SO YOU'VE ADOPTED A NEW CAT OR KITTEN, WHAT DO YOU NEED?
Once you have been approved for adoption it's time to get your space ready for your new cat or kitten/s, and make sure you have all the supplies you will need!
1) Kitten or Cat Food - you can ask us what food your cat or kitten was eating in the foster home, we recommend always keeping your cat on the same food for at least a couple weeks to avoid digestive issues, then you can gradually switch foods if you want to change. Any food changes should be done gradually, mixing a bit more of the new food in with the old each day over 7-14 days until you have fully switched over.
We feed mainly Nulo cat and kitten food to our fosters, but little kittens and nursing moms we also will feed Royal Canin Mother and Baby Cat food. In some instances we may feed other brands or types of food if a certain cat has any special dietary needs.
Make sure to get a food and water dish for each cat or kitten, we recommend low profile bowls that do not cause whisker stress.
2) Litter Box - This is very important, in the beginning we recommend a basic open top litter box, this is easiest for kittens and cats to use, and most vets recommend an open top box as some cats do not like being closed in. After a few weeks or months you can try out a covered litter box, but make sure to make any changes slowly as you do not want your cat to get confused and stop using their litter box.
For little kittens you may want a litter box in each room to begin with, you can then scale down to just one or two as they get older.
Make sure to show your new cat or kitten their new litter box frequently the first two weeks you bring them home so they learn where it is.
3) Cat Litter - there are a lot of different cat litters out there, for kittens we like to use Yesterday's News, this is a non-clumping litter that is safe for small kittens (kittens sometimes try to eat litter and clumping litter can be dangerous). For kittens over 8-9 weeks and adult cats clumping litter is okay. You can ask the foster what type of litter they use and purchase that brand to start with, then you can gradually switch to a new litter if you prefer another style. Some cats are pickier than others about litter texture, so make any changes slowly and if your cat stops using the box after you change the litter switch back immediately.
If your cat has litter box issues or accidents we highly recommend using Dr. Elsie's Kitten Attract or Cat Attract cat litter - this stuff works miracles! Great for litter training and preventing accidents.
If your cat is having accidents make sure to clean any accidents thoroughly with enzymatic cleaner, and block that area off from your cat if they go there repeatedly. You may need to confine your cat to a bathroom or small area with their litter box for 7-14 days to break any bad habits if they are going to the bathroom outside the litter box.
You may want a litter mat for in front of the litter box to catch loose litter when your cat exits the box. This is not necessary but can be helpful!
4) Scratching Post - scratching is a normal and natural part of cat behavior, cats scratch to help clean their nails, mark territory, and it helps them relax and stretch. Always provide a few scratching areas for your cat, this will help protect your furniture as well. We recommend cardboard floor scratchers, a cat tree, and/or standard scratching post. Make sure there is a scratching area available near your furniture so they have an alternative.
If scratching furniture becomes an issue you can use double sided tape on the corners or areas of furniture they are scratching, this deters scratching - leave for one to two weeks and typically this is enough to teach the cat that it is not fun to scratch there.
You can also carefully trim your cats nails, or have your vet do this during visits. Please watch cat nail trimming tutorials online before you do this for the first time, only clip the very end of the nail where the nail is clear.
5) Cat Carrier - a sturdy, secure cat carrier is a must for all cat owners. We recommend a hard sided cat carrier, one with a front door and top entry can be very helpful for loading your cat in. There are good soft sided carriers, but always make sure to triple check zippers on soft carriers as sometimes they can come loose or the cat can work the zippers down and escape. Hard sided carriers are a bit more secure as a cat cannot undo the latch. To make the cat carrier a comfy spot for your cat leave the carrier out in a common area for a few weeks so your cat gets used to it, put a soft blanket inside, and make it a spot your cat enjoys being so if you need to get your cat into the carrier in a hurry you don't have to wrestle your cat into the carrier. This is great for emergencies.
6) Cat Toys - toys are very important for bonding with your cat or kitten/s, and providing exercise, engagement, and entertainment for your cat! A bored cat can be destructive and annoying - so always give your cat or kitten lots of play time. Wand toys / teaser toys are great for active play time and bonding, laser pointers also are really good to get kitten energy out! Toy mice, balls, and catnip toys are great for cats of all ages. You may also want a cat tunnel or other environmental enrichment for the cats to play in. You can also make your own toys! Wine corks, crumpled paper balls, empty paper bags (handles removed - cats can get their heads stuck in bag handles) are all fun toys for cats and kittens.
Toys can be a great way to bring shy cats and kittens out of their shell as well. Need to lure your cat out from under the bed? Try a wand toy or laser pointer!
Have questions about supplies or prepping your space for your new feline family member? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for tips and recommendations!