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Top Ten Must-Haves For New Cat Parents

As we know, with the warming temperatures, kitten season is around the corner!  Few things are more fun and rewarding than going to a shelter, knowing you are taking home a cute, little, energetic kitten or maybe a more mature, laid back (ie lower maintenance) cat.  This to ten must-have for new cat parents list goes beyond the basics food, water and vet visits.  These ten recommendations have been critically reviewed by Tinkerbell and Tidbit (aka the girls), who are different as a sleepy laid back night and a jittery, caffeine filled morning.

  1. Large sisal rope scratching post –Initially, I refused to have ‘cat furniture’ in my home, however, it quickly became clear that a scratching post was the only hope I had for saving my furniture!  Tinkerbell was so excited when I brought it home that she tried scratching it before I put it down!  Giving your kitty a productive place to sink in their claws is not only necessary but a natural activity for them.  Other great alternatives are scratching mats and door hangers but nothing seems to satisfy the girls like their scratching post.
  2. Kitty nail clippers – A decent pair of nail clippers are a must.  The clippers designed for pets make it easier to clip your pet’s nails.  Add in a few treats, pets on the head and verbal assurance to help make this less of a chore and more of a delight.
  3. Shedding blade – Brushes, although sometimes cute just don’t get the job done like a shedding blade.  Sounds awful might even look a little barbaric but with gentle use, I’ve found that this worked wonders when my shorthaired girls are shedding.  I’ve heard good things about the Furminator for long haired cats too!  Either way, brushes are not nearly as effective as other these tools.
  4. Window perch – Just like us, ours cats need a place to lounge and why not let that be a seat with a view?  There are several window perches available and this is by far one of the favorite places for the girls to lounge, especially in the summer when the window is open and they can watch the birds, the neighbor’s dog or be the Gladys Kravitz of the neighborhood.
  5.  Laser pointer – Keep your kitties active from the start and help them stay trim by getting some exercise in.  Who knew that a tiny red dot can get the sleepiest of cats running around in a fraction of a second!?  Even better, check out Frolicat’s automatic laser pet toys for when you’re too busy, it’s not exactly the same but a good alternate.
  6. Litterbox mat – This one is for YOU!  If your kitty tends to kick litter outside the box or takes a little with them every time they hop out of the box, then here is your answer.  3M has a litter trap mat that that is made up of an open web of loops that grabs litter and keeps it from being tracked through your home.  It’s easy to clean, take it outside and just shake the litter out.  This has been a huge help for me in keeping the hardwood floors litter free!
  7. Sparkly pom poms – This is high on the bang-for-your-buck scale.  These can be found in pet stores or, for much less, in craft stores.  If you want to train your cat to play fetch, this is the way to do it.  I can’t explain why these are so popular with every cat that I’ve ever given one to, maybe it’s the sparkles, I’m not sure, but cats across the board seem to love these.
  8. Cat Crib – This is for the closeted cat people.  A very discrete cat lounge that attaches to the legs of your chair.  Cat furniture that doesn’t take up space!!
  9. Food mat – Again, this will help you.  A food mat under their dishes not only looks cute, gives a little definition to their eating space but also helps keeps the food and water inside the blast off zone.  I have a messy, food driven, girl that insists on pulling her wet food off the plate and onto the floor to eat it.  So, a food mat makes cleanup a little easier and you can match your décor or change it up with the seasons.  They’re available at pet stores or check out Target for the seasonal ‘people’ place mats.
  10. Cat collar – Start them off early so they feel naked without it!  Collars allow you to attach an ID tag and lets people know your cat has a home in case you have an escapee from time to time.  Make it fun and switch it up with the seasons and your mood.  Tinkerbell gets visibly uncomfortable when I take her collar off to brush her and waits for me to return it to her afterward.