So you are going to adopt a cat! Yay!
Before your new kitty arrives, you will need to prepare your home. Here are 11 essential items you need to get you and your family ready.
1. Food and water bowls (stainless steel or glass, no plastic)
It is essential that you have your food ready and bowls picked out before the arrival of your new feline friend. Though it may seem sturdy, plastic is not a good choice. Cats are often allergic to plastic and develop what is called "feline acne" on their chin. Also, plastic can get nicked and then hold bacteria and germs that are not good for your kitty.
2. Scratching posts and corrugated cardboard scratch pads
Scratch pads are a must for kitties to do what they do naturally, stretch and scratch. With a little catnip rubbed on the scratching pads, your cat will only want to scratch here and not on your furniture.
3. A new litter box and litter
Most cats are indoor cats and need a place to do their business. For that you will need a new litter box and litter. Never use your former cat's litter box or any used litter box, no matter how much you scrub it. While litters come in all different types such as clay or clumping, try ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ LightWeight Cat Litter. It's easy to carry, pour and store, is 100 percent dust free and has seven-day odor control, guaranteed.
4. Nail clippers
It is important to clip your cat's nails every few weeks. You don't want your kitty's nails to grow too long and into their pads on their paws and get infected, or get caught on fabrics and pulled out of their nail bed. Your veterinarian can show you how to safely trim your cat's nails.
5. Toys that are safe for your kitty to play with alone
Cats need to have lots of things to do when they are awake. It is great to have plenty of toys to entertain them whenever they feel like playing.
6. Interactive toys that you can use to play with your kitty, but that you will put away when you are not around
You love to play, your cat loves to play. Why not play together? Interactive toys, such a pole with a string and a feather, are great to help your cat get the exercise they need to get a good night's sleep. Also, when your cat first comes home, if they are hiding, say under the bed, this is a good way to start a relationship and good way to get them to come out and explore on their own. Later on, you can use this same toy when you want to get your cat's attention for a photo. Please put these toys away when you are not able to supervise them, because you wouldn't want your cat to swallow the string or the feather; this can be dangerous and life threatening.
7. Beds to sleep in
(Hint: Kitties love boxes or spaces they can curl up in)
Cats love to eat, groom, play and sleep. So a bed or two or three is really important for napping at any given time of the day. Some of the beds can be as simple as a cardboard box that they can curl up in, with a little towel or soft cloth.
8. Comb and brush (I love the Furminator)
Your cat will groom itself regularly, but it can always use a little help. Combs and/or brushes are very important (essential for long-haired cats) to keeping your feline friend's hair tangle- and mat-free and are excellent for their circulation. I love the Furminator because it really gets the loose hair out, especially in the spring and fall when your cat's coat will change for the seasons.
9. Screens for all your windows
For safety, sturdy, secure screens must be in place before your kitty comes home. Cats love to watch everything that is going on outside. The screens will protect your cat from falling out of your window and getting seriously injured when it tries to jump after a bird that is flying by.
10. Cat proof the house!
Put away anything dangerous that they can chew on or that they can eat. Tape wires to the baseboard, put caps on outlets and review the list of toxic plants, and remove any that are poisonous to cats. When your new kitten/cat comes home, monitor them to see if they play with anything else you might have missed that is dangerous and put it away.
11. Most importantly, it is best to start with a visit to your veterinarian.
You will want to make sure that you are on top of all of your kitty's health issues, including vaccinations, de-worming, flea treatment, any necessary blood tests, spaying or neutering, etc. Your veterinarian is a great resource, so bring your questions written down so you don't forget what you want to ask him/her. Also, your veterinarian can let you know what to look out for in the future, regarding signs of illness that you might otherwise miss.
Now you are ready to bring your new kitten/cat into the home you have prepared! With these tips you will have a very happy furry friend for many years to come!
All Images by : Tiffany Hagler-Geard / Humane Society of New York / Sheknows
Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration between ARM & HAMMER™ CLUMP & SEAL™ LightWeight Cat Litter and SheKnows