Getting your first cat is always exciting. Equal parts affectionate and aloof, cats can bring a smile to even the most hard-hearted soul. In addition, their independence makes them a good first pet as they’re usually happy to look after themselves for a few hours if you’re out and about.
However, while cats may be more independent than dogs, adopting one is still a big responsibility. Your new cat will need proper food, a comfy place to sleep, regular vet check-ups and a hundred other things. With so many cat supplies to buy it’s easy to miss out on something important. Fortunately, by following a checklist of cat essentials you will find it much easier to ensure that your new pet is well cared for.
Vegetarianism is not a concept that cats are familiar with. Your cat is an obligate carnivore, which in layman’s terms means that she can get everything she needs diet-wise from meat. Although many cats will occasionally eat a little non-meat food, animal protein should make up the bulk of their diet.
You have two choices when it comes to cat food: dry or wet. Dry food is highly convenient, lasts for a long time, and is good for your cat’s teeth as it removes plaque when chewed. However, dry food-only diets have been associated with dehydration-related illnesses such as urinary tract problems. Wet food, on the other hand, is closer to the prey that your cat’s ancestors would have fed on (although its pungent aroma might not make it that appealing to human noses!).
Ultimately, a mix of dry and wet food is probably the best option to ensure a healthy diet for your pet. Supplementing meals of wet food with some dry kibble to munch on throughout the day is the preferred choice of many pet owners. If you do give your cat regular dry food, make sure she has access to plenty of clean drinking water in order to prevent dehydration.
Bedding and Grooming Materials
A comfy place to sleep is important for any cat. Any bed big enough to accommodate your cat will likely do the trick, but don’t be surprised if she prefers bunking up on your sofa or on top of your bathroom towels instead!
Your grooming requirements will be dictated by the type of cat you are adopting. Common shorthair cats need little more than a weekly rub down with a rubber brush, while forest-type longhair cats such as the Siberian and Maine Coon can usually get away with being combed every other day or so. However, longhairs with developed undercoats, such as Persians, will likely need a daily combing with regular de-matting and shampooing sessions.
Toilet training your cat isn’t usually difficult, as they are often very selective about their toilet habits in the first place. Ensure that your cat’s litter tray is deep enough for her to bury her droppings and scoop solid waste out regularly. If possible, try to place the little tray in an out of the way spot such as a closet or utility room, as this may help kitty to feel a little more private and encourage her to do her business in the right place.
Most cats enjoy their freedom and are often happy to roam around outside for hours at a time. With this in mind, having a reliable way of tracking your pet if she gets lost is highly important. One way of doing this is to have your cat microchipped by a vet. This process involves implanting a chip about the size of a grain of rice into the cat, which can be read via a hand-held scanner. If your pet goes missing and is recovered, a vet would be able to use the chip to identify her.
However, microchips are only useful if your cat gets taken to a vet. The most effective way to provide your cat with identification is to give her a personalised name tag. There are many companies that will allow you to create a custom-engraved tag to put on your cats’s collar, making her easily identifiable if she turns up at a stranger’s house.
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