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Do You Have The Supplies For A New Cat?
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What You Need to Get Before Bringing Kitty Home
Cats are famous for their independent nature. If you've never had a cat in your life you may think it means they are self-sustained and don't need much. It certainly does not. Just like soon-to-be parents need to prepare the nursery for their first newborn, so do you need to get a proper gear list and follow it to make sure you have everything in place.

A Cat Carrier
You can't leave the hospital with a newborn unless you have a car seat, and you can't leave a shelter or breeder with a kitten or cat unless you have a cat carrier.  Safety first should be your motto, and cats can only be transferred safely when in a secured cat carrier. There are many kinds of cat carriers out there. Feel free to choose any color you want, as long as the carrier is safe and large enough for your cat.

Litterbox & Scoop
Most cats are not too fussy about their litterbox, but some definitely can be, so pay attention to getting the right box.  It's best to have two litterboxes, especially if you live in a big home and Kitty will have to "travel the distance" to get to his litterbox.  Make sure the litterbox is large. The larger the better. Choose a large litterbox even if you're adopting a kitten. It won't take him too long to grow and need a large litterbox.

Cat Litter
The right litterbox isn't enough. You need to get the right type of cat litter too.  There are many to choose from. If you're adopting an older cat try to find out which litter the cat is already used to. It's best to continue with the same type of litter. If you wish to change the type down the road that can be done once Kitty has adjusted to his/her new home.  If you have no information regarding the cat's preferences, a good choice is unscented clumping litter. Most cats seem to like that type of litter, as do most human caregivers.

Cat Food Dishes
When choosing a food dish, opt for ceramics or metal as the material of choice. Plastic dishes may be pretty but they can harbor bacteria and cause feline acne.  Other than that, go wild with your design preferences as long as it's a designated pet dish, non-toxic and easy for your cat to eat from and for you to clean.  Water can be offered in a bowl (again, not plastic) or you could invest in a water fountain to encourage your cat to drink more.

Cat Food
Now that you have your food dish, how about some food?  Dry, canned, freeze-dried raw or homemade? The possibilities are nearly endless and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. As with litter, try to find out what the cat is already used to and get that kind of food for the first few weeks. You can switch her over to a different kind down the road, once she's settled in.

Scratching Posts
Your cat will scratch things. It's a natural part of being a cat. Unless you want that "thing" to be your couch, you should offer her a good scratching post, preferably more than one.  Buy large and sturdy scratching posts which won't wobble when Kitty leans against them to stretch and scratch. Try two types of materials to start with, such as cardboard and sisal. Some posts offer several types of textures on the same post. You want to discover your cat's personal preferences, so offering variety with your first scratching posts is a good idea.  Please do not ever declaw your cat to protect your furniture (or for any other reason).

Cat Toys
Play is a crucial part of your cat's life. It provides exercise for both body and soul, stimulating feline hunting skills and mental abilities. Without such stimulation your cat could get bored, stressed and sick.  There are two types of toys you need to get. The first is used for interactive playtime, where you operate the toy for your cat to chase around. Fishing-rod toys such as Da Bird and laser pointers are common choices. The second type is anything your cat can bat around and play with. It can be anything from MYLAR Crinkle Balls or the Play-N-Squeak Mouse Hunter to a more elaborate toy.

Cat Furniture
Cat furniture can offer your cat a great opportunity to exercise and stretch. Tall cat trees, sometimes called "cat condos" or towers, take on the role a tree would outside.  Not only does Kitty get to practice his climbing skills, having access to a "higher plane" can also be a source of comfort. It provides a place where your cat can relax, away from kids, dogs or other disturbances, real or imaginary.  Invest in a quality cat tree that will last a long while. If floor space is limited, consider adding several shelves to provide your cat with a trail of climbing steps across the wall.

Cat-proofing Materials & Items
Cats are inquisitive and the old adage about curiosity killing the cat is well-founded. This is especially true if you're bringing home a kitten. Let your cat explore safely by making sure the house is cat-proofed.  Make sure toxic materials are stored away safely. Secure the trash can and get electric cords out of Kitty's way. Stash away your craft materials and make sure your cat is never left unsupervised around yarn, string etc.  Secure windows and any other potential exist from your house or apartment. If you wish to provide your cat with access to some fresh air, create a firmly secured enclosure attached to your home.

Grooming Tools
Cats are known for their self-grooming and a healthy domestic shorthair cat can get along just fine without any grooming assistance from its humans. That said, regular grooming can help decrease the amount of cat hair around your home as well as provide quality bonding time between human and feline.  A good quality pet brush or comb is good to have around, and essential if you have a longhaired cat. The exact type of brush depends on the cat's coat.  A pet nail trimmer is necessary for claw care routine. It's important to get kittens used to having their claws trimmed from a young age. If trimming the claws isn't enough, consider using claw covers, called Soft Paws or Soft Claws. Whatever you do, please do not ever have your cat declawed.

Cat Treats
Everyone loves treats, and cats are no exception to that rule. Choose healthy treats and provide them sparingly. Your cat will gladly accept more but unfortunately, even the healthiest of treats do not provide Kitty with the balanced diet she needs. You may need to test and see which treats your cat prefers.  Just make sure the treats are made by a reputable company and don't give more than a few pieces a day.

Collar, ID Tag & Harness
Consider micro-chipping your cat and in addition to that, having your cat wear a collar and an ID tag. A collar will clearly mark your cat as a lost pet should he ever wander outside, and the ID tag will help the finder bring the cat back to you.  Choose a safety collar that's made especially for cats. These collars allow cats to wriggle out of them, should they get snagged in a tree branch or a similar obstacle.  Some owners train their cat to walk on a leash and harness and take them out for walks. It certainly is a good option for some cats. Just make sure you attach the leash to a harness, and not to a collar.

A Cat Bed
Cats are creatures of comfort, and investing in a plush pet bed may seem like a good idea. Don't get your hopes too high though. Some cats take to their cat bed right away while others may prefer sleeping anywhere but in their bed, usually preferring their owner's sleeping area. Cat beds come in many shapes, textures, sizes and colors. Choose whatever works best for your home decor but make sure the bed is large enough and has removable covers which can be easily washed. If your cat isn't using the bed, try moving it to a different location. Try a place that's higher than floor level, preferably in a warm sunny spot.

Not all cats respond to catnip but if your cat does, you will know as soon as you sprinkle some on the floor. Your cat will likely rub herself in the catnip, roll on the ground and generally try to get into it as much as possible. Effects usually wear off after 10-15 minutes.