and non-toxic for cats.
Just make sure to replace it if you notice any signs of rust or discoloration of the metal.
Ceramic bowls are also good for cats and share similar properties as stainless steel.
However ceramic can be more pricey and can chip if you’re careless with it.
3. Litter Box
Your kitty needs a litter box for its number one and two.
One important thing to note before you bring your cat home is to have more than one litter tray if you already have a resident cat.
Cats aren’t very generous when it comes to sharing their litter boxes.
The last thing you want happening is your new and resident cat having a turf war over the single litter tray at home.
There are many variants of litter trays in the market and it can be a hit or miss with your cat’s personal preference.
My advice is to start with a simple and basic open-top litter box which many cats seem to prefer.
4. Cat Litter
Choosing the right cat litter can be a hit or miss for the cat owner. Some cats can be very fussy about this while some couldn’t care less.
Some humans I know swear by 3-ply toilet paper and consider anything less as good as not using any.
When choosing the right litter for your new cat, here are some important factors to consider.
Scented or Non-Scented
Scented cat litter helps to mask the odor of your new cat’s waste.
As great as that sounds, the strong scent might put off your new cat from using it as cats have very sensitive noses.
These days, unscented cat litter can also do a good job of eliminating odor with the use of carbon and natural plant extracts.
Clumping or Non-Clumping
Clumping litter makes the job of cleaning the waste from the litter tray a lot easier.
As the name suggests, the litter will form little clumps of your cat’s waste which can then be scooped out.
One thing to note is that clumping litter can cause bad tracking due to the smaller litter pieces.
It can get stuck underneath your new cat’s paw and carried all over the house.
Types Of Cat Litter
- Recycled Newspaper
- Silica-based gel crystals
When trying to determine which litter your new cat likes best, make sure to purchase a small sample bag to test it out first from pet supply stores.
You won’t end up wasting your money if your cat is having litter box problems.
If you are allergic to dust particles, it would be best to stay away from clay and wood as these two cat litters produce the most dust particles.
5. Grooming Tools
Cats are naturally clean animals and groom themselves quite well.
However, as cat owners, we need to ensure that our feline cat is properly groomed or it might result in health issues.
This is important for kittens and older cats who can’t groom themselves well due to their age.
These are the important grooming tools that you will need for your new cat:
- Brush for their fur
- Nail cutter
Word of caution: Not all cats like being manually groomed by their owners.
Here are some effective methods that can help if your cat hates being groomed.
6. Scratching Post/Board
To prevent your beloved sofa or lazy boy from being destroyed by your cat, it would be best to get a scratching post for your cat.
The bottom line is that cats like and need to scratch.
A scratching post will do a good job of distracting your new cat away from your furniture.
Scratching helps cats give their muscles and tendons a good workout. When scratching, it allows them to mark their scent and claim the space around it.
This helps to make them feel more at ease.
Furthermore, scratching helps cats to remove the dead part of their claws.
Some cat trees also come with a built-in scratching post.
If you are looking at purchasing a cat tree for your cat, it might be a good idea to just get one that your cat can scratch.
Material Of Scratching Post
Sisal is a good scratching material for a post. It’s derived from the Agave sisalana plant and is strong and durable.
Plus it also feels like tree bark which cats like to scratch on.
Sisal fabric is better than sisal rope as the rope can leave sharp and pointed edges after prolonged use.
The fabric also feels better on their claws as compared to the rope.
Some scratching boards are also made from cardboard. These types don’t last and leave a lot of paper pieces all over the place.
Future Proof Your Scratching Post
When getting a scratching post for your new cat, don’t get one that’s just right for its current size, especially if it’s a kitten.
It should be tall enough for a full-grown cat to fully elongate itself when scratching. the post also needs to be sturdy enough so that it doesn’t topple over under the weight of the cat.
7. Cat-Proof Your Home
Before your new cat settles in, it is important to ensure that your home is as cat-proof as possible.
Kittens tend to be more curious when brought to a new environment. But an adult cat can unknowingly get into trouble when exploring its new home.
If you live in a high-rise apartment, make sure that the windows are closed. You can also use a plastic mesh to cover it up.
The same goes for your main door or gate. Cats tend to wander off so placing a wire mesh on the bottom half of your door and gate can help to deter them.
Electrical cords or extensions should be hidden from view. You don’t want your cat chewing into it and getting the shock of their lives.
Anything sharp or that can be broken needs to be kept away.
Cats have been known to chew on plants and grass but some species of plants can be poisonous to cats.
It would be best to keep your cat away from the plants until you can ascertain that it is safe.
8. Cat Carrier
A cat or pet carrier will come in handy when you need to bring your cat to the vet or the groomer.
Never allow your cat free roam in the vehicle as it can make you distracted and cause an accident.
When buying a carrier, make sure it’s sturdy and large enough to support your cat’s weight as it matures.
You don’t want a carrier that can fall apart when your cat gets rowdy inside.
Get a carrier that can open from the front and the top for greater convenience.
9. Prepare A Cosy Cat Corner
There’s no doubt that your cat will take over your home in due time but giving your cat its private corner would be awesome.
When choosing a suitable area for your cat, pick an area that is quiet and away from the hustle and bustle of your home.
My cat’s private corner is in my balcony which is quiet and gets sunlight as well.
I have my cat’s bed and a scratching post in that area which is enough for him.
10. Arrange A Vet Visit
Before bringing your cat home, you should arrange for your cat to have a full medical first.
Have the vet check your cat for any existing health issues especially FeLV, FIV, Feline herpes, etc.
It is important to make sure that your cat is feeling fine or not pass on any infections to your other pets at home.
These are items that are good to have but not very necessary. Many new cat owners get too anxious and start buying up half the pet store for their cats.
Given the finicky nature of cats, they probably won’t end up using it.
It’s cute to have your cat all snuggled up comfortably in a plushy cat bed that you spent a fortune on.
Unfortunately, cats can have the strangest sleeping locations and none of them would be its cat bed.
There’s a high chance that most cats would want to sleep with their owners on the same bed.
Cats have a very finicky and short attention span. There will be days when they will love a certain toy and then ignore it forever.
Or they might even humor you by playing with the new toy for a few minutes and then pretend it never existed.
Interactive cat toys can get very expensive and it would be a waste if your cat doesn’t like them.
You can save money by making homemade cat toys by using toilet rolls or feathers from a feather duster.
It’s cool to see your cat drinking from a water fountain. It’s supposed to keep the water fresh and well-oxygenated for the cat.
If your cat loves playing and drinking from the tap then it’s worth investing in one.
Otherwise, it will end up being just a water feature in your home.
Choose The Right Cat For Your Home?
Last but not least, many new cat owners tend to overlook this very important point when adopting or getting a get from a breeder.
I know it is very very tempting to just get the cutest cat you see but there are some other important factors to consider.
You need to also consider the cats, age, breed and personality.
If you are planning on getting a third cat, you need to find one that is more easy going and less dominant to prevent conflicts with your resident cats.
If you don’t have much experience with cats getting a kitten might not be the best idea. An older cat is easier to handle and can settle in quicker.
The cat breed also matters if you are looking for a suitable cat.
Some cat breed like Ragdolls, Bengals and Siamese need a lot of attention and don’t fare well being left alone for hours all day long.
Follow this comprehensive checklist and taking care of your cat will be a breeze.