Congratulations! You have decided to adopt a new friend-for-life – a cat! Consider yourself lucky – having a cat around is great experience – they are smart, funny animals, and will give you tons of love and hours of laughter and delight.

Cats are not very difficult to take care of – they need attention, medical care and food, of course, but they are rather independent and when they are adults, they sleep during most of the day. Still, consider adopting two cats – they ARE independent beings, but they do love and need company, and will be happier this way.

You and your house need to be prepared to receive a new cat. You need to prepare a few things, find a veterinarian and get ready for a few days of adjustments. It’s best if you have things ready in advance – it will help the cat to adjust more easily and quickly.

So, what will you need to properly welcome you new feline friend? Here are some cat essentials.

Equipment and Supplies for a New Cat

Cat Food or Kitten Food

Choosing the right cat food isn’t easy. There’s a big selection and budget concerns, along with tons of contradicting recommendations from vendors and vets. The basic information you need to know is this: choose a cat food that has at least 30% protein. Cats are carnivores, so it’s better to choose a food that has as little cereals as possible. Make sure the first ingredient on the ingredient list is meat or fish – preferably dehydrated meat. Don’t choose a cat food in which corn or cereals are the first ingredient. Remember: ingredients are required to be listed in order of predominance by weight – which makes the first 2-3 ingredients very important. Note that the weights of ingredients are determined as they are added in the formulation, including their inherent water content. That’s why it’s better to choose a food that has dehydrated meat or fish listed as first ingredient. Don’t forget to stock a few cans of tasty wet food. Cats love that, and it’s a great treat for them.

Food bowl and drinking bowl

Basically any nice, stable bowl will do as food and drink bowl for cats, but if you want the best choice – go for stainless steel bowls. They are easier to clean than plastic, and they don’t collect as many bacteria and dirt on them. Make sure you wash the bowls regularly, and fill the drinking bowl with fresh water – cats don’t like water that stood too long. If you really want to pamper your kitten, buy them a drinking fountain. Most cats adore running water, and it will encourage them to drink more frequently.

Litter Box and Cat Litter

There’s a lot of debate surrounding the issue of a cat’s litter box. Some people prefer an open box, and some swear by the advantages of a closed cat litter box. If you have a small apartment and not many places to hide a litter box, or if you are sensitive to smell – choose the closed box. A closed litter box will prevent nasty smells and will give your cat privacy when they are doing their thing. Also, the swinging door on a good closed litter box will prevent the cat from spreading kitty litter all over the place. Make sure the box is big enough, even if you have just adopted a kitten – they do tend to grow rather quickly. As for the litter itself – avoid crystal litter. Cats need and want to DIG and COVER their feces. Get a nice clumping litter, which makes it easier to clean the litter box, and prevents odors. Don’t forget to clean the litter box on a daily basis – cats prefer a clean bathroom. You will also need a good litter scoop.

Scratching Post

It’s not easy to prevent cats from scratching your favorite chair, sofa or speakers, but you can train your cat and make them understand that the only acceptable scratching place is their very own scratching post. There are many sorts and models, so choose a good, sturdy scratch post according to your budget. Remember that cats also use the posts to stretch, so it needs to be high and vertical. There are also cat trees, which are playing complexes, that include hiding places and sitting platforms for the cat. Again, choose according to your budget.

Cat Toys

Many cat owners are tempted to buy complex, expensive toys, only to realize their cat sneers at them, and really prefers a crumpled piece of paper, a fallen leaf, a bottle cap or a used Q tip that it snatched out of the garbage can. If you really feel the need to buy toys, get a few toy mice (preferably fury ones, but not made from real fur!) and one or two pole toys – which allow you to be an active participant in the cat’s game.

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