We've been helping first time cat parents navigate the first steps of cat-parenthood since 2004, and we've compiled a list of the top 10 most important things to have for your new kitty before you bring them home! We hope this list helps you!
This is SUPER important for SO many reasons. Here at Pet Angel, we cannot allow any of our animals to leave in your arms, they HAVE to be in a carrier or crate. Cats get nervous with new situations, and you don’t want them to scratch you, squirm out of your arms and take off on you the second you officially sign the papers and are trying to take them to the car! Additionally, there is a way in most cars for animals to get to the engine (and therefore, outside) under the glove compartment. Lastly, You’re going to want a carrier for vet visits! This is an absolute essential! Make sure your carrier is big enough for your cat to turn around in!
TIP: The carriers with a door on the top are the BEST one's for easy loading!! Fabric carriers are a fan favorite, but are not the safest option for your pet. If you want the safest carrier for your pet, go for a hard carrier with a door on the top!
EVERY cat needs a litterbox, and you can find them at most pet stores and even places like Meijer or Walmart! Keep in mind, your cat needs to be able to enter the box, turn around, and squat in it, so make sure you get a box that is bigger than your cat. It’s really up to you and your preference if you get a covered or uncovered box (although some kitties also have preferences on this too.) When shopping for a scoop, look for a durable plastic. If they’re flimsy, litter will fling back up at you, or in tough situations, they will break. If you have multiple cats, it is recommended you have a litter box per cat, plus one additional one.
These are essential. We recommend a ceramic or metal dish for water, as plastic dishes for water isn’t always a safe option. If you have multiple cats, you’ll want to have more than one food and water dish so your pets don’t become overprotective of food or water.
Here at Pet Angel, we give all our cats Science Diet Adult or Kitten food (depending on their age) unless they require a special diet. At the time of adoption, we will give you a small bag of the Science Diet food that they are on, so you can switch them over to any food that you would like, if you have a preferred brand in mind. Keep in mind, you want to try to keep your cat on the same type of food all the time. Switching cats foods often can cause upset stomachs, and when they’re on a good formula of food for a long amount of time, their fur will really reflect a good diet! Kittens should be on kitten food until they are around 11 months old, if possible. If you are adopting from Pet Angel and plan on keeping them on Science Diet Food, wait to buy a bag! You’ll get a coupon for Science Diet food during your adoption! If you are not adopting from Pet Angel, we recommend you ask the shelter you're adopting from what food they feed their cats, and get a bag of that food to start your kitty off on. If you switch cats to a new food cold turkey when you take them home, they may experience throwing up or diarrhea, so it's best to keep them on the food they're eating now, and transition them slowly to a new food over the period of a week or two.
Another absolute essential. Here at Pet Angel, we use Pine Litter. The exact bags we have are not yet in stores (new company that gives rescue a very good deal on bulk orders) but the equivalent that you can get in stores is called Feline Pine. We prefer Pine Litter because we think it does a better job at odor control, it’s natural, there’s no dust or harsh chemicals, and a little goes a long way. You can use any litter that you prefer,but watch out for citrus scented litters, or litters that are crystal like. Cats don’t like the smell of Citrus, and crystal litter makes a sound when the cat urinates. This can cause cats to not use the litterbox anymore.
You’re going to want one of these bad boys to keep shedding down during the Spring! Even indoor cats shed, and giving them weekly brush sessions are not only a good way to bond, but a great way to keep tuffs of hair from sticking to your carpet or your favorite black slacks.
A fluffy kitty bed is always loved by kittys, and you’ll want to get your kitty some toys to keep them active when you’re not home! Fan favorites here at Pet Angel are Spring Toys, Crinkle Balls, and anything with catnip in them! If you search on amazon “Cat Spring Toys” or “Cat Crinkle Balls” you’ll find them in bulk! I also recommend getting at least one toy on a stick, so you can bond with your new pet by playing with them! You never want to play with your cat by wiggling your fingers or holding a toy in your hands, sas they might start playfully attacking your hands randomly. Stick toys are the best way to teach your cat not to bite or play with fingers, but still be able to play and bond with your cat!
If you're worried about your pet scratching your furniture or carpet, then scratching posts are the perfect solution for you! You will want to get both a vertical and horizontal scratching post and place them exactly where your pet usually goes to sharpen their claws. By placing these where your pet usually scratches, they should begin to use them on their own, but if they don't you will need to redirect them If you see them put their paws up on the chair, tell them "no," and put them in front of the scratching post. Praise using the scratching posts with pet treats and play time, and continue telling your pet "no" and redirecting them to the scratching post when they scratch on anything else. We have found that with repetition, any cat, young or old, can learn to use a scratching post (they prefer them anyway!) You can read more about scratching posts and alternatives to declawing by going over to our "alternatives to declawin" seciton on our website, or by clicking the link below!
TIP: Most cats love the cardboard ones you can find for under $10 at most pet sections of stores!
I truly can not stress how important this is to all cat owners, even if your cat is 100% indoors. Accidents happen, especially to the people who say "that won't happen to me" and don't put a collar on their pet. What if your cat leans up against the screen when you have the window open and the screen pops out and they fall out? What if, in the craziness of a holiday, your sweet fur friend slips out the door and runs off? Both of these situations have happened to former adopters before, and even though all our pets are microchipped, it’s the best and safest idea to have a collar and ID tag around your pets neck at all times! You can pick any collar out that you’d like, there’s so many fun designs to choose from! We recommend putting your Pets Name, Your name, and a phone number you’ll always be able to be reached at on the tag. If you're adopting from Pet Angel, and bring the collar and tag the day of your adoption, we’ll be happy to help size it to your pets neck before you leave! You want to be sure you can fit 2 fingers between your pets neck and the collar. Not too lose that they can get it off or get their mouth stuck in it, but not too tight that it's hurting them. If you have a kitten, be sure you check this often and make the collar bigger for them as they grow.
If this is your first pet, you’re going to want to find a vet right off the bat! Even if you don’t plan on taking your animal there right away, it’s a smart pet owner decision to have a vet already picked out before you bring your pet home. Then, if there’s ever an emergency situation (or your cat gets into something they shouldn't night one) you already know where you’re going!
We recommend setting up a spare room for your new pet, even if you don’t have any other animals at home. Even an apartment can be overwhelming for new pets, and they will likely hide. By setting up their food, water and litterbox in a quiet room, like a spare bed room or bathroom (but never a basement or laundry room! Those can be loud and scary!) you are ensuring that the essentials your kitty needs is only a few feet away from them. So even if they’re scared and hiding, the litterbox, food and water is all close by. Set this up before you come and get your kitty, so it’s ready when you get home!
We have a whole section of our website dedicated to the importance of a safe room, and how to introduce your new pet to your current pets, if you'd like to give it a read! It's linked below!