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January 19, 2012 at 11:26 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

New Cat Guide: 6 Must-Have Cat Items

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

Thinking of bringing home a new kitty? Hold on a minute! Here are 6 things you should probably pick up first!

#1. Cat Food and Dishes

While the idea that your cat will need food is a given, the food you should select for them may not be. Unfortunately, there are some pretty heinous practices that go on in the pet food industry and the cheapest brands are typically the biggest offenders. A cat's nutrition needs are not the same as ours. While a majority of veggies in our meals would be great for us, cats are carnivores. Foods made mainly from grains and rice are not really supporting their optimal health - but then, neither are some of the "meat" sources pet food companies are turning to. My advice is to do your homework. It may cost a bit more, but good diet can prevent a number of diseases and the costs that come along with that. As for the dishes, if you avoid the plastic ones and all the chemicals they can leak out, you'll be golden! Opt for ceramic, glass, wood or stone instead.

#2. Litter Box, Litter and Litter Scooper

Naturally following your cats eating needs, you'll need to concern yourself with the after affects. In short, your cat will need a litter box (check out a previous blog of mine on litter box issues)! ;) The litter box will need to be big for their whole body to fit in comfortably. Keep with the same brand of kitty litter and put it in a private and quiet area for your cat to use - yes, even cats like their privacy when taking care of business! Don't forget - cleanliness matters here too. The number one cat behavior problem - eliminating outside the box - often comes down to how clean the litter box is. Is the litter box clean enough that YOU be willing to stand in it if you were them? If not, it's probably time to scoop. One more tip - if you are thinking of owning more than one cat and they are not kittens or used to each other, it's probably a good idea to get them each their own litter box.

#3. Scratching Post

In a previous blog of mine, I discuss the issue of whether to de-claw or not. If you decide that de-clawing is not an option for your kitty, you will definitely want a scratching post (or two) in your home. This is a great way for your kitty to indulge their natural instinct. While a lot of people assume they do this to sharpen their claws, what this actually does is help to induce shedding of their claws outer layers, keeping them short, dull and healthy. Tip - you may need to train your cat to use their scratch post rather than the furniture. To do so, simply bring them to it and move their paws in a scratching motion against it. and as an added incentive, try rubbing some catnip there as well! The scratching post is a great way for your cat to exercise, stretch and relieve stress. 

#4. Grooming Tools

Unless you have a hairless cat, brushing will be an essential part of your relationship with them. It will not only help to reduce shedding but also prevent and manage mats in their fur and hairballs from developing. Brushing your cat is a also a nice way to bond with them. Both Casey and Oliver (our cats) LOVE to be brushed, they just roll around, purr loudly and rub along us as we brush them!

#5. Toys

Yes, your furry feline will need toys and plenty of them to keep them happy, active and out of trouble! Take a look at a previous blog of mine of what type of free or lost cost eco-Friendly toys you can provide your fur kid! Make sure to provide different textures, noises, and even size of toys to give them plenty of variety. Don't be afraid to switch up toys every few days to help keep them from getting bored with the same ol' toys day after day.

#6. Cat Nip/Grass

Are keeping your cats indoors or will you be letting them out? Indoor cats will especially benefit from and enjoy having a little bit of their own cat nip or grass to eat in your home. Outdoor cats will eat small amounts of grass to prevent furballs, ease their upset tummy or relieve a sore throat, but of course inside cats don't get the same access. Go to your local pet store to find some cat grass seed. Your cat will definitely appreciate it.

Resources:

Cat Fancy Magazine, 2012

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