It's such a busy and exciting time when you're preparing to bring your new cat home, so what do you need to think about organising beforehand? Preparation is key when it comes to new pets, so you can spend your first few days bonding with your cat and getting them settled into their new home. Here are some items to consider before you pick up your kitty...
Beds are very important to cats as they sleep for up to 16 hours a day. That's a lot of snoozing! It's important to remember that cats like to spend time in high places, which is why you'll often find them asleep on top of the wardrobe, despite having a lovely comfy bed that you've lovingly picked out for them. Radiator beds are popular for adult cats as they like to spend time sleeping somewhere warm and comfy, as well as off the ground. Nervous cats often prefer sleeping in a teepee style bed as it allows them to hide away and feel safe - they can see you but you can't see them. If you are taking home a pair of cats, remember that they'll need a bed each in different areas to avoid conflict.
Cosy beds are great for the winter time
Food and bowls
Cats love their food! They can be pretty picky eaters, so make sure you find out what your cat does and doesn't like to avoid any dramas with eating in the future - some cats don't like fish based food, others find beef too rich. Some cats like food in gravy, others end up with stomach problems. Some like biscuits, some like gourmet pieces, some like fresh chicken and nothing else! It's best to get your food sorted before you bring your cat home so you know you have a ready supply for them. Remember that cats may be off their food for the first couple of days whilst they settle in.
Bowls are also a source of pickiness for cats. Most cats do not like to drink water from a plastic bowl, and prefer to use a metal or glass bowl with the water filled right to the brim (so their whiskers don't get wet). You can also buy fountain water bowls for cats that prefer running water, although many refuse to drink from a bowl altogether! Again, remember to provide separate eating areas for each cat so they don't get stressed being forced to eat together if they don't like it.
Cats prefer drinking from a metal bowl...
...but they'll happily eat food from a plastic bowl
Play time is so much fun, and a great bonding exercise for you and your new pet. There are many different cat toys on the market, and each has a different objective. Stick or wand toys are great for nervous cats, as they can interact with you and play at a distance as they get used to you. These toys also help stop your hands from being scratched by overenthusiastic hunters! Jingly bell toys are great for playing chase, as the different sounds, movements and textures allow cats to hone their natural skills and you can get involved. Soft toys like mice are good for hunting games so your cats can pounce and grab the toy and pretend to be the little tigers they think they are!
Cat nip can be a big success or a big flop for your cat, depending on the individual. Some cats love it and will go mad for it, others don't seem fussed at all and it has very little affect on them. You can buy catnip stuffed toys, which are great for playing regardless of the catnip, or loose leaves to sprinkle out for them.
Wand toys are useful for playing with nervous cats
Cats needs a scratching post to allow them to keep their claws in good condition. As they have retractable claws, cats do not need to have them clipped like dogs, but they do need something to use to keep them trim. A scratch post will allow your cat to carry out it's natural behaviour and will also save your furniture! Large scratch post towers are great for playing, hiding, and scratching and cats often prefer them to the smaller posts before they are stable and therefore easier for them to use.
Scratching posts are essential for cats
Litter tray and cat litter
There are many different types of litter trays available, and it depends on your individual cat as to which would be best for them. Messy cats might be best off with a covered tray, as it prevents them from spreading litter everywhere! Smaller cats would benefit from a shallow tray so they can step into more easily. You can also get litter tray tops that prevent the cat from kicking litter out, which are useful if you don't like big covered trays but still want to keep them neat and tidy.
With litter it's best to keep cats on what they know. This is because they come to associate the smell and texture of the litter with the area they know they should use as a toilet - if you suddenly change the substrate they'll become confused and stressed and won't know where to go.
Choose a tray and substrate that your cat will be comfortable using - as you can see we use a wood based litter
A carrier is essential! Not only will you need it to transport your cat home, but it will be useful for any trips you need to make in the future, such as vet visits. Make sure you pick a carrier that has the right weight category for your cat - some are only designed to withstand the weight of a small cat so your giant tom might not fit in! Look for a sturdy design with secure handle and door to prevent any future accidents or escapes.
A good carrier will likely last a lifetime
This is especially important if you are adopting a long haired cat, as they will need much more attention than a short haired breed. Look for a good brush to keep their coat in tip top condition, and a zoom groom is useful for short coats to make them shiny and healthy.
Collars are a personal choice when it comes to cats. Unlike dogs, cat owners are not obliged to make their pet wear a collar with an identity tag on so it depends on what you'd rather do. Make sure if you do choose to put a collar on your cat, that you pick one with a safety release mechanism so that if your cat gets snagged on something they can break free from the collar without causing injuries. Collars without the safety catch can cause horrible wounds as they rub against the skin and the cat cannot get them off.
Collars are a personal choice as they are not a legal requirement for cats
It's best to look into which vet you intend to use before you get your cat home. Different vets specialise in different areas, so take a look around and find one where you feel comfortable and happy. Preparation is always best when it comes to finding a vet, as it gives you peace of mind knowing should anything happen to your new cat that you can take them straight to a surgery for treatment.
Our on site pet shop is stocked with lots of items for cats, and our staff are always happy to help should you have any questions. Feel free to ask next time you're in!