16/06/2024

The Critters

For Nice Critters

First Time Cat Or Kitten Owner – What to Include on Your Shopping List Before You Bring Them Home

First Time Cat Or Kitten Owner – What to Include on Your Shopping List Before You Bring Them Home

So, you decided to increase your family with the addition of a kitten or cat? Maybe even two. Congratulations!

It can become a daunting, expensive process of preparation bringing home any new addition to your family. Forgetting one crucial item, can be a potential disaster! There are several things you will need to have on hand before you bring that fluffy ball of fur home.

Here’s a check list I have put together that is sure to be invaluable on that first shopping trip:

Food:

I would suggest a small bag or box of two flavors/brands. Like people, animals need some choices for their palette. Personally, I mix 1/2 can of moist food with the dry food. One cup per cat, twice daily. Leftovers should be discarded daily.

Dishes:

I suggest separate food and water dishes, as opposed to the combo dish. This will keep the water from splashing into the food and will also make it less likely for bladder and urinary tract infections. Metal dishes are preferable to plastic, as the plastic holds odor, oils and again is more likely to be a breeding ground for bacteria. The metal dishes will keep the water cooler too. Dishes, especially water, should be washed daily. Unscented dish soap works great.

Treats:

A small bag of catnip and some moist vitamin treats are sure to please.

Litter & Litter Pan with Scooper:

Depending on your preferences, there are a variety of products that work efficiently in today’s market. Some cats will do the choosing in this area. I suggest you buy a tub of the clumping litter and a bag of clay litter. Try the clumping litter first. This has less dust, is easier to maintain, and omits less odor. Litter pans should be scooped [preferably twice] daily and thoroughly cleaned each week.

*Tip – I keep my cats’ litter pans inside an ‘under the bed’ storage tub, placing the lid underneath. This will greatly reduce the amount of litter (kicked, shook, and hurled) finding its way to your floor or carpeting. Please people, do not put the tub under your bed. Remember, that’s the type of container to use – to house the litter pan. The pan should be kept at an easily accessible location, preferably out of immediate sight of humans and in a low traffic area. Cats like privacy with the privy too.

Litter Pan Deodorizer:

Make sure the product is safe for your pets. I have heard of people using carpet sprinkles to deodorize their cat’s litter pans. This can be very hazardous to your kitten and adult cat. Read the product warning label carefully to ensure it is safe to use with pets. If you are not looking for any aroma remedy, I would recommend using plain baking soda, two or three tablespoons per pan, twice a week.

Box of (quart/gallon size) zipper bags: Use for discards of litter box.

Scratching Post:

I have always had cats – my entire life and never to this date have any of them used an actual scratch post. They prefer your furniture, drapes, and woodwork — or the following homemade remedy consisting of a box of self-adhesive (10- 1 sq ft) carpet tiles, one brick & cardboard (or wood) box. This can be a very cost effective measure and give your kitten/cat their own personal space. This gives them a sleeping area in addition to a scratch area and ‘play’ box.

Instructions for brick, box, and carpet tiles:

Make sure the box you use is sturdy and 12 to 15 inches high, 12 inches deep, and 18 to 24 inches long. Attach carpet tiles to exposed outside wall area on either end and inside for flooring. Cover the top of the box with tiles as well. Whether you choose to ’tile’ the back of the box will depend on where you plan to place the box. It will make no sense to tile the back if you plan on placing it against a wall.

Cut one carpet tile, to size of brick, for the bottom side. This will prevent damage to flooring for those times you must remove it from the box. Your brick should be porous.

TOYS:

I recommend two or three toys for your kitten/cat to play with initially. One fabric toy that can be tossed easily and a ball no smaller than a golf ball. Refrain from toys that squeak or have bells inside, as these have the potential to choke your kitten/cat. Other items cats love are paper bags, scrunchie hair ties, and string. Always use care with the selection of any toys for your kitten/cat. Ensure string is long enough, thick enough and durable with one end tied to a solid object, avoiding the potential for choking. Scrunchies should be of medium to large in size – never use small or child size.

ROLL DOUBLE-SIDED TAPE:

Cut six inch strips to place on corners of furniture, woodwork, and counter tops. This is the most effective way I have found, to keep kittens/cats off your counter tops and tables. It also will keep them from shredding your furniture with their claws. Cats hate anything that is sticky on their paws. Velcro works wonders too, for areas that require more training, as it holds up longer. Citrus scented [stick on] air fresheners work great too.

Collar and Leash:

Refrain from buying collars with dangling items attached, especially bells. Cats find them annoying and offensive. The more lightweight the collar, the more likely your cat will adjust to this contraption around their neck.

A leash is a necessary evil as well. The sooner your kitten is exposed to leash walking, the easier it will be to train them to use one. The cat owner only realizes in hindsight how invaluable this training can be in emergency situations.

And last, but not least, refrain from buying all those cute toys, clothes, and bedding for your new pet until you learn their individual personalities. Once your new cat or kitten has settled in you can introduce new items, one or two at a time. Too many new and unfamiliar scents will make for a difficult transition to your kitty’s new home.

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