Did you know there are over 80 breeds of cats recognized by different cat registries around the world?! That’s a lot of breeds to choose from! You should keep in mind that with every breed of cat, there is a certain personality to consider, along with their physical attributes, which can differ greatly between breeds. Those considerations should be addressed when you are choosing a cat to suit your home.
With purebred cats, some of the differences involve coat type and length, and definitely their personalities, which can range from very vocal, to quiet and reserved. A mixed breed cat will certainly fit into your family just as well as a purebred cat; you just won’t have the knowledge of their lineage. A male cat is called a “tom” (or a “gib,” if neutered), and a female is called a “molly” or “queen.”
Cats are now the most popular kept pet in the world. Felines provide companionship that can range from aloof and nonchalant to very affectionate. At Petland, we train our pet counsellors to help you in selecting and caring for a cat that suits you and your family. If your cat is coming into your home as a second addition, it’s important everyone in the household is involved in helping to form a good relationship between her and your existing pet. Like people, cats (and dogs) will need time to form a friendship.
To provide a happy, healthy atmosphere for your new companion, Petland recommends the following necessary, and fun accessories. We have listed them as your new cat’s four basic needs; Nutritional, Environmental, Maintenance and Behavioural. When these needs are met, along with a loving environment provided by you, your cat will be purrr-fectly happy!
Cat Furniture – Your cat will love to explore, climb and scratch. Cats scratch for two reasons; to remove the dead, outer husks from their claws and to mark territory, both visually and with scent from glands in their pads. You can lessen the husk-removal scratching by keeping her claws clipped regularly. Scratching is a behavioural need, so satisfying this need with scratching posts and cat furniture is important. The use of catnip spray or honeysuckle on cat furniture will attract her to it. Have the posts and furniture available from the first day you bring her home. Suggested areas to put them are close to the cat box or in the living/family room area. This will deter your new companion from staking out your furniture as her own.
Cat Bed or Mat – A cozy cat bed, perhaps scented with catnip to attract her, is a welcoming and secure place to cat nap. Every cat is different when it comes to napping. Some prefer to nap under a table or behind the drapes, others in a closet, while some will choose the back of a chair or couch. Providing a mat or bed for your cat, will show her she has a special place all her own, thus protecting your furniture and bedding from excessive hair.
Travel Bag or Carrier – Some cats enjoy riding in a car, but most do not. For safety and control, keep your cat in a pet travel bag or carrier while travelling to and from the vet, and for other travel needs.
Cat Food – Cats have an acute sense of smell but have relatively few taste buds compared to humans. Interestingly, they also are known to be pickier eaters than their canine counterparts. Not to worry, as there are many premium foods available to suit your cat’s age and lifestyle. Your cat’s nutritional requirements will vary depending on the age and how much exercise she gets. New research suggests that canned food should also be offered as it is an excellent way to encourage water consumption, because it is high in water content and most cats love the taste. Your adoption cat has been fed the best quality of food available to her. Changing it when she first arrives in her new home can result in stomach upset and diarrhea. Ask your pet counsellor how much food you should be offering your cat, and at what times of the day you should feed her. Keep fresh water out at all times. Milk should not be offered, as it is difficult to digest.
Skin and Coat Supplement – This is added to your cat’s food to reduce shedding; it also will help to make her coat soft and shiny.
The use of a high-calorie supplement may be recommended for a young cat or to encourage finicky eaters and to help with weight gain.
Hairball Remedy Paste – Cats keep themselves meticulously clean. Their daily ritual will always involve one drawn out bath and frequent mini baths. Because of this, they will ingest hair and hairballs will form in their stomach. Your cat will regurgitate to get rid of these hairballs. This can be a source of distress for both your cat and you. Giving your cat a hairball remedy paste will help to prevent hairballs from forming.
Cat Scissors and Coagulant – Cat scissors or small animal nail clippers should be used to keep your cat’s nails clipped. Done regularly, this will deter some scratching habits. Take care not to over trim or cut into blood vessels running through each nail. Should this happen, have a blood coagulant waiting and ready to use.
