You just brought your little kitten home, and you are thinking, she is the cutest kitty in the whole world. She chases your legs and bites playfully your hands and you want her to stay young and small forever.
Or maybe you just adopted an older cat from the shelter and look forward to letting her spend her last years in your home.
5 most important things you need to purchase for your first cat
A water bowl with fresh water every day and a few food bowls. Make sure the bowls are not too deep, because the cat will usually take the food out and eat it in front of her (making a mess) when the food bowl has too high sides. Get low bowls that are almost like plates. You will need a placemat as well. If you are getting more than one cat, they all need their own bowls and food spots.
2. Dry food and/or wet food.
Do you want to offer your cat both or just one or the other? My cats always had dry food available and wetfood they got in the evenings. If your cat does not drink much, it would be better to give some wetfood.
3. A toilet.
Do you want a cat toilet with a cover or an open toilet? It depends on where you want to place it. If you want to place your toilet in the kitchen or bathroom where you want to smell as less as possible toilet smells then take one with a cover. An open toilet is cheaper and better for a young kitten so you should always start with a small open toilet with low sides so she can easily get in. Big cat breeds need bigger toilets. And if you are adopting more than one cat you will need two to three toilets.
4. Kitty litter.
You should always start with a non-clumping kind litter if you are getting a kitten, because it can happen that your kitten might eat some of the clumps. When she is old enough you can switch to the clumping kind. I prefer litter that clumps because it saves so much time while cleaning the toilet. I would say the best is to try a few different kinds of litters and see which one suits you the best and your cat.
5. A scratching tree.
If you are getting a big breed cat, like a Maine Coon, then you should think about a scratching tree that has very thick sisal posts and it should be quite large in comparison to the other trees for smaller breed cats. But if you are getting a kitten, a small tree should suffice until she is getting bigger. If you are adopting an older cat you will need to make sure she can walk to each level of the tree and will not need to jump to get on any of the levels.
3 Things you need to consider before bringing your cat home
1. Is she going to become an outside cat, with a cat door from which she can go freely in and out of the house? At which age could I let her out?
It is important to see if your area is safe for a cat. Is there a freeway close by, do you live in the city center, in the suburbs or do you live on the country side?
I do not recommend letting your cat out if you live in the center of a city. There are many cars and so many dangers for a cat. If you live in the suburbs or on the country side I would definitely say that you should let your cat out. A freeway close by should not be a reason not letting her out at all. There are always big risks involving letting your cat be an outside cat. Dogs, cars, people. There has also been stories of hunters shooting cats. What about that old lady who is your neighbor and feeds all the cats in the neighborhood and your cat decides her food and company is better than yours?
I am not saying do not let your cat outside, I think it is the most natural thing in the world, but you have to be aware of the risks. One day she might never come home again.
You should always first castrate and chip your cat before you let her outside and wait until she is around 8 months old until you let her outside.
2. How old should your kitten be before you bring her home?
Some people get kittens from farms and they are usually around 5 weeks old. These young cats that are taken away from their mothers and siblings never learn something called bite inhibition which they only can learn from their siblings. In most cases they become socially awkward and aggressive towards other cats. Never adopt such a young kitten. You should always wait until she is at least 12 weeks old or better even 14 weeks. They learn so much from their mother and siblings in these 3 months which is the most important learning time for the rest of their lives. That is why it is so important where you adopt your cat. She should have learned being around both women and men, children, other cats and possibly also other animals. Try to not adopt the most timid kitten, because usually she will keep this personality trait for all her life.
3. Do you want to have one kitten and then later get another one or should you get two cats at once?
It is always the best way to get two siblings. Usually a pair that works the best is a (castrated) male and a female cat. If you are thinking about getting one kitten and then later another one, lets say after a couple of years, you might get problems with these two cats. In most cases the first cat feels threatened, protecting her territory and she will never accept the new cat. In some cases you might have a perfect match, usually with a excising male and the new cat being a female. Male cats are in most cases more welcoming to their territory than female cats. If you know you eventually want to have two cats, just go ahead and adopt two siblings, and you will have two cats that are best friends, who never fight and just spend most of their days cuddling with each other.