Cat Essentials List
Are you a new cat owner wondering what cats need to stay entertained, clean, and comfortable? Explore our list of top cat essentials, like stimulating toys & treats.
So, you’ve welcomed a new kitty into the family! As the saying goes, a house is not a home without a cat. But what items do you need to help your new friend stay entertained, keep clean, and feel comfortable? We’ve got you covered.
Eating & Drinking Basics
You should always feed your cat what your vet recommends, and in the proper quantity for their weight and health. If you happen to order your cat’s food online, always have a backup bag of dry food and a wet food option in case of delivery delays.
If you happen to work long hours or be away from home when you cat gets their dinner, there are plenty of options for automatic feeders. These also work well if you want your cat to associate the feeder with food, instead of you (think: no more 5 a.m. wake up calls).
Your cat also needs a few drinking bowls around their living space, as many cats simply just don’t drink enough, which can lead to problems down the road. Try a variety of different bowls, or even a water fountain. Cats like their water to be fresh, so keep up with changing it daily.
Cats are smart, and they need a ton of entertainment and brain stimulation to avoid boredom. A bored cat may act out by biting and swatting, or even destroying the furniture. Have a variety of toys for your kitty, because playing with the same toy over and over can even get a bit boring. You can get kicker toys, little mice, wands, scratchers, and feeding puzzles.
You can even set up a bird feeder outside of their favorite window. This is just like cat TV; they love watching birds come and go while lounging in their favorite sunspot.
An Appropriately Sized Litter Box
This is probably every cat owner’s least favorite thing, but it’s extremely important. Having a good sized box for your cat and clean litter is imperative for their health. Cats are very clean creatures, and don’t like their box to be near where they eat or drink. They will most likely prefer an unscented, fine clay litter that clumps. Try out different types to see what your cat prefers.
Along with a litter box and litter, you’ll need a scoop, and a mat to trap any litter that your cat may track when getting out of the box. Keeping the box clean daily is a must. Not only will your kitty be happy having a clean bathroom, but you’ll be able to monitor for any potential health problems and make sure they’re going regularly.
No one likes a stinky box, and there are plenty of products on the market that help. You can add baking soda or activated charcoal directly to the litter to help absorb any smells.
Fur and Nail Care Equipment
Your cat needs your help to maintain their claws and fur. While they do a great job at keeping themselves clean, brushing them will help prevent hairballs, and keep their coat shiny and healthy.
Tooth and Ear Cleaning Tools
Your cat’s ears don’t really need to be cleaned, but you should check them to be sure either way. Dirty and itchy ears can be a sign of infection or ear mites, which means a trip to the vet. However, if they do get waxy build-up, you can safely clean their ears at home.
Cats need dental care as much as you do. It’s important that you keep up with their dental hygiene, by brushing their teeth if they’ll allow, or giving them special treats designed to keep their teeth clean. You can also opt for a water additive to help prevent dental disease.
Cat-Friendly House Cleaning Products
Even though cats are notoriously clean, accidents do happen. Luckily, there are a variety of cat-safe cleaning products available to keep your home odor-free. If your cat goes outside of the litter box, don’t reach for the bleach. An enzyme-based cleaner is your best bet to neutralize the ammonia smell before it lingers.
Microchip and ID Tag
It’s best for your cat to live indoors, but some may try and sneak off. Having the proper identification on your cat’s collar and microchip information is essential in case your kitty makes a break for it.
And even if you’ve got an indoor cat, keeping up with flea and tick preventatives is a necessity. You might be tracking in flea eggs, and ticks can hop a ride on your clothes without you noticing. Talk to your vet about what flea and tick preventative is best for your cat.
Cleaning Products to Avoid for Cat Owners
Every day cleaning items, such as laundry detergents, toilet bowl cleaner, and bleach sprays are toxic to kitties, so keeping cleaning supplies out of reach of curious paws is a must. There are several pet-friendly cleaning products on the market if you’d like to cat-proof your home from toxic chemicals.
Because of anxiety and stress stemming from the pandemic, prescriptions written for antidepressants have risen by 36% in 5 years. And while taking care of our mental health should be top priority, antidepressants should be kept away from your cat. Some antidepressants have a smell that is quite appealing to the kitty nose. Of course, all medications, whether prescribed or over the counter, should be kept in a safe spot and well out of the way of your kitty.
Taking care of houseplants as a hobby has risen in popularity over the last few years as well, and we all know kitties love to munch on flowers and leaves. Before bringing home your next plant, check and make sure what you currently have is safe for your home.
Bonding Time Is Essential
Of course, this list doesn’t include everything you need for your cat, because each is a wonderfully unique creature with their own needs. As you and your cat adjust to your new life together, you’ll get to know what they like, and what they need, to live a happy and healthy life with you.
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Aimee is a New Jersey native currently living in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and crew of four cats. She has an English degree and when she isn't writing for AKC Pet Insurance, you can find her drinking seltzer, painting, watching reality TV shows, and trying to wrangle her cats into sweaters.READ MORE ARTICLES