When we were preparing to bring our new cat home, we considered all of the items we would need to buy for a cat and totalled up the costs. From food necessities, bathroom basics, cat furniture, toys, grooming supplies, travel items amongst other essential things.
Bringing home a new cat always has associated costs, whether it be a rescue moggie or a pedigree ragdoll kitten. From the cost of the pet itself to the cost of all the equipment he or she needs, it can add up very quickly.
The pet accessories market is bigger than ever before. You can easily be persuaded that your new cat needs the latest gadget, whether it be a smart self-cleaning litter tray to robotic toys and automatic microchip feeders, there is everything you need and far more!
But what does a cat really need?
Here is a basic checklist when bringing home a new cat:
Bowls for food and water
We will consider each of these items in more detail further down.
It is also important to think about the environment you are bringing puss into. She needs to come home and feel safe and secure. We set up our utility room to be the pet friendly space required, here’s what we thought about:
A safe, quiet room away from children and all the noise of a family home (or a dog, etc).
All hazards removed or secured away from animals – i.e. cleaning fluids are kept in cupboards.
Somewhere to get up high or hide – for this we bought a cat tree but even a simple box can work.
Room to place the food and water bowls separately, and apart from the litter tray and bed.
Adding some toys and fun items to help encourage kitty to play and not be bored, encourage exercise.
Having thought about the perfect cosy and quiet spot for our precious new arrival, we set about buying those essential items. Here, I’m going to share what we bought for Bella specifically. Included are a couple of items which may be of benefit to consider too, although not strictly essential.
Stainless Steel Cat Food and Water Bowl
Stainless steel is not prone to rust and can easily be washed. I like the 15 degree angled bowl as it is reported to be a more comfortable angle for the cat to feed from. They come as a pack of two so water and food both are catered for, and I was attracted by the black and white design with the kitty ears and whiskers design on the bowls. They are ‘non slip’ though I have also placed them onto a silicone mat which I find is much better and helps contain spills.
My only downside is that for a small cat, the bowls are rather larger than her requirements, and perhaps the food bowl would have been better if it were a bit shallower (cats don’t like their whiskers touching the side!).
At 90cm tall the Catromance cat tree isn’t huge, but I love how it incorporates everything I was looking for; a little hidey-hole cave at the bottom, a cosy hammock style bed in the middle and a soft cushioned bed on top. The tree incorporated two scratching poles wrapped in sisal, and a sisal scratch mat on one of the levels.
The plush grey material covering the main areas of the cat tree has definitely attracted Bella, and she has tried out all the beds! The self assembly instructions were very easy and it was up and running within 10 minutes. Happy pet, happy owners.
I chose this brush for its double sided practicality and budget friendly pricetag. You can easily spend twice as much on items like these but I am very happy with this brush which is suitable for short and long haired cats.
With rounded steel bristle tips on one side and and soft bristle on the other, it has just what is required to keep Bella’s coat free of any matting and helps remove loose hair.
I have done a lot of research into cat and dog food in recent years. And yet when it came to making the choice about what to buy for Bella, it was already made. She was happily enjoying adult Whiskas chicken food while living at the RSPCA, and I have willingly obliged and bought her this popular and highly rated food.
We are really pleased with this large litter tray. Having read a number of reviews of smaller trays describing them as ‘too small’, we decided to choose a roomier hooded tray so that Bella wouldn’t feel claustrophobic! Its dimensions are 57 x 43 x 46 centimetres, and it is suitable for a large breed cat or a multi cat household.
The hood clips down securely with slider locks, and the flap folds right back into an easy to access door so you can scoop/add more litter without removing the whole hood. The design even incorporates an overlap between the lid and the box to prevent urine leaks going on the outside of the box. Finally, a carbon filter in the top of the box helps to filter out unpleasant smells and aid ventilation. You can add an ammonia buster too, available separately.
We wanted a hooded tray to deter children and are pleased with our purchase. It is a much more expensive option than a standard litter tray and it may take puss a little while to get used to a tray with a flap, but we are satisfied it does the job we need.
6. Cat Teaser Interactive Rod with Bell and Feather
What can we say about this? Never have we seen a cat having so much playtime than with this toy! A simple rod with elasticated cord, feathers and a bell attached to the end.
This particular one comes with 12 replacement feathers/worms/fish attachments which is definitely worthwhile as if your cat ‘catches’ the toy it, her claws may detach a feather or two! We have had heaps of fun with this one, and this one on amazon is really good value for the money.
If you have a penchant for everything in a shade of grey, you’ll love this soft yet sturdy cat carrier to bring your new pet home in. We chose a soft carrier so that it could be collapsible and easily stored, as opposed to a rigid plastic crate.
Oxford fabric covers the main area, with mesh windows for good ventilation. It has a soft fleecy base layer to keep puss comfy for her journey. I like how there are top, side and end openings for ease.
This carrier is easily carried either by shoulder strap or double handles, and can be used for plane travel. It really is a good all round carrier, is sturdy and durable and I would be happy to take Bella on a longer journey using it.
The dimensions are 42 × 27 × 27 cm, and can hold pets upto 6kg.
As its name suggests, this catflap is a classic! A standard cat flap was just what we needed for Bella to get into her own room while keeping the children out. It has a 4 way locking mechanism, (i.e in and out, only in, only out, locked), is weatherproof and can be used for indoor or external doors upto 5cm thick.
The flap comes with a template for cutting to the correct size. It can be installed in wood, uPVC and even glass doors and is suitable for cats upto 7kg.
For an external door we are going to purchase a microchip cat flap so as to keep out unwanted visitors, but this classic is the perfect fit for the internal door to ensure that Bella has constant access in and out of her safe space.
Although this may seem like a slightly frivolous purchase, something of an unnecessary pet gadget, we made the decision that a water fountain was worth the money from the word go.
Why? Well in the past we have found that our cats have always preferred not to drink from a standard water bowl, but would seek running water from the tap, toilet bowl, and sources outdoors. They clearly preferred running water.
As Bella is indoors, and to prevent her drinking potentially unsafe water such as from a loo, we decided to treat her to a fountain.
Other reported benefits of the Catit water fountain is that the included triple-layer filter (replacements available) not only helps keep water fresh and remove debris like hairs, but the ion exchange resin softens tap water and helps prevent urinary tract disease which cats can be prone to. Drinking more water also helps prevent urinary problems so its a win-win for the water fountain.
It has 3 flow settings to suit your cat, and Bella has certainly showed interest in it so far. Having been used to a standard water bowl for so long in the cattery, she wasn’t immediately won over, but as the fountain is cheap to run (around 2p a day based on a 15p per KWh tariff used 24h a day), we are happy to leave it on and let her try it any time.