Brush and Comb – Cats are naturally fastidious. Routine brushing and combing your cat will prevent matts and tangles, and reduce hairballs. With short-haired cats, use a rubber brush or comb to stimulate natural oils and produce a beautiful shine. Groom medium to long-haired cats with both a brush and a comb. For long-haired cats, a de-matting tool is also needed. Ask your pet counsellor what brush and comb is right for your cat. If you are adopting an adult cat, you may need to take things slower. You can use the opportunity to form a trusting bond.
Dishes – Choose bowls that are easy to clean and hard to knock over. Ceramic, glass or stainless steel work best, especially for moist foods, as plastic dishes tend to trap odours. Cats have very sensitive whiskers and do not like putting their face into a bowl; a wider bowl may be necessary.
Always having fresh water available is important, as dehydration in cats is a common problem. Most cats tend to drink more if the water is fresh, clean or moving. Consider getting a fountain water dish. Re-circulating water dishes have carbon filters that remove substances (cats are more sensitive to odours and tastes than we are), providing fresh tasting, filtered water with a multitude of health benefits.
Litter Box and Litter – The litter box should be big enough to accommodate the size of your cat when full-grown. Most people find it easier having two cat boxes available, placing one on the main floor and the other in the basement or other area their cat frequents often. This gives your cat the added advantage of having an upstairs and downstairs toilet. If you have more than one cat, multiple litter boxes are a necessity since many cats do not like to use the same litter box.
Soiled Litter Disposal System – For soiled litter, consider using a litter disposal system like LitterLocker® that eases litter maintenance. One refill replaces 60 grocery bags, and it is quick, odourless, clean and easy to use.
Clay litter is generally better accepted by kittens. You may want to gradually change this litter to a clumping (which is easier to sift through) at around six months. Try to keep your cat on the litter she is presently used to, as some don’t like certain types, and changing litter when also changing homes could result in her not using the litter box.
Litter Deodorizer – Powdered products and spray deodorizers can be used to reduce litter box odours by adding it regularly to the pan.
Litter-Scoop – This is necessary for spot cleaning, to keep litter fresh and it also makes for fewer pan changes. Litter pan liners are also handy to use, and make dumping and cleaning your cat box more convenient. (Expectant mothers should not clean litter pans. Ask your doctor for more details).
Treats – Treats play an important part in your cat’s day-to-day routine. Treats work well to reinforce good behaviour, and are a tasty break to look forward to! Some treats also help with the elimination of hairballs.
Toys – Many cats love to play, and it is through play that they learn many valuable lessons, like why you shouldn’t run at top speed across a hardwood floor! Give your cat a variety of safe toys. Busy balls, catnip-filled snacks, anything made for cats is suitable. It is crucial that certain household items are off limits as playthings: toilet paper, long strings or ribbon, tinsel from a Christmas tree, cellophane, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, twist ties, rubber bands or cotton swabs are all dangerous.
Leash and Collar – The best way to insure a long, happy, healthy life for your cat is to keep her indoors. Even indoor cats should have some form of ID in case they escape and get lost. We recommend an expandable collar with a bell and ID tag. The expandable collar will help prevent strangulation should it become entangled. A harness is the best device you can use to take your cat for a walk, since collars are easy to slip out of. Give your cat some time to get used to the harness by practicing a few times indoors before you venture outside. A lightweight cat leash is necessary since dog leashes are much too heavy. If you plan on being close at hand, a lightweight cat tie out is perfect for giving your cat a taste of the outdoors while safely enjoying the fresh air.
Repellent – There are several very important uses for a cat repellent. Some cats enjoy chewing electrical cords and houseplants, which can be toxic or fatal to a cat. Ask for Petland’s Safety Tips & Household Hazards tip sheet. To deter scratching on certain items, use a repellent, keep her nails clipped and give her furniture of her own.
Books – The internet is a wonderful place to gather information, however, unfortunately some information is just opinion or simply incorrect. Books provide a more secure knowledge base, providing tips on behaviour and giving helpful information on care requirements, right at your finger tips! Petland has many excellent books on cat care and cat breeds. Your pet counsellor can help you select a book that will best suit your needs.
Please ask your pet counsellor what other items pertain to your particular pet’s needs.
Cleanliness and Safety
All pets must be kept in a clean environment to avoid the spread of dirt and contaminants to yourself and others. Always keep your pet’s home clean, and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home.
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit diseases to humans. Young children, infants, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and the elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with pets or their homes.