You are now officially a ‘pawrent’ of a newly adopted cat and it’s time to bring that cute furry furball home.
Bringing home a new cat can be a nerve-racking experience. Especially if you are a first-time cat owner with a kitten.
Ask any parent how they felt when they first brought home their newborn and you’ll share similar anxieties and confusions.
Before You Bring Your Cat Home
In this article, we will tell you what you need to prepare before bringing a new cat home. We will start with the essentials and end off with what can be considered optional items.
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.
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 feeding your cat a raw meat diet.
Cats are obligate carnivores.
This means that they need a high-protein diet from fresh meat to thrive and be healthy. Dried good is very bad for cats because it contains carbohydrates which 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 will help hydrate your cat.
Wet or canned food is the next best option. However, not all canned foods are made equal. Many contain artificial flavouring, by-products instead of actual meat and other harmful chemicals.
Make sure you analyse the ingredient list before buying.
If your car is a kitten then it’s better to get them started on a raw food diet. For adult cats, it can still be done but it requires more patience for the switch.
2. Food And Water Bowls
There’s some science when it comes to picking up the correct food and water bowls for your cat.
It requires a bit more reading 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 one.
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.
Just like how you have a toilet bowl at home at your disposal.
There are many variants of litter trays in the market but we will single out the most commonly used ones.
Open Litter Box
These litter boxes are the most common ones used by cat owners. It’s basically a big plastic pan filled with litter.
They aren’t much to look at but they work well for both humans and cats.
It is easy for your cats to go in and out of.
Remember to scoop out the waste daily and change out the entire littler weekly.
It is best to keep these litter boxes away from common areas as there’s no lid to prevent any odours from seeping out.
Best to keep it in the toilet or a quiet corner of the house.
Plus it can get messy around the box when the cat is digging the litter to cover its waste.
Closed Litter Box
This works pretty similarly to the open cover litter box but it comes with a lid and an opening for your cat.
A closed litter tray helps to keep the odours from seeping out. Plus it also prevents the litter from getting out of the pan when your cat is covering its waste.
It can cause you to go green in the face when you open up the lid to clean the litter. The ‘aroma’ inside would depend on how often you scoop out the waste.
Having a cover can also make it cumbersome to clean the pan as it requires you to open and close the top portion each time.
Sifting Litter Box
If you have ever sifted flour while baking a cake, this pretty much works the same way.
There are two parts to this litter box. The sifting layer can be detached from the waste and thrown away, leaving the unused litter in the bottom pan.
It is easy to use since you don’t have to manually scoop out the waste. Just give the sifting pan a good shake, dispose of the waste and it’s good to go again.
You still have to do the work of cleaning up the waste. Such litter boxes also can result in litter wastage as much of the unused litter gets thrown away with the waste.
The numerous holes in the sifting pan also make thoroughly cleaning it quite a challenge at times.
Automated Litter Box (Self-Cleaning)
Cat owners who have used a self-cleaning litter box swear by its usefulness.
The litter box is powered by electricity and comes with an internal rake that drags any waste into a separate compartment.
It’s triggered to go off once the cat is done with its business.
Everything is taken care of when it comes to getting rid of kitty waste. This works well for owners who are away from home for many hours or unable to clean the litter box frequently. This results in a cleaner and better-smelling toilet for your kitty
The rake might not do a good job of getting rid of the waste which can then stink up the litter box. It can be a headache if it breaks down and needs to be sent back to the manufacturer for repairs.
4. Cat Litter
Choosing the right cat litter can be a hit or miss for the cat owner. Some cats can be really 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 odour 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 odour 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 box a lot easier. As the name suggests, the litter will form little clumps of your cats 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
Ever seen Youtube videos of furniture being shredded by cats?
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 help cats to 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.
Sisal is a good scratching material for a post. It’s derived from the Agave sisalana plant and is strong 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 have the tendency 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 indoor and outdoor 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.
These are items that are good to have but not very necessary. 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 where they will love a certain toy and then ignore it forever.
Or they might even humour 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.
Bringing home a new cat is an exciting experience. Cats take some time to warm up so let it explore the entire house at their own pace. Don’t force a nervous cat to do something against its will. It won’t be long before your cat begins to settle in.