New Cat Checklist 


As Jim Gaffigan said, cats are a lot like humans: we are fussy eaters too, and like our food and water clean and fresh!


  • Food bowls for dry food. It's best to get more than 1 even if you only have 1 cat so 1 can be in the dishwasher while the other is out (they should be emptied and washed once a week). If you have multiple cats there definitely needs to be bowls in more than 1 location to avoid fighting or bullying one cat away from the food. 
  • There are automatic and timer based feeders - some even with portion control - but NEVER leave a dog (or cat) unattended for over a day with no one to check. It could get tipped over, or if outside another animal could get at the food. A former pet sitter of mine got fired after relying on these and not checking that my cat had accidentally trapped itself and was stuck for 2 days without food and water till I got home.

  • Food bowls for wet food. I give only half a can at a time and use these handy lids to keep the rest fresh for later that day; that way I'm not throwing out a lot of uneaten food. Wet food times around here are Morning and Dinner Time.

  • Water bowl. These handy Sparkletts-style water bowls are the best! You don't have to worry about the cat running out of water. These should be emptied and refilled weekly (or sooner if the water gets contaminated) If you use a regular bowl, water bowls should be emptied and refilled once a day because cats sometimes dribble food or wash their paws in the water bowl and leave litter residue.

Scratch and Play and Rest:


  • Cat post. This gives a cat something to use instead of your furniture! Use catnip or catnip spray (sprinkle/spray on the post) to attract the cat to using it. I sprinkle catnip on mine every few days or at least once a week to keep them attracted to it. Catnip, posts, and scratchers are cheaper than a new sofa!! Catnip is very cheap.

  • Scratchers. These circular scratches are a big hit for play and nail sharpening (instead of your furniture!). Sprinkle or spray with catnip regularly. It can be turned over once before having to toss it and put in a refill.

  • Toys, toys, toys. Ones you can use to play with them like the wand style toys, and ones they can keep themselves busy with during the night or when you're not home - fuzzy mice, balls with bells, rope, buildable tracks which can be reconfigured to new designs (see the green figure 8 toy, tinsel balls, catnip filled soft toys they can hold and kick and bite.

  • Cardboard boxes. Cats love playing cardboard city. Paper bags too, but make sure you cut through the handles; cats can choke or hang themselves in a bag handle by getting it around their neck then getting it caught on a stair case or recliner handle.

  • Soft cuddle beds. Cats like to snuggle down in fuzzy warm places. I also put beds and soft blankets on the sofa so they can cuddle in their spot and leave room for me!


  • ​Snuggle safe and Self Warming PurrPad. For older and arthritic cats, these are great and help keep them warm without the risks of leaving a heating pad plugged in.  See our Favorites page for more info.


  • Comfort Zone. Relaxes cats, and eliminates spray marking when a newcomer arrives. See our Favorites pagefor more info.


Bathroom Time. Like us, cats like a clean area -
​see
Mr. Frisky's Answer on Scoop The Poop


  • Litter boxes. Unless you only have 1 cat and you plan to clean the litter twice a day, get 2 boxes per cat. This avoids the cat using areas outside the box because the box is full. Even so litter needs to be scooped once a day; cats don't like to use a dirty toilet - neither do you. Rule of thumb - 1 box per cat + 1 extra box per 2 cats. For example, I have 3 cats and 5 litter boxes. If you have a 2 story house it can be helpful to put some downstairs and some upstairs, but I have a 2 story house and all mine are upstairs (in a closet where I also keep scoops - always have more than 1 in case a handle breaks, broom, dustpan, and hand sanitizer handy for daily scooping duty). I scoop once a day without fail and keep the litter nice and deep (so they can dig, then cover) and I have no problems with cats going outside the box. Scooping frequently helps you determine possible health problems early on - diahrea,  sudden changes in the color of feces, sudden changes in the amount of urine clumps or size, blood spots in the litter. These can be early clues to illness like bladder infection, diabetes, worms, and other problems.

Identification


  • Collar. Pets need a collar with your mobile phone on it AND your Vet or Pet Sitters number. Most people won't bother to pick up your pet and take him to a vet or shelter where there is a microchip scanner. However, they WILL call you if your number is right there on the collar. I like these inline tags that fit any collar, and especially  these Safety Stretch collars from Dr. Foster and Smith online